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English 560

Winter, 2020

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!!

Thursday, Marcy 5

Reading: C and A: World English, Chapter 14, pp. 467-484.

Writing: That's a relatively short reading, and it touches on and may give a divergent view of readings some of you may have already read. Once you've read the pages, think of three questions you are left with about the issues of World English. I'm sure you know that there are complicated cultural issues that many have felt moved to explore. What from your point of view are some of these? You don't need to have an answer, though you very well might have one. I'll have mine as well--we'll see where this takes us.

Tuesday, March 3

Reading: Collection of materials on AAVE. Review the AAVE section in Chapter 12.

Obviously, the issues on these pages raise issues that have huge claims on us at this point, so it's worth trying to think through as many of those issues as we can. Therefore, along with your readings for last week, and the materials on the AAVE page, and this article, we will take on Translingualism. And just to make it a little more diverse and more fun, we'll also view the first ten minutes of this TV show from the past.

Writing: For the film's 10 minutes, describe the speakers' dialect as fully as you can, noting shifts in pronunciations and grammatical shifts as well. That would be the dialect part of the assignment; but then go on to write a paragraph or two about the social linguistics here. We can then talk about whether this show should ever have been made!

Thursday, February 23

Reading: C and A Chapter 12, especially the last sections on Chicano and Black English. Then go on to the readings at AAVE.

I'm rewriting my pages on SAE; I'm not fully happy with its stance. It's an issue we should talk through, especially in what has been a changing window of attention to all of these issues.

Tuesday, February 25

Reading: C and A pp. 346-365 on dialects and 371-4 on code switching pages. The code-switching pages are a little hard to unscramble, but maybe you can follow them better than I! (Esp the Chinese/English examples!)

Writing: Write about whether and how the descriptions of dialectology lead you to think more about your own responses to dialect(s)--your own dialect and the dialects of others. Anecdotes are fine.

And/or, take on this piece: in the Washington Post of today is a story about an Oklahoma high school basketball announcer, announcing in a way that went seriously wrong. Click here for Post. Having read the piece use your reading of the current chapter's pages 1) to make a list of the linguistic issues involved and 2) write for two or three of the issues you cite an explanation of how and why it relates to the reading for today.

Thursday, February 20

Reading: C and A pp. 274-94 (I know I said I didn't much like this chapter, but I just reread it and it's better than I remembered.)

And a couple of sentences for good measure....

1. The woman who gave the lecture had written a best-selling novel before she had reached her twenty-first birthday.

2. After the acceptance speech had been given, the audience that had been patient for a long time disappeared into the night. (This one may be challenging....)

Tuesday, February 18

Reading: Last week we introduced stylistics, the study of how writers create particular voices in their texts, and why they make the language choices they do. Today we'll take that farther. Read through the rest of the chapter and decide what you think the most interesting/compelling/useful section is.

You've already read A Matter of Style, but you might return to the Style Checklist. We've talked about all of those elements, or most, at any rate, and seen examples of some already.

Writing: Then look at two passages below and try to answer as best you can those 4 questions as they apply to the passages. The passages are again contrastive, just as were the two paragraphs we read in class last Thursday, though they also share much. It is worth remembering that Hemingway's first novel was titled "The Sun Also Rises, a title drawn from this very part of Ecclesiastes.

Last time we were comparing the opening of Dickens' novel Oliver Twist with the opening of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, and you could hardly find more contrastive voices/styles. One is formal, educated, organized, under full control; the other is slangy, disorganized, resistant, in parts angry and afraid. One is of a mature man, the other is that of a teenager. One is perfectly proper and ironic, the other is emotional, resistant--indeed, a voice almost the opposite of Dickens' character.

So look at the passages below and do the same kind of analysis that we did with Dickens and Salinger. First find adjectives that describe each passage and then second, look for the elements of style in the paragraphs that create those effects. Some of you are still new to this, so don't worry about being right, but do your best to see how these pieces create their speakers' voices and how they differ. (To know what sort of an "essay" I want, I give undergrads the paragraphs below. For you guys, too, I don't need polished essays. ECI works pretty well at any level. You are going to be better able to see and characterize tone than my UGs, but you might find it interesting to know how I scaffold them into this part of the course.)

What do I want: Engaged Critical Intelligence (ECI) : My criterion for the daily exercise/response papers is “engaged critical intelligence,” or ECI. You don’t have to be “right,” and you don’t have to be polished. You don’t even have to solve entirely whatever problem I give you. But I do want to see real effort, even if it’s only to narrate for me the difficulties you are having as you try to come to grips with the assignment.

How Much Time Should You Spend Writing? In the past some students have spent more time and anxiety on these responses than is necessary. Please understand: although I genuinely do want you to take these exercises seriously, I’m not asking for finished "English Papers." I call them “response papers” to suggest that their purpose is to be responding with an Engaged Critical Intelligence both to the reading and to my question(s) about it—NOT writing a series of "papers."

In specific terms that means: I expect from you either TWO typed pages, or ONE FULLY ENGAGED HOUR of writing. If you want to spend more time than that—fine. Just don’t go over two pages, or, when posting on line, over the word-limit.

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.


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.



Thursday, February 13

Reading: C and A, Chapter 8, pp. 236-253, on Speech Act theory, Conversational Implicature, and the illustrative phenomena of Face, with exercises 8.1, 8.2, 8.3.

Writing: We will have worked with passives on Tuesday, too, so here are a few sentences with which you can test your mastery of the the passive/active voice.

1. The stolen car was driven by a tall blond car-thief.

2. The exam was completed by everyone before the bell rang.

3. The man whom you met believes that the moon was created by pixies.

4. Before the police arrived, the man from whom the money was taken inexplicably left the scene.

5. You are fired!

Tuesday, February 11

Reading: It is time to start looking at stylistics in a more systematic way than we have up to this point. So read the introduction to Stylistic Analysis on the Blackboard at Style Watch. At the end of that multi-pieced essay you'll find both the Gettysburg Address and a student essay analyzing it's stylistic choices. After reading the Address but before you read that student's essay, make notes yourself for an essay you might have written about the address. We looked at the Address in class last Thursday, and pointed out some of the language choices Lincoln made--but we didn't give the piece a full stylistic reading. Your task here is both to see what someone else has done, as well as to add a few paragraphs explaining what effects you have have been able to notice from the various choices this piece reflects. As a way to begin, come up with 3-5 adjectives to describe the "voice" projected by the prose, and then to explain as best they can what stylistic choices the writer (in this case Lincoln, of course) made to create the effects their adjectives describe.

Writing: Exercises with sentences: write out constituent structure diagrams ("trees") for the sentences below. Be sure to include a list of whatever operations/ transformations are necessary to reach the appropriate surface structure:

1. The man who plays with fire will burn his fingers badly someday.

2. After he had recognized the robber, Alex ran down the street because he feared retribution.

3. The phone that fell to the ground broke into many pieces.

4. Bill's having studied the material carefully helped him to a high grade as the quarter ended.

5. Because he took the light rail, the friend who knew Sally arrived early.

Tuesday, February 4

Reading: (Viewing): First, a short video that explains "frames" and their connection to metaphor. Think back to "Cat in the Rain," and think about the "frame" that is set there, and think, too, about how that frame isn't really the same as what Lakoff talks about. Write out as best you can what you see, and compare that to what we talked about with Hemingway's story. (Click here for video).

Once you have done that, go on to this next video which Lakoff gives to a room full of teachers. This is longer (about 40 minutes), and extends considerably what you have encountered in the first video. Again, write out in a page or two what you find engaging or confusing or useful or connectable (or anything else, for that matter!) to the kinds of problems teachers might well face and ought to know. (Click here for video.)

(Other) Writing:

Here are five relatively short sentences--see how you're doing mastering syntactic parsing and we'll go over them on Tuesday. :

1. For children to eat well ensures our clinic's goal.

2. The thief ran because he saw that a police car was approaching rapidly.

3. My having lost my wallet complicated my life.

4. With tears in my eyes, I believed her sad story. (*Why might we prefer this form of this sentence to the form without ADV movement?)

5. In the morning I will take my car to the garage.

Tuesday and Thursday, January 28-30

Reading: (Sorry to be late posting!)

I want to take two directions for the next weeks. On one hand I want to fill out the syntax we began with last week; on the other hand I want to get started with pragmatics, which means Chapters 7 and 8 along with readings on metaphor.

For the syntax, no reading necessary until we turn to Stylistics.

For the metaphor, two things: for tomorrow my own introduction to Poetic and Conceptual metaphor (click here), and for Thursday Lakoff and Johnson's summary (click here) of their arguments given full treatment in Metaphors We Live By (1980).

This last piece is almost 50 pp, but the print is big, and it is not as wonky as what you will watch next week. What we'll take up next are the cognitive issues that the study of metaphor has led to and how they relate to teaching as well as thinking.

Writing: Notes about questions you have from the readings.

For Thursday

We are talking about metaphor this week. After reading the account of how metaphors work at here, read "Cat in the Rain"(click on link) —a two-page short, short story by Ernest Hemingway. As you read, look for any word that is connected with "cat." Once you have finished reading the story, you might 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.

Thursday, January 23

Reading: Morphology Chapter. You can also read the "short and sweet" recap of that chapter at Morphology on the 370 Blackboard page. Reading the chapter will familiarize you with the concepts, and the recap will point to the truly signiticant information. For our purposes, I don't think you need more than that.

Writing: Do a morphological analysis of the first four lines of either sonnet 116 or 138.

Thursday, January 16

Reading: C&A, pp.73-82 (end of the paragraphs on Metathesis), and 86-89. We'll next jump to syntax, so then read this intro page on phrase structure grammar: How We Make Sentences: The Basics of Constituent Structure. We'll look at examples in class. Some of you will have been introduced to one form or another of this largely Chomskian syntax. There isn't a "standard" pedagogical form of this grammar; every writing team has a different idea of what's necessary and what's dispensible. (I'd be interested in seeing the text for your TESOL grammar. It obviously needs to be a different kind of pedagogical grammar.)

Writing: This is what I assign my undergrads--look them over and see how challenging you would find them: Exercises 2, 3a, b, c, 3.4.4, 3.6, a,b,f,g,h from C&A.

Tuesday, January 14

Writing: First thoughts aboutversion of your Language Self-Profile (LSP)

Note: This is an assignment I borrow from Professor Colette Moore and make in English 370; I ask you to take a shot at it both to inform me better about who, as a language user (and for some, language teacher as well?) you are, and, more generally, what level of linguistic understanding this class as a group already has. This will help clarify what we do and don't need to look at closely over the next couple of weeks.

Reading: Chapter 3, from pp.62 to the end of the top paragraph on p.77.

These pages describe the physical system we human beings use to produce speech sounds--otherwise known as "phones." For this I want you to do two things.

1. Read pp.62-77 to familiarize yourself with the material, and then

2. See how well you can do with a "phonetic transcription" of the first 4 lines of the short poem below: Don't try to type your transcription--you will spend a lot of time trying to find the proper characters and it's not worth it. Write your transcription out by hand--and don't worry about how "correct" your transcription is. At this point I just want you to familiarize yourself with the material.

Looking Ahead: An Easter Poem

I asked a rabbit that I knew
To lay an Easter egg for you.
The air was filled with freezing frost;
The rabbit said to me, “Get lost!”

This Easter egg stuff is for the funnies,
We rabbits just have little bunnies. 
This information spoiled my day,
But Happy Easter anyway! 

This may confuse you--don't worry if it does. Just read through and get as much as you can! Then on Tuesday we will go over all of this material in class.


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 its history, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics, and then we’ll go on to look at its pragmatics, or, language in use—particularly the ways in which utterances can be meaningful in extra-literal ways.

You won't yet know a lot about yourself as an English user, but by the end of the course you will know a lot more. Your ultimate job in this assignment is to create a profile of yourself as a speaker that describes 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. At the end of the quarter 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 truly 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 1

Step 1 of the Language Self-Profile asks you to write a 2-3 page description of yourself as a user of English. Due next week on January 14, this will be your first step towards making yourself a “case study” for this quarter-long 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 the best verbal snapshot of your linguistic self you can. In the next few paragraphs I suggest things you can write about:

Start your linguistic life with the beginning of your linguistic life: is English your first language? 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? what are your challenges as a user of English? What "accent" do you think you have? What are your favorite words? Why? If you are a Multi-language speaker, think about your strengths as an English user, 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.

Ultimately, a good essay for this assignment 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 Step One, 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.

In 10 weeks' time you'll know a lot more and you'll be able write about more dimensions of your use of English--and that will be the end of course project.

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

Thursday, January 9

Reading: HEW: pp 1-13; 18-20; 23-27

Writing: Two Diagnostics. (These are not "tests." They are only there to help me locate better the ZPD for this group.)

First Diagnostic: In law school students are introduced to “issue spotting.” Given an outline of a certain state of affairs students must spot and describe the legal issues that could be litigated in one way or another. Here I’d like you to read through this article and assess what you see as the linguistic questions they raise. .

This is an assignment ostensibly based on “correctness” in language. But few things are as correct as they seem—some things that seem correct make little or no sense. Should we sanction such things or should we sanction them?(!). To get a sense of where all of us are on linguistic issues as we begin this course, read through the issues this piece raises and then: pick the three you think most interesting and briefly explain what linguistic issues arise.


Second Diagnostic: here are two passages to analyze for “voice.” Come up with 3-4 adjectives to describe the “voice” or “tone” of each. Then reread the passages and describe as best you can what elements of language create the voices you have described.

J. D. 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.

Charles 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.