Introduction to the English Language
1 course unit (4 credits)
Term: Fall 2011
Time: 10:00-11:20 a.m. MR
Place: Bliss 228
Prof. G. Steinberg
Office: Bliss 216
Office Phone: 771-2106
Office Hours: 2:00-3:20 p.m. TF
and by appointment
COURSE DESCRIPTION. The official course description for this class is available through PAWS. Adding to that official description, I can almost guarantee that this course will be one of the most difficult but also one of the best classes that you will ever take. As a user of language, you already know a great deal about English intuitively. But in this course, we’re going to take a lot of that knowledge about language that you currently possess on an intuitive level and make you more conscious and deliberate about it. We’re going to learn about the nuts and bolts of how languages work and change. When you finish the course, you will have a better understanding of why English is the way that it is (usually because of historical accident or a universal linguistic rule or both), and you will have a store of conversation starters and fun facts to know and tell about your mother tongue. You’ll also have a greater understanding and appreciation of language that you can take into your literature, journalism, and education classes. Most of the material we will cover in this class is inherently interesting. Who doesn’t want to know the answers to such questions as
But you will have to work hard to master a large amount of new material in order to be able to answer these questions adequately. In this course, you will be introduced to a lot of information that will be entirely new to you. You will need to memorize, digest, and assimilate a great deal as the term goes along. But I will help you in every way I can, and your classmates will be there with you the whole way.
GOALS. In terms of my goals for this course, I want you to
- to develop your appreciation – and respect – for the complexity and beauty of the English language;
- to become more conscious of what you are actually doing when you use language;
- to show an understanding of language acquisition and development;
- to demonstrate how reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, and thinking are interrelated;
- to recognize the impact of cultural, economic, political, and social environments upon language;
- to show a respect for and understanding of diversity in language use, patterns, and dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social roles;
- to show an understanding of the evolution of the English language and the historical influences on its various forms;
- to demonstrate an understanding of English grammars; and
- to demonstrate an understanding of semantics, syntax, morphology, and phonology.
REQUIREMENTS. This course has the following graded assignments:
- three exams (200 points each for the first two and 300 points for the third) and
- three short papers (100 points each).
Your final grade will be based on a 1000-point scale: A = 930-1000 points, A- = 900-929, B+ = 870-899, B = 830-869, B- = 800-829, C+ = 770-799, C = 730-769, C- = 700-729, D+ = 670-699, D = 600-669, and F = below 600.
In addition to your graded assignments, I will also periodically give ungraded quizzes. These quizzes are primarily a diagnostic tool for both you and me. They help me to see what you, as a class, are having trouble with, and they help you to see what you still need to study before the exam. I intend them to be a low-stress experience and therefore do not grade them, but I do collect them and look them over in order to get a sense of what you have learned and what you may still need to learn in order to do well in the class.
ATTENDANCE. Regular attendance is a virtual necessity for successful completion of this class. Class activities constitute important, useful preparation for your graded work. If you miss a class, you will essentially lose out on that day’s contribution to your preparation, since it is never really possible to reproduce or recapture the dynamics and flow of information for a missed class meeting (even if you get notes from someone). If, however, you positively must miss a class, I expect you to find out what you missed and to come fully prepared – without excuses – to the next class meeting. And please, don’t ask, “Did I miss anything?” Check out Tom Wayman’s poem about that question. For more on the College’s attendance policy, please go to http://www.tcnj.edu/~recreg/policies/attendance.html.
Academic Integrity. Academic dishonesty is any
attempt by a student to gain academic advantage through dishonest means, to
submit, as his or her own, work which has not been done by him/her or to give
improper aid to another student in the completion of an assignment. Such
dishonesty would include, but is not limited to: submitting as his/her own a
project, paper, report, test, or speech copied from, partially copied, or
paraphrased from the work of another (whether the source is printed, under
copyright, or in manuscript form). Credit must be given for words quoted or
paraphrased. The rules apply to any academic dishonesty, whether the work is
graded or ungraded, group or individual, written or oral.
OFFICE HOURS and EMAIL. My office is Bliss Hall 216, and my office hours this term are 2:00-3:20pm on Tuesdays and Fridays. If you cannot see me during these office hours, feel free as needed to call my office (771-2106) or to talk to me before or after class to arrange an appointment at another time. You may also contact me by email (email@example.com), or you may leave a message for me in my box at the English department offices in Bliss 124. Email is generally the fastest way to contact me in an emergency.
I may, on occasion, want to e-mail everyone in class. I generally only have access to your TCNJ e-mail addresses, however. As a result, if you regularly use an e-mail address other than your TCNJ address, I recommend that you have mail from your TCNJ address forwarded to the address you use more regularly. That way, if I e-mail your TCNJ address, my message will be forwarded to your other address automatically.
If you would like to send an e-mail message to one or more of your classmates, you can do so through SOCS. To access SOCS, go to http://socs.tcnj.edu and, after you have logged in with your TCNJ e-mail username and password, choose this class from the list of your courses this semester. Then, when our course page comes up, click the “Email” button. From there, you can select individual e-mail addresses or the entire class and send a message to the address(es) you’ve selected.
Accommodations. The College of New Jersey prohibits discrimination against any student on the basis of physical or mental disability or perceived disability. The College will also provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations to enable students with disabilities to participate in the life of the campus community. Individuals with disabilities are responsible for reporting and supplying documentation verifying their disability, and requests for accommodations must be initiated through the Office of Differing Abilities Services (Eickhoff Hall 159). If you require special assistance, I will make every reasonable effort to accommodate your needs and to create an environment where your special abilities will be respected. For more information, please go to http://www.tcnj.edu/~affirm/ada.html.
LANGUAGES ACROSS THE CURRICULUM. A quarter-unit (one-credit) Languages Across the Curriculum independent study may be added to this course for those students who have intermediate level proficiency in another language and who wish to complement the work in this course by utilizing their foreign language skills. Please visit the LAC website at http://internationalstudies.intrasun.tcnj.edu/grant/lac.html or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Students must meet with Dr. Compte to enroll in the LAC independent study right away.
SHORT PAPERS. You will submit three short papers (2-3 pages each) for this course. The due dates of the papers are noted in the course schedule below. Please note that you are to work on and write these papers individually; you may not work together on them. The assignment for each paper is as follows:
These papers will be evaluated primarily with respect to
In other words, you should use these papers to show me how much you’ve learned about linguistics by conveying as much substantive linguistic information (using correct terminology) as you can in as little space as possible.
COURSE SCHEDULE. The schedule below is subject to revision at the discretion of the professor. I recommend that you check this online syllabus regularly over the course of the term. Changes and updates will be indicated in red after the first week of classes. Items highlighted in yellow are inactive links that will (silently) be activated later in the semester.
|R Sep 1||Introductions||––––––––––––|
|M Sep 5||NO CLASS||Labor Day|
|T Sep 6||Language Basics||How English Works, pp. 1-27|
|R Sep 8||Speech Acts||How English Works, pp. 236-245|
|M Sep 12||Conversation||How English Works, Exercise 8.1 #1, Exercise 8.1 #3, and pp. 245-268|
|R Sep 15||Consonants||conversation exercise and How English Works, pp. 62-73|
|M Sep 19||Vowels||consonants exercise and How English Works, pp. 73-77|
|R Sep 22||Allophones and Phonological Rules||IPA transcription exercise; IPA exercise; How English Works, pp. 77-85|
|M Sep 26||Allophones and Phonological Rules||How English Works, Exercise 3.2 and Exercise 3.3 #1-2; allophone exercise; SHORT PAPER #1 DUE|
|R Sep 29||Review||allophone exercise; another allophone exercise; How English Works, Exercise 3.1 #3a-c; conversation exercise|
|M Oct 3||EXAM 1||This exam will cover spoken discourse (speech acts, conversation) and phonology|
|R Oct 6||Morphology||How English Works, pp. 98-122|
|M Oct 10||Lexical Categories and Syntax||How English Works, Exercise 4.1, Exercise 4.2 #2, pp. 128-158, and pp. 163-178; click here for a list of English prepositions|
|R Oct 13||Complex Phrase Structure Trees||How English Works, Exercise 5.2 #3; Exercise 5.5; and pp. 179-186; syntax exercise|
|M Oct 17||NO CLASS||Fall Break|
|R Oct 20||Transformations||syntax exercise; How English Works, pp. 187-197|
|M Oct 24||Semantics More Syntax Practice||How English Works, pp. 202-233; Exercise 6.2 #1; Exercise 6.3; Exercise 6.4 #2; and Exercise 6.5; transformations exercise|
|R Oct 27||Semantics More Syntax Practice||semantic shift exercise; How English Works, Exercise 7.4 #2 and Exercise 7.3 #1a-g; syntax exercise|
|M Oct 31||Review||AAE transformations exercise; morphology exercise; Halloween syntax exercise|
|R Nov 3||EXAM 2||This exam will cover morphology, syntax, and semantics.|
|M Nov 7||Language Acquisition||How English Works, pp. 309-342; SHORT PAPER #2 DUE|
|R Nov 10||Language Variation Semantics||language acquisition exercise; How English Works, pp. 346-375 How English Works, pp. 202-233|
|M Nov 14||History of the English Language: Indo-European and Old English||semantic shift exercise; How English Works, Exercise 7.4 #2 and Exercise 7.3 #1a-g; How English Works, pp. 20-22, 417-451; SHORT PAPER #2 DUE|
|R Nov 17||History of the English Language: Old and Middle English||Indo-European exercises; Old English exercise|
|M Nov 21||History of the English Language: Middle and Early Modern English||Old English exercise; Middle English exercise; SHORT PAPER #2 DUE|
|R Nov 24||NO CLASS||Thanksgiving|
|M Nov 28||Standardization and Writing||borrowing exercise; Great Vowel Shift exercise; How English Works, pp. 31-57, 86-89, and 456-466|
|R Dec 1||Language Variation, American Dialects, and English as a Global Language||How English Works, pp. 377346-414 and 467-484|
|M Dec 5||Stylistics||American dialects exercise; How English Works, pp. 274-306|
|R Dec 8||Review||Old English exercise; stylistics exercise; How English Works, Exercise 9.2 #1-2 and Exercise 9.1 #2; SHORT PAPER #3 DUE|
|M Dec 12||Review Session (2pm in Bliss 145)||dialect samples|
|Finals Week||FINAL EXAM||The final exam will be comprehensive (covering any and all material from the entire semester).|
Click here if you want to go to my home page.