Instructor: David G. Kay,
5056 Donald Bren Hall
Quick links: Assignments Piazza Q&A Email archive Resources
Course goals and learning outcomes: Every person in the world, except a few with severe disease or disability, speaks some language (and learns how to do it pretty much without conscious effort by the age of five or six). Yet few people have much understanding of "how language works" or of the basic principles of language that linguists have discovered, and even the linguists have a lot still to figure out (which is why you can't trust the green lines in Microsoft Word). Learning some of this can help you in areas ranging from child-rearing to persuasive writing to effective communication with diverse people. (That's the "profit" in the title; we won't explicitly address making actual cash from one's knowledge of language.)
This course is also a Freshman Seminar, so it has the additional goal of letting you interact at a human scale with a faculty member, to see how we work and how we think. That makes it appropriate that we spend a bit of time talking more broadly about the university, why it's here, how it works, and how to get the most from your time here. You should feel free to bring up issues like this any time.
Meeting place and times: Class meets Thursdays from 3:00 to 3:50 in Social Science Lab 119.
Office hours: You are welcome to drop by my office at any time. If I'm there and not immersed in something else, I'll be glad to chat about the course or other topics. I will definitely be in or near my office on Tuesdays at 3:30 and Thursdays at at 10:00, when course-related matters will have first priority. Of course emergencies may come up, but I will try to give advance notice of any change. I'll also be happy to make arrangements for other times during the week; "making an appointment" is no big deal (but if you make one, don't skip it without getting in touch). The quickest and most effective way to reach me is by electronic mail.
Questions and announcements: You can
get a response to your course-related questions most quickly by posting them at Piazza.com (see below). If you
need to reach me privately, send electronic mail to
email@example.com. I will never intentionally ignore a message, so if you don't receive a response, write again; sometimes overactive spam filters snag a legitmate message. Using course-specific subject lines and your UCInet Email address will help your messages get noticed.
I will also send course announcements by Email to the official course mailing list, so you should check your Email regularly. Note that this mailing list goes to the Email address that the registrar has for you (your UCInet ID). If you prefer to read your Email on another account, you should set your UCInet account to forward your Email to your preferred account (see how in the Advice section below). Don't let this slide, in this class or any class; if you miss official announcements, your grade could suffer.
This course has a home page at
http://www.ics.uci.edu/~kay/courses/us3/; there's an archive of official course Email at
Readings and course materials: Our main reference is the Linguistics Wikibook at
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Linguistics. We will assign readings each week, along with exercises or assignments.
Course structure: Your course grade will be determined 50% from participation—showing up every Thursday and being engaged with the topic—and 50% from the assigned written exercises. If you anticipate missing a class, please get in touch with me. There will be no exams. Since this is a one-unit course, you should expect to devote to it approximately 25% of the time and effort you'd devote to a standard four-unit course.
We're required to say that in unusual circumstances, these criteria could change, but we do not expect that to happen.
Special needs: Any student who feels he or she may need an accommodation due to a disability should contact the UCI Disability Services Center at (949) 824-7494 as soon as possible to explore the possible range of accommodations. We encourage all students having difficulty, whether or not due to a disability, to consult privately with the instructor at any time.
What you must do right now to get started
in US 3
— If you do not have a UCInet ID, get one. See
— If you prefer to read your electronic mail on an account other than your UCInet account (which is a good idea, since if your UCInet account's mailbox fills up, you stop receiving mail), redirect your mail at
— Go to www.piazza.com, and follow the steps to add yourself as a student in this course. Piazza.com provides a discussion forum for this class.
— Complete the US 3 Questionnaire at
eee.uci.edu (by the end of the first week).
Good advice and helpful hints (for this class and every class):
Read the syllabus (this sheet) with care. It gives you the "ground rules" for the course.
Check your electronic mail regularly; this is an official channel for course announcements. When sending course-related mail, start the subject line with "US 3 or "Linguistics Course".