LIGN 111: Phonology (Winter 2017)

TuTh 9:30-10:50am
Peterson 103
Section ID: 888262

Course website:


Eric Bakovic (Professor)

/ phone: 858-822-3206

Office Hours: Tu 3:00-4:00pm in AP&M 4151

Kati Hout (TA)

Office Hours: Th 2:00-3:00pm in AP&M 3331B

Section: Mo 2:45-3:35pm, Center 224B

Course Description

Phonology is the study of the sound patterns of human languages. We will learn about some of these (kinds of) sound patterns, as well as ways to identify and describe them using a variety of analytical techniques and devices. Or, as the course catalog puts it:

Why does one language sound different from another? This course analyzes how languages organize sounds into different patterns, how those sounds interact, and how they fit into larger units, such as syllables. Focus on a wide variety of languages and problem-solving.

    Course prerequisites

    Phonetics (LIGN 110) is a prerequisite for this course, and Introduction to the Study of Language (LIGN 101) is a prerequisite for that. If you haven't received a C or better in one or the other of these courses (or some equivalent), please talk to Prof. Bakovic immediately.

    Overall course objectives

    • To learn about the ways in which sound patterns are alike and the ways in which they differ.
    • To acquire various analytical tools specific to the study of sound patterns.
    • To use these tools to identify and describe sound patterns.

    Course Details and Policies

    Ground rules

    Principles of Community

    We should all abide by the UC San Diego Principles of Community. This applies both in and out of class.

    Devices in the classroom

    The use of laptops, tablets, and cell phones is not permitted in this classroom, unless you make a case and receive special permission from the professor in advance. Electronic screens serve as a barrier between you and me. Worse, they can be a terrible distraction to students sitting near you. The material we'll be covering is not conducive to electronic note-taking, and electronic note-taking in general seems to be less effective than hand-written (Mueller & Oppenheimer 2014; see here or here or here or here or here for relevant discussion).

    If you are used to taking notes on your laptop or a tablet, please just bring and use traditional pen/pencil and paper instead and then transfer your notes to your computer after class. The extra time you take to transfer your notes may improve your retention of the material.

    As a courtesy to others, please turn off and put away your devices and other noisemakers before coming to class.

    Academic Integrity policy

    Please take some time to read the UCSD Policy on Integrity of Scholarship. We will be conducting this course in full accordance with this policy. In particular, any suspected cheating or plagiarism in the course will be taken very seriously and investigated. If we determine that cheating or plagiarism has taken place, it will be reported to the Academic Integrity Office, in accordance with UCSD policy. Please note that it is not at our discretion whether or not to report instances of suspected academic dishonesty: we are obligated by UCSD policy to report such instances.

    Here are some examples of academic integrity violations. DO NOT DO THESE!!!
    • Taking credit for someone else's work.
    • Copying someone else's assignment.
    • Changing a graded assignment and returning it for a regrade.
    • Finding the answer key to an assignment (e.g., on the web) and copying it.
    • Giving a false reason (e.g., death of a relative) for turning an assignment in late.
    This is not an exhaustive list — please read the UCSD Policy on Integrity of Scholarship and use your common sense!

    10 things I will value from you

    This recent piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education says it pretty well. Give it a read and see.



    Kati will offer a 50-minute section once a week (time and location listed further above). Section is not mandatory, but it is an ideal opportunity to delve more deeply into the course material and to address questions that for some reason or another were not able to be addressed in class. We strongly encourage you to attend this section if it fits your schedule.

    Office hours

    We offer office hours at the times listed further above. We encourage you to come to our office hours if you have any questions about the course. You can also try to make an appointment (in person or via email) with us if our office hours aren't convenient for you for some good reason.

    Online resources

    There is no textbook or other regular reading for this course; just the material on this website. All handouts, assignments, updates, announcements, class slides/notes, links, and any other materials will be made available here.

    The day-to-day schedule will be regularly updated below, with links (when applicable) to course materials and assignments. You may find it useful to subscribe to the schedule to receive updates.

    Class sessions will also be podcast (with video when something is projected).

    Online communication

    Communications about any aspects of the course can be sent to us via email (or, of course, discussed with us in person). Keep in mind that there's no guarantee that you'll get a reply immediately; for example, Prof. Bakovic only handles email once or twice a day, usually only on weekdays, and never before 10am or after 5pm. Please be patient, and politely follow up if more than one day have gone by (not including the weekend).

    All of these communications must be courteous and respectful if you expect a response! We're happy to take time to help you with anything related to the course, but only if you are polite with your requests for that time — and acknowledge the time that we take to help you with a simple thank-you.

    Often someone asks a question via email that is thus worth passing on to other students in the course. Unless you request in advance that we not do this, we will likely (rephrase and) rebroadcast these questions, along with our answers, on the course website. (In such a case, we will not rebroadcast the identity of the questioner.)


    Participation (discretionary)

    Class participation will be informally monitored and rewarded at Prof. Bakovic's discretion at the end of the quarter, and is likely to make a difference in cases of borderline grades. Interrupting (politely!) to ask questions is highly encouraged: please just raise your hand and we will call on you. Speak up, ask questions, confirm your understanding — but remember to give others a chance to do the same. In principle, each one of you deserves no more and no less than an equal share of time and attention. Take advantage of this, but try also not to abuse it.

    In-class quizzes (30% of your course grade)

    Most class periods (starting in Week 2) will begin with a short written quiz that will confirm your understanding of some key aspect(s) of material discussed in the previous class period or two. If you have a reasonable excuse for being late or absent and you miss a quiz, you must come to Prof. Bakovic's office hour for an alternative.

    The value of each quiz depends on how many there will be, but given that there are 18 quiz-possible class sessions and that most of them (somewhere in the range of 12-16, let's say) will have one, you can count on each quiz being worth somewhere between 1.875% and 2.5% of your course grade.

    Problem sets (50% of your course grade — 5 @ 10% each)

    The primary vehicle for accomplishing our course objectives will be the problem set — a collection of data, often from an unfamiliar language and transcribed using the IPA, providing evidence for some kind of phonological pattern or patterns. These problem sets are designed to both train and test you on the concepts and tools that are the main subject matter of the course. You will typically have a week to complete these (Tuesday to Tuesday).

    Final problem set (15% of your course grade)

    A final, more comprehensive problem set will be assigned in Week 10 and due by 11:59pm on Tuesday, March 21.

    Experiment participation (5% of your course grade)

    You are required to earn one credit for participation in an experiment via the Department of Psychology subject pool; for sign-up and details, visit There are several language-related experiments in which you can choose to participate, in addition to experiments in other areas of psychology and cognitive science. One credit is equal to approximately one hour of experiment participation. Do not wait until the last week to participate, there may not be experiments available! The last day to fulfill this requirement is the Wednesday before finals week. Get on it!

    If you are opposed to experiment participation, you must request an alternative from Prof. Bakovic via email by 5pm on Thursday, Feb. 9 at the latest.

    You can find the latest SONA student information sheet at


    Attendance policy

    The course consists of two obligatory class session of 80 minutes each per week. Regular attendance is extremely important. The course material is unlikely to make much sense unless you attend class regularly. Don't miss class and don't be tardy unless you have a very good excuse (which you should tell us about in advance, especially given the regular in-class quizzes at the beginning of most class sessions).

    If you have to miss a class for any reason, don't expect a run-down of the class you missed. Find out what happened in class from the course website or from a classmate, look the material over carefully, and only then come to one of us with any remaining questions you may have.

    On the other hand, if you have something else to do during classtime, we'd all rather you just didn’t come to class. It's not doing you any good to waste your time in the classroom if you're not paying attention, and it's distracting to everyone else. It's OK if you occasionally have to arrive late, or to leave early, for some good reason — but when you do, please be sure to do it as discreetly as possible, without disruption.

    Collaboration policy

    You are welcome to discuss all assignments with others in the class, so long as (a) you write up your assignment entirely on your own and (b) you specify who you discussed that assignment at the beginning of your write-up.

    Late work policy

    Accommodations for late problem set write-ups may be granted, if you communicate with Prof. Bakovic via email no later than 5pm the Monday before the assignment is due explaining your reasons for needing to submit your write-up later than that date.

    The due date for the final problem set write-up is a bit more strict. In this case, a little more advance notice of needing additional time for the write-up is necessary (no later than Friday, March 17, 5pm), and your reasons will be evaluated more strictly.

    Review & grade correction policy

    We all make mistakes, so please do look over graded quizzes and problem sets carefully. In addition to helping ensure that you get the credit you deserve, this checking will improve your retention of the material. However, there is a statute of limitations: all suspected issues with a graded quiz or problem set must be brought to our attention within one week of the graded quiz or problem set being returned to you. Note that by asking for any of your work to be re-reviewed and re-graded you take on the risk that we will notice a problem that had not been noticed before and that we may actually end up giving you a lower grade than you were originally awarded. So while we encourage you to bring any necessary issues to our attention, for your own sake you should do so only when you're fairly confident that you really did receive less credit than you deserved. (For example, you may want to compare your work & grade with those of some of your classmates first.) Thank you in advance for your cooperation!

    Course Schedule

    Week Date Topic Materials Quizzes Problem sets
    1 Tue Jan 10 What is phonology all about? Intro slides    
    Thu Jan 12 Inventories and natural classes Natural classes    
    2 Tue Jan 17 Phonological features Phonological features Quiz #1 PS-1 assigned
    Thu Jan 19 Phonemic analysis Phonemic analysis Quiz #2  
    3 Tue Jan 24 Phonemic analysis     PS-1 due
    Thu Jan 26 Phonemic analysis   Quiz #3  
    4 Tue Jan 31 Phonemic analysis   Quiz #4 PS-2 due
    Thu Feb 02 Phonological rules and notation Rule notation    
    5 Tue Feb 07 Neutralization Russian Quiz #5 PS-3 assigned
    Thu Feb 09 Morphophonological analysis Derivations & advice    
    6 Tue Feb 14 Morphophonological analysis Alternations & rule ordering Quiz #6 PS-3 due
    Thu Feb 16 Morphophonological analysis   Quiz #7  
    7 Tue Feb 21 Morphophonological analysis   (Possible quiz) PS-4 assigned
    Thu Feb 23 Morphophonological analysis   (Possible quiz)  
    8 Tue Feb 28 Syllable-based generalizations   (Possible quiz) PS-4 due
    Thu Mar 02 Syllable-based generalizations   (Possible quiz)  
    9 Tue Mar 07 Syllable-based generalizations   (Possible quiz)
    PS-5 assigned
    Thu Mar 09 Constraint interaction   (Possible quiz)  
    10 Tue Mar 14 Constraint interaction   (Possible quiz) PS-5 due
    Final PS assigned
    Thu Mar 16 Constraint interaction   (Possible quiz)  
    11 Tue Mar 21 [Final exam date.]     Final PS due