English | Introduction to the English Language
G205 | 8943 | Michael Adams

Michael Adams

8943 - 1:25p-2:15p MWF (30 students) 3 cr.

This course serves as an introduction to the English language in all
of its formal aspects: phonetics and phonology (sounds and sound
system), morphology and lexicology (the structure of words and
vocabularies), syntax (the structure of phrases, clauses, and
sentences), semantics (meaning), discourse (the structure of
conversation and other extended speech), and style (the linguistic
aspects of literature and other writing, as well as stylized
speech). We will also consider variation in English, how the
language has developed over time, and the politics of usage.

Language is so natural to us that we use it and judge it without
thinking about it much. Obviously, educated folks should be
thoughtful about language, which, after all, is central to our
social, professional, and intellectual lives. This course will help
you to think more precisely about language as a natural and social
phenomenon; it will introduce you to the forms and functions of
English in particular; it will inform your use of the language, but
also your judgments about others’ use; it will prepare some of you
to teach about English, some of you to write about it, and all of
you to participate in public debate about the role of English (and
language generally) in American culture.

The text is Anne Curzan and Michael Adams, How English Works: A
Linguistic Introduction (AB Longman, 2006). Coursework includes
frequent quizzes, three examinations (including the final), and two
brief essays (5-8 pages).