Assignments

Writing Assignments

All writing assignments must be typed or word-processed. Electronic submission encouraged (pdf-files only, no Word documents). Please keep a copy of all work you turn in. Late work will be accepted only under exceptional circumstances, and will be penalized unless an extension is granted in advance.

There will be four shorter writing assignments of 2-3 pages and one larger one of 8-12 pages. The longer one will be returned with feedback and a revision will be submitted.

The writing assignments will count towards 70% of the course grade. Of this, 35% are attributable to the long assignment, and 8.75% to each of the short assignments.

Assignment 2

The second short writing assignment will be due next week (one week later than originally scheduled, because of last week's class having been cancelled). You will be writing about any topic you'd like that has come up during our reading and/or class discussions. This includes the reading for next week, chapter 3 of Faller's Thesis.

Three Possible Questions for your Second Writing Assignment

The second writing assignment (short but at least 2-3 pages) is due next Tuesday. As I mentioned in class, someone from the Writing Program will work with you on your writing skills throughout the semester. You should either send a copy of your assignment to them or give me two hard copies in class on Tuesday.

Here are three possible questions for you to write about. Feel free to choose something else to write about, from your reading or from our class discussions.

  1. Explore the usage of the English evidential marker apparently as in Apparently, John has been fired. That is,

    1. establish which evidential categories can be expressed by apparently (DIRECT, INDIRECT, REPORTATIVE, INFERENTIAL, etc.),

    2. investigate how a statement modified by apparently can be challenged,

    3. find out about possible embedded occurrences,

    4. based on your findings, compare apparently to evidentials in other languages.

  2. Read p. 31-32 of Garrett's chapter 2 very carefully. Reconstruct and evaluate his argument that there is something unnatural about understanding Lucy's utterance of John must be on his way as a claim about what Lucy knows.

  3. In a passage on p. 41, Garrett writes "The three evidential modalities form a hierarchy: ego > direct > indirect. Ego marks the most intimate kind of evidence, direct the next most intimate, and indirect the least intimate. In the usual case, it is a Gricean implicature that if you use an evidential lower on the hierarchy, then you lack stronger evidence for your assertion." Elaborate on this and amend as necessary, drawing on relevant passages in Faller's Thesis that we have read and on our class discussion.

Since writing on all of these questions involves at least some reliance on what you have read, it is important for you to practice proper scholarship. Re-read the relevant sections in the syllabus on plagiarism and make sure that you are familiar with the concept of plagiarism, the seriousness with which scientists and scholars treat even the possibility of plagiarism, and MIT's policies in this regard. Consider this particular assignment as being in part an exercise in scholarship. If we think that you have made a mistake, we will let you know without any further consequences and work with you towards avoiding any problems in the future.