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

Fall 2004

E 360K • English Grammar

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
33030 MWF
1:00 PM-2:00 PM
PAR 203

Course Description

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. Constitutive rules are radically different from regulative rules. Constitutive rules of grammar define the inherent nature of the language; regulative rules, on the other hand, are imposed upon the language to dictate what is to be preferred and avoided in the manipulation of that language. This 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. The course does not include any attention to “mechanics” (spelling, punctuation, and capitalization). 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 phase structure analysis of English syntax. Students learn tests for constituents and for relationships between constituents that are objectively verifiable, and they learn principles of categorization for lexical and phrasal constituents. They use these tests and principles to analyze sentences and justify their analyses.

Grading Policy

Exercises 35%; Project 20%; Three syntax tests 45%
(Points may be added or deducted on the basis of class performance)


Stagebert, Norman C., and Dallin D. Oaks, An Introductory English Grammar, 5th ed., Fort Worth: Harcourt College Publishers, 2000
One course packet available from Speedway Printing in Dobie Mall


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