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LINGUIST 1Z03 Sounds,Words&Meaning:Mod Engl

Academic Year: Fall 2015

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. George Thomas


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 512

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24388

Office Hours: TBA

Course Objectives:

Together with Linguistics 1ZZ3E, this course provides an introduction to the study of the English language.  It is intended for students with no prior knowledge of linguistics who wish to acquire an understanding of the structures which make the speaking, understanding and writing of English possible.  We will learn how the sounds of English are made and how to organise them into a system.  This will help us understand how small differences between sounds make it possible for us to communicate at all.  Then we will turn our attention to words: how they are constructed, how they can be modified to express singular or plural or past and present tense.  Finally, we will examine the meanings of these words and how they interrelate with one another.

Every effort will be made for every student to participate actively in the course.  Students are encouraged to bring to class relevant examples of English usage they encounter in their daily lives.  Within the formal requirements of the course, there will be flexibility to discuss issues and problems raised by students.  The accent throughout will be on practical questions rather than matters of linguistic theory.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Brinton, Laurel J. & Donna M. Brinton, The Linguistic Structure of Modern English (Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2010)

This course will cover Chapters 1 through 6.

Method of Assessment:

Mid-term test                          20%

Assignments (3)                      30%

Class Participation                   10%

Final exam                               40%




Penalties: Late delivery of an assignment will receive a ten-percent penalty for each day following the advertized due date.  For example, a piece of work delivered two days’ late which deserved a grade of B- (70%) will receive a grade of 56% (C).                  

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:

Suggested readings and self-directed learning activities will be given after each class.

Other Course Information:

Structure of classes: (Th 7-10) / approx. 2 hrs. lecture + 1 hr. tutorial per class meeting.

In class 4 instead of the usual format the class will be broken down into small tutorial groups for the purpose of practising phonetic transcription.