English 370, Spring 2007
I've been looking over what you need and want
know, and I've concluded that the topics fall into four general
Structure, of English and other languages
History, of English and other Indo-European languages
Usage issues, including "correctness", and how to teach and
Literature, and Poetry, and how language works in them.
We'll start with History and Structure right away. There will continue
to be problems to solve on History and Structure. But I think we'll hold
off on Problems 1-4 for a while.
The problem for Monday: Grimm's
Law. To hand in.
Print out the problem and fill in the
the back to answer the questions. Please be concise. And to help you
with those last questions ("Is there any regular pattern? Could you
describe it in a chart?"), here's The English
Phonemic Alphabet. Learn the symbols and what they represent by the
end of next week, please.
Ongoing Term Assignments:
Term Project: Every student must complete a term project in one
of the areas above. Projects can include oral reports, web pages, or
papers. Projects may be done by groups (but standards are higher for
group projects). Projects must be completed by the last day of class.
Encyclopedia: Everybody should pick some topic in one of the
Encyclopedias and become an expert on it. This can be done by groups. When
you achieve experthood, you will be called upon for opinions and
judgements. Be ready.
Literature: Pick a piece of literature that you really
love, and extract a segment of the finest writing it contains (about a
page or so will do, probably, preferably self-contained). Then analyze
this writing sample to see what kinds of
grammatical structures are used, and how they are employed to bring off
the effects that the author achieves.
Education (optional, for future teachers): Develop a course
plan to teach some interesting and useful topic about language or English
in elementary or secondary school. Include references to the
Encyclopedia(s) and describe what the outcome is supposed to be, and where
this lesson lies in a larger curriculum. You may wish to read Language
Science, a paper by a former student on this topic, before starting.
Class notes (optional, but counts for participation grade):
If you take good class notes, think about posting them on Blackboard, so
that others can add theirs and develop a good studying resource.
Other optional assignments like that, tba.
software (from a Grimm's
program I wrote some time ago)
details of Grimm's Law.
accounts of the P-I-E sound system, with lots of roots, along with
description of P-I-E.
, since you asked.
Where Words Come
From . Play the video, then compare your story about what
happened to other stories from around the world. The Pear
Stories (Hint: they're
very And finally, a hilarious routine on language by Stephen Fry (famous
from many films) and Hugh Laurie (who started his career by playing
upper-class twits, but is more famous in America as the actor who plays Dr. Gregory House).
Three readings, all on the Web:
Read these three and write a one-page reaction paper to one of them.
Due Monday the 30th. Chapter XI, , from Edward Sapir's famous book Language
and Literature" (1921)
Language (Notice two things: what he says and how he says it)
Chapter VIII, , "Language as a
Historical Product: Phonetic Law" ibidem.
(more details about topics we've touched on; notice
the writing and the main themes and bleep over the details,
unless you're fascinated with them)
, from Neal Stephenson's famous book The
Deliverator Snow Crash,
(1992). (never mind the blurb at the top; read the "Excerpt". It's
my first example of a spectacular piece of writing. What does he do and
how does he use language to do it?)
paragraphs of The Deliverator, to see some of the threads come
of some neat struckchers in litracher. Made using Word and Acrobat.
for May describing the grading system that we discussed Monday.
Four PIE roots:
Something about the Malay language
(also called Indonesian, Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Malaysia, Bahasa
Melayu, or just Bahasa.)
(Tuesday 5/8 7:30pm HU 304). Henry V Two background
background for Shakespeare's History plays
notes on Henry V. 5/4/07
Something about Structure,
and some linguistic structures.
An exercise in English
syntax, which we are starting soon. ==> Become familiar soon with
the "Syntax Topics" pages in the coursepack.
scene with Fluellen, Gower, Jamy, and MacMorris from Act 3, Scene II
of Henry V, referred to in the Linguistic
transcription, this one a little more complex.
Phrasal Verbs, with trees.
discussion: those who attended may share their
impressions with the class, for extempore presentation credit.
Henry V 5/9/07
for the Hungarian, Nahuatl, and Zapotec morphology problems,
WWU Prof. Ed Vajda's Web page on Morphology
A classic syntax paper, " English
Sentences without Overt Grammatical Subject", from this
Festschrift, honoring this famous
linguist, who also wrote the article, under the pseudonym
Quang Phúc Ðông While we're at it, here's a classic Anthropology
paper, by a former colleague of mine at Michigan, illustrating
just weird the magical beliefs of foreign cultures can be.
The Language Log post
eggcorns and while we're at it, a few more, on ,
by Association, and
Evidence of the Coming Death of Whom.
German poetry (including the unofficial anthem of the European Union).
quiz, on Yup'ik Eskimo.
syntax quiz for practice... ... and yet
another for those who still aren't satisfied.
to figure out a sentence. Print this out or bookmark it. It's a
have more fun Verbs of a feather flock together A couple of
Suprasegmentals The handout (with
links) to an ATEG paper of mine. Another resource for grammar stuff.
A handout (with links) on Semantics
and Pragmatics, the parts of
linguistics that are most obviously useful to writers and critics.
Memorial Day Holiday 5/28/07
Schedule, as of Friday, May 25:
As people develop something to advertise their talks, I'll link them
* Monday, June 4 (two slots open)
o Alex Pearson
o Chris (?)
o Cam (?)
* Wednesday, June 6 ( full)
o Lisa & Stephanie
o Alex Wigley
* Friday, June 8 (last class; full)