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English 370

Winter, 2016

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!!

For Final Exam click HERE

Monday, March 14: 8:30am-10:20am

Final Exam. As I have already explained, this will be an electronic final. At the beginning of the scheduled exam time I will post a link to the final from this webpage. (I will also send you an email with the link, but that may be delayed, depending upon where you are on this earth, though probably not for long.) You will then write an essay of no more than 1000 words on ONE of the passages.

SPECIAL DEAL: You are invited to submit paragraphs you would like to write on for the Final. I will select at least one from the class submissions. Your reward if yours is chosen is that you will have already thought about it from a stylistic point of view, so you will have a headstart. If you want to submit a paragraph, get it to me either by email or by turning it in to me in class or in my office before the end of Friday, March 11. Include along your nomination a short paragraph explaining what you think the passage's voice is doing.

To help those of you who don't yet feel comfortable with this kind of analysis, we'll set up a review session on Thursday and/or Friday.

Wednesday, March 9

Reading: No new reading. We'll work with short passages to review what we've been talking about in Stylistics as a way to hold a kind of mock-final. Your actual final exam will ask you to write about a passage; you will have a choice among three different selections.

I have already given you some sample analyses of texts to help guide your work towards being able to comment on a speaker's voice. You can reread Lincoln's Gettysburg address along with the paper about it that is included in The Speaker in the Text; you can also review the sample analyses of four of the passages we have spent time with in class. Those can be found at:

Eng370.StudyGuide Ecc and Hem.htm

and at

Eng370.StudyGuide Sal and Dickens.htm

On Wednesday we'll stage a mock-final--come prepared to respond to style puzzles. Great preparation for the Final.

Writing: For Wednesday the writing is to hand in both your English Language Study Portfolio and your Linguistic Self-Portrait Part II. We discussed these assignments when the course began; you can find descriptions of them on the Blackboard at LSP and Portfolio.

Monday, March 7

Reading: The Speaker in the Text: An Introduction to Stylistics. For last Wednesday you read up to the beginning of the section titled: Writing About Style: Or Getting This Down on Paper. For Monday, finish reading the whole selection, including the student paper on Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

Writing: After having read the essay on Lincoln's Address, read the next two passages that follow: the excerpts from Ecclesiastes and Hemingway's "Big Two-hearted River," Then pick one of the two to write about and try your hand at analysis. Start, as the The Speaker in the Text suggests, with three or four adjectives to describe the voice of the passage, and then going on to point out the passage's stylistic choices, whether syntactic, diction, register, sound or rhythm. See how well you can do. (No more than two pages.)

We'll then look at each of the passages in class and you can judge how well you are noticing effects and their stylistic causes.

Wednesday, March 2

Reading: We are moving now to Stylistics. Here the major reading is on the Blackboard: The Speaker in the Text: An Introduction to Stylistics.

Writing: Having read the first half of the essay (ending with the beginning of the section titled: Writing About Style: Or Getting This Down on Paper), look at the two passages below as examples of contrasting styles. Read them through, both silently and aloud, and write a couple of paragraphs each about the speaker and the voice or character the author creates. Give three or four adjectives for each to describe the voice, and then do what you can to point to the language choices the author has made that have created the effects you have noticed.

Don't worry about being perfect here, but do try to do a good job. This sort of exercise will be what you will be doing for the final, so you'll do well to get right into this as soon as possible!

Dickens, from David Copperfield

    Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.  To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o’clock at night.  It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously. 

     In consideration of the day and hour of my birth, it was declared by the nurse, and by some sage women in the neighborhood, who had taken a lively interest in me several months before there was any possibility of our becoming personally acquainted, first, that I was destined to be unlucky in life; and secondly, that I was privileged to see ghosts and spirits—both these gifts inevitably attaching, as they believed, to all unlucky infants, of either gender, born towards the small hours on a Friday night.

Salinger, from The Catcher in the Rye

   If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.  In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them.  They’re quite touchy about anything like that, especially my father.  They’re nice and all—I’m not saying that—but they’re also touchy as hell.  Besides, I’m not going to tell you my whole goddam autobiography or anything.

Monday, February 29 (aka "Sadie Hawkins Day")*

*Actually, the expression "Sadie Hawkins Day" raises interesting sociolinguistic issues, all seen [if seen at all] through the a lens much simplified by the passage of time. There is in fact an anti-Sadie Hawkins Day movement, though very few people either know or care much about the origin of the term (click here for more).

Reading: Review for the test. We'll cover syntax and a bit of morphology and phonology from last time. You can bring your cheat sheet from the earlier midterm, and you may bring as well your Mini-grammar with anything you would like to write on its reverse side.

Writing: Review for the test--including the sentences below. If you work on these sentences, I'll send a key via email to those who ask for it.

For Friday's review session: 11:30am. Sample Sentences.

We'll meet at my office, A 407 Padelford Hall. (If more than three or four of you come we'll move to the table out in the hall.)

1. Peter was playing the guitar while Betty sang.

2. The attorney promised that she would defend her client until doomsday. 

3. My eating ice cream required that I exercise regularly. 

4.  The room was swept by the busy maid. 

5. Charlie’s arriving at the party meant that Alice had decided that she should leave early.

6. That the book had been written by a teenager amazed the crowd.   


Wednesday, February 24

Reading: We'll deal with Adverbs today—a subject that seems complicated, though once you get the key idea it turns out to be pretty straightforward. It just takes the way we use complementization and the embedding of sentences as NPs one step further.

To help, you can read the short essay here.

Writing: Exercises for adverbials:

1. The young man asked his question quietly.

2. The women traveled around the world.

3. The class passed its exam because every student studied with great intensity.

4. I realized that someone could steal the money since I had left it in plain sight.

5. My money was stolen because I had left it on the table.

Monday, February 22

Reading: Chapter 8, pp. 160-168. For last Wednesday you read about language variations in different dialects of English—British vs Standard American English (SAE), Boston English or Southern dialects as opposed to SAE. These are differences we generally find interesting, even sexy.

But other differences between different dialects of spoken English are often interpreted in a different way. The pages for Monday introduce you to phonological and morphological differences between SAE and those dialects that are generally perceived as "non-standard" and in some way deficient, or reflecting a lower intelligence or level of education. Speakers of SAE, working from the principles we described in class last time of rigorously enforced conformity, often stigmatize dialects spoken by a number of different classes of speakers. The book's examples are from African American Vernacular English (AAVE), but AAVE is only one of several dialects that are frequently stigmatized. Others include the forms of English spoken by many ordinary citizens in different parts of the country (white southerners, for example), and various immigrant groups (frequently called "broken English").

We will have a quiz on these pages on Monday.


1. Exercises 1 and 2 on page 166 and exercise 6 on 167.

2. Syntax exercises 1-4 below. We introduced the passive voice last Wednesday, and noted that your brain's key to recognizing it was to look for the passive markers: the passive auxiliary (be,-en), the agent marker "by", and the inversion of NPs, such that the Actor NP has been moved to a predicate position in the sentence while the Patient NP has been moved to the subject position. Thus "The dog bit the man" becomes: "The man was bitten by the dog." In that example, only the verb stays the same, and even the verb changes form from "bit" to "was bitten"—reflecting the insertion of the passive auxiliary.

We also noted that the passive allows one to delete the agent phrase wherever it is logically predictable. So a speaker of the sentence "The cake was eaten by someone" has the option of dropping the agent phrase "by someone," since if the cake "was eaten," it is necessary that "someone" did it. So when we hear "The cake was eaten" we know that logically that entails that "someone" did it. Linguists call that the "indefinite someone," and when a speaker chooses to delete it, we still include it in the Deep Structure, but we show it deleted after the passive transformation has already been applied.

(If you missed class on Wednesday this may be confusing. It isn't all that hard; it just asks you to think about the sentences you speak in yet another new way. We'll recap on Monday.)

Two of the following sentences have passive constructions.

1. For readers to buy books stimulates local economies.

2. Your selling shoes increases people’s incomes. 

3. The book was read by the entire class. 

4. That Al's car was burglarized traumatized his roommate.

Wednesday, February 17

Reading: Chap 2, pp 4-6, and Chapter 8, pp. 148-50; 157-60.

Writing: 1. Exercise A (p.7): 1-5 and 6. This is on "conversational implicature."

2. The Chapter 8 pages concern dialect. Here I want you to make up your own exercise question based on what you know of your own dialect versus another American dialect. Make up just one question, and include your best sense of what the answer should be, even if you aren't quite sure of what the RIGHT answer actually is.

Now. I don't know what exercise question you will come up with--it will depend on what you have understood from your reading of the pages.  It doesn't have to be a "good" question, but the assignment requires that you to sort through what you have read, and find something you understand well enough to imagine yourself asking someone else a question about--something to which you have something you think is an/the answer. 

I also realize that making up your own question is probably harder than answering the book's questions, because in their questions they have already done the sorting out of what they think matters and what doesn't. 

So see what you come up with.  Though maybe the chapter seems to be only about dialect, this is an important reading assignment, and one we have been heading towards since the first day of class. 

3. Four sentences to diagram for Wednesday. Give me a Deep Structure diagram and list any rules you need to apply for getting from the deep structure to the surface structure. (Hint: in these sentences the only rules required involve the insertion of complementizers.)

1. The operator reported that the bulldozer needed repair.

2. The lion waited for the keeper to leave the room.

3. That money burns a hole in my pocket hurts my checkbook.

4. Bill's forgetting Valentine's day broke Molly's heart.

Wednesday, February 10

Reading: no new reading, but print out Ye Newe Mini-Grammar if you were not in class today to get a copy from me. (If you missed Monday's class, you will have trouble with the assignment below. Be sure to read Monday's assignment on Syntax: Making Sense of the Constituent Structures of English parts I and II so you will be ready to be able to keep up with Wednesday's class.)

Writing: For each of the sentences below, use your Mini-Grammar to generate Tree Diagrams for each of the following sentences:

1. The young swimmer had an efficient backstroke. [Remember that "a", "an" and "the" are all determiners.]

2. My brother watched the Superbowl yesterday.

3. A very slippery eel swallowed the bait.

Monday, February 8

Reading: We will spend the first part of next hour on what is called "Conceptual Metaphor." It works the same way as ordinary metaphor works except that it very often has become quasi-invisible because it has been incorporated into the very way we think. We don't even notice it is a metaphor. Please read about it here. We will have a short quiz-exercise on this in the first hour of class.

Writing: Last Wednesday we began in the second hour to talk about syntax. I warned all that it would be wise not to miss time unless you absolutely had to over the next couple weeks, because missing a day will create a major make-up challenge. You can catch up to what we did on Wednesday by reading Syntax: Making Sense of the Constituent Structures of English parts I and II. That summarizes what we talked about as the first step in the study of syntax. Much of what happens next will be supported by handouts, but not described in anything like the detail of Monday's reading.

At the end of that Syntax selection you will find three sentences for which to provide PS descriptions. Please do so and in Monday's second hour we'll pick up with PS diagrams and then go on to extend your understanding of basic sentence structures.


Wednesday, February 3

Reading: Metaphor: The Jewel of Any Language (click here) Read all of Part 1; we'll read Part 2 for Monday, February 8.

Writing: Having read the Metaphor essay, find or make up 3 different metaphors of your own. Write them out and then give as full an explanation as possible of the features the metaphor invokes and at least some of the features that it does NOT invoke. Then, first print out and read "Cat in the Rain"—a two-page short, short story by Ernest Hemingway—and then, first underline each reference to the cat, and second, write a page about how you think "cat" functions as a metaphor in the story. What features does Hemingway invite you to transfer, and what features does he NOT invite you to transfer? (Hint: what is relevant early on may not be exactly the same as what is relevant later on.)

Don't worry if you feel you are not very good at this. The point is not to be a great literary critic, but only to approach the story from the perspective of one who has begun to think about metaphor in a more conscious and analytic way.

Monday, February 1

Reading: None.

Writing: None

This will be the day of the first Midterm. We went over a sample exam in class last time, and the exam to come won't be hugely different, though I reserve the right to change questions as seems best to accommodate what we have done in this term's lectures to this point. The exam will be limited to phonology and morphology.

You may bring two things with you to the exam. A hardcopy dictionary (to help you with morphological questions), and a SINGLE SHEET of paper, blank on one side, but unlimited with respect to what you write on the other side. No Xeroxing or photos. Handwriting only.

I plan the exam for approximately one hour; you will, however, have the entire two hour period within which to complete it.

Wednesday, January 27:

Reading: None

Writing: The assignment here is to complete the following mock-exam. It covers phonology and morphology, and will be similar to the real exam you will take next Monday. You will see what sorts of things you know and still don't know, and you will need to prepare yourself to do this without your notes or your book.

Ia.  For each of the phonemic descriptions below, give me the appropriate phonemic symbol.  (30 points)

Example:  a continuant bilabial nasal stop.  Answer:  /m/

1.  voiced labiodental fricative: 
2.  high back rounded tense vowel:
3.  low front lax vowel: 
4.  unvoiced palatal affricate: 

Ib.  For each phonemic symbol below, give me the appropriate phonemic descriptions.

Example:  /p/   Answer: unvoiced bilabial stop

            1.  /ɪ/
            2.  /Ɵ/

3.  /o/
4.  /ð/

II.  For the two sentences below provide: 

a.  a phonemic transcription (18),

b.  a morphemic analysis (bound, free, stem, affix, derivational, inflectional) (18),  

1.  The referees stood around the cheering defensive linemen. 

2.  Having nothing more to say, she spun on her heel and exited the store.  

III. The following phonetic transcription reflects the effects of having applied certain phonological rules to a string of English phonemes.  Your job is to supply a phonemic representation for each, and explain what phonological rules were applied to each in order to produce the phonetic sequence in each of these two transcriptions (22 points):

             [ši fa͂Ʊ͂nd’ ǝrsεlf wa͂n’ɪ͂ŋ tʰǝ liv’] 

[Note: remember that the phonemic representation shows the phrase before ANY phonological rule like nasalization, deletion, elision or destressing has taken place.  The phonetic transcription above shows the effect of such phonological rules having already been applied.] For a fuller explanation click here.

Monday, January 25

Reading: "Morphology: Once More from the Top." (click here)

Writing: Below are some sentences. Get yourself a dictionary, and work with the etymological information that dictionary gives you to analyze the italicized words in each sentence. Then give for each sentence a phonetic representation and a morphemic representation. This will be challenging because we haven't yet been able to do much illustration in class. But do what you can—see how far you can get. (Online dictionaries can give you this information, but many do not give much. Similarly, smallish, pocket dictionaries also do not give much. So make sure your research tool has strong etymological information. Most "College Edition" dictionaries have good, if not outstanding, etymological information.) (And if you don't have a good, hardcopy dictiona

ry, you are missing one of the extraordianary scholarly accomplishments ever to have been achieved—and I say that not just because one of my early relatives had just a bit to do with the dictionary industry. You should get one.)


First: analyse each italicized word into its basic morphemes. Identify the stem and the affixes (label them "s" and "a") and do your best to describe their basic meanings and they function in that particular word. For Example: in sentence 1's word "morphology" there are three morphemes: <morph> "form", <logo> "word" or "speech,"and <-y>, "activity" (i.e.: the activity of creating words (or studying") about forms). And the word "tends" has two morphemes: <tend> "move towards" and <-s> "the third person singular present tense" marker.

Perform a similar analysis of the other 11 italicized words.

1. Morphology tends to require attention to etymologies.

2. Dictionaries can be extraordinarily helpful when researching how different words were formed.

3. The kittens wrestled with unrelenting effort.

Then second: give me both a phonemic and then a phonetic transcription of each of the three sentences.

Finally, a heads up: we will have the first Mid-Term, which will cover phonology and morphology, on Monday, February 1.

Wednesday, January 20

Reading: Webster, Phonological Rules (on the Blackboard: click here). Read LNL pp. 79-89; 93-4.

Writing: a. Write a phonetic transcription of lines 5-14 of Sonnet 138 (below). Use my short essay on Phonological Rules to see which phonological rules to follow. And b. Do exercise I on p.94ff.

Wednesday, January 13

Reading: LNL, Read pp. 110-112.

Writing: Exercise C and then go on to create a phonemic transcription of the first quatrain (four lines—the part I have italicized) from Shakespeare's Sonnet 138:

When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutored youth,
Unlearned in the world’s false subtleties.

Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false speaking tongue;
On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed.
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O, love’s best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not to have years told.
  Therefore I lie with her, and she with me,
  And in our faults by lies we flattered be.

(I include the whole poem—we'll do the rest as a phonetic transcription for Wednesday of next week—Monday is a holiday.)

Monday, January 11

Reading: LNL pp. 99-110

Writing: Excercise B on pp.109-110. (We haven't really covered the vowels yet, so do the best you can with what you have read and we'll sort it all out on Monday.)

Wednesday January 6

Reading: LNL, Read Chapter 1 and the Syllabus. Syllabus Perfect Quiz.


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 as a response paper on Wednesday of this week; Step 2 will be due as a paper at the end of the quarter. This first step is just an opening snapshot of you as a speaker of English, and as such it will be your first measure of what you already know about language study and about yourself as a language user.

The second step at the end of the quarter will ask you to revisit this essay, but at that point with the perspective that a term's worth of study will have provided. 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 by the end of this quarter, but also a good deal about how much you've learned about the study of language in general.

LSP Step 1: Background

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 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 or creativity we display as speakers), on the other.

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

Step one of the Language Self-Profile asks you to write a 2-3 page description of yourself as a user of English. This will be the first step towards taking yourself as a “case study” for this project. You won't yet know a lot about linguistics, but you are nevertheless already the best authority there is on your particular idiolect. You are thus the insider here, and your job is to give me a verbal snapshot of your linguistic self as best you can.

So describe your language use now—i.e., do you always speak English? or do you speak another language in your daily life? If you are a native speaker what do you see as your strengths? or your challenges as a user of English? How would you describe your language use? What "accent" do you think you have? What are your favorite words? Why? If you are an English language learner, think about your strengths, and about what you want to do better. What problems crop up in your efforts to speak with or write to others? like classmates or professors? Can you tell a story that illustrates these issues?

Other questions you might address: What is the richest part of your vocabulary? What kind of writer are you? What are your strengths? What are your challenges?

In Short: Think of yourself in your role as user of English, and describe and illustrate as best you can your own particular idiolect.

Ordinarily, a good essay in this class would be well-focused, equipped with well-selected detail/example, as complete as the assigned length would allow, and written in an engaging, colloquial English. But since you only have a couple days to do this, and most of you don't yet know a lot about how linguists describe the ways we use language, the criterion for this first effort is simply ECI: Engaged Critical Intelligence.

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