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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2014/2015

Term: 2

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Catherine Anderson


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 503

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 26241


Office Hours: Tuesday 10:30-11:30, Wednesday 1:00-2:00

Course Objectives:

Linguistics 3C03 studies language behaviour and development in children from birth to school age. The course examines how data from children's language acquisition can inform linguistic theory. The goals of the course are:

  • to understand the elements of the major theories of child language acquisition
  • to evaluate the key research findings that inform these theories
  • to practice communicating scientific findings to both scientific and non-scientific audiences
  • to analyze primary data to answer research questions 

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

  • iClicker response device
  • Sedivy, Julie. (2014). Language in Mind: An Introduction to Psycholinguistics. Sinauer Associates
    ISBN 978-0-87893-598-7 (This textbook was used for Ling 2PS3 Psycholinguistics in Fall 2014.) 

Method of Assessment:

Participation in class using iClicker 8% If you click a response to 80% of clicker questions you receive 8/8.  If you respond to fewer than 80% of clicker questions your clicker score is pro-rated accordingly.
Two midterm tests 26% 45 minutes each, written in class on Jan 30 and March 18
Data Analysis Project 20% Submitted on Avenue Feb 11
Press Release Project 16% Submitted on Avenue April 1
Final Exam 30% Scheduled by the Registrar during the Final Exam Period. The final exam includes material from the entire semester.


You may also earn bonus points by creating a Learning Portfolio:

  • You have the option to create a Learning Portfolio within Avenue2Learn that includes some of your work (whatever pieces you choose) from Ling 3C03. (Of course, you may include work from other courses if you wish.) Creating a Learning Portfolio including work from Ling 3C03 earns a straight 2% on your total course grade.  To redeem this 2%, share your Learning Portfolio with Dr. Anderson and the TA before the final class of the semester.  

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late Assignments:  Assignments or projects submitted within 48 hours of the due date are penalized 25% of the value of the assignment.  Assignments or projects submitted within five working days of the due date are penalized 50%.  Assignments and projects are not accepted thereafter.  

Excused Assignments:  Assignments for which the instructor receives an MSAF or other medical document (via the office of the Dean of your Faculty) are excused and are not included in the final grade calculation.

Excused Tests: Tests for which the instructor receives an MSAF or other medical document (via the office of the Dean of your Faculty) have their value added to the value of the final exam.

Clicker Points:  MSAFs and medical notes are not accepted for clicker points.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

These dates are an estimate. Any changes that arise will be announced in class.

Weeks 1 & 2 The Science of Language, Origins of Human Language

Sections 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.4

Weeks 3 & 4 Learning Sound Patterns Sections 4.1, 4.2, 4.4
Weeks 5 - 7 Learning Words Chapter 5
Weeks 8 - 10 Learning Sentence Organization Chapter 6
Weeks 11 & 12 Language as a Social System Chapter 11


Other Course Information:

In this course we will be using Avenue. Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.