Date: Sun, 24 Sep 1995 13:24:11 CDT
From: Barbara Need barbara[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]SAPIR.UCHICAGO.EDU
Subject: Re: Could I please ask...
Well, for starters, Linguistics is NOT an English course (unless it
happens to be taught in an English Dept). It has value for persons
studying ANY language. It teaches you not how to use language, but
to understand how language is used: what its buidling blocks are,
how it changes, how society and societies use it to shape their
I think it is VERY important for students training to become
teachers of English to take Linguistics because there is material
and a perspective in Linguistics that you will not find in ANY
OTHER English class: the idea that language is important, not
for the images it conveys, but for itself--and that language is
powerful--and that it is infinitely variable--and that THIS IS A
GOOD THING! You may learn about how an autor uses language to
create an effect, but you will not learn much about HOW to do that
if you do not learn what language is--and that does not seem to
be taught in the usual sorts of English classes (or French or
German or Chinese).
It is also important to recognize that just because you SPEAK English
(or at least one variety of it), you may not be able to TEACH it
without first understanding it: and speakers do NOT have an intuitive
ability to teach their language (I know, I've tried).
I hope this makes sense--and that others will respond. This is some-
thing which is very important to me and something which I hope to
be able to work on in the future.
University of Chicago--Linguistics