4120 Structure of the English Language
Thematic Title: The Anatomy of English (Structure of the English Language)
In this course we will look closely at (and be wowed by) the structure of the sounds, words, and sentences of American English. We will apply our analytical skills to develop a working model for representing the knowledge we each have as speakers of English—this will also require a certain amount of memorization of the terms needed to describe language structure. We will consider how some of the conventions of standard edited English are or are not motivated by our model as we work to establish a basis for making informed decisions about style, usage, and grammar pedagogy. Upon completion of this course you will be able to:
4130 History of the English Language
Description: This course examines the history and diversity of the English language. After an introduction to the methods of historical and comparative linguistics, the development of English will be chronologically considered. Much of the course will concentrate on specific historical topics, such as the introduction of writing, the influence of writing and printing on the standardization of English, the spread of English outside England itself, the diversity of English, and the status of English as a world language today. Throughout the semester we will work with both empirical data and also the discovery of competing narratives for writing linguistic history.
Readings: Crystal, The Stories of English; Crystal, English as a Global a Language; Bailey, Speaking American: A History of English in the United States; reserve readings
Assignments: 3 tests; research paper
4170 Studies in Language: World Language
Thematic Title: Rebuilding Babel: English as World Language
Description: We will consider the English language today from America to Zimbabwe with special attention to the political, economic, and social contexts that have led English to become the world’s lingua franca: 1 billion speakers (give or take 500 million) and growing! We will study a number of Englishes world-wide including American, Caribbean creoles, South Africa, New Zealand, and India to discover who speaks them, for what purposes, and who counts as a “native speaker”. Finally we will investigate the ways in which writers represent these varieties in literature in order to construct intimacy/distance in social relationships, to define socioeconomic class, and to invoke history in their stories.