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

Fall 2008


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35610 W
6:00 PM-9:00 PM
MEZ 1.104

Course Description

Varieties of English in Texas L. Hinrichs, Spring 2008 Course description With original fieldwork as an integral part of the requirements, this course is designed as a hands-on survey of English in Texas. It will attend to regional variation as well as variation in language contact situations among bidialectal and bilingual communities. The most recent large-scale survey of variation in Texas English was conducted over four decades ago, and focused on lexical variation within Texas (Atwood 1962). While updating these findings on the lexicon is one legitimate goal of the course, we will also be interested in ongoing change on the level of phonology and syntax, and how they make the dialects of Texas more like one another or more distinct. Ethnically specific varieties of English are in many cases undergoing change even more rapidly than mainstream varieties. Both African-American Vernacular English and English in bilingual communities, where it is in contact with, for example, Spanish, German, Swedish, or Czech, allow studies of highly dynamic dialect development. This course will function as an introduction to sociolinguistic fieldwork. It is designed to be accessible for students of linguistics as well as other disciplines. Its interest in the language and culture of Texas can complement work in Southern American and Hispanic language and culture as well as in sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology. Wolfram & Schilling-Estes will serve as introductory sociolinguistic text, and other selected readings in sociocultural linguistics will be supplied as needed. Atwood, Elmer B. 1962. The Regional Vocabulary of Texas. Austin: U of Texas P. Wolfram, Walt and Natalie Schilling-Estes. American English: Dialects and Variation. 2nd edition. Malden, MA: Blackwell. Requirements Students will conduct their own fieldwork at a locale in Texas in consultation with the instructor (30%). They will be asked to give a progress report and a final report about the project in class (10% each). The term paper will be an analysis of the data gathered in fieldwork (20-25 pages, 40 %). Active participation in class and occasional reading reports count for the remaining 10% of the final grade.


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