Date: Sun, 24 Sep 1995 13:24:11 CDT


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.

Barbara Need

University of Chicago--Linguistics