Fall 2018 - LING 111 D100

Introduction to English Vocabulary Analysis (3)

Class Number: 4785

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 4 – Dec 3, 2018: Thu, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 14, 2018
    Fri, 3:30–5:30 p.m.



Introduces the linguistic pathways by which selected contemporary English vocabulary has arisen. Word etymologies are derived through the application of analytical tools leading to a deeper understanding of language change and word meaning. Students with credit for LING 110 may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Social Sciences.


Ling 111 Introduction to English Vocabulary Analysis introduces linguistics focusing on vocabulary through the medium of the English language. You’ll learn about where words come from and how and why there meanings and forms change. The majority of the words in English are not native English words but borrowed from Latin, Greek and French - about 80% of the entire English vocabulary!   A great deal of the terminology (close to 90 - 95%) of science, business, economics, computer science, health science, criminology, communication, engineering, linguistics, psychology, literature and indeed much of the vocabulary of higher education, is based on Latin and Greek roots. An understanding of the core meaning of each root provides a tool for unlocking the meanings of thousands of Latin and Greek based words in English, opens doors to new knowledge and provides the students with a more powerful and useful vocabulary, especially terminology, whether the students are planning to major in business, economics, sciences, communication, or computer science, linguistics, psychology, literature and others.

We’ll consider at the same time the historical context in which English and its ancestral languages are, and were, spoken and how the context shapes words. You’ll discover how words may evolve street and taboo meanings quite different from their traditional dictionary meanings. You’ll also learn how dictionaries are made, how words fit into bigger linguistic units like phrases, how translators deal with word meaning across languages, and how key words and terminology that you’ll be majoring in have come to look and sound the way that they do.

This course will be beneficial for all of you to enhance your formal and technical vocabulary. By the end of Ling111 you will be able to apply a variety of linguistic principles and analytical tools to determining how words are formed, their origin, how and why they change over time. Your vocabulary and especially terminology will grow tremendously.

Practical issues like translation and interpretation feature in this course, too. Finally, toward the end of LING 111, we will examine how technology, social media, and even typography impact modern English vocabulary. And no course of this kind would be complete without a look at the influence of World Englishes — English as it is spoken in different parts of the world — and how these varieties influence the vocabulary of one another.


  • Participation, including four self-assessed quizzes (unmarked)
  • Two assignments (10% each) 20%
  • Two Midterm examinations (20% each) 40%
  • Final Examination 40%


Students with credit for LING 110-3 may not take this course for further credit.

This course may be applied towards the Certificate of Liberal Arts or the Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language, but not both.   Linguistics program students cannot count this course towards their breadth requirements unless in joint or double majors, extended minor or double minors program.

  1.  Students should familiarize themselves with the Department’s Standards on Class Management and Student Responsibilities at http://www.sfu.ca/linguistics/undergraduate/standards.html.
  2. A grade of “FD” may be assigned as a penalty for academic dishonesty.
  3.  Students’ requests for accommodation of their religious practices must be made in writing by the end of the first week of classes or no later than one week after a student adds a course.
  4.  Students requiring accommodations as the result of a disability must contact the Centre for Students with Disabilities (778.782.3112 or csdo@sfu.ca).  



Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. 2003. [11th edition] ISBN 0877798095. Necessary for assignments.

  — A weekly slide deck will be available for download from the course Canvas site beginning in September 2018. New installments will be posted at regular intervals.  

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html