Ling 290: Introduction to Linguistic Analysis

Fall 2007 CRN 13002, MWF 10:00-10:50, 125 McKenzie Hall, University of Oregon

PROFESSOR: Doris Payne
Straub 229, 346-3894,
Office Hours: Mon 3:00-5:00;
other times by appointment

GTF: Anna Pucilowski
Straub 240, 346-5920,
Office Hours: TBA

And the following mean... ??

I saw her duck.
Mary adores men who love women who don't smoke.

They hit the man with a cane.
A table is wanted by a lady with square legs.

Course Goals

Specific Course Objectives.  By the end of the course, you should:

Required Materials:

LEARNING ACCOMODATIONS: If you have a documented disability, please meet with me immediately to discuss your needs. If you have not already requested a notification letter from Disability Services outlining recommendded accomodations, please do so soon. You may contact Disability Services in 164 Oregon Hall, at 346-1155, or via

Course Schedule
Expectations and Grading


Tentative Course Schedule




Week 1

Introduction. Course overview, Linguistic "signs"

Finegan Ch 1


Research Awareness Requirement. Scientific Method


Basic features of human language. Linguistic Subfields



Week 2

Phonetics. Phonetics vs. spelling, Biological basis; Consonants

Finegan Ch 3

Homework Set 1


Vowels, Suprasegmentals


Phonology. Phonemes & allophones

Finegan Ch 4


Week 3

Natural classes, Phonological processes & rules


Homework Set 2


Syllables & phonotactics


Phonological universals

Finegan pp. 221-224  

Week 4

Words, Morphology. Parts of speech

Finegan Ch 2

Homework Set 3







Week 5

Morphological analysis, Morphological typology


Homework Set 4


Morphology, cont.



Syntax. Constituency

Finegan Ch 5


Week 6 

Syntax, continued


Homework Set 5


Propositional semantics

Finegan pp. 197-201


Passives & non-basic sentences


Week 7 

Colorless Green Ideas?  

no homework




Information Structure & Pragmatics

Finegan pp. 258-270


Week 8

Syntactic typology

Finegan pp. 224-228, 232

Homework Set 6


Semantics. Lexical

Finegan Ch 6 (173-197)

  Semantic Typology Finegan 217-221  

Week 9 

Historical Linguistics

In Search of the First Language
study guide (print & read before class)

Homework Set 7




Thanksgiving Holiday


Week 10

Cognates, comparative method, etc.

Finegan pp. 420-442

no homework

History of English: Old & Middle

Finegan pp. 468-490


Modern English

Finegan pp. 490-494

Homework Set 8

Week 11

COMPREHENSIVE FINAL: Friday Dec 7, 10:15 a.m.



To learn, you have to be actively engaged with the material; ultimately, the responsibility of learning is yours. To facilitate your engagement and learning, we will provide you with:

Course grade is based on the following:

Homework is graded as follows:

Condition 1

+  Condition 2

=  Homework 

8 assignments on time & complete

3.1 to 4 pts avg


7 assignments on time & complete

2.6 to 3 pts avg


5-6 assignments on time & complete

2.1 to 2.5 pts avg


3-4 assignments on time & complete

0 to 2 pts avg


1-2 assignments on time & complete

0 to 2 pts avg


Condition 2: To acknowledge the accuracy of your work and the importance of clear reasoning and expression, homework will be marked 1, 2, 3, or 4 as follows:

4 = Great: Accurate and insightful throughout, well-written, well-argued.  (Never expect us to guess what you mean, or to hunt for the answer to a question.)
3 = Good work: some things could be improved; well-written.
2 = Some insight: analysis has a ways to go; fair writing
1 = Missing the point, and/or difficult to follow writing (but we recognize you tried)

To achieve the indicated grade, Condition 1 is necessary but not sufficient.  For example, if all assignments are on time and complete, you will not receive an A unless your work is also accurate, insightful, well-written, and well-argued.

If you meet Condition 1, but Condition 2 is above or below the target, your grade will be adjusted up or down 1/2 grade, respectively.  For example, if you turn in 6 complete assignments on time, and the accuracy/writing is 3 or 4 points average, you will receive a C+ homework grade.


Linguists conduct research using a variety of methods and in a variety of cultural and political settings. Some research involves interviews in "field" situations, and other research involves experimental techniques in a laboratory setting.  One requirement for Ling 290 is to complete a "research awareness" component.  During the course of this term, you must complete ONE of the following: