Tuesdays 13:30 - 15:20, beginning 4th February, 2020; NOTE: no class before Chinese New Year
The term lexicon can refer to a wordlist or dictionary. It is also a synonym of vocabulary, which refers to all the words of a language, or, as in “one’s vocabulary,” all the words a particular speaker of a language knows, sometimes referred to as “the mental lexicon.” But what counts as a word in English? Is “do not” two words but “don’t” just one word? Is “wine glass” two words in English, but only one in Danish (“vinglas”) and Finnish (“viinilasi”)? Are forms that can be bound by spaces (like “wine” and “glass”) indivisible themselves, or can we identify constituent parts? How do words, or so-called “entries” in the lexicon, relate to others meaningwise? How are words arranged? Should a lexicon and a grammar be seen as completely separate? How much grammar is there, or should there be, in a dictionary? How do speakers access their mental lexicon when they talk?
Lexical units: words and phrases; morphology: inflection and word-formation; syntax: lexical categories; phraseology: collocation; construction grammar: words as grammatical constructions; lexical semantics; historical linguistics: sources of English vocabulary; the vagaries of English spelling; dictionaries; psycholinguistics: speech recognition and production.
This course will offer a very broad introduction to the linguistic and lexicographic study of lexical units in English. It will familiarize students with key concepts employed in the subdisciplines of linguistics which are relevant to the analysis and description of such units, as well as the way they are used, and with the lexicographical concepts deployed to talk about dictionaries. Students will also be introduced to the practice of scholarly work in lexicology and lexicography, with guided reading and writing up of project work.
Owing to the outbreak of Covid-19, the course will be online until further notice. We will meanwhile follow the schedule set by HKU: online teaching and learning (with Recess work from 17 February to 01 March), every week, (including Reading Week). Weekly work will include: (a) a videoed lecture in Moodle, (b) lecture notes, (c) a variety of readings as needed, and (d) graded participation in an online discussion/debate forum. There will also be a mid-term writing assignment, which will be in-class if we are back on campus by April or online at the appointed lecture time if we are not back on campus by April. Your major project is the making of a dictionary (the exact format to be individually discussed with me). All work online will be asynchronous — i.e. you can do it in your own time but keep deadlines in mind.
In lieu of workshops, I will give you occasional online tasks to do. These are mandatory but will not be graded. (You will lose marks if you don't do them.) The purpose is for me to make sure you understand the concepts. If the results of the tasks indicate problems, I'll cover them in additional videoed lectures.
While online, regular participation in the discussion forum is expected to show you have absorbed and understand the material. The discussion forum will be graded. A well thought-out, well-argued post is required for every forum.
Consultations will be by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Assessment is based 100% on coursework. You will receive a straight letter grade (no pluses or minuses) for your assignments (in the range from A to F). See the grade descriptors at the bottom of this syllabus. All marks are subject to scrutiny by the Arts Faculty Board of Examiners.
|Midterm writing assignment||20%|
|Online discussion participation||20%|
|Project: making a dictionary (to be discussed individually)||60%|
Any reading materials will be provided for you online.