Date: Wed, 16 Apr 1997 15:46:41 -0700 From: Peter Richardson Subject: plea for advice This coming fall I'll be teaching a freshman writing (English) course for the first time, and I'd like some advice from all (or some) of you out there. I'll preface this by saying that I've been teaching for 33 years, but it has been in modern/medieval languages, and I've never had the joy of teaching English. Now that our college has adopted a new curriculum that spreads responsibility for Freshman English among the faculty, this is about to change. Mercifully, we get to choose our topic, and I have declared that I will teach a course called "Language Matters." (That second word is both verb and noun.) I intend to touch on many subjects, as you will see from the following, but I have no idea how to go about choosing a text--or texts--and opine that I might just have to put together a "reader." Any suggestions? Thanks very much in advance! Peter Richardson Linfield College / Oregon Language Matters will inquire into the nature of language through its use in the United States today. It will examine: a. history the influence of other languages on the development of the emerging American idiom; the role of dialects as a source of constant renewal for American English; the role of folk song and speech in defining our collective sense of nation. b. current issues Black English; the presence of minority languages (Puerto Rican Spanish, Cajun French, Haitian Creole, etc.) within the greater English-speaking population; language politics, language planning, and the English Only movement; the political, economic, and social functions of a standard language; hate speech; additional topics (jargon, argot, onomastics) as time permits. Central to our investigations and discussions will be the premise that language indeed does matter. Whatever its context may be, it fosters or hinders human relationships and must be used carefully. Students will practice writing with different voices (e.g. letter to the editor, tour brochure, assembly instructions, membership solicitation, broadside) and playing the roles in class that they have had to assume in their assignments. A portfolio of the term's written work will determine two-thirds of the course grade. One-third of the grade will be based on class participation.