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English 370

Winter, 2018

Assignments and Updates

See also: Blackboard

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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!!

Final Exam

As I have already explained, this will be an electronic final. At the beginning of the scheduled exam time, 2:30pm PDT on Friday, March 16, I will post a link to the final from this webpage. You can take it at home, or at school--or wherever you will be able to access my 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 600 words on ONE of the passages. Obviously this means that you can write the exam at home or anywhere else. You will have four different passages to choose from; you will write on just one. You will have until 5:20pm PST to complete your essay.

After you have finished your answer, please copy and paste your essay into an email addressed to me: PLEASE DO NOT SEND THE EXAM AS AN ATTACHMENT!! Your answer must arrive NO LATER THAN 5:20 pm.

The Link to the Exam will be HERE.

Thursday, March 8

Reading: No new Reading

Writing: No new Writing

No new readings, but you will be working with 5 style passages, one of which will be on the final. This will give you a chance to focus your attention on the exam in advance, and we'll do at least a first-pass description of the style and its elements of all of the candidates for the final (which will be on Friday, March 16, at 2:30). That final will be an online final, and you can/will take it anywhere you can access my website and can send an email back to me.

But what are due on Thursday are two things (and please read this carefully so you can see that the Linguistic Self-Profile (LSP) is not the same thing as the short essay on your learning in the course that comes along with the short Self-Reflective Essay (SRE) about your learning in the course):

1. Your updated Linguistic Self-Profile (LSP Part 2)

The goal of this assignment is almost exactly the same as it was when the quarter began: to describe yourself as a user of English and (if applicable!) other languages as well.

But what you will write now is quite different from what you wrote then. Step 1 of the Language Self-Profile asked you to write a 2-3 page description of yourself as a user of English.

Step two of the Language Self-Profile now asks that you write a new essay that will differ significantly from the version you submitted as the quarter began because you now know much more about how best to describe yourself.

So the prompt remains (almost) the same, but you now have been introduced:

to phonology (and therefore how to describe the sounds of your own idiolect as a speaker),

to syntax (you can describe your own writing style now in ways you would not have been able to do 10 weeks ago), and

to stylistics (what are your characteristic registers that are special to your sense of your language identity?; in what ways does your language use align/not align with gender or social varieties of English? What are your taboo usage patterns? What is your relation to Standard forms of English? As a speaker? Writer? Reader?

Those questions are only to prompt your thinking--you need to decide what all you will include in your profile.

LSP Part 2 Grading Criteria

  • Extent of your survey: you can't talk about everything, but I would expect to see particular focus on three to four areas.
  • Accuracy and sufficiency of Documentation: i.e., clear and well-chosen examples that can document your claims.
  • Linguistic sophistication (within expectations set by this course): you have learned various modes of linguistic description—like phonemic transcription—and I will expect you to use it appropriately.
  • Effective presentation skills. Readable, reasonably grammatical, well-organized, coherent.
2-4 pages. (The papers that score well on the first three criteria will tend to be longer, of course)

2. Your Portfolio (with an SRE) (see Blackboard #9)


Tuesday, March 6

Reading: We are going to review and extend our conversation about the Ecclesiastes and Hemingway passages you have already read and written about (see Tuesday, February 27). For Tuesday re-read first the Ecclesiastes passage, and then go on to read the essay about Ecclesiastes' style/voice here. We will have a mini-quiz on that passage on Tuesday, and that essay will help you prepare for that quiz. Having read that well enough to pass a quiz, then reread the Hemingway passage and then:

Writing: I know that you have already written something about the Hemingway passage, but I now want you to go back to Hemingway and write about the ways his style is like the style of Ecclesiastes. The two passages are obviously not written in exactly the same style, but there are similarities. As a story (like "Cat in the Rain") written after the first World War, Hemingway's story is trying to do some of the same things Ecclesiastes is doing: such as to engage the question of how life is or is not just vanity, just an empty thing instead of the brightly colored object so many human beings want or hope it to be. (His best novel in my view is "The Sun Also Rises," also written about this time, though I won't ask you to read that here!) After fighting in a war of senseless slaughter in which over 40,000,000 people were killed or wounded (that is 1,000,000 more people than the entire population of the state of California--the largest state by population in the nation), huge numbers of soldiers and civilians found themselves questioning whether there was any meaning in the world at all, whether life was not just an empty and barren wasteland [as T.S. Eliot called his most famous poem], devoid of meaning or value. In his own understated way, Hemingway says nothing directly about any of this, but it lies behind every word of those opening paragraphs. Can you see where and how it shows up?

So having reread the two pieces, write about similarities one might see between Hemingway's voice/style in this story and the voice/style of Ecclesiastes. Be as specific as you can!! (This may seem challenging, but do your best and we'll see what we all come up with.)

Thursday, March 1

Reading: On the Blackboard there are a pair of essays on Metaphor. Read the first of these two, on literary metaphor (the second is on conceptual metaphor—we won't be dealing with that in this class). Then go on to the Writing Assignment below.

Writing: After reading about how metaphors work, read "Cat in the Rain" —a two-page short, short story by Ernest Hemingway (I have sent it out as a pdf file—write me if you can't find it). As you read, look for any word that is connected with "cat." Once you have finished reading the story, then go back and first underline each and every reference to any sort of cat (not just the cat that is out in the rain), and second, write about how you think "cat" functions as a metaphor in the story. What features of cats does Hemingway invite you to transfer, and what features does he NOT invite you to transfer? (Hint: what is relevant early in the story may not be 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 (you can become that NEXT week!), 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.

Tuesday, Feb 27

Reading: The Speaker in the Text, beginning where you left off last week, at SPEAKER ANALYSIS--Step 1 and running through the end, and then the two passages for analysis given below. For those two style passages—print them out double spaced. Then look at the structure of the sentences in each passage, along with the kinds of words each passage uses. Annotate your print out. Pick a sentence from each selection that seems to stand out in some way.


1. At the end of The Speaker in the Text you'll find Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, one of the most famous speeches ever made at any time and in any language. Your challenge is to read the address (it's only 11 sentences long) and, first, characterize the style—how would you describe the speaker? What adjectives would fit?—and then go on to noticing various words and phrases that seem particularly important. Print out the speech and underline what in your reading are key phrases, and then for three of them, try to explain why Lincoln chose to use them. Don't worry if you find this confusing; pretty much everyone does when they are just getting started with stylistic analysis. But you will have had an introduction with the Declaration of Independence, and then again with the texts Dr. Rompogren will have introduced you to.

2. Then, using the Checklist from the Speaker in the Text to guide your work, please read the two passages below, and then come up with 3-5 adjectives for each to describe the speaker's voice.  Then try to explain in a short paragrapy each how the passages are written so as to cause that voice to emerge. The voices in the two passages are really quite different, and I'd like you to see how far you can get in explaining the effects of suchpassages.

All of this will be drawing on all of the knowledge you've developed to this point in the course: sound, word choice/etymology, and syntax. Now we are putting that technical introduction to work as a way to think about how your language knowledge can help you become a stronger reader, and indirectly, writer, too.

1. Ecclesiastes, from the Bible, King James Version

Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth forever. The sun also riseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again to his circuits. All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. All things are full of labor; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. The thing which hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

2. Ernest Hemingway, from “Big Two-Hearted River”

Nick looked at the burned-over stretch of hillside, where he had expected to find the scattered houses of the town and then walked down the railroad track to the bridge over the river. The river was there. It swirled against the log piles of the bridge. Nick looked down into the clear, brown water, colored from the pebbly bottom, and watched the trout keeping themselves steady in the current with wavering fins. As he watched them they changed their positions by quick angles, only to hold steady in the fast water again. Nick watched them a long time.

He watched them holding themselves with their noses into the current, many trout in deep, fast moving water, slightly distorted as he watched far down through the glassy convex surface of the pool, its surface pushing and swelling smooth against the resistance of the log-driven piles of the bridge. At the bottom of the pool were the big trout. Nick did not see them at first. Then he saw them at the bottom of the pool, big trout looking to hold themselves on the gravel bottom in a varying mist of gravel and sand, raised in spurts by the current.

Thusday, Feb 22 (ATTENTION: today's class will meet from 2:30 to 3:20--and not our normal 1:30-3:20.)

Today we will have a second guest lecturer, Professor Colette Moore of our English Department. She will be introducing a second strand in what we'll be doing for the last two weeks of the course: language change. Our emphasis will be dialects of English, but Dr Moore will introduce this with a pair of in-class exercises—one with English and one with a related set of Polonesian languages.

Reading and Writing: nothing BEFORE class, but after class I want you to write a one-two page response/account reflecting your understanding of today's class and using it to think about either a phonetic element of your own speech that varies from "Standard English" or about something you can connect from these exercises to what you did in your last class with Justina and "Style." (I will collect these at the beginning of class on February 27th.)

Tuesday, Feb 20

Reading: Click on the link in this sentence and read the opening sections of The Speaker in the Text, through to the end of the Speaker Checklist. (That's the first 15 paragraphs; you can stop when you reach Speaker Analysis--Step 1)

Today we'll have a guest in class: Dr Justina Rompogren, a professor at North Seattle College and a graduate of the UW. She will be introducing you to stylistic/rhetorical analysis. This is a key first step in building skills to be successful on the final to be held in just one month's time.

Thursday, Feb 15

Second Midterm (Sorry that it's the day after Valentine's Day!)

This midterm will focus on syntax. You may bring your Mini-grammar sheet with you to the exam, and you may write whatever you would like on the BACK of that sheet. ONLY handwritten notes are acceptable.

Tuesday, Feb 13

Review day: Here are five sentences to do before the in-class review for the Midterm to be held on the 15th—the fifth is there as a bonus. Try it, and we'll see how many can figure it out (the Hint will help!) :

1. The kids asked my neighbor for candy everyday.

2. I have learned that for someone to know first-aid can save a life.

3. The burglar remembered that he had left his phone at his victim’s house.

4. For my iphone to be stolen by a pickpocket annoyed me greatly.

5. I gained weight everyday because I took powerful vitamin pills.

Hint for #5: you will need to use “ADV —>sub conj S”—where "sub conj" means subordinating conjunction like since, after, and, here, because [you can review this by rereading the last paragraphs of How We Make Sentences: The Basics of English Language Constituent Structure, Section 3].

I will also make up a key for this exercise and will send it out to you all later tomorrow; you can check your work with the key, and bring questions to class.

See you soon...!

Thursday, Feb 8

Reading: How We Make Sentences: The Basics of English Language Constituent Structure part 4. This is about relative clauses. We talked a little about them on Tuesday, and on Thursday I'll show you how one would integrate them into the grammar we now already know, but I won't be asking you to diagram sentences with relative clauses in them. They will, however, show up in the style readings we will soon be looking at.

Writing: Here are some sentences to diagram for Thursday:

1. I met you for the first time by the old millstream.

2. The car was driven erratically by a tall blond halfback.

3. The Sheriff's having left town meant that citizens would be defending themselves.

4. My car's being destroyed by a falling rock meant that I had lost my savings.

Tuesday, Feb 6

Reading: How We Make Sentences: The Basics of English Language Constituent Structure parts 2 and 3.

Part 2 introduces the way English is able to use whole sentences as if they were single words--something we covered in class on Thursday. That's a very weird idea, but nevertheless you do it every single day. It's called "embedding" one sentence inside another, and doing it successfully depends on your mind's being able to treat a whole sentence as if it were a single item.

Part 3 introduces adverbials, another big part of the syntax of English. The key notion is that the "adverbial function" can actually be performed in three very different ways: by morphological adverbs (like slowly, inadvertently, or beautifully), by prepositional phrases (like in a second, or around the corner), or by whole sentences (like after he left the room, or because she wanted a cat). We'll illustrate all of this on Tuesday.


Diagram the following sentences:

1. The clever young woman invented an extremely complex alphabet.

2. The happy child played a happy game.

3. Many people believe that hard work builds character.

4. For a child to solve math problems requires that a parent gives help.

Thursday, Feb 1

OPTIONAL Assignment (for your amusement only):

Sometimes a comedian can teach something that is actually serious about morphemics. Here's an effort to clarify the strange meanings that surround the American English word "ass" (don't click on this if you wish to avoid a certain amount of obscenity) (and while you are at it, you might look up the etymology of "obscene"):

Reading: We have looked at (and listened to) the ways in which our brains handle sounds and words; it's now time to look at how our brains put words into the sequences we call sentences. So for next time, read Part 1 of How We Make Sentences: The Basics of English Language Constituent Structure. We will read the other parts of Basics of English Language Constituent Structure as we make our way over the next two weeks with sentences.

Writing: (REVISED) After reading Part 1's description of basic English sentences, write out constituent structure description of sentences 1 and 2 (see example of a constituent structure description below):

1. Mary fixes cars.

2. The old building collapsed. 

Example of a constituent structure description for:

A healthy child needs calcium.

This is a simple sentence whose subject NP is "A healthy child" and whose predicate VP is "needs calcium." Each of those phrases each has more than one constituent, the following phrase structure descriptions list them:


NP = det adj N


NP = N

Attention: This may all seem like math, which will please some of you. For the rest, you'll pick it up pretty fast, so don't worry if it isn't completely clear at first.

Tuesday, January 30

Midterm #1

Thursday, January 25


Class handout for Etymology Project. If you missed class, click here

Today will be review and looking forward to the Midterm on this coming Tuesday. We will have a mini-exam to make sure you are ready for Tuesday next, and we'll set additional office hours for review sessions.

Tuesday, January 23

Reading: LNL Chapter 6, pp.110-114 (end of paragraph at top of page [last word "unchanged']); Phonological Rules on the Blackboard.

Writing. 1. Create a phonemic transcription of Shakespeare's Sonnet 116 (we will have done the first few lines in class). 2. Then as best you can do a phonetic transcription of the first quatrain.

We will have introduced that process in class, but it takes a while to get the knack for doing it. Don't worry if it feels as though you don't get it all right. Remember: phonemes are the units your brain translates what it hears into; phones are the actual sounds that we speakers hear and utter.

Shakespeare's Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments; Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove.

Oh, no! It is an ever-fixèd mark,

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Thursday, January 11

Reading: LNL Chapter 6, pp. 99-110.

Writing: Exercise B 1-11

Tuesday, January 9

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


Your Language Self-Profile, Step 1

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 pragmatics, or, 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 them to bring to a given speech situation (the variation or diversity or creativity we display as speakers), on the other. Your job in this assignment is to create a profile of yourself as a speaker that describes both the ways in which your idiolect (a word that means "the version of English that is distinctive to you") is like and is unlike that of other speakers. As much uniformity as there is among speakers of any language, there is also a huge range of differences. You will be relating your idiolect to general American Northwest English—the basic dialect of English we will be using in this classroom.

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 making yourself 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 (although an unconscious one!) 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 as best you can—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 first designed by Professor Colette Moore.)