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55AC-Fall2007syllabus - Linguistics 55AC The American...

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Linguistics 55AC – The American Languages Fall 2007 (MWF, 3:00-4:00 PM in Room 145 Dwinelle) Course Syllabus Wesley Y. Leonard, Instructor E-mail: wyl at berkeley dot edu (please put “55AC” and a description of the message’s contents in the subject line of all e-mail) Office: 1223 Dwinelle (Level A, most easily accessed from the building’s northwest entrance (closest to the Valley Life Sciences Building)) Office Hours: Wednesday 1:00-2:00 and 4:15-5:15, and by appointment Course Website: accessible via bspace.berkeley.edu GSIs: (GSI Office: 1314 Dwinelle) Donna Fenton (dfenton at berkeley dot edu) Allegra Giovine (giovine at berkeley dot edu) Sections (mandatory and important!): Tuesday, 8-9 Tuesday, 4-5 Wednesday, 9-10 Wednesday, 4-5 Thursday, 9-10 Thursday, 10-11 *Please see schedule.berkeley.edu for section rooms, and note that there will likely be some room changes within the first four weeks of the semester.* Course Overview Linguistics 55AC presents a history and portrait of languages in the United States and explores the social, educational, and political issues that surround them. As you are all users of at least one “American language”, your personal language backgrounds and language ideologies are a fundamental part of this course. The themes we will discuss revolve around us, our co-existence as language users, and how our beliefs shape language practices. The nature of the course requires an ongoing dialogue to allow us to reflect critically on these themes; thus participation in class is crucial, and attendance is required. The course is organized around a four-way categorization of languages: indigenous (Native American) languages, colonial languages (those that arrived from Europe during the colonial days before the United States was formed), immigrant languages (those that came later), and new languages (e.g., Hawaiian Pidgin and American Sign Language), which developed here. Underlying these categories is the question of what makes individual American languages distinct in terms of their history and social status, but also a related question of what they have in common beyond the geographic classification of “American”. English (one of the colonial languages) has an especially large role within the United States, and we will examine it in further detail in terms of its geographic and social dialects, including a special examination of the history and structure of African American English. We will also study the politics of language in the United States through the history of language policy and issues of current debate such as indigenous language reclamation, the “Ebonics” controversy, bilingual education, and whether English should have official status .
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2 Course Objectives At the end of the course you should be able to: Understand and appreciate the intrinsic value of the diversity of language varieties and styles within the U.S. and beyond.
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55AC-Fall2007syllabus - Linguistics 55AC The American...

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