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ENGL2104 - Language in the USA
Instructor(s)
Semester
2021-2022 Second Semester
Credits
6.00
Contact Hours per week
3
Form of Assessment
100% coursework
Time
Monday , 2:30 pm - 5:20 pm , CRT-4.04
Prerequisite
Passed 3 introductory courses (with at least one from both List A and List B).

This course explores the diversity of language and society in the United States, with particular attention to the language issues relevant in a pluralistic society. The course will not only familiarize students with the structures and functions of American English, but also with aspects of American society that influence Americans' attitudes towards language, including (but not limited to) English, Black English, and Spanish.

 

Topics

This course covers basic concepts of sociolinguistics, such as "standard" AmE, prestige, and variation, including regional, ethnic, and social variations, the history of English and other languages in the USA, Native American languages, like Navajo and Wampanoag; the arrival of European and Asian languages; the politics of English; the English of politics and how Trump's impacted on "presidential" language, and the differences we see with Biden's language; the legal status of languages; American slang; various language communities, including the languages of Chinatowns throughout the country; mono- and multi-lingualism; and the English-Only Movement. We will examine language issues in all 50 states and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, and American Samoa.

 

Objectives

This course introduces students to issues in the field of sociolinguistics, applied to the context of American society. Students will learn to read critically about language issues and how these impact society in various ways, and examine connections between language structure, attitudes, and policies in the media, law, education, and politics, among other contexts, and emphasize the complex role of language in American society.

 

Organisation

There is a 75-minute audio/video online lecture each week, which must be covered before the Monday in-class session. The Monday class will be divided into two sections: Group A will meet from 14:30 to 15:45 and Group B from 16:00 to 17:15. (Note that the sessions on 17th January and 4th April are for the full 3 hours for both groups.) Attendance is required on Mondays, and marks will be deducted if you have not covered all the online-lecture material before class. Missed material must be covered; a two-hour research writing assignments will be required for any and all absences (no matter the reason, so no medical certificates needed).

The first half of the course will be chronological, starting with indigenous languages, Spanish, English, other European languages, and Asian languages. The second half focuses on contemporary issues of language in the USA.

 

Study Load

 

Activities

Number of hours

Audio (online) lectures

10

In-class lecture-seminars

17

Self-study / reading

60

Research Essay (planning, reading)

20

Research Essay (writing)

20

Research Essay (revision)

 9

In-class tests

 4

Total:

140

 

Assessment

Assessment will be continuous and based 100% on coursework. That said, your final grade will also be affected by attendance and participation.

In-class midterm writing assignment

25%

In-class end-of-term writing assignment

25%

Research paper

50%

 

Texts

Set Text

Language in the USA: Themes for the Twenty-first Century, eds. Edward Finegan & John R. Rickford. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. This e-book is available with online access through HKUL.

Additional recommended readings will be added to the syllabus by 01 December 2021 (check Moodle), and there will doubtless be more readings added during the semester as the debate in the USA about language continues. Students are expected to keep abreast of the latest developments in the US language situation.


Instructor(s)
Semester
2021-2022 Second Semester
Credits
6.00
Contact Hours per week
3
Form of Assessment
100% coursework
Time
Monday , 2:30 pm - 5:20 pm , CRT-4.04
Prerequisite
Passed 3 introductory courses (with at least one from both List A and List B).