ENG 346: Aspects of the English Language


Syllabus: ENG 346
Spring 2003

8-8:50 a.m. MWF

Dial 147


Professor Mark Canada
118 Dial Building
Department of English, Theatre, and Languages
University of North Carolina at Pembroke

(910) 521-6431
Office hours: 7-8 a.m. M-F, 9-10 a.m. MWF


Contemporary Linguistics
Hardback college dictionary
3-ring binder
2 IBM-formatted diskettes


Lesson 1: Foundations (Jan. 8-12)

Topics: Syllabus, p’s and q’s, linguistics

Reading: Contemporary Linguistics (Ch. 1)

Due: Introduction to portfolio

Place: Dial 147, Sampson-Livermore Library

Lesson 2: Phonetics (Jan. 13-19)

Topics: Transcription, system, consonants, vowels, suprasegmentals, processes

Reading: Contemporary Linguistics (Ch. 2)

Due: Proposal for linguistics guide

Place: Dial 147

Lesson 3: Phonology (Jan. 20-26)

Topics: Phonemes, allophones, features

Reading: Contemporary Linguistics (Ch. 3)

Due: Annotated bibliography for linguistics guide

Place: Dial 147

Lesson 4: Morphology  (Jan. 27-Feb. 2)

Topics: Word structure, word formation, inflection

Reading: Contemporary Linguistics (Ch. 4)

Due: Revised draft of “Think Again” essay

Place: Dial 147

Lesson 5: Syntax (Feb. 3-9)

Topics: Structure, transformations, coordination, modification

Reading: Contemporary Linguistics (Ch. 5)

Due: Outline of linguistics guide

Place: Dial 147

Lesson 6: Semantics (Feb. 10-16)

Topics: Words, sentences, ambiguity, discourse

Reading: Contemporary Linguistics (Ch. 7)

Due: Revised outline of linguistics guide

Place: Dial 147

Lesson 7: Writing (Feb. 17-23)

Topics: Types, history, orthography, typography

Reading: Contemporary Linguistics (Ch. 15)

Due: Visual aid for linguistics presentation

Place: Dial 147

Midterm Examination (Feb. 24-28)

Topics: Foundations, phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, writing

Due: Midterm oral exam

Place: Dial 118

Spring Break (March 1-9)

Topics: Relaxation, rejuvenation

Reading: Nothing

Due: Nothing

Place: Your choice

Lesson 8: Old English (March 10-16)

Topics: Phonology, morphology (Jamie), lexicon (Ashleigh), syntax (Edna), writing (Trina)

Reading: Contemporary Linguistics (Ch. 8)

Due: Revised draft of “Think Again” essay

Place: Dial 147

Lesson 9: Middle English (March 17-23)

Topics: Phonology (Jennifer), morphology (Cresta), lexicon (Crystal), writing (Rachel)

Due: Rough draft of linguistics guide

Place: Dial 147

Lesson 10: Early Modern English (March 24-30)

Topics: Phonology (Elizabeth), morphology (Helen), syntax (Lance), lexicon (Allison)

Due: Revised draft of linguistics guide

Place: Dial 147

Lesson 11: Modern English (March 31-April 6)

Topics: Morphology (Kelly), syntax (Rosa)

Due: Draft of “Think Again” essay

Place: Dial 147

Lesson 12: Psycholinguistics (April 7-13)

Topics: Research, processing, brain, disorders

Reading: Contemporary Linguistics (Chs. 10-11)

Due: Final portfolio (8 a.m. April 7)

Place: Dial 147

Lesson 13: Language Acquisition (April 14-20)

Topics: Phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics

Reading: Contemporary Linguistics (Ch. 12)

Place: Dial 147

Lesson 14: Sociolinguistics (April 21-27)

Topics: Social differentiation, regional differentiation, speech situations

Reading: Contemporary Linguistics (Ch. 14)

Place: Dial 147

Lesson 15: Computational Linguistics  (April 28-May 4)

Topics: Phonology, morphology, syntax, lexicology, semantics, applications

Reading: Contemporary Linguistics (Ch. 17)

Place: Dial 147

Final Examination (May 5-9)

Topics: Foundations, phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, writing, Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English, Modern English, psycholinguistics, language acquisition, sociolinguistics, computational linguistics

Due: Final oral exam

Place: Dial 118


Rachel Barr (rbb003@uncp.edu)

Allison Buckley (amb009@uncp.edu)

Lance Floyd (lancefloyd@hotmail.com)

Kelly Fox (enlf@msn.com)

Beverly Jacobs (bg0002@uncp.edu)

Elizabeth Gore (egore@mail.southeast.cc.nc.us)

Jamie Griffith (yeahjamieyeah@hotmail.com)

Helen Guzman (hguzman70@hotmail.com)

Edna Haywood (esh001@uncp.edu)

Jennifer Hicks (Jenniferkay82@aol.com)

Rosa Jordan

Crystal Locklear

Nakecia Locklear (nakecia99@yahoo.com)

Ashleigh Mitchell

Trina Rising (superman@ncez.net)

Cresta Strickland

Marilyn Vick (Milkbixkit@aol.com)

Grading Scale

A (90-100 percent): A student who earns an A has excelled in both skills and knowledge.  In content, clarity, style, and integrity, the student's work fully or almost fully meets course criteria.  In short, the student has mastered the material and is likely to succeed in future challenges.


B (80-89 percent): A student who earns a B has demonstrated many of the same qualities shown by the student who earns an A, but is deficient a few minor areas.  The student has generally mastered the material and is likely to succeed in future challenges.


C (70-79 percent): A student who earns a C has demonstrated some of the same qualities shown by the student who earns an A or a B.  Although the work is adequate, it suffers from several minor deficiencies.  Nevertheless, the work suggests that the student is competent and is ready to take on future challenges, though he or she may need to shore up some of these deficiencies to succeed.


D (60-69 percent): A student who earns a D is deficient in at least one major area or many minor areas. Students who receive a D in the course must take it again.


F (below 60 percent): A student will earn an F for one of the following reasons:

       The student's work contains a glaring example of plagiarism.

       The student's work does not meet the requirements of the assignment, such as number of sources or deadline.

       The student's work contains glaring deficiencies, indicating that the student is unprepared to meet future challenges.


Updated March 21, 2003
Mark Canada, 2003



Language means everything.  Through words—spoken, written, or signed—we propose and seal, agree and argue, analyze and worship, amuse and enlighten.  They are between us, around us, and within us. Any understanding of these invisible, intangible, omnipotent entities, then, must make us more insightful, effective, and sentient in everything we do.  In this course, we will pursue this understanding by examining many fascinating facets of our own language, English, including its structure, history, acquisition, and use.  We will explore some fascinating subjects, such as slang and dialect, and we will seek to answer provocative questions such as these: “Where do words come from?”  “Why is it so hard to read works by Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, and other writers from previous eras?”  “How do children learn language?”  “Are some forms of English really better than others?”  We will explore these subjects through a variety of means, including in-class writing exercises, collaborative activities, class discussions, student presentations, and more.  Plan to work hard, to learn a lot, and to come away from this course with a new appreciation of your language.


Before you begin any endeavor, you should give some serious thought to what you want to get out of it.  If you work hard in this course, you can expect to grow in four broad areas:

Language:  Our primary objective is to expand our understanding of how words make meaning.  We will analyze language on several levels, including its sounds, words, and sentences. We will pay special attention to the implications that specific linguistic elements, such as syntactic ambiguity and the passive voice, have for meaning. 

Ideas:  Because language reflects a great deal about the people who speak it, this course also will provide you with an opportunity to look closely at how humans think and interact.  During our units on psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics, for example, we will study children's acquisition of language, the way the brain processes language, and the nature and effects of dialect, register, slang, taboo, and other linguistic phenomena.

Research:  One of the most valuable skills you will learn in college is the ability to gather detailed, reliable information so that you can make informed decisions.  In this course, you will become familiar with some standard reference works where you can find credible information about the English language.  Furthermore, in your research project, you will practice a number of other skills involved in finding, evaluating, and incorporating sources. 

Communication: Knowledge confined to a single person's brain has limited use.  It is through sharing this knowledge that humans make progress in medicine, science and technology, politics, and every other human endeavor.  In this course, you will have the opportunity to stretch and to improve your communication skills as you explore the basic components of language: phonemes, morphemes, words, phrases, clauses, and sentences.  At the same time, you will practice effective communication strategies as you write and design projects related to these subjects.


To help you achieve these objectives, I have designed 15 weekly lessons, which I have posted on the Internet.  Before you come to class each week, you should visit the appropriate lesson by clicking on the link in the schedule at the left.  Use this lesson to prepare for our class activities in the coming week.  Specifically, you should read the objectives carefully, complete all reading and writing assignments on time, mentally prepare for the class activities, learn the meaning and significance of each term, and read the announcements and discussion carefully.  Make a note of where the class will meet and what you need to bring.  If you have trouble visiting these lessons on the Internet, please let me know, and I will provide you with hard copies.

Class Activities

You should plan to use every minute of your time in class to work toward becoming a better reader, communicator, and thinker.  As you will see when you read the lessons, our class activities will provide you with numerous opportunities to learn through writing, listening, viewing, and discussion.  We will begin each unit with a “Think Fast” exercise, in which you will respond in writing to a question about the material covered in the lesson.  I then will set the stage for the lesson by giving a brief audio-visual presentation.  You then will take center stage for much of the remainder of the lesson as you collaborate in groups, discuss the material with me as a class, review the material in a “Think Again” writing exercise, and meet with me in one-on-one conferences.  Finally, I will close the lesson with some announcements about upcoming lessons and assignments.  I encourage you to make the most of each of these course components by participating actively and thoughtfully.


To benefit from our class activities, of course, you must be present.  You should plan to come prepared to every class, to arrive on time, and to stay until I dismiss you.  If you must miss class for a legitimate reason, such as serious illness or a personal emergency, use the online lesson to keep up with our class activities.  If you miss an in-class assignment, you will not have an opportunity to make it up.


As described below, you will complete a number of written and oral assignments in this course.  Please purchase a three-ring binder to store hard copies of all of these assignments, along with class notes, prewriting, outlines, drafts, and photocopies of your sources with paraphrased and quoted passages highlighted.  Bring this notebook, along with a diskette containing all of your writing for the course, to every class meeting.  Keep backup copies of all of your assignments on a separate diskette and store this diskette in a safe place.

Introduction: This brief assignment has four components.  First, you should place your name and e-mail address at the top.  Next, write a one-paragraph profile providing basic background information about yourself.  For example, you might describe your family, hometown, major, and interests.  In the next paragraph, please describe your previous experience with and feelings about language.  You might discuss what you like and dislike about studying language, for instance, and identify your strengths and weaknesses.  In the final paragraph, please identify three specific goals you have set for your progress in this course.  You may want to refer to specific objectives mentioned on this syllabus.  Specify some strategies you plan to use to achieve these goals.  (Length: 200-300 words. Sources: 0.  Draft Due:  Jan. 12, 2003.  Value: 5 points.)

“Think Fast” Exercises: Our in-class activities will include at least 15 writing exercises testing your knowledge of concepts covered in the course.  Each of these exercises, or quizzes, is worth 1 point.  A clear and accurate response will earn 1 point.  An unclear or inaccurate response will earn 0 points.  (Value: 1 point each.)

“Think Again” Essays: We will end each lesson with an in-class essay on material covered in that lesson.  You will have an opportunity to revise three of these essays and include them in your final portfolio for grades.  Each is worth 5 points.  Please see “Grades” below for details of the grading criteria.  (Length: 500-600 words.  Sources: 1 or more.  Drafts Due:  See “Schedule” at the left.  Value: 5 points each.)


Midterm Examination: In this oral examination, you will answer questions about terms and concepts covered in the first part of the course.  (Length: 10 minutes.  Due:  February 24-28, 2003.  Value: 15 points.)

English Guide:  In this written research project, you will introduce a reader with little or no previous knowledge of your topic to a specific aspect of the English language.  This guide should provide a thorough overview of the subject, including definitions of key terms and explanations of relevant concepts.  It also should provide any relevant historical background and discuss the implications of this aspect for speakers, writers, or readers of English.  The possible topics for this English guide appear in red in the schedule at the left.  Please bring a list of your top three choices to class on Friday, January 10.  (Length: 1,000 words.  Sources: 5.  Drafts Due: See “Schedule” at the left.  Value: 20 points.)

Presentation: In this oral project, you will teach the topic of your English guide to the rest of the class.  Like the written guide, this oral presentation should provide a thorough overview of the subject, including definitions of key terms and explanations of relevant concepts.  It also should provide any relevant historical background and discuss the implications of this topic for speakers, writers, or readers of English.  You also must make use of at least one visual aid.  (Length: 20 minutes.  Sources: 5.  Due: Assigned date.  Value: 10 points.)

Final Examination: In this oral examination, you will answer questions about terms and concepts covered in the entire course.  (Length: 20 minutes.  Due:  May 5-9, 2003.  Value: 20 points.)


I will use the criteria below when I evaluate your work.  You should keep these criteria in mind as you prepare, write, and revise your drafts. 


Content: Each assignment should contain all of the components described on the syllabus and should thoroughly and insightfully address its subject with accurate, credible, timely, and relevant information. 


Clarity: Each assignment should present information in a clear, logical fashion. Claims should be clear, argumentative, specific, and obvious.  Supporting paragraphs generally should begin with precise topic sentences, followed by clear, well-organized sentences that support the topic sentences. Transitional words and phrases should effectively guide the audience through the information. 


Style: Each assignment should engage the audience with lively, concise, and appropriate language that is free from lapses in tone, register, punctuation, mechanics, spelling, word choice, and grammar.  Furthermore, each assignment should begin with an engaging introduction, end with a satisfying conclusion, and generally be functional and attractive, conforming to all appropriate professional standards. 

Integrity: Each assignment must be your own work.  That is, except for properly cited quotations, every sentence and phrase must be in your own words.  All interpretations, except for those properly cited, also must be your own.  If you turn in someone else's work, use a source's exact words without placing these words in quotation marks, or use an interpretation you found in a source without giving credit to the source, you are guilty of plagiarism, and your grade will suffer.  You must be prepared to prove that you have done all your own work by showing me your sources and discussing the details of your work with me in conference.  Each assignment should effectively incorporate source material with proper use of attribution, paraphrases, summaries, quotations, and documentation.  Parenthetical citations and lists of works cited should conform to MLA style.

As part of my evaluation of your work, I will include a point score corresponding to the grading scale in the box at the left.  Before you submit any assignment, be sure to use my checklist to evaluate and to improve your work.


I had the good fortune of discovering the magical force of language early in my life.  After a childhood spent reading and making up stories, I worked for my high school newspaper and then went on to Indiana University, where I studied journalism and English.  After I graduated, I worked as a copy editor for newspapers in Franklin and Fort Wayne, Indiana, before enrolling in graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  In 1997, I completed my Ph.D. in English, majoring in American literature and minoring in the English language, and I came to work as a professor at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.  In my job, I use language every day, not only when I write a lesson plan or an article, but also when I work one-on-one with students, participate in committee meetings, and argue for raises.  Language has also proved to be an asset for me at home, where I use it to build and maintain healthy relationships with my wife, Lisa, and our two children, 4-year-old Esprit and 1-year-old Will. 

I hope that I can help you develop your language skills, as well.  I will be working with each of you extensively during our regular class meetings, but I also encourage you to get in touch with me outside class.  You can e-mail me at mark.canada@uncp.edu, call me at 521-6431, or visit me in my office, Dial 118.  The best times to catch me are my office hours: 7-8 a.m. Monday through Friday and 9-10 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Finally, if you would like to get to know me a bit better, I invite you to visit my family’s Web site (http://www.uncp.edu/home/canada) and my online portfolio (http://www.uncp.edu/home/canada/work/markport/markwork).

“This publication is available in alternative formats upon request.  Please contact Mary Helen Walker, Disability Support Services, DF Lowry building, 521-6695.”

"Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments is requested to speak directly to Disability Support Services and the instructor, as early in the semester (preferably within the first week) as possible.  All discussions will remain confidential.  Please contact Mary Helen Walker, Disability Support Services, DF Lowry building, 521-6695.”