Syllabus for COM-339

THE STORY OF HUMAN LANGUAGE


COURSE DESCRIPTION

The Story of Human Language examines how language is created, acquired, and utilized. Topics examined in this course include the origin of language, differences between animal and human language, sound and word formation, language acquisition, verbal and nonverbal utilization, and its regional, social and cultural variations. These topics are fundamental to a greater understanding of human language and its use and origins. Lastly, this course provides an essential foundation for advanced courses in linguistics.

COURSE TOPICS

COURSE OBJECTIVES

After completing this course, you should be able to:

CO1        Identify how animal language differs from human language.

CO2        Describe how sounds are created and articulated.

CO3        Describe how language is learned and acquired.

CO4        Demonstrate how meaning is conveyed in nonverbal and written language.

CO5        Describe how humans first started using language.

CO6        Explain the origins of language in terms of its social, physical, tool-making, and genetic source.

          

CO7        Recognize the articulation of consonants and vowels in tongue position and placement.

CO8        Compare and contrast verbal and written language.

CO9        Compare and contrast the major changes from Indo-European to Modern English.

CO10        Present ways in which language varies by regional, social, and cultural influences.

CO11        Identify the cognitive abilities which led to the development of human language.

CO12        Discuss the distinctions between communicative and informative signals in human and animal language. 

CO13        Explain what verbal and nonverbal clues that listeners use for understanding.

CO14        Use concrete examples to demonstrate the etymology of how language evolves into Common usage.

CO15        Use examples to demonstrate the differences between the language disorders of Broca’s, Wernicke’s, and Conduction aphasia.

CO16        Discuss the impact that culture plays in Linguistic Determinism.

COURSE MATERIALS

You will need the following textbook to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the University’s textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

COURSE STRUCTURE

The Story of Human Language is a three-credit online course, consisting of four modules. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and assignments. Module titles are listed below.

ASSESSMENT METHODS

For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, a midterm project, and a final project. See below for details.

Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

The Story of Human Language requires you to participate in four graded discussion forums worth 5 points each, or for a total of 20 percent of your course grade. Communication among fellow students and with the mentor is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a posted question (discussion thread) and subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation.

Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful. Deadlines for posting discussion threads are given in the Course Calendar.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete a total of six written assignments on a variety of topics associated with the course modules. Your written assignments for this course consist of:

Details about the study questions and short essays are contained in the modules of which they are part.  Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Midterm Project

You a required to complete a midterm project. You will watch several videos, compare and contrast varied skill levels of second language learners, and present your findings in a paper and presentation. Details about your midterm project can be found in Module 2. Due dates associated with this assignment can be found in the Course Calendar.  

Final Project

You are required to produce a Final Project in the form of a research paper and submit it at the end of the semester. This paper, which you will put together in three stages, should examine an aspect or theory of human language that you will cover in this course.

Details about your research paper can be found in the Final Project section of the course Web site. Due dates associated with this assignment can be found in the Course Calendar.  

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:

A

=

93–100

C+

=

78–79

A–

=

90–92

C

=

73–77

B+

=

88–89

C–

=

70–72

B

=

83–87

D

=

60–69

B–

=

80–82

F

=

Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at www.tesu.edu.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:

Plagiarism

Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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