History of American English|
Spring 2021 not offered
What is American English and how did it get to be what it is? This course will begin with the general history and development of the English language, looking at central issues such as sound (e.g., the Great Vowel Shift, Grimms Sound Change laws), sense (e.g., grammar, vocabulary, usage), and standardization (e.g., orthography, dictionaries). What makes our particular kind of English "American"? We will learn about the role of different groups in its development: Native Americans, African Americans, and immigrant languages of various kinds, including Yiddish and Spanish. In addition, we will analyze the workings of class, youth culture, and gender. Throughout, the class will examine questions at the heart of our language debates: a "national language," "Ebonics," and bilingual education. If English is today the international "lingua franca," is American English particularly the language of power? What are the different kinds of power exerted by, for instance, business English and slang?
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AMST)
Subject to modification; please consult with Wesleyan/R.J. Julia Bookstore for final list.
Albert C. Baugh, HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
Robert MacNeil and William Cran, DO YOU SPEAK AMERICAN?
SPANGLISH: THE MAKING OF A NEW AMERICAN LANGUAGE
Shelley Fisher Fiishkin, WAS HUCK BLACK
H. Samy Alim and Geneva Smitherman, ARTICULATE WHILE BLACK
|Examinations and Assignments: |
2 short essays, in-class midterm, final exam, in-class presentation
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
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