Instructor: Professor Eva M. Fernández (
Fall 2016   Section 01, Code 42772  10:45am-12:00pm, Mon & Wed QH/135, including 5 e-days  Office Hrs: by appointment

Description & objectives 

This course will introduce you to the complexity and creativity of the human use of language.  Like breathing, walking, and sleeping, producing and understanding language is a natural activity that you engage in, multiple times a day, with little or no conscious awareness or effort.  Psycholinguists study the unconscious processes that underlie this ability.  The more you understand about language, how it is acquired, and how it is processed, the more you understand about yourself and the people around you.  

LCD 105 is a course that all students should enjoy and find valuable, regardless of their major.  For Linguistics majors, this course will complement the courses you take that deal with the formal and social aspects of language.  For Communication Sciences and Disorders majors, this course provides useful introductory material that will prepare you for other courses in the major.

Learning goals


The basic understanding of language (acquisition, production, perception) that you will develop this semester, along with your growing familiarity with empirical tools used in psycholinguistics, will be measured as follows:

        In- and out of-class participation (15% of grade).  In-class participation work is unannounced and can’t be made up if you’re absent that day.  Out-of-class participation is completed electronically through Blackboard (see Required Materials, below), and you may complete it as long as the assignment is available in Blackboard (even if it’s well after the due date).  We will have about 8 to 10 such assignments.  Completion of each assignment will be good enough for full credit (even if you don’t perform well), because these are intended to be formative assessments, for you to see how you’re doing with mastering the material.  Be sure and do all of these assignments to get a perfect score for participation.

❷        Online chapter exams (9 × ~5.6% = 50% of grade).  There will be 9 exams, which you will complete online during pre-determined times, each based on the content of the chapters and on the discussions we will have in class.  Each exam will consist of 15-30 multiple-choice questions.  (Taking the practice “self quizzes” on Blackboard may be a good way to prepare for these exams; the “self quizzes” are not required and don’t count toward the participation portion of the grade.)  

        Face-to-face final exam (35% of grade).  The course content will be covered in a cumulative way (you will need concepts learned early in the semester to learn material later in the semester), so the final is designed to map onto the cumulative way the class is taught, and it will include questions from all 8 chapters in the book, plus the appendix.  The exam is scheduled on Monday, December 19, 11am-1pm.  If you must miss the final exam (extraordinary circumstances only!), notify me in advance to get approval; you will have to schedule a make‐up exam with the departmental office (718‐997‐2870).

Some more thoughts about assessments:  There will be no extra-credit in this class.  Check the gradebook regularly, to make sure you’re on schedule with participation assignments and to see how you’re doing with online exams.

Required materials  

Textbook:  Fernández, E. M. & Cairns, H. S. (2010). Fundamentals of Psycholinguistics. Wiley-Blackwell.  ISBN: 978-1-4051-9147-0  ($38.99, publisher’s price; at the QC bookstore, price varies from $22.75 used rental to $45.50 new; used & rental options available at the QC Bookstore:  The QC Library seems to have a fully online version of the book.

Online:  This class is partially online, and some of the regularly scheduled sessions are cancelled (see Schedule) to compensate for all the work you will be doing online.  Well over 50% of the required assignments will be submitted electronically, and many of the supplementary study and reading materials are electronic.  We will use Blackboard for this online work: required multiple-choice chapter exams, optional quizzes, required out‐of‐class participation materials, optional supplementary study and reading materials, recordings of lectures, feedback on performance on exams, grades, and last (but not least!) announcements.  You can access Blackboard through the CUNY Portal ( or directly (  You may need to install some software for some of the applications you will access through our Blackboard class.

A recipe for successful performance

Attend class regularly.  Take good notes, and revise and review them after class.  Read each assignment twice: the first time, to prepare you for the lectures; the second, to reinforce what you learned in class.  Before we begin a unit (units correspond to the chapters in our textbook), browse through the supplementary materials provided online and go over the study questions at the end of the assigned chapter so you will know what to focus on as you’re reading.  At the end of the unit, make sure you can answer all the study questions, and take the “self quiz” for that chapter to measure how well you have mastered the material.  There will be some overlap between the readings and the lectures; however, you will be responsible for everything in each—so, again, attend class regularly, use your notes, and read all assignments.  Complete participation assignments as they are assigned (don’t wait till the last minute!), and complete the online exams by their due date.  Avoid falling behind by pacing yourself with the readings and other assignments, and planning ahead.  The workload for this course is not tremendous, but you may find some of the material difficult, because much of it will be new.  Make it more interesting for yourself by trying to understand the concepts, rather than simply memorizing facts.  Finally, if you need help, ask: we can help you form a study group or go over difficult concepts outside of class.

Behavior in and out of class

It’s your responsibility to be respectful of others in the class: no talking, no note passing, no loud gum chewing, no paper rattling, no snoring…  While you should refrain from talking to your peers during class, you’re encouraged to ask questions and to contribute to class discussions.  Try to be on time for class, and don’t leave before it’s over.  If you have to leave early, let me know in advance.  If you must come in late, enter quietly and find a seat.  As a courtesy to your classmates, silence your cell phones and any other technogadgetry during class.  Thanks!

You’re welcome to use a laptop or some other electronic device to take notes during class, but remember that distractions from your computer (or cell phone or other electronic device) could affect your retention of the material and could distract your peers.

If all goes well, we will record all in-class sessions.  The recordings, available only to students in the class, are for review purposes only.  If you have questions or concerns, please let me know.  Instructions for accessing the recordings will be posted in Blackboard.

The work you produce for this class should be your own.  If you aren’t familiar with QC’s (CUNY’s) policy on academic integrity, review it here: 


I prefer email ( to voicemail.

Unfortunately, I don’t have scheduled office hours, but if you want to discuss anything related to class (or language, or whatever), I will find a space on my calendar for you.  (Please send me an email or talk to me before or after class to schedule an appointment.)

I will email you (individually or as a class) using one of two methods: CUNYfirst and Blackboard.  Check to see what email address appears for you in each of those systems, so you know where to look for communications about this class.  To access your Queens College email, go to  If you don’t have an account, get one at; information about QC email accounts is at  


Our class calendar, (QR code on this page), provides meeting days and times, days that are “e-days”, and assignment due dates.  Everything on the calendar is subject to slight changes as the semester evolves.  

This class is partially online: 5 sessions are replaced with online work, ~17%.

  • We meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:45 am to 12:00 noon in QH 135.
  • Our final exam is Monday, December 19, 11am-1pm.

  • There are no classes on: Sep 5, Oct 3, Oct 10, and Oct 12 (per the official CUNY schedule)
  • There is class on Oct 6 (a Thursday that’s a CUNY-Monday).
  • “e-days” are days we do not meet because our class is partially online: Sep 19, Oct 19, Nov 2, Nov 21, Dec 12.
  • Online review: we will have an online review session on Tuesday 12/13 (reading day), 9am to 11am. 
    [canceled, because of schedule change; we will figure out a possible alternative for a review session]
  • Reading assignments and assignments for online exams will be posted on the calendar.