LIGN 111 - Phonology I

Anna Mai - Winter 2022

Note that per campus policy, all class sessions, including Sections, will be meeting on Zoom for at least the first two weeks of class. Links are on Canvas to all Zoom sections.

Do not print the syllabus! The information will change regularly, and it will be kept up to date here!

Course Information

  • Class Time: TTh, 11:00am-12:20am PST
  • Class Location: CENTR 214 or on zoom
  • Final Exam: No Final Exam

Teaching Team

Anna Mai - Instructor

  • IPA: [ˈæ̃nə ˈmaj]
  • Pronouns: they/them
  • Office: AP&M 4432 or on zoom
  • Office Hours: Friday 9-10
  • Email: (Please put “LIGN111” in the subject line)

Spencer Bonneteau - TA

  • IPA: [ˈspɛnsəɹ ˈbɑnətow]
  • Pronouns: he/him
  • Office Hours: Tuesday 2-3
  • Location: zoom
  • Email: (Please put “LIGN111” in the subject line)

Yaqian Huang - TA

  • IPA: [ja21 tɕʰjεn51 xwaŋ35]
  • Pronouns: she/her
  • Office Hours: Monday 1-2
  • Location: zoom
  • Email: (Please put “LIGN111” in the subject line)

Anthony Struthers-Young - TA

  • IPA: [ˈænθəni ˈstɹʌðəɹzˌjəŋ]
  • Pronouns: he/him
  • Office Hours: Wednesday 1-2
  • Location: zoom
  • Email: (Please put “LIGN111” in the subject line)

Section Information

  • Monday 3pm (A01): Led by Anthony, in APM 3402 or on zoom
  • Monday 4pm (A02): Led by Spencer, in HSS 2152 or on zoom
  • Thursday 4pm (A04): Led by Anthony, in APM 3402 or on zoom
  • Friday 12pm (A03): Led by Yaqian, in APM 3402 or on zoom

Course Tools

  • Textbook: There will be no textbook for this course. However, if you would like to look at some textbooks to supplement what we cover in class, I recommend:

    • Robert Kennedy. 2017. Phonology: an Introduction. Cambridge University Press.
    • Bruce Hayes. 2009. Introductory Phonology. Wiley.

  • Syllabus/Course Website:, Slides are linked below in the Course Schedule, and lectures are available for viewing on Canvas in the Media Gallery

  • Canvas: This course will be using Canvas to post course content and to manage grades. If you have not used Canvas before, refer to the student help guides and videos, which are located on the left-side menu’s help section (the question mark icon). Should you need any technical assistance with Canvas, please send an email to

  • Gradescope: We’ll be using Gradescope for homework and quiz submission this quarter. Once you’ve created an account using your email address, you’ll be able to see the course, as well as to upload your assignments. If you have any problems with this process, please alert your instructor.

  • Zoom: We’ll be using Zoom for any online office hours. For any class-related Zoom work, please follow Will Styler’s Student Guidelines for Online Classes.

  • iClickers: You will not need an iClicker for this class.

Course Schedule

Although all due-dates are fixed (barring extensive notice), the exact topic schedule is tentative and will be updated throughout the course. Please check this page regularly. Click an individual class topic to see that day’s slides or handout (where applicable).

Week Date Topic Additional Materials Due Dates
1 January 4 Course Introduction
1 January 6 Phonemes and allophones
2 January 11 Phonemes and allophones Handouts:[1]; Section: [1] [2] Quiz 1 Due
2 January 13 Natural classes and features Handouts: [1], feature chart HW 1 Due
3 January 18 Natural classes and features Quiz 2 Due
3 January 20 Alternations
4 January 25 Alternations Quiz 3 Due
4 January 27 Rule interaction HW 2 Due
5 February 1 Rule interaction Quiz 4 Due
5 February 3 Syllables
6 February 8 Syllables Quiz 5 Due
6 February 10 Tone HW 3 Due
7 February 15 Tone Quiz 6 Due
7 February 17 Sign language phonology
8 February 22 Vowel harmony Quiz 7 Due
8 February 24 Vowel harmony HW 4 Due
9 March 1 Stress Quiz 8 Due
9 March 3 Experimental Phonology HW 5 Due
10 March 8 Musical Surrogate Languages
10 March 10 Beyond rules HW 6 Due

Assessing Learning

Your final grade is based on the below formula:

Item % of Final Grade
6 Homeworks 60% (10% each)
8 Quizzes 20% (2.5% each)
8 Section Follow-alongs 20% (2.5% each)

The grading scale used for this course is the UCSD standard scale, where A+ is 97% or more, A is 96.99% to 93%, A- is 92.99 to 90%, B+ is 89.99 to 87%, and so forth. Plus and Minus grades are not assigned below “C”, and no grade changes will be considered from A to A+. Up-to-date grade information will be provided automatically in TritonEd.

Homework assignments (60%) -- due on Thursdays before midnight

There are six homework assignments which will be assigned this quarter, due in weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10.

  • Assignments should be typed wherever possible, although we will accept scanned handwritten assignments, so long as it’s legible. There are many good programs for typing up assignments, and everything needed here should be doable within Word or Google Docs. Scanned homework must be actually scanned to a multi-page PDF using a real scanner, we will not grade a series of images from your smartphone camera.

  • Assignments may be worth a different number of points, but the grade is always stored as a percentage of final points (e.g a 75/100 on one assignment counts the same as a 30/40 on the next). All assignments are weighted equally and are equally important.

  • I’m happy to have you work in groups on the assignments for this class. However, you will always need to disclose who you worked with, and each of you will turn in your own copy of the assignment. If working in groups, each person will need to interact with each question (meaning that it’s not acceptable for one person to do question one, with the next person doing question two, etc). You’re welcome to work together and discuss the problems as a group, but if you just “split it up” and copy each other’s answers to the questions you didn’t do, not only is that not allowed, but you won’t learn anything.

Quizzes (20%) -- due Tuesdays at 10am

There will be eight weekly online quizzes in Weeks 2-9. These are designed to ensure that you are following along in the class. The quizzes will be posed on Thursday of the relevant week and will expire at 10am on the following Tuesday.

Section Follow-alongs -- due Fridays

Each week, during section, you will go over a dataset with your section leader. During the section, take notes and answer the questions about the dataset that are given on the handout, and upload them to Canvas afterwards. If you are not able to attend a section synchronously, please follow-along to one of the recordings posted to Canvas. Follow-alongs are intended to act as a measure of participation and will not be graded for correctness.

Course Goal and Learning Outcomes

Course Goal

This course is designed to teach you how sounds pattern in human language. It will teach you how to analyze phonological data from different languages using the tools of phonological theory, how to recognize typologically common phonological processes, and how to construct basic linguistic argumentation.

Learning Outcomes

  • Appreciate the diversity of human language
  • Recognize the structural systematicity in language
  • Understand and apply formal tools used in phonological analysis
  • Determine whether sounds are in contrastive and complementary distribution from curated datasets
  • Use phonological features to describe phonemes and natural classes
  • Write and order rules that map underlying phonological forms to surface ones based on curated data

How to succeed in this course

This course is fundamentally data and participation-driven, and your success, both in terms of learning and in terms of grades, depends substantially on your engaging directly with the data provided, both in class and in homeworks. Successful students, then, will…

  • Attend class (‘attend’ can also mean watch recordings of class), participate in discussion and problem sets, pay attention, and avoid distractions
  • Come to office hours when they need clarification
  • Think carefully about how they learn best, focusing on the activities that help them most
  • Start working on problem sets early, so questions can be answered as they come up
  • Look carefully at the course schedule, blocking off time to complete assignments ahead of the due date

Course Policies

Masking, Illness and participation

The use of a campus-policy-approved face mask covering your mouth and nose is required in this class, per current university guidance. You will not be allowed to remain in the classroom if you are not wearing a mask or are wearing it improperly. This is not ideal for any of us, but it’s the rules of the game, and it’s a small price to help keep each other healthy. Per regulations, no exceptions will be made unless I receive a letter directly from OSD exempting you. Please make an effort to talk more loudly, given the difficulties of masked speech.

If you or somebody in your life feels sick, shows signs of illness, or is diagnosed with COVID or another communicable illness, DO NOT attend class, section, or in-person office hours until you have been tested and cleared. Policies above dictate that you can miss massive amounts of class without penalty or documentation, so when in doubt, stay home. I will not ‘respect you for powering through’, I will be disappointed that you’ve endangered the class, so please, don’t hesitate to use those days off (although you will still be responsible for understanding and reviewing the work on your own).

Asking Questions and Office Hours

You are highly encouraged to come to office hours to ask content questions, ask for clarifications about assignments, to ask for more information on a subject that interests you, or to get help on homeworks. Helping you learn this material is quite literally our job, so having students in office hours is no inconvenience.

You’re also encouraged to ask us content questions by posting on Canvas, where everybody can benefit from the answers (because chances are, they’re struggling in the same places). And, if there’s a question you don’t feel comfortable posting publicly, feel free to email the instructor or TA, although I will likely just post the question (anonymously) on Canvas myself and answer there.

Re-grading policy

I encourage you to consult with me if you have questions about the grading of a homework assignment, or if you feel a grade was assigned in error. To make things easier for everybody, you’ll need to follow the below steps:

  1. Requests must be made in an e-mail to the Instructor ( ccing your TAs. All grade changes are discussed with the entire course team to assure consistency in grading.
  2. Your email must present evidence that there has been an error in grading. You could include a picture of the returned graded assignment if it was entered correctly, references to the relevant page in the textbook, or to a specific slide from lectures as supporting evidence, for instance. But we need that information to evaluate your request.
  3. You must submit your request within seven days of that particular assignment being returned/released. All grades more than seven days old are final, erroneous or not.

This means that you’ll want to look over all work after it’s given back, so that any possible errors can be addressed, and so that you’ll learn from your mistake. This also means that at the end of the quarter, there won’t be a flurry of last minute grade-change requests.

Academic Integrity

Although you’re welcome to form study groups to discuss questions and help each other out with understanding the material, you should be the only person working on your copy of your assignment, and every answer should reflect your own learning and work. And of course, you will always need to disclose who you worked with. Please, don’t be a cheater, for your sake and ours, and refer to the UCSD policy below for more information.

Respectful Discussion Policy

Examining language and languages inevitably leads to discussions of gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, politics, nationality, etc. Opinions are welcome, but all students must be mindful and respectful of others in the class. Speak with others using respectful and kind language, just as you’d like them to do with you, and focus your discussion on the ideas, rather than individuals. Finally, remember that as we discuss and evaluate our conversations, the focus will be on the impact on an individual or group, not the intention or motivation of the actor.

Special Accommodations Policy

All requests for special accomodations must be brought to the instructor in the first two weeks of class, ideally sooner. This includes things like religious holidays, university-sponsored events, athletic schedules, conflicts with exam dates, and disability services notes. Because running a big course is quite complex, if I don’t find out about it in the first two weeks, I may not be able to help.

Other Course Policies

  • It’s better to ask permission than forgiveness! If something’s gone wrong (whether it be in class, recitation, or life in general), let me know (even if just in general terms) ASAP by email or in office hours. There are many exceptions that I’m willing to authorize ahead of time to a student who’s trying that I won’t offer after the fact.

  • Do not come to class if you’re not feeling well. We’ll accept same-time e-submission of assignments, and all materials will be made available online. Do not be our classroom’s Typhoid Mary.

  • We will gladly honor your request to be addressed using your preferred name or gender pronoun in cases where it differs from that on the course roster. Please let us know quickly, remind us often, and accept our apologies if we forget.

  • Information contained in the course syllabus, other than the grading policies, may be subject to change, as deemed appropriate by the instructor.

UCSD Academic Policies


Students requesting accommodations for this course due to a disability must provide a current Authorization for Accommodation (AFA) letter issued by the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) which is located in University Center 202 behind Center Hall. Students are required to present their AFA letters to Faculty (please make arrangements to contact me privately) and to the OSD Liaison in the department in advance so that accommodations may be arranged.

Contact the OSD for further information - | 858.534.4382

Academic Integrity

Each student in this course is expected to abide by the UC San Diego Policy on Integrity of Scholarship and to excel with integrity. Any work submitted by a student in this course for academic credit will be the student’s own work.

Academic dishonesty (actions like cheating, plagiarism, aid of academic dishonesty, fabrication, lying, blackmail, bribery, and threatening behavior) will generally result in poor recall and learning of the material, and aren’t acceptable at UCSD. In cases of academic dishonesty, possible in-class academic sanctions can include anything from a zero on the assignment/test/project in question, to a blanket lowering of your final grade by X%, to an assigned and non-negotiable grade of “F” in the course. These sanctions are assigned at the sole discretion of the instructor, and as every case is unique, additional sanctions not listed above may apply. But again, remember that doing the assignments honestly is a part of the learning process, and failure to do so will hurt you more than anybody else.

Classroom Behavior Policy

UCSD Student Conduct Code

UCSD Principles of Community

Religious Accomodation

It is the policy of the university to make reasonable efforts to accommodate students having bona fide religious conflicts with scheduled examinations by providing alternative times or methods to take such examinations. If a student anticipates that a scheduled examination will occur at a time at which his or her religious beliefs prohibit participation in the examination, the student must submit to the instructor a statement describing the nature of the religious conflict and specifying the days and times of conflict.

For final examinations, the statement must be submitted no later than the end of the second week of instruction of the quarter. For all other examinations, the statement must be submitted to the instructor as soon as possible after a particular examination date is scheduled.

If a conflict with the student’s religious beliefs does exist, the instructor will attempt to provide an alternative, equitable examination that does not create undue hardship for the instructor or for the other students in the class.

Discrimination and Harrassment

The University of California, in accordance with applicable federal and state laws and university policies, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy (including pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth), physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or service in the uniformed services (including membership, application for membership, performance of service, application for service, or obligation for service in the uniformed services). The university also prohibits harassment based on these protected categories, including sexual harassment, as well as sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. The nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access, and treatment in university programs and activities.

If students have questions about student-related nondiscrimination policies or concerns about possible discrimination or harassment, they should contact the Office for the Prevention of Harassment & Discrimination (OPHD) at (858) 534- 8298,, or

Campus policies provide for a prompt and effective response to student complaints. This response may include alternative resolution procedures or formal investigation. Students will be informed about complaint resolution options.

A student who chooses not to report may still contact CARE at the Sexual Assault Resource Center for more information, emotional support, individual and group counseling, and/or assistance with obtaining a medical exam. For off-campus support services, a student may contact the Center for Community Solutions. Other confidential resources on campus include Counseling and Psychological Services, Office of the Ombuds, and Student Health Services.

CARE at the Sexual Assault Resource Center - 858.534.5793 or Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) - 858.534.3755

Student Resources for Support and Learning

Please see Will Styler's complete listing of student resources for information on student support (e.g. counseling, crisis centers, resource centers), resources for learning (libraries, writing help, and more), resources for engaging with faculty (e.g. Coffee with a Prof, Letters of recommendation), and technical resources.


Thanks very much to Eric Bakovic, Sharon Rose, and Will Styler, who provided me with materials from their prior LIGN 111 courses, and on whose courses this course is loosely based. All errors are of course my own.

Get in touch

Current Office Hours: in APM 4432 by appointment

Email: acmai at ucsd edu