Introduction to Linguistics

I.     Course Prefix/Number: EGL 260

       Course Name: Introduction to Linguistics

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

EGL 101 as well as placement of EGL 110 or higher, or consent of instructor.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces the study of language. Content includes fundamental concepts of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, historical linguistics, and neurolinguistics.

IV.   Learning Objectives

The student will be able to:

  • demonstrate understanding of the basic concepts of linguistics.
  • use the terminology of linguistics appropriately in written expression.
  • analyze languages using modern linguistic methods.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
www.oakton.edu/studentlife/student-handbook.pdf

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. What is language?
  2. Phonetics: The sounds of language
  3. Phonology:  The function and patterning of sounds
  4. Morphology:  The study of word structure
  5. Syntax:  The study of sentence structure
  6. Semantics:  The study of meaning
  7. Historical Linguistics:  Language change
  8. The Classification of languages
  9. The Brain and language
  10. Language acquisition
  11. Second language acquisition
  12. Language in social contexts

Below is a suggested sample sequence if using Language Files: Materials for an Introduction to Language and Linguistics

Week  Topics/Assessment

  1. Introduction to Course,
    What is Language?
    Classification of Language
    Reading Assignment Chapter 1
    Practice Assignment File 1.6
  2. Quiz: What is Language?
    Phonetics: The Sound of Language
    Reading Assignment Chapter 2
    Practice Assignment File 2.8
  3. Quiz: Phonetics
    Phonology
    Reading Assignment Chapter 3
    Practice Assignment File 3.6
  4. Quiz: Phonetics
    Morphology
    Reading Assignment: Chapter 4
    Practice Assignment File 4.6
  5. Quiz: Morphology
    Syntax
    Reading Assignment Chapter 5
    Practice Assignment File 5.6
  6. Quiz: Syntax
    Semantics
    Reading Assignment Chapter 6
    Practice Assignment File 6.5
  7. MIDTERM EXAM
    Language Acquisition
    Reading Assignment Chapter 8, Files 8.0-8.4
    Practice Assignment File 8.6 (Exercise for files 8.1-8.4)
  8. Second Language Acquisition
    Reading Assignment Chapter 8, File 8.5
    Practice Assignment File 8.6 (Exercise for file 8.5)
  9. Quiz: Language Acquisition and Second Language Acquisition
    The Brain and Language (Language, Storing, and Processing)
    Reading Assignment Chapter 9
    Practice Assignment File 9.8 Reading Assignment 5
  10. Quiz: The Brain and Language
    Language in Social Context (Language Variation)
    Reading Assignment Chapter 10
    Practice Assignment File 10.6
  11. Language in Social Context (Language and Culture)
    Reading Assignment Chapter 11
    Practice Assignment File 11.6
  12. Quiz: Language in Social Context
    Historical Linguistics (Language Change)
    Reading Assignment Chapter 13
    Practice Assignment File 13.8
  13. Historical Linguistics (Evolution of Writing Systems)
    Reading Assignment Chapter 15
    Practice Assignment File 15.4
  14. Final Exam
    Presentations
  15. Essay Assignment Due (450 word essay)

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Lecture, discussion, small group work.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Course may be taught as a face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

Reading, in-class exercises, homework, quizzes, midterm exam, final exam, one presentation, one 450 word essay.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Suggested Text:
Dawson, Hope and Michael Phelan, editors.  Language Files: Materials for an Introduction to Language and Lingusitics.  12th ed., Ohio State UP, 2016.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

One writing assignment of 450 words, homework, quizzes, midterm exam, final exam, one presentation, attendance and participation.

XI.   Other Course Information

  1. Attendance policy
  2. For whatever information/procedures the instructor holds the student accountable.


If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.