ENGL 3100 Readings on the English Language


Catalog Description

Pre- or co-requisite: ENGL 2900. Introduction to the analytic study of the English language through history and structure of spoken and written varieties of English, including background on the literary history of English and the history of English lexicography and grammatology; investigations of stylistic and rhetorical features of major authors as a means of determining authorship. May include a civic learning option.

Course Description

Examination of the principle tenets of modern structuralism and its offshoots—transformational syntax, sociolinguistics, areal linguistics, and linguistic typology—through the use of professional publications.  The application of these principles to contemporary criticism, rhetorical theory, and their historical developments from the Renaissance through the Victorian period are also examined, giving the students a view of the issues and concerns which shaped the evolution of modern linguistic thought.   Possible primary texts include: David and Yvonne Freeman, Essential Linguistics; Virginia Clark, et al, Language: Readings in Language and Culture; Edward Finegan, Language: Its Structure and Use; and Laurie Bauer and Peter Trudgill, Language Myths.

Learning Outcomes

  1. demonstrate knowledge of the nature of human language, differences among languages, the universality of linguistic structures, and language change across time, locale, and communities
  2. demonstrate knowledge of word analysis, including sound patterns (phonology) and inflection, derivation, compounding, roots and affixes (morphology)
  3. demonstrate knowledge of sentence structures (syntax), word and sentence meanings (semantics), and language function in communicative context (pragmatics)
  4. demonstrate the ability to consult general and specialized reference materials (e.g., college-level dictionaries, rhyming dictionaries, bilingual dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of words and/or determine or clarify their precise meaning, part of speech, etymology, and/or standard usage
  5. apply knowledge of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases
  6. apply knowledge of Greek, Latin, and Anglo-Saxon roots and affixes to draw inferences concerning the meaning of scientific and mathematical terminology
  7. describe and explain cognitive elements of reading and writing processes (e.g., decoding and encoding, constructing meaning, recognizing and using text conventions of different genres)
  8. recognize conventions of English orthography and changes in word meaning and pronunciation

Course Outline

Listed below is a sample schedule for this course.

The Structures of English. Topics may include the following: The Structures of English (Phonology, Morphology, Syntax, and Semantics) with Close Attention to Varieties of Southern California English, the Principles of American Structuralism, the Development of Modern Linguistic Theory, and historical trajectories of Rhetorical Theory.

Language variation and change. Topics may include the following: Labov and the Sociology of Language, Registers and Genres, Areal and Typological Approaches, The Nineteenth Century Revolution (Neogrammarians), The History of English and its Historical Sources.

The development of English grammatical and literary traditions. Topics may include the following: Samuel Johnson and the first Dictionary, Noah Webster and the making of American English, Shakespeare, the Bible and the Basis of Literacy, Chaucer, Caxton and Foundations English Grammatology

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