E 323L • English As a World Language
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
English is presently spoken by 5.4% of the world's population. It has no equal at present for being the most widely used language, though this has not always been the case and may not always be so. We will look at the steps that brought English to this position over the last three centuries, at the role earlier English has played in competition with other languages, and at what might be the core features of English and what alters or preserves them, sometimes through the English-language media outside this country. The focus in this course is on the description of the past and current varieties of the language, not on the politics of ESL use and planning. Topics will include a brief review of the history of English as a first language since 1066; the history of English as a second or official language (including a look at English loanwords in other languages); the distinctive features of English over time and space: sounds, inflections, and grammar; the spoken and the written varieties, with some attention to register and vocabulary; and brief case studies from among the following environments: Australia, India, Tok Pisin and Sranan, West and South Africa, Canada, Chicano English, and Estuary English.
Midterm (20%); Comprehensive Final (25%); Quizzes (10%-20%) given as necessary to check progress on reading; One essay on a prescriptive rule of grammar, its history, and its descriptive instantiation on websites, news services, and other current media (1-page abstract and statement of problem; 3-page preliminary draft; 5-7-page final version with full sources) (25% total); One presentation (with selective bibliography and sentence outline) leading a discussion on a variety of World English (2 pages/10 minutes) (10%)
David Crystal, English as a Global Language 2nd ed 2003 (Cambridge UP); Peter Trudgill and Jean Hannah, International English, 5th ed. 2008, with downloadable MP3 (Edward Arnold,); Coursepack (Foster, Romaine, Penfield, Burridge and Mulder, Hickey, Kourtmann and Schneider, etc.).