Linguistics 2130A
Wonders of Words

Prerequisite(s): 1.0 first year course.

Course Description

Although we use words constantly, they hold many mysteries. Where do they come from? How do they change and are learned? How do we know how to pronounce and interpret them? This course introduces word-lovers to the science of words in a fascinating overview of our unconscious knowledge of language. In this course, you will become familiar with the sounds, structures, meanings and history of English words.

Pedagogical Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify the parts of the mouth used to produce different speech sounds
  • Transcribe English phonetically using the International Phonetic Alphabet
  • Segment words into syllables and identify stressed syllables
  • Analyze words into their component parts (morphemes)
  • Identify the structural composition of complex words
  • Use the Oxford English Dictionary to find the history of a word or affix
  • Use Google ngrams to learn about the use of a word or affix over time

Course Materials

  • Harley, Heidi. 2006. English words. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Two good English dictionaries with at least 100,000 entries, and etymological detail. You will have to use the Oxford English Dictionary in this course
  • Materials on the OWL site

Methods of Evaluation

10%: Word diaries
60%: Homework assignments
5%: Class participation (assessed using iClickers)
8% Squib (3-5 page paper) DRAFT
17%: Squib (3-5 page paper) FINAL