Spring 2023 - LING 111 B100

The Wonder of Words (3)

Class Number: 2663

Delivery Method: Blended


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 1:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    AQ 3181, Burnaby



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.


Have you ever wondered how words are created? How can we construct new languages to be used in fictions or movies? Are “cats” and “cat” considered two words or one? Will your vocabulary pool expand if you study the dictionary every day? How can we learn vocabulary effectively? Will learning vocabulary in other languages help us learn more English words? What do jargons in different industries mean, e.g. what is the meaning of this business jargon “put lipstick on a pig”? Do native and non-native English speakers use vocabulary differently? How do we study word frequency? How can non-native speakers know if they are using English words in a “natural” way? How can Siri or Alexa evaluate our comments such as “I don’t really enjoy this movie”?

If you are interested in any of these questions, this course is for you. You will learn the basics about word formation, the relationships between word forms, grammar and sounds as well as how contemporary English words are evolved over the years. You will also see how word analysis (and in general linguistics) is applied in / relevant to our everyday life.

This course welcomes anyone who has an interest in language and an inquisitive mind to know more about how language works. Students from all disciplines are welcome, but if you are thinking about majoring in Linguistics or applying for the Certificate in TESL, you should definitely enroll in this course.

This course will be delivered remotely through a combination of in-person lectures and asynchronous (recorded or self-paced) instruction. Students will spend about 2 hours on self-learning (asynchronous mode) before attending the in-person lecture (1 hour) and the total learning hours is approximately 3 hours. For asynchronous learning, students only need to have access to the internet and a computer so that they can refer to audio / video clips as well as downloadable learning materials.

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


  • Self-learning work 20%
  • Four short assignments 70%
  • Reflective essay 10%
  • No Final Exam


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

Linguistics program students cannot count this course towards their breadth requirements unless in joint or double majors, extended minor, or double minor programs.




Course materials will be posted to Canvas regularly.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

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.

Students requiring accommodations as a result of a disability must contact the Centre for Accessible Learning (778-782-3112 or caladmin@sfu.ca).

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/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