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Peter Hess, Chair 2505 University Avenue, Burdine Hall 336, Mailcode C3300, Austin TX 78712-1802 • 512-471-4123

Fall 2009

GRC 327E • Language, Culture, and the Texas-German Experience-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
38650 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
BUR 337

Course Description

Have you ever wondered why German is spoken in places like New Braunfels and Fredericksburg, Texas? This course explores the relationship between immigrants in the U.S. and their languages and cultures, as pertains to the German speaking immigrants who came to Texas starting in the 1840s. Readings, discussions, and assignments will explore the following questions, among others: • What are the linguistic and cultural consequences of immigration? • How are immigrant languages changed by contact with the host country's language - and vice versa? • What generalizations can be made about language choice and functions, language learning, and inter-lingual communication in immigrant settings? • What effect do national policies have on immigrants and their languages? • What is the relationship between language and identity? • What are the advantages and disadvantages of bilingual education?

Discussing topics such as cultural identity, language contact, and language maintenance and shift, we will focus on immigration in the United States, with particular reference to German speakers in Texas. Linguistic insights are augmented by relevant work from historians, anthropologists, and geographers. This course fulfills the University's requirements for a course with a Significant Writing Component. Although helpful, no knowledge of German is required since the course is taught in English. All texts are in English

Grading Policy

Weekly readings: ca. 40-60 pages of articles from the linguistic, anthropological, and historical literature (in course pack) dealing with Texas Germans. The final grade (using plus/minus grading system) will consist of the following components: 1. Class participation and homework: 10% 2. Midterm exam: 10% 3. Four essays (one of which needs to be revised and turned in by the last class day), totaling at least 16 pages: 60% 4. Final exam: 20% 5. Extra credit project: Scanning ca. 50 pages of Texas German materials (images, newspapers, letters, diaries, etc.) from local Texas German organizations: 5%

Formatting of papers: Papers need to be printed (clearly, preferably on a laser printer), in 12 pt. Times New Roman, single spaced, with 1" margins on top, bottom, left and right.


Course Packet on electronic reserve ( Password(s) will be announced in class. Optional on-line tool: Texas German timeline (beta-stage, not all information is 100% accurate yet):


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