LINGUIST List 7.1646

Fri Nov 22 1996

Sum: Intro. Ling. in an undergraduate English Dept.

Editor for this issue: Susan Robinson <robinsonemunix.emich.edu>


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  1. "REBECCA S. WHEELER", SUM: Intro. Ling. in an undergraduate English Dept.

Message 1: SUM: Intro. Ling. in an undergraduate English Dept.

Date: Tue, 19 Nov 1996 09:52:16 MST
From: "REBECCA S. WHEELER" <RSWHEELERcc.weber.edu>
Subject: SUM: Intro. Ling. in an undergraduate English Dept.

Early in October, I posted a query to LINGUIST asking

"for ideas on how to convince an English faculty who is unfamiliar and
uncomfortable with Linguistics that an Intro to Linguistics class is
an important part of an English major and a major in English Teaching
in the secondary schools."

I received generous and thoughtful replies from many people:

Alford, Dan Moonhawk		dalfordhaywire.csuhayward.edu
Ball, Catherine N. 		cballguvax.georgetown.edu
Brew, Chris:			chrisbrcogsci.ed.ac.uk
Clark, Billy. 		BILLY1mdx.ac.uk
Coleman, Linda			Linda_K_COLEMANumail.umd.edu
Daniels, Peter: 		pdanielspress-gopher.uchicago.edu
Delin, Judy. 			jld1stir.ac.uk
Godden, Kurt:			goddenlgm.cs.gmr.com 
Haden Elgin, Suzette		oclssibylline.com
Hirshbuhler, Paul. 		hirschaix1.uottawa.ca
Hudson, Dick. 			dickling.ucl.ac.uk
Lawler, John M.	 		jlawlerumich.edu
Lee, Felicia:	 		FELICIAHUMnet.UCLA.
Lefkowitz, Daniel. 		lefkolark.cc.ukans.edu
Maxwell, Mike: 			Mike_Maxwellsil.org
Mueller, Nicole			SENNMhum2s.Cardiff.ac.uk
Nemoianu Anca. 			nemoianucua.edu
Ruuskanen , Deborah D K:	druuskancc.helsinki.fi
Silva, Marilyn 			msilva5haywire.csuhayward.edu
Tanner, R. Clay 		rctannerfalstaff.ucs.indiana.edu

The bulk of my summary is on the web at
www.weber.edu/wheeler, although I include a few items here:

a) a table of contents to my website
b) an outline categorizing the responses I received
c) a few words on how Intro to Lang is going in my department 
(very well)
______________

At <www.weber.edu/wheeler>, you'll find 5 documents: 

	1. What's here -- an overview (basically this email...)
	2. "Things linguistics lets you explore" 
		(2 pages - intended as front/back handout to 
		non-linguist colleagues)
	3. Linguistics in English.sum (9 pages)
	4. Linguistics in English.full-text (25 pages)
	5. Respondents and references

I describe #2 briefly below, and include the outline from #3, 
categorizing the responses people sent in.
______________

	2. "Things linguistics lets you explore", a categorized 
extract from the many responses I've received, is a romp through, 
well, things linguistics lets you explore. This one page handout 
(front and back) that I've been distributing to my English 
colleagues has been very well received. Literature and writing 
folks have found it both interesting and eye-opening, as it gives 
a pretty diverse range of arenas in which linguistics accessibly 
offers insights.

	3. Ling in English.Sum. An 8 page summary of the full 
comments, broken down by topic. Here's the outline:

QUESTION:
I. WHY AND HOW LINGUISTICS IN AN ENGLISH DEPT. 

ANSWERS:
II. INSIDE THE ACADEMY
 A. Ling and literature
	1. Ling as a tool of literary analysis
	2. Stylistics -- literary styles
	3. Ling, and cultural studies and lit. crit.
	4. Problems of interpretation -- ambiguity
	5. Language varieties/dialects in the interpretation of 
		literature
	6. The history of English
 B. Linguistics and the writing class room

III. INSIDE THE SCHOOLS: TEACHING ENGLISH IN 
	PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS
 A. Language acquisition -- teachers should be aware of when 
	a child is on target, and when not, in their language 
	development.
 B. Readibility, reading levels
 C. The multi-lingual classroom
 D. English teachers knowing grammar:
 E. Writing Grammar Textbooks for primary and secondary 
	schools

IV. IN THE WORLD OF WORK
 A. Understanding legal and political, commercial texts
 B. Linguistics helps in solving problems in technical writing

V. IN OUR SOCIETY AND CULTURE
 A. Dispelling myths about language:
 B. The influences of language on culture
	1.	language and gender
	2.	language and taboo
	3.	language and communication
	4.	humor in language
 C. Linguistics and language policy -- being conscious of 
	language variety

VI. WHY ELSE, LINGUISTICS IN AN ENGLISH DEPT?
 A. A broader perspective
 B. Linguistics as a tool for clarity and rigor of expression in 
	language

VII. WHAT'S IN A NAME?
 A. What the Department/Degree is called?
 B. Goals -- teaching language studies vs. teaching ling

_______________

Finally, things are going well at Weber State, I think, as regards 
Intro Ling in the English Curriculum. I've proposed, following U. 
MD's lead, that we shift the content from the linear presentation 
of particular linguistic theories to a more topics and applications 
based approach, emphasizing "the texture of data" (Linda 
Coleman, personal communication).

Thus, the 15 week syllabus would be split into "core" and 
"applications". (to vary by instructor).
	'core' areas -- 10 weeks: History of Engl; Present and 
future of Engl; Meaning & use; Grammar of the English 
sentence. 
	'applications' -- 5 weeks: (for example) Children and 
language; Language, mind and brain; language in social 
contexts; language and gender; language planning in America 
and the world). also possibilities -- language in advertising /in 
politics /in court, language in Sci Fi (see SuzetteHaden Elgin's 
newsletters on Linguistics in Sci Fi!).

The course's basic shape comes from the great syllabus 
Linda Coleman sent me on U. MD's Intro to Language (English 
Department). 

Finally, following her and several other people's suggestions 
(Delin, Moonhawk, Silva ...), we're changing the title from Intro 
to Ling to Intro to Lang, a change welcomed by the lit and 
teacher-ed faculty. 

I also hope to incorporate Moonhawk's approach of having 
students collect 5 minutes of conversation data, and allowing 
interest in discourse to motivate work in morphology, syntax, 
and phonetics/phonology. He talks about his course as being one 
of "linguistic mindfulness for everyone" -- a rich and useful 
image, seems to me.

This intro may well be required for all English majors, with a 4 
hr version be required for teaching majors. We'll also offer the 
electives, English Grammar, History of Engl, and Topics in 
Language Studies.


Thank you! Visit my website at <www.weber.edu/wheeler> for 
quotes from folks, and for a handout you might find useful.

rebecca wheeler
_________________________________________________

Rebecca S. Wheeler, Ph.D.
Department of English
Weber State University
Ogden, UTah 84408-1201

rswheelercc.weber.edu


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