The English Language in America
Linguistics / English 305
English 305 is a course in American English, its origins, its regional and social dialects, and its role in
American history and in such institutions as schools, corporations, government, and the media.
course will first examine general and theoretical aspects of language, with special attention paid to
Language acquisition is the next key focus of the course; we’ll look both at first- and second-
language acquisition theories, comparing and contrasting the two processes and examining personal
experiences in light of recent scholarship.
Then we will turn to language variation and change,
looking at regional, social, and ethnic dialects, as well as historical changes and developments in
And finally the course will explore English in context of various settings, e.g. in the media, in
technology, on the sports page, in pop culture, in religious circles, in literature . . . .
Attendance and Participation
Come to class; come to class having read and thought about the material to be discussed.
respectful of others when offering your own positions.
One five- to seven-page paper on a topic concerning language is worth twenty percent of your course
The paper need not be a research paper, but it must have a thesis.
Please type out your thesis
and submit it to me before you begin writing.
If you change the thesis while writing, you MUST have
your new thesis approved as well.
Please use MLA format.
Course grades will be A – F with NO plus/minus option. Two midterms, one paper, and a final
examination will determine your final grades:
Late Papers and Makeup Exams
I offer makeup exams only to students with compelling and documented absences.
These students must
take the exam
I pass back graded exams taken on the original test date and may take only ONE
makeup exam per semester. Additionally, I do not return makeup exams—students may, however,
review them with me in my office.
Late papers drop one letter grade for every twenty-four hours they are not in my possession.
consider a paper that has been time-stamped, initialed by a Department secretary, and placed in my
Department mailbox as within my possession.)
The only extra credit points available in this course are on the exams—this is the only extra
In order to earn extra credit points, you must take the exam at your regularly-
scheduled exam time.
Please turn all pagers and cell phones on vibrate and power off all electronic games
need to make or respond to an emergency call during class, please quietly leave the room to
During exams, all electronics and cell phones must be powered off and off your