Words in English public website
Ling/Engl 215 course information
Rice University
Prof. S. Kemmer

Provisional Course Schedule

Fall 2008

With Assigned Readings from the
Textbook and Course Content Links

Aspects of this schedule may change as our progress in class dictates.

In addition to the assigned readings specified in the schedule, students are responsible for reading the Course Content Links, from the bordered grid of links on the Course Information page as these links become activated on the web. (I will also gradually enter these links on this page.)

Exams will cover readings, the two DVD episodes, class discussions, the web materials in the Course Content Links, and any materials distributed in class. The short vocabulary quizzes are based on numbered Morpheme Sets (called "Word Elements" in the textbook, and listed at the end of most of the chapters). The quizzes will be worth 5% credit.

Any illness or other disaster that keeps a student from taking an exam or quiz during the assigned time must be reported to me (kemmer AT rice.edu) before the exam is due (if you can't notify me, then ask your parent or college master to do so). There are no make-up exams.

There will not be a final examination, but instead a third and non-comprehensive midterm. One session for this midterm will be held on the last day of class, Dec. 5. Another session, which can be considered a make-up, will be held on Monday Dec. 8 at 10:00 a.m. The aim is to have it in our classroom but I will announce the venue as soon as I have the room confirmed.

DayDate TOPIC Text and web readings; Assignments
MAug 25 Introduction. What do we know about English? (Or think we know?) What kind of a language is English? Basic concepts: What's a word? What are "related languages"? No reading
WAug 27 Breadth and diversity of English. English around the world. Basic concepts: native vs. borrowed vocabulary; cognates; synonyms; doublets (and triplets) and their historical rationale. Chapter 1; Questions about words
FAug 29 The beginnings of English. DVD: The Adventure of English, Part I. Chapter 2 p. 19-p.28 (middle of page). Lord's Prayer through time
MSept 1 Labor Day. No class. Preview: Chronology of the English Language
WSept 3 Brief recap; DVD: The Adventure of English Part II. Chapter 2, p.28 (middle)-37. English as a World Language, Varieties and Dialects, Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
FSept 5 Historical recap with maps. Layers of Borrowings; Overview of the English Vocabulary. Chapter 2, focus on p.31(middle)-37. Maps: Visual aids on History of England and English (from course content links). Chronology of the English Language
MSept 8 Early modern and modern period. Basic concepts: standardization; standard variety. William Shakespeare, The King James Bible, Loanwords: Major periods of borrowing
WSept 10 Quiz on Ch. 1 Word Elements. More on Modern English. Samuel Johnson, Jonathan Swift, Noah Webster. British vs. American English: 2 standard varieties. Basic concepts: dictionaries; prescriptivism; language purists. Chronology, scroll down to last two centuries. For review: anyone who wishes to view or re-view the DVDs we saw in class can check them out at Fondren. Ask for the DVDs on reserve for Ling 215. We viewed Parts 1 and 2 but you are welcome to view any of the others as well (there are 4 on reserve plus another 8 or so that are also available from the circulation desk). Items on reserve can be taken out on 2 hour check-out, or overnight after 10 pm.
FSept 12 Class cancelled. Storm preparations. Read Ch. 3 first half
MSept 15 Class cancelled. Storm recovery. Read Ch. 3
WSept 17 Word structure and word analysis. Basic concepts: Morphemes (text refers to "morphs"); roots and affixes; derivation; inflection. Parsing. Chapter 3 cont. Morphemes, Roots and affixes
FSept 19 English word formation processes: The ways words are formed. Basic concepts: Compounding and derivation; blending, acronyms, clipping Ch. 3; Word formation types
MSept 22 Minor word formation processes cont. Some affixes of English. Basic concepts: reanalysis; novel creation Ch. 3 end.
WSept 24 Quiz on Ch. 2 Word Elements. Intro--Allomorphs: The variant forms of morphemes. Some basic phonetics. Basic concepts: assimilation; ablaut. Minor concepts: suppletion, infixation. Ch. 4; Definitions, Parsing Practice
FSept 26 The English sound system. Consonants and vowels. Chapter 5
MSept 29 No class Study Ch. 5
WOct 1 Quiz on Ch. 3 Word Elements. Parsing practice; Phonetics practice. Study Ch. 5
FOct 3 Regular allomorphy. Numerals and number words Ch. 6
MOct 6 Review Chapters 1-6, DVDs, and web materials; Midterm Review #1
WOct 8 Midterm #1 In class
FOct 10 Polysemy and semantic change Ch. 7
MOct 13 Midterm recess. No class.
WOct 15 Metaphor and metonymy Ch. 7 cont. Semantic change, metaphor, metonymy
FOct 17 Quiz on Ch. 4 Word Elements. More on metaphor and metonymy. Regularity and lack of regularity. Ch. 7 cont.
MOct 20 Broadening and narrowing. Etymology. Word stories: historical trajectory of words through time. Ch. 7 cont. Word Stories
WOct 22 Quiz on Ch. 5 Word Elements.Word stories cont. Reading and creating dictionary etymologies. No extra reading
FOct 24 False etymologies and folk etymology. The OED. Lexicography. No extra reading
MOct 27 Classical forms in English Words. Nouns. Ch. 9. Preview: Classical morphology: nouns and verbs
WOct 29 Quiz on Ch. 6 Word Elements. Classical morphology. Nouns, basic verb stems, adjectives. Ch. 9 cont. Classical morphology: nouns and verbs. Extra: The Latin Language.
FOct 31 Latin and Greek inflectional and derivational morphology: the systems. Participles and other elements. Ch. 9. Due: 5 sample neologisms from your Word Journal, with definitions, submitted to Drop Box on Owlspace site.
MNov 3 Classical morphology cont. end Ch. 9. Start reading Ch. 11.
WNov 5 Quiz on Ch. 8 Word Elements. (there are no Ch 7 elements.) Spelling and pronunciation; Other changes Ch. 11 cont.
FNov 7 Review. Exam review page
MNov 10 Midterm #2 In class
WNov 12 The Linguistic Relatives of English. The Indo-European language family. Ch. 10; Calvert Watkins, Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans (focus on 2 sections: Intro; The Comparative Method) Genetic relations of languages
FNov 14 The Indo-Europeans: Who were they? What did they do? Ch. 10 cont.; Calvert Watkins, Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans (focus on section on Lexicon and Culture). Indo-European family tree
MNov 17 Indo-Europeans, conclusion. Ch. 10 end (and Conclusion of Watkins article above).
WNov 19 Quiz on Ch. 9 Word Elements. Discussion of midterm #2. Other language families in the world. No reading.
FNov 21 Usage and variation. Basic concepts: Linguistic varieties (types and styles of language defined by groups and contexts: geography, socioeconomic class, age group, interest group, style (formal vs. informal, etc.), genre (written vs. spoken, newspaper writing, academic discourse, and other context types). Lexical varieties; shibboleths. Read Ch. 8; the Story of the Shibboleth.
MNov 24 Slang and jargon. Characteristics of slang. Quiz on Ch. 10 Word Elements. Ch. 8 cont.
WNov 26 More on special lexical varieties. Cockney rhyming slang, leet, others. Lexical change in slang. Taboo and euphemism. Links
FNov 28 Thanksgiving recess. No class.
MDec 1 Sources of new words. Creativity and conventionalization. Links
WDec 3 Quiz on Ch. 11 Word Elements. Sources of new words, cont. Conclusion. Completed Word Journal due: Neologisms entered into database; Words New to You uploaded to Owlspace Dropbox. 24-hour grace period if needed for Word Journal. Exam review page
FDec 5 Midterm #3 In class, regular class meeting time.
M Dec 8 Midterm #3 Alternative session/Make-up session Hum 117, 10:00 a.m. (Our normal time and place for class; but held the Monday after classes.)
Wed-WedDec 10 - Dec 17 noon Final exam period No Final Exam in the class

© 2008 Suzanne Kemmer
Last modified 2 Dec 08