E 360K • English Grammar (35420-35425)
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
The title of this course can create confusion since grammar has at least six commonly understood meanings in contemporary American English. This section of E/LIN 360K assumes that grammar means the characteristic system of inflections and syntax of the language as dictated by a system of constitutive rules that account for the structure of the language. The orientation of this section of 360K is descriptive, not prescriptive. The purpose of this section of 360K is to teach students to analyze the structure of sentences and to become more sophisticated in their understanding of language variation. It does not presume to teach them skills in the use of English. This section also assumes a fundamental distinction between the grammar of English and the mechanics of the writing system of English. If one assumes that E/LIN 360K is a "refresher" course in the kind of grammar typically taught in American primary and secondary schools, then one egregiously misunderstands the nature and function of this class.
The course begins with a brief, but critical, review of the traditional, Latinate description of English grammar to establish its numerous inadequacies. The course progresses with the development of a phrase structure analysis of English syntax. Students learn objectively verifiable tests for constituents, relationships between constituents, and functions of constituents; and they learn principles of categorization for lexical and phrasal constituents. They use these tests and principles to analyze sentences and to justify their analyses.
Approximately fifteen syntax exercises 25%
In-class quizzes over exercises from Introductory English Grammar 25%
Two or three syntax tests 50%
(Points may be added or deducted on the basis of class performance)
One course packet available from Speedway Printing in Dobie Mall
Stageberg, Norman C., and Dallin D. Oaks, An Introductory English Grammar, 5th ed. Fort Worth: Harcourt College Publishers, 2000.