E 360K • English Grammar
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
This course is an introduction to the grammar of written English. It deals initially with traditional methods of linguistic analysis, presenting them as groundwork for introducing Chomskyan or TG ("transformational-generative") grammar. Most of the course will consist of acquiring skills in this theory, using interpretations found in Radford and in Jacobs and Rosenbaum. An overview of basic linguistic theory will also be included, introducing and defining the concepts of phonology, morphology, semantics, syntax and lexicon.
The course is designed mainly, though not exclusively, for student teachers, and places especial emphasis on language attitudes and evaluation. Written, or "book" English will be presented as the dialect having the most widespread applicability and usefulness. It will not be presented as the "best" English, or as the only dialect that has "correct grammar," but rather as the one most appropriate in the greatest number of social contexts--that is, as a maximally useful tool.
Increasingly, teachers are dealing with speakers of vernacular English in their classrooms, i.e. ethnic, regional or immigrant dialects, but they are not always properly prepared to distinguish between "good" and "bad" English on the one hand, and "appropriate" and "inappropriate" English on the other. For example, the general reaction to I might could do it and I could might do it is that they are both "bad" English, though the reason for that decision is different for each sentence.
It is a sociolinguistic maxim that our attitudes towards an individual's language or dialect are really a reflection of our attitude towards the group that that individual belongs to. Students have often been penalized for using their natural speech, especially if it differs markedly from the written dialect, and this can have its origin in attitudes we may have, whether we're teachers or not, to different American populations. Part of the course will ask us to confront those attitudes, and will include ways to deal with them.
Four in-class, closed book, period-long written tests across the semester
80% Attendance and participation 20%
None, but a reading list will be provided.