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

Spring 2005

E 321L • American English

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
32055 MWF
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
PAR 301

Course Description

This course examines American English as a unique "branch" of the English language. It begins with an informal study of the historical development of American English followed by a contrastive study of American English and British English.

The remainder of the course focuses on the issues of linguistic imposition, status, power, and domination in the United States. American English developed from several transplanted varieties of British English, which competed with one another for acceptance and approval. Just as "standard American English" became dominant over other varieties of American English, American English itself became dominant over other languages spoken within the boundaries of the US. The course studies the issue of linguistic domination by focusing on institutionalized linguistic discrimination. It systematically targets select groups of Americans while exempting others from discrimination even though they do not speak “Standard English.”

Grading Policy

A paper on an Americanism 25%
A paper on your linguistic heritage 25%
Homework excercises 20%
An investigation of linguistic discrimination 20%
Class performance 10%


Bryson, Bill, Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States, New York: Avon, 1994
Lippi-Green, Rosina, English with an Accent: Language, Ideology, and Discrimination in the United States, New York and London: Routledge, 1997
Totti, Gunnel, An Introduction to American English, Oxford: Blackwell, 2002


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