Northern Cities Shift area

English 4720: Language Variation in American English
Dr. Lisa Minnick

Fall 2010

English 4720 meets MW 10-11:50 a.m. in 3045 Brown
Office hours: Tuesdays 3-5 p.m. and by appointment in 923 Sprau

TA: Ms. Aanee Ruple 
Aanee's o
ffice hours: MW 12-1:30 p.m. in 4028 Brown


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Catalog description: English 4720 is study of regional and social varieties of American English from sociolinguistic perspectives, focusing on the forces that influence different types of language variation. Examines issues of linguistic bias and offers a multi-cultural perspective on the role of language in daily life.

Learning objectives: In this course, we will discuss the theories and practices of language variation research, particularly as applied to American English. In doing so, we will consider approaches to the study of language variation, with attention to key figures, studies, and methodologies. We will discuss the functions and effects of dialectal variation, and how factors such as geography, ethnicity, gender, social status and other extralinguistic variables interact with language and contribute to variation. We will also explore how popular perceptions and attitudes contribute to the differential valuation of American English varieties and the effects of these valuations. Finally, students will learn the skills and practices of linguistic research and language description and apply these skills to original linguistic research projects.