Skip to content

Course Syllabus

Course: ENGL 2660

Division: Humanities
Department: English & Philosophy
Title: Introduction to Language Systems

Semester Approved: Summer 2021
Five-Year Review Semester: Spring 2026
End Semester: Spring 2027

Catalog Description: A general introduction to the theory of language, this course will focus on language systems, including how they exist in linguistic communities, with particular attention to phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. Examples of general linguistic principles will be drawn from English as well as other languages. Cross-listed as TESL 2660.

General Education Requirements: Humanities (HU)
Semesters Offered: Spring
Credit/Time Requirement: Credit: 3; Lecture: 3; Lab: 0

Prerequisites: ENGL 1010

Corequisites: N/A


Justification: Living in a global world, we can no longer look through the frames of a monolingual society. Thus, understanding of language and its systems is vital. This course discusses morphology, phonology, syntax and semantics of languages, which are critical for an educated person to navigate the language used in media, literature, and interpersonal communication. This course explores how all languages are similar, as well as, how they differ. This course fulfills Humanities GE requirements. Similar courses are offered at other USHE institutions. The Humanities are a group of academic disciplines that study the many ways by which humans have attempted to understand themselves and their world. At Snow College, the Humanities focus on cultural traditions that are expressed largely through text or which have a strong textual component: language, literature, and philosophy. The methods by which the Humanities study culture are at once analytical and interpretive, objective and subjective, historical and aesthetic.

General Education Outcomes:
1: A student who completes the GE curriculum has a fundamental knowledge of human cultures and the natural world. An important goal for this course is to foster an appreciation for and understanding of language. After completing this course, students will read flexibly, analytically, and imaginatively as they synthesize, not memorize, course materials. Students will analyze language and texts as a window to the mind and a significant part of culture. This analysis will explore individual and societal factors in language learning. Students will demonstrate their comprehension of language theory through in-class and group discussions, as well as exams.

2: A student who completes the GE curriculum can read and research effectively within disciplines. Students will read course materials and articles, interview children or non-native speakers and make recordings. They will also watch videos and sample video clips, and complete a linguistic analysis project. Students will demonstrate their ability to read critically and their ability to use electronic media (video and audio) as they complete a research paper that documents their research and data collection.

3: A student who completes the GE curriculum can draw from multiple disciplines to address complex problems. Students will participate in individual and group activities to explore, analyze and interpret data from a variety of settings and languages. They will demonstrate their knowledge in writing by completing their homework assignments from each chapter.

4: A student who completes the GE curriculum can reason analytically, critically, and creatively. During the last several weeks of the course, students will complete a revised project paper and presentation. This paper will analyze and critically assess a second language learner's "interlanguage" or a child's linguistic development. This assignment is designed around the collaborative model and will include all elements of the writing process.

5: A student who completes the GE curriculum can communicate effectively through writing and speaking. Students will present and write about their findings from the final project paper where they analyze and critically assess a second language learner's "interlanguage" or a child's linguistic development.

General Education Knowledge Area Outcomes:
1: Students will be able to examine how language systems affect both thought and culture. They will also be able to discuss the question "what is language," and articulate theories of linguistic determinism and cultural relativism. The core theme of this course explores what makes language and the philosophy and theory behind the most basic human trait: language. Students will gain an understanding of this most fundamental human characteristic.

Students will demonstrate their understanding of the relationship between language and culture as well as linguistic theories through quizzes, exams, and in-class discussions.  Students will be able to examine how language systems affect both thought and culture. They will also be able to discuss the question "what is language," and articulate theories of linguistic determinism and cultural relativism. The core theme of this course explores what makes language and the philosophy and theory behind the most basic human trait: language. Students will gain an understanding of this most fundamental human characteristic.

Students will demonstrate their understanding of the relationship between language and culture as well as linguistic theories through quizzes, exams, and in-class discussions.

2: Understand how knowledge is created through the study of language systems, literature, and/or philosophy. Students will understand the basic principles of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. They will appreciate the relationship of these systems to social and regional variations of language. They will be able to diagram sentences and understand the inner workings of language and parts of speech. Through linguistic analysis, students will be able to reflect on their native language, explore new concepts in foreign languages, and apply theories of current linguistic philosophy and theory.

Students will demonstrate their ability to analyze linguistic systems through class presentations, homework assignments, and a linguistic analysis project and paper.

3: Understand cultural traditions within an historical context and make connections with the present. Students will be able to comprehend that language theory and languages themselves are not static but constantly evolving. They will explore the rich history of language and linguistic analysis and theory.

Students will demonstrate applications of past and present theories of language in their own native languages through in-class discussions, quizzes, and exams.

4: Critically read and respond to primary texts (original, uninterpreted) from a Humanities’ perspective. Students will be able to read and analyze a literary text, i.e. "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carrol, and other primary texts, including recorded and transcribed speech, from a linguistics perspective (linguistic determinism, universal grammar, prescriptive vs. descriptive analysis).

They will demonstrate their ability to read carefully and critically through in-class discussions, exams, and a final written project.

5: Write effectively within the Humanities discipline to analyze and form critical and aesthetic judgments. Students will be able to apply linguistic knowledge to an analytic research project where they examine a child or non-native speaker’s language to investigate the “mental grammar” of the speaker by reviewing the speaker's speech relative to phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics.
This project will have a presentation component where students can discuss their findings with one another. They will also receive feedback from the instructor in order to help them revise their project paper before turning in for final assessment.


Content:
Through a lecture and discussion format, this course will include the systems of language used in diverse linguistic communities and basic introduction to phonology, morphology syntax, and semantics. Illustrative data will be taken from English and other diverse languages. Considerable time will be spent in discussions of the practical applications of the principles taught. Additionally the course will explore what defines language, what language tells us about multiple, diverse ways of being human, and theories of how one may acquire or learn first and second languages.

Key Performance Indicators:
attendance 10 to 15%

homework 10 to 15%

class presentations 15 to 20%

quizzes 15 to 20%

term paper 15 to 20%

tests 15 to 20%


Representative Text and/or Supplies:
Fromkin, Rodman, Hyams, An Introduction to Language, current edition, Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.


Pedagogy Statement:
This course strives to create an environment where students actively learn and apply the course material by participating in regular class discussions and group activities. Homework assignments are also assigned to ensure that students come well-prepared to take active part in these class activities. Students are encouraged to generously share their unique background knowledge of their first language, which is a valuable resource for learning the course material. Moreover, various learning needs of all students, regardless of their age, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, nationality, race, religion, sexuality, and socioeconomic status are explicitly valued and accommodated through various types of teaching methods, learning activities, and modes of evaluation.

Instructional Mediums:
Lecture

Online

Hybrid

Maximum Class Size: 30
Optimum Class Size: 20