Words in English public website
Ling/Engl 216 course information
Rice University
Prof. S. Kemmer

Provisional Course Schedule

Fall 2016

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. (I will also gradually enter these links on this page.) These links are also in Canvas in the modules.

The 4 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. Additional links in the modules are provided as aids to understanding; or because they will viewed 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
MAug 22 Introduction. What do we know about English? (Or think we know?) What kind of a language is English? 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? No reading. Preview Questions about Words in English; Lord's Prayer through time
WAug 24 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; cognates Chapter 1; Questions about Words in English; From public website: read sections on English as a World Language; Varieties and Dialects.
FAug 26 DVD: The Adventure of English, Part 1, viewed in class. 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. The Viking invasions. Chapter 2 p. 19-28 (to middle of page). Chronology of the English Language to 10th century. Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Maps: Visual aids on History of England and English
MAug 29 Anglo-Saxon culture, literature, religious institutions. Alfred's kingdom of Wessex and its legacy. DVD: The Adventure of English Part 1, cont. The Viking conquest of the north and the partition of England. 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
WAug 31 The second big invasion of Anglo-Saxon England: The Norman Conquest. Consequences of the conquest. Adventure of English Part 2 Chapter 2, cont. to Middle English. Lord's Prayer through time. Chronology of the English Language to 1500.
FSept 2 Loanwords (borrowings), reviewed from video. Characteristics of different layers of loanwords. Nativization. Early Modern English. Early Modern English. Shakespeare in Elizabethan and Jacobean England. The King James Bible. Chapter 2 to end. Look through examples of borrowings of different periods on Loanwords: Major periods of borrowing. A Brief History of the English Language (introductory paragraphs); Chronology of English to end; The King James Bible. William Shakespeare. Extra: Explore the Luminarium to see texts in various periods.
MSept 5 Labor Day Holiday. No class. Continue exploring links above.
WSept 7 Final remarks on history of English, the modern period. Basic concepts: standardization; standard variety; dictionaries; prescriptivism; language purists. Announcement of opportunity for extra credit: create a short (3-5 min) video on some topic relating to course topics. Transition to Word formation: Morphology. Basic concepts: Word elements or morphs: minimal units of word formation. Review English as a World Language, Varieties and Dialects. Chapter 3.
FSept 9 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, cont. Morphemes. Roots and affixes.
MSept 12 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). Inflection vs. derivation. The many derivational suffixes of English and their functions. Adjective suffixes and verb suffixes. Chapter 3 cont. Morphemes and Roots and affixes, cont. Some derivational affixes of English. 2 most frequent word formation types: Compounding and affixation. Definitions. Review Terms 1
WSept 14 Compounding and affixation cont. The nature and functions of prefixes vs. suffixes in English. Affixes of English cont. Noun-forming, verb-forming, and adjective-forming suffixes. The nature of meaning: the flexibility of form-meaning relations. Chapter 3 to p. 56 first paragraph (before "Conversion"). Types of Word Formation up to start of "blending".
FSept 16 Special word formation types. Conversion (zero-derivation), clipping (forms clippings), blending (forms blends) and others. Ch. 3 to end. Types of Word Formation to end.
MSept 19 More on morphs. Parsing practice; etymologies. Ch. 3 study; look over the exercises at end of chapter. Parsing, Review 1: Study Guide for Study Test 1 and Midterm 1
WSept 21 Allomorphy: The variants of a morpheme. The English plural morpheme and its allomorphs. Sound contexts affect the sounds speakers produce.

Ch. 4. [Study Test 1 activated, due Friday. See Exam Information and Dates page on Canvas for more details. Exam covers course material through Ch. 3 not 4. ]
FSept 23 Phonologically-based allomorphy; rules of allomorphy in English plurals and verb endings. Rules of allomorphy in Latinate words. Assimilation. Ch. 4.
MSept 26 Assimilation and other rules of allomorphy, cont. Allomorphy in prefixes. Ch. 4 to end. Definitions; Sound terminology
WSept 28 Phonetics: the system behind our sounds. Basic concepts: Consonants and vowels: what are they? The sounds of English I. Ch. 5; Sound terminology preview.
FSept 30 The sounds of English II. Ch. 5 cont.; Sound terminology
MOct 3 The sounds of English III. Diphthongs. Sounds vs. spelling. Mismatches. Ch. 5 cont.
WOct 5 Kinds of assimilation. Ch. 6.
FOct 7 More types of phonological processes (deletion etc.) Morphologically-determined processes. Greek and Latin numerals. Borrowing pattern-- Especially in compounds: where whole words were borrowed, Latin almost always goes with Latin, Greek with Greek. Latin vs. Greek loanwords. Ch. 6 cont.
MOct 10 Midterm Break, No Class No assigned reading. Review prior readings, webpages, and begin reviewing Review 2: Study Guide for Midterm 1
WOct 12 Review in class. Review 2: Study Guide for Midterm 1 Review prior readings and materials (including History of English videos and Review 1 from the first Study Test [Midterm 1 activated in afternoon; due Friday 11:55pm]
FOct 14 Semantic change. Paths of change involving social attitudes. Pejoration and amelioration. Some motivations for change in meaning. 1) Technological change and semantic change; 2) speaker expressiveness ('creative variation'); 3) economy ('abbreviation'). Paths of meaning change and radial categories. Two frequent types of change: Metaphor (semantic extension by perceived similarity or parallel) and metonymy (semantic extension by contiguity, i.e. cooccurrence in time and space.) Spatial metaphor. Ch. 7. Semantic change and technological change
MOct 17 Polysemy and its relation to semantic change. Polysemy in suffixes and prefixes. Finite words, infinite concepts. Metaphor and metonymy as cognitive processes in speakers/hearers that can lead to change; as well as types of changes (viewed after a change has become conventionalized). Spatial metaphor in Classical prefixes (e.g. hyper-, hypo-, super-, sub- and others). Ch. 7 cont. More kinds of semantic change (book: 'results' of change): broadening and narrowing, amelioration, pejoration, eponymy. Technology and meaning change. Discussion of Word Journal entries: Kinds of words that can be collected, content of entries, level of detail. Ch. 7 cont. Technological change and Meaning Change. Word Stories. What types of change can you identify in these examples?
WOct 19 Metaphor cont. Taboo and euphemism; the cycle of euphemism. Etymology. Word stories: the historical trajectory of words through time. Word Stories; More examples of semantic change.
FOct 21 Introduction to the Rice Neologisms Database. Etymology Online. Etymologies cont. False etymologies and folk etymology. Reading and creating dictionary etymologies. Authoritative etymologies. Parsing vs. etymology. Look at some sample etymologies and citations (quotations) in the Oxford English Dictionary Online. Read General Info about the OED. Preview Overview of the OED Online. Also: review Parsing, section on Parsing vs. Etymology.
MOct 24 Introduction to the Oxford English Dictionary. Look at some sample entries on OED online.
WOct 26 Emergence of dictionaries in Europe; kinds of dictionaries. Lexicography. History of dictionaries and the OED. About the Oxford English Dictionary.
FOct 28 Classical morphology in English words. Nouns, number gender and case; adjectives; (if time), verbs. What happens when the words become English. Ch. 9; Classical morphology: nouns and verbs.
MOct 31 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. Ch. 9 and Classical morphology: nouns and verbs cont. Amusing but true history: The Latin Language.
WNov 2 Participles and other weird forms. Spellings and pronunciations. Ch. 9 to end. [Study Test 2 activated, due Friday 11:55pm]
FNov 4 Other changes. Changes in older loanwords from French (ca 1100-1450); derivational relations with Latin loanwords. (Some of these changes were discussed preliminarily in Ch. 6.) Ch. 11. (Assignment for this chapter assigned to be done by Nov. 23, as makeup for lack of class meeting 11/23, as well as review for Midterm.)
MNov 7 The Linguistic Relatives of English. Sir William Jones and the discovery of the Indo-European language family. Ch. 10 pp. 189-196. Sir William Jones quotation; Genetic relations of languages. Indo-European family tree;
WNov 9 Comparison of cognates. Recurrent sound correspondences. Reconstruction of vocabulary of a proto-language. Grimm's law (first part). Ch. 10 cont. Indo-European cognates: family words
FNov 11 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 cont.
MNov 14 The Indo-Europeans: Who were they? What did they do? 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.
WNov 16 Usage and variation. Review/re-introduction of a basic concept: Linguistic varieties. Types and styles of language defined by groups and contexts. Ch. 8.
FNov 18 Geographical and social dialects. Introduction to Shibboleths: Language as a group-defining tool. Language and power. (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. ) The Story of the Shibboleth.
MNov 21 Language peeves. Prescriptivism as a weapon. (For Word Journal: Review instructions at Word Journal before entering your words, so that you get the right information in the right fields.) Completed Word Journal due. Neologisms and the information you collected on them must be entered into database and MS Word file uploaded to Assignments. Rice Neologisms Database activated.
WNov 23 No class meeting. Assignment to do instead of class meeting. Cancelled! Assignment from Ch. 11. (Possibly you already have enough work to do?)
FNov 25 Thanksgiving holiday, no class. No reading.
MNov 28 Slang and jargon. Characteristics of slang. Special lexical varieties: Cockney rhyming slang, others. (Wikipedia page on Cockney Rhyming Slang is useful.) Lexical innovations. Slang as an important source of neologisms. Two more word formation types: malapropisms and 'eggcorns' [optional links]. Slang page.
WNov 30 Slang and Jargon Cont. Midterm 2 activated Wed. or Thursday. Due Friday 12/2, 11:55pm. But those who need some flexibility can take until Sunday night 12/4 11:55pm.
FDec 2 Video clips: 'English Dialects': Kid of 24 accents in English, native and foreign. Voice Recognition Elevator; Getting rid of dialects; the Dialect Coach. Extra credit videos/presentations. Student videos will be uploaded to Canvas for reviewing. Recap on Course Expectations will be useful to see whether you can accomplished the course objectives (which this assessment tests, like the other exams). Midterm topics and terminology: see Review page for Midterm 2.
S-T Dec 3-6 Saturday to Tuesday Study days, formerly known as Dead Week. Zombies.
W-W Dec 7-14 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
Modified 25 Sept 2016; modificed 31 Oct 2016; latest modification 29 Nov 2016