Words in English public website
LING 216 Course information
Rice University
Prof. S. Kemmer

Provisional Course Schedule

Fall 2015

With Assigned Readings from the
Textbook and Course Content Links

Topics may be slightly updated as course progresses. If there are any changes in deadlines they will be announced well in advance.

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 Links page as these links become activated on the web and this page.

Exams will cover readings, the two DVD episodes, class lectures and discussions, the web materials in the Course Content Links and this page, and any materials distributed in class. The short vocabulary quizzes are based on the sets of "Word Elements" in the textbook (which I sometimes refer to as "Morpheme Sets"), and listed at the end of most of the chapters.

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 for non-emergency situations.

DayDate Topic Text and web readings; Assignments
TAug 25 Introduction. What do we know about English? (Or think we know?) How many words are there in English? How is English like/unlike other European languages? No reading. Preview Questions about Words in English
ThAug 27 Breadth and diversity of English. English around the world. Basic concepts: Synonyms; native vs. borrowed words; nativization. basic historical relations ("genetic relationships") of English to other languages: Germanic languages, Romance languages, Celtic, Slavic languages and others. Chapter 1. English as a World Language, Varieties and Dialects.
TSept 1 What language(s) are most closely related to English? Some basic concepts. What are "related languages"; "sister languages"; ancestor/descendent languages; Germanic languages; Anglo-Saxon/Old English? DVD: The Adventure of English, Part 1, narrated by Melvyn Bragg, viewed in class. Chapter 2 p. 19-28 (to middle of page). Start viewing Chronology of the English Language, especially through 10th century.
ThSept 3 The beginnings of English. Celts and Romans. The Germanic migration: Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians sail to Britain and settle as farmers. Fusion of tribes into an Anglo-Saxon culture and nation. Beowulf: First monument of English literature. Chapter 2 cont. Chronology cont.
TSept 8 Anglo-Saxon culture, literature, religious institutions. Alfred's kingdom of Wessex and its legacy. The Viking conquest of the north and the partition of England. The Adventure of English Vol. I cont. Chapter 2, cont. to Middle English. Chronology of the English Language to 1066. Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Maps: Visual aids on History of England and English.
ThSept 10 The biggest invasion of Anglo-Saxon England: The Norman Conquest. Consequences of the conquest. Normans take over all societal power structures. Anglo-Saxons become peasants and slaves. Layers of borrowings in the English vocabulary. Characteristics of different layers of loanwords: clues to language of origin of a word. Native words vs. Scandinavian/Old Norse borrowings vs. Normal French borrowings. Nativization: Loanwords over time can become more like native English words. Middle English pronunciation. (Preview of the Great Vowel Shift.) Chapter 2, cont. to Middle English. Look through Chapter for examples of borrowings of different periods. Lord's Prayer through time. A Brief History of the English Language (introductory paragraphs); Chronology of English; Loanwords: Major periods of borrowing. Quiz Word Elements 1 (Ch. 1 only) activated, due Sunday. Reminder: All quizzes, tests, midterms are online, closed book/notes/electronic devices, pledged, timed but generous amount allowed. Do not discuss exams or quizzes with others until all are submitted and graded. You might get into an Honor Code violation if the conversation unexpectedly alludes to test materials others have not seen yet.
TSept 15 The emergence of Early Modern English: the language of Jonson, Marlowe and Shakespeare in Elizabethan and Jacobean England. The Great Vowel Shift. The King James Bible. Modern English, 18th century: Samuel Johnson, Jonathan Swift, Joseph Addison; the American 'founding fathers'. 19th century: Noah Webster. British vs. American English: 2 standard varieties. Basic concepts: standardization; standard variety; dictionaries; prescriptivism; language purists. Announcement of opportunity for extra credit: create a short video on some topic relating to course topics. Chapter 2 to end, Modern English and Summary. The King James Bible. William Shakespeare. The Chronology of English, scroll down to last two centuries. Explore the Luminarium to see texts in various periods. Preview (we study this phenomenon later under Semantic Change): Words and Technological change to see some of the lexical changes that have come about through technology.
ThSept 17 (End of history of English part.) Word formation (morphology). Basic concepts: Word elements or morphs: minimal units of word formation. (Later, more finely defined: morphemes.) Kinds of morphs. Roots and affixes: differences. Affixes: Prefixes and suffixes. Word analysis - taking words apart into morphemes (= Word parsing). Differences between Latin/Greek vs. English/other Germanic word structure. Compounding in the two types of languages. Latin and Greek as inflectional languages. Chapter 3 Morphemes. Roots and affixes. Quiz Word Elements 2, activated 2 pm.
TSept 22 Word formation in English: Word structure and word analysis. Inflectional vs. derivational morphology. Complexity of Greek/Latin (Classical) words and their parsing. Borrowed morphology in English: Latinate suffixes (= suffixes from Latin and French). The 2 most frequent word formation types: Compounding and affixation Chapter 3 cont. Morphemes and Roots and affixes, cont. Some affixes of English. . Terms and definitions.
ThSept 24 No lecture. Video Part 2 viewed in classroom. Review materials including above websites. Types of Word Formation. The many suffixes of English and their functions. Adjective suffixes and verb suffixes. Review Terms 1. Quiz Word Elements 3, activated after class.
TSept 29 Affixes of English. The nature and functions of prefixes vs. suffixes in English. Noun-forming, verb-forming, and adjective-forming suffixes. The nature of meaning: the flexibility of form-meaning relations. Special word formation types. Conversion (zero-derivation), clipping (forms clippings), blending (forms blends) and others. More on morphs. Parsing practice; etymologies. Chapter 3 to end. Some affixes of English.
ThOct 1 Allomorphy: The variants of a morpheme. The English plural morpheme and its allomorphs. Distinguishing allomorphs of the same morpheme. Phonologically-based allomorphy. Allomorphy in Latinate words. Basic concepts: voicing of consonants; assimilation. Sound contexts affect the sounds speakers produce. Ch. 4. Study Test 1activated after class.
TOct 6 Allomorphy in Latinate words cont. More on assimilation processes. Phonetics: the system behind our sounds.

Ch. 4.
ThOct 8 The sounds of English. The consonants of English. Sounds vs. spelling. Mismatches. Phonetics is about sounds, not spelling. Ch. 5; Sound terminology preview. Quiz Word Elements 4, activated after class.
TOct 13 Midterm Break, No Class No assigned reading; review
ThOct 15 Consonants and vowels. Assimilation: the most important phonological process. Ch. 5 cont. Start Ch. 6. Quiz Word Elements 5, activated after class.
TOct 20 Other phonological processes. Latin and Greek borrowing patterns; numerals Ch. 6
ThOct 22 Review Review terms for midterm Midterm 1.
TOct 27 Semantic change. Some mechanisms and reasons. Ch. 7. Words and Technological change
ThOct 29 Metaphor and Metonymy: two cognitive processes with historical effects. Technological change as a source of semantic change. Ch. 7. Examples of semantic change. Quiz Word Elements 6, activated after class.
TNov 3 Metonymy cont. Amelioration, pejoration and other types. Etymology; word stories. Dictionary: The OED. Ch. 7 to end. Etymology Online, the best source for quick etymologies. Word Stories. What types of change can you see in the examples? Dictionaries and Dictioinary Entries. Also review Parsing, section on Parsing vs. Etymology. Extras helpful for those using the OED: The Oxford English Dictionary Online, About the Oxford English Dictionary.
ThNov 5 Introduction to the Rice Neologisms Database. Classical morphology in English words. Nouns, number gender and case; adjectives; (if time), verbs. What happens when the words become English. (note chapter out of sequence) Ch. 9; Classical morphology: nouns and verbs. Quiz Word Elements 7 (Ch. 8) activated after class.
TNov 10 The verb system in Latin. "Stem vowels" as linkers. What happens to Latin verbs when they become English verbs; and what happens in derivational processes. Participles and other weird forms. Ch. 9 and Classical morphology: nouns and verbs cont. Amusing but true history: The Latin Language. Review page for Study Test 2. Study Test 2, activated in evening.
ThNov 12 The Linguistic Relatives of English. The Indo-European language family. Comparison of cognates. Recurrent sound correspondences. Reconstruction of vocabulary of a proto-language. Grimm's law (first part). Ch. 10 pp. 189-196 Sir William Jones quotation; Genetic relations of languages. Indo-European family tree; Indo-European cognates: family words Word elements 8 (Ch. 9) activated.
T Nov 17 Features of Proto-Indo-European; changes leading to Latin and Greek. Associating Latin and Greek morphemes with each other; and to English and other Germanic cognates. Ch. 10 pp. 189-196
Th Nov 19 The Indo-Europeans: Who were they? What did they do? Language families of the world. Ch. 10 pp. 196-200. Wikipedia article on the Proto-Indo-Europeans (Sections 1-2.1). Optional famous article: Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans by Calvert Watkins. The section on Language and Culture (and its subsections) and the Conclusion are especially recommended. Word elements 9 (Ch. 10) activated.
TNov 24 Usage and variation. Types and styles of language defined by groups and contexts, including geography, socioeconomic class, age group, interest group, style (formal vs. informal, etc.), genre (written vs. spoken, newspaper writing, academic discourse, and other context types). Ch. 8. Quiz Word Elements 9 Ch. 10 activated. Review page for Midterm 2. Midterm 2 activated after class. Rice Neologisms Database activated.
ThNov 26 Thanksgiving Day. No Class. Get stuffed.
Tu Dec 1 Introduction to Shibboleths: Language as a group-defining tool. Language and power. Language peeves. Slang and jargon. Slang as a source of neologisms. Two more word formation types: malapropisms and 'eggcorns' The Story of the Shibboleth. Slang page. For Word Journal: Be sure to read/review the part of Chapter 3 on word formation processes (derivation, compounding, clipping, blending, acronyms, etc. so you can check the classifications of the words you submit. Also review Word formation processes and types. Neologisms and the information you collected on them must be entered into database and a MicroSoft Word file uploaded to your Dropbox on Owlspace. Be sure to review the instructions at Word Journal before entering your words, so that you get the right information in the right fields.
Th Dec 3 Extra credit videos/presentations. Video clips (in Owlspace Resources in folder English Dialects): Kid of 24 accents in English, native and foreign. Voice Recognition Elevator; Getting rid of dialects: The Dialect Coach. Midterm 2 posted. Quiz Word Elements 10, Ch. 11. Completed Word Journal due (extended through Monday) Neologisms and the information you collected on them must be entered into database and a MicroSoft Word file uploaded to your Dropbox on Owlspace. Be sure to review the instructions at Word Journal before entering your words, so that you get the right information in the right fields.
S-T Dec 5, Saturday to Tuesday Study days, formerly known as Dead Week. Zombies wander campus.
MDec 7 Midterm 2 posted! Extra time is given because I posted it late (sorry!)
MDec 14 Time extension. Midterm 2 Due Sunday night, Dec. 14, 11:55pm. Grace period until early Monday morning 2:00a.m. If you have any issue about doing the midterm in the allotted 6-day time-frame, please contact me. Deadline for entering your Word Journal words to the database, Sunday night. If you need an extra day, let me know. Please upload your Word File of your Word Journal to the Dropbox and place a hard copy of your Word file in my mailbox in Herring Hall Dept. of Linguistics by Monday Dec. 14.
W-W Dec 9-16 Wed-Wed. Final Exam Week. No final exam in the class. Take care of yourself! Don't overdo the all-nighters, caffeine consumption, or sugar consumption.

© Suzanne Kemmer
Last modified 1 Dec 2015