Summer 2021 - LING 111 D100

The Wonder of Words (3)

Class Number: 1187

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 12, 2021
    3:30 PM – 5:30 PM



Introduces students to theories about words and vocabulary. Explores topics such as the roots of the English vocabulary, how we create new words and how we learn them. Also discusses practical applications such as constructed languages for use in science fiction, and word recognition in artificial intelligence. Open to all students. Students with credit for LING 110 may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Social Sciences.


LING 111 - The Wonder of Words (formerly 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 their 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 LING 111 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.





  • Two Quizzes (10% each) 20%
  • Two Midterm exams (20% each) 40%
  • Final Exam 40%
  • Participation, including four self-assessed assignments: (unmarked)


This course may be applied towards the Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language.

Students with credit for LING 110-3 and LING 111-3 (Introduction to English Vocabulary Analysis) may not take this course for additional credit. Linguistics program students cannot count this course towards their breadth requirements unless in joint or double majors, extended minor or double minors program.


TECHNOLOGY: Computer, Internet



A weekly slide deck will be available for download from the course Canvas site beginning in May 2021. New installments will be posted at regular intervals.


Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. 2003. [11th edition]. Necessary for all assignments and quizzes (a hard copy preferred, but on-line version possible)
ISBN: 0877798095

Department Undergraduate Notes:

Students should familiarize themselves with the Department's Standards on Class Management and Student Responsibilities.

Please note that a grade of “FD” (Failed-Dishonesty) may be assigned as a penalty for academic dishonesty.

All student requests for accommodations for 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.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site 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.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods, but we will continue to have in-person experiential activities for a selection of courses.  Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112).