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English 370, Fall 2011

Assignments and Updates

See also: Blackboard

This is the Assignments and Updates Page. All assignments and updates to earlier assignments will be posted here, beginning with the most recent first.

This is the most up-to-date information available on this website. Please check this page frequently throughout the quarter!!

 

The Review Session is on Wednesday at my Office, Padelford A-407 at 12:30pm. And whether you come to the review session or not, you can use the following notes to prepare for the final: STUDY HELP FOR THE FINAL

Thursday, December 15

Writing: Final Exam, 8:30am to 10:20am. CDN 223 (our current classroom)

Wednesday, December 7

Reading: Chapter 14, pp. 470-8.

Writing: Portfolio due, along with a one page response to the "World Englishes" section. I ask for this in part because I am myself still figuring out what I think about this, and I'm looking for all the help I can get. Some people advocate for World English as a means by which international misunderstanding and conflict can be avoided; others resist the development of World English vigorously on the basis that adopting any one language as a world lingua franca would have detrimental political and economic effects. We know, after all, that languages are not just a code for communicating--they are also treasuries of cultural knowledges and practices. Those opposed to developing a world language argue that to learn a language is inevitably also to be introduced to and in some ways be remade in a way that threatens all of one's other levels of cultural identity. These folks see the spread of one (or even a few) world language(s) (whether English or something else) as a new kind of colonialism-by-language.

I won't ask you to write what you think about this issue, though you certainly can if you would like.

Instead, imagine yourself as an appointee to an International Language Committee that was debating this issue. What considerations do you think would have to be thought through in order to make a recommendation on such a World English policy in the first place? As as example of such an issue, think of your next, or last, international flight. You may know that English already is the official language of international flight: all pilots and air controllers dealing with international air traffic are required to be able to speak English with a significant level of proficiency. (See: aviationtraining) Obviously, this particular move towards a World English is based on the notion that pilots and ground control cannot afford to be unable to understand one another. That would count as one reason to cultivate a World English (or World Chinese, or World...).

So what other considerations can you imagine as worth raising in coming up with an informed view of this actual, real time issue? Both for and against?

Monday, December 5

Reading: Chapter 12, pp. 377-382 and 402-413

Writing: 12.1, with examples, 12.4, 12.5.1. And, bring your Nomination for the Final Style passages.

Wednesday, November 30

Reading: Chapter 11, pp. 346-365

Writing: 11.1, with examples. Then pick one of the two practice passages and write an analysis of its speaker's voice.

Monday, November 28

Reading: The Speaker in the Text (Blackboard)

Writing: Following the Speaker in the Text on the Blackboard are two prose passages, one from Ecclesiastes in the King James translation of the Bible and one from Ernest Hemingway's short story "Big Two-hearted River." For each write out a description of the speaker as you "hear" him, and then note as many characteristics of the language in first one passage and then the other as you can.

Wednesday, November 23

Reading: None. TG break.

Writing: None.

Monday, November 21

Reading: Chapter 8, 249-268; Chapter 9, 274-280 (on genre and register)

Writing: Exercises 8.3.1 (But replace the first sentence of the exercise with this sentence: "First, provide five "more polite" ways to make the following request, at least one of which you would NEVER use, and one of which you would be likely to use": "Give me a double cappuccino, no whip."), 5, and 6; 8.3.5, 8.3.6; 8.5.1 (use the key to transcription conventions in 8.7 to understand the coding conventions).

Then add one more exercise: Having paid attention to your own speech habits over today and tomorrow, what three concepts described in the reading for this Monday (from both Chapter 8 and 9) do you notice occuring most prominently? Give examples and explain what you might have done otherwise--which is to say: these pages are about choices we are continually making as we speak, most of which are unconscious, but not on that account "unintended." That's really the point of Lakoff's observation that all speech is "political" (she might as well have said "all speech is motivated"). What I'm asking you to do here is identify three ways this chapter gives you access to awareness and explanation of some of your habitual choices. I'll be interested to see what you come up with!

 

Practice Midterm

Here are four sentences like those that could be on the midterm. Work on them now, and I'll post a key on Sunday so you can see whether you have understood them properly. We can then talk about things you don't understand in class on Monday. (That also means that you should have done these before we meet on Monday!)

1. The white whale swam at top speed until he saw the boat.

2. For students to do exercises before the exam shows great dedication.

3. Bill's waking before dawn meant that we arrived at school as the sun rose. (This was modified as of Saturday evening to remove the auxilliary verb!)

4. That Sally was attacked by angry birds suggests that they escaped from their phones. (This was modified as of Saturday evening to remove the auxilliary verb!)

For Answer Key click here

Wednesday, November 16

Reading: None

Writing: Midterm 2--Syntax. This midterm will focus solely on syntax. I'll give you four sentences to diagram, and you will provide me with diagrams. You can bring your Mini-Grammar to class as a "cheat-sheet," with annotations on the reverse.

Monday, November 14

Reading: Chapter 8, Spoken Discourses, pp. 236-249.

Writing: The pages assigned for Monday introduce the field of language study broadly called "pragmatics." There are again a lot of things discussed, beginning with Speech Act theory and Conversational Implicature. They are fairly challenging conceptually--that's why just half the chapter. We'll do the second half of the chapter for Monday the 21st.

For writing, do exercises:

8.1 subparts 1, 3, 4, and 5, modifying the instructions to 5 by replacing "undergraduates" with the word "people";

8.2, subparts 2, 3, and 4--ignoring the last two sentences of 4.

Wednesday, November 9

Reading: Metaphor, Part 2: Conceptual Metaphor

Writing: Find four metphors--two literary and two conceptual--in any kind of text you'd like. Write them out, and then analyze them as best and as fully as you can in terms of which features apply.

Monday, November 7

Reading: The Metaphor (click here) entry on the Blackboard.

Writing: Give a diagram for this sentence:

1. She is the one who broke my heart when she dumped me.

Wednesday, November 2

Reading: Chapter 7, pp 202-217; 219-221. That's in the Semantics chapter--a survey of how linguists treat the question of "meaning." After you read this, we will go on for Monday with the Metaphor (click here) entry on the Blackboard.

Writing: First, some review sentences that include all and no more than what you have learned in the syntax section:

1. For students to do exercises prepares them well for midterms.

2. The kids who rang my doorbell on Halloween were asking for candy.

3. The cat-burglar remembered that he had played ball for the Mariners when he was young.

4. That my iphone was stolen by a pickpocket led to my being very unhappy.

(Be ready to hand these in at the end of the hour)

Monday, October 31

Reading: None for Monday

Writing: For each of the sentences below, give a full tree diagram of the underlying, logical structure, and then list any and all rules you need to generate the appropriate surface structure [e.g., "Insert (for-to)"] and write in the appropriate adjustment to the underlying structure (just as we did in class on Wednesday):

1. Her husband’s leaving home after their fight created angry thoughts in her mind. 

2. That Shakespeare was read by teenagers surprised the visiting professor. 

3. For Harry to win the contest requires Sally’s distracting of the judges. 

4. The man who came to dinner left early because he developed indigestion. 

THE SCARY HALLOWEEN SENTENCE!!!!!!
(DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS SENTENCE WITHOUT FIRST LOCKING
ALL DOORS AND WINDOWS!!!!!)

5. My having been attacked by the boy who had the long, bloody teeth caused a pleasurable sensation among the schoolchildren who had wished that I would be sucked dry by a thirsty zombie.

(The ability to diagram that sentence will provide as much protection from passing zombies as a ton of garlic!)

 

Wednesday, October 26

Reading: None for Wednesday

Writing: Prepare a tree diagram for each of the following sentences:

1. A rare bird flew across the sky.

2. I think that the world needs a vacation.

3. The sad man returned to his apartment after his cat had disappeared. (hint: note the asterisk in the VP phrase structure rule that indicates that ADV nodes can be repeated in a VP)

4. I like tomatos, and she likes tomahtos. (I know I misspelled "tomahtos"--it's from a song!)

 

Monday, October 24

Reading: Webster on Constituent Analysis (click here)

Writing: Exercises at the end of WCA:

EXAMPLE CONSTITUENT ANALYSIS

1. Sally’s old man played the piano that she bought. 

This sentence has two main constituents: 

        NP                                               VP
Sally’s old man / played the piano that she bought. 

So it has the structure:  S→ NP VP

The subject NP has three constituents:  two adjectives (Sally’s and old) and one noun (man). 

So it has the structure:  NP→ adj adj N

(note that there are NO parentheses in that phrase structure description, because in this particular structure there are only two adjectives, so we write out each and that's that!)

The VP has two constituents:  a verb, and an object (played, and the piano that she bought)

So it has the structure VP→ V NP

The NP in the VP has three constituents:  a determiner, a noun, and a S embedded as a relative clause (the, piano, she bought the piano)

So it has the structure:  NP→ det N S

That is a fully written out constituent structure analysis.  It breaks the sentence down into its functionally meaningful parts and labels each, and also describes the function in the sentence of each. 

Assignment: Here are 4 sentences for you to do on your own for Monday. Using the example above as your model, write out a constituent structure analysis for each.  (The last one is the hardest--you will need the S→ S (c S)* rule as well as the S → NP VP rule)

1.  The speedy student finished her exercises promptly. 

2.  The very old building collapsed completely. 

3.  The family that vacations annually finds happiness easily.

4.  The president expected that the two countries would make peace but that possibility disappeared suddenly. 

 

Wednesday, October 19

Reading: None.

Writing: None.

But buckle up your shoes, especially if you thought phonology and morphology were a little confusing. Now we are going to spend some time with syntax. It is actually not the most confusing thing about language, but it ain't shabby in the challenging department. Yet you are unconsciously phenomenal experts in the subject, and once again, the challenge (as it was for phonetics and morphemics) is for you to learn consciously what you already know intuitively, but don't know you know it.

Your book has two chapters on syntax, and especially if you are not real clear on such things as "what is an adjective?" and "what is a noun?" you might read those parts of chapter 5 that deal with those so-called "lexical" morphemes. We won't officially read either chapter. Instead we will be using our own "grammar"--one that is conceptually a little easier to learn than what is in Chapter 6. The trick here will be to do enough so that the knowledge is useful, but not so much that you just throw your hands up in disgust.

We'll learn about simple sentences, relative clauses and complements, and we'll see what we are really doing when we use the passive voice. We'll get started on Wednesday by thinking about what grammar is, and what grammar ain't!

And for those of you who might have something else to do during class over the next couple weeks, a warning:  this stuff isn't all that hard, but if you miss a day, it will really seem hard when you get back.  You'll feel as though you were in a foreign country.

See you Wednesday.

Monday, October 17

Midterm 1 (For Practice Exam, Click here )

Wednesday, October 12

Reading: NONE! Just review

Writing: NONE! Just review

We will have a quiz--a semi-perfect quiz--as a warm up for the first midterm, which will be on Monday, October 17 (that's a change from the original schedule).

Monday, October 10

Reading: C and A, Chapter 3 (Review: reread pp 77-90), and Chapter 4 (but skip "Morphology Trees" section)

Writing:

William Shakespeare

Sonnet 95

How sweet and lovely dost thou make the shame
Which, like a canker° in the fragrant rose,    caterpillar
Doth spot° the beauty of thy budding name!     mar
O, in what sweets dost thou thy sins enclose!
That tongue that tells the story of thy days,
Making lascivious comments on thy sport,
Cannot dispraise, but in a kind of praise;
Naming thy name blesses an ill report.
O, what a mansion have those vices got
Which for their habitation chose out thee,
Where beauty’s veil doth cover every blot,
And all things turns to fair that eyes can see!
  Take heed, dear heart, of this large privilege;°  license
  The hardest knife ill-used doth lose his edge.

1. Write out a phonetic transcription for the first 8 lines of this poem.

2. For these three sentences, generate a phonetic sequence for each. Then see if you can give me a description of the "fast talking" form of each, and go on to explain what phonemic rules have been used to generate the resulting pronounciation (see pp 80-82, Phonological Rules. Hint, you have five rules to work with: assimilation, deletion, insertion, metathesis and [as we described in class on Wednesday] the destressing rule (i.e., all vowels in unstressed syllables, except for most word terminal syllables, move towards schwa).

  1. I want to go home.
  2. He shouldn't have eaten that sandwich.
  3. She told him he shouldn't go.

3. For two lines of the sonnet above, list the morphemes and label them as to whether they are open or closed, bound or free, and inflectional or derivational.

 

Wednesday, October 5

Reading: C and A, Chapter 3 (all).

Writing: Exercises 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 3.1.3.a and c, 3.2, 3.4.

Monday, October 3

Reading: C and A, Chapters 1 (pp. 1-13, 20-27) and 2 (pp. 31-42; 49-52). Perfect Quiz on Monday.

Writing:

Your Language Self-Profile

Step 1

You will be doing a language profile of your own language use as one of your term projects. Step 1 will be due on Tuesday; Step 2 will be due at the end of the quarter. This first step is an opening snapshot of you as a speaker of English, and as such it will be your first measure of what you know about language study and about you yourself as a language user. The second step at the end of the quarter will ask you to revisit this essay, but now with the perspective that a term's worth of study will provide. You will have acquired an extensive set of understandings about what language is and about how and why we use it. Step Two will thus give you a chance to demonstrate not just how much more sophisticated you will have become about your own language use, but also a good deal about how much you've learned about the study of language generally.

Linguistic Self-Profile: Step 1

You will be working over the next 10 weeks through a series of ways of thinking about how people use the English language. Technically, we’ll survey phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics, and then we’ll go on to look at language in use—particularly the ways in which utterances can be meaningful in extra-literal ways.

Through all of this I hope it becomes very, very clear that being a speaker of a language is always a balancing act between what “the language speaking community” defines as appropriate sounds/words/modes of expression (the constraints on us as speakers), on one hand, and what any given individual’s own language experience and/or creativity enables him or her to bring to a given speech situation (the variation or diversity we display as speakers), on the other.

Thus each of us has our own idiolect of English. Pu another way, all of us in this classroom share some ways of speaking—that’s how we can make sense to each other. But in fact NO ONE here (or anywhere else!) will or even could have identical idiolects. The differences between us may not always be large, but they are nevertheless there. Some of you have multi-language backgrounds, some have different regional or national English dialects, and others will have an essentially shared dialect of Northwest American English. But even if you only share the local northwest dialect, you will still have different discourse communities to which you belong, and that fact will affect in some degree how you perform English. Complicating this further, if you belong to a special business or trade (and who doesn't?) you are also likely to have a set of words in your idiolect that no one else here has. Or you may have made some habitual choices about how you greet people, or how you swear (!). The point is, as much standardization as there is in language, there is also a lot of variation.

In all that you write, please believe that I’m really interested in what you actually do when you speak English. I don’t care whether the differences you find between the way you speak and others speak are huge or small, but I do want you to sort through what you do as a speaker and writer of English and locate a set of identifying characteristics of YOUR idiolect.


The Writing.

This assignment asks you to reflect upon your experience with language and to construct a 2-3 page essay about yourself as a user of English. You will be taking yourself as a “case study” for this project and therefore you are the best authority there is on which aspects of your history to focus upon. You are thus the insider here, and your job is to explain your linguistic self to me as an outsider to your experience.

Here are some ideas and questions to consider (though please do not in your paper just address these as a list!):

Language / dialect factors: How would you describe your regional or personal dialect (your idiolect)? Are you multilingual / multidialectal? If so, what languages do you speak, and how, if at all, is your dialect affected by your knowledge of other languages? How do other speakers respond to your dialect(s), styles, and/or language(s)?
Family / community factors: When did you learn language and what do you remember about your early relationship to written and spoken language? Where are you from? What languages / dialects did your parents speak with you? How did your spoken language change when you went to school? What have your teachers told you about your use of language? How have your friends affected your speech?
Register / style factors: what different levels of language do you use, and in what circumstances or to which people? Using concrete examples, how does your formal speech differ from your informal speech? How does your written language differ from your spoken language? Are you aware of particular vocabulary items which are characteristically yours?
Individual factors: Have you developed any quirky or idiosyncratic ways of using language? How do you feel about language (reading, speaking, etc.)? What are your pleasures with language? What do you detest? How? Why?

In Short: Think of yourself in your role as speaker of English, and describe and illustrate your own particular idiolect.

The perfect essay will be well-focused, equipped with well-selected detail/example, as complete as 3 pages allow, and written in an engaging, colloquial English.

(This assignment is based on an assignment designed by Professor Colette Moore.)

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