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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Fall 2008

E 360K • English Grammar

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35362 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
PAR 204

Course Description

English Grammar examines the syntax or structure of present-day English. Its major aim is to encourage students to think about the English language and English grammar in a new way.

The term "grammar" describes both the linguistic knowledge that speakers of English share (an internalized or mental "grammar") and any representation of linguistic conventions (a "grammar" or model of English). Thus one course aim is to make explicit the syntactic conventions speakers of English know unconsciously (Why do you interpret "Igor ran up a hill" differently than "Igor ran up a bill"?). A second course goal is to study ways of modeling language structure (How should we describe the linguistic conventions you just applied?). We will use traditional terminology as we investigate English syntax for some of the course, but we will also draw on the methods of generative grammar, especially as we consider alternative explanations for language structure and for linguistic knowledge. A final course aim is to consider English syntax in context. So we will also briefly discuss syntactic variation in American English (regional and class differences in speech), attitudes toward language variation (why speakers correct each other), and controversies involving English usage.

Grading Policy

Course grades are calculated in two ways; the instructor counts the highest calculation as your final course average. Calculation #1: 10% of the grade based on informed and relevant class participation; 15% based on quizzes; 75% based on exams (35% each for a midterm and a comprehensive final). Calculation #2: 10% of the grade based on class participation; 90% based on exams (45% each for a midterm and a comprehensive final). The purpose of this system is to ensure that students can use quizzes as genuine learning opportunities. That is, you can use quizzes to improve your grade, but if you're temporarily confused about something on a quiz you won't be penalized for that in your final average.

A grade of C will indicate work that meets all the basic course requirements; A's and B's are honors grades, designating work of some distinction. Grades are based only on work assigned to everyone in the class; no extra credit work can be accepted.


--Martha Kolln and Robert Funk, Understanding English Grammar, Allyn and Bacon, 7th ed.
--Crystal, David. The Fight for English: How Language Pundits Ate, Shpt, and Left.
--Course packet (available at Speedway Copy in Dobie Mall or on-line through electronic reserves).


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