Why do speakers use dialects in some situations, but refrain from do- ing so in others? How is language use influenced by the social identity of speakers, by their peer groups, and by the speakers’ region of origin? Is there such a thing as “women’s language” or “men’s language”? How do linguistic innovations spread in a speech community? When do speakers use nonstandard linguistic features like the pronunciation of ing in running as /ɪŋ/, glottal stops /ʔ/ for <t> in butter, or the omission of /h/ in hammer (Wardhaugh 2010: 173–6)? Such questions are dealt with in sociolinguistics. Sociolinguists assume that properties of language can be accounted for by means of social and contextual rather than language-internal factors.
In this seminar, we are going to explore key questions of sociolinguistics in an interactive and hands-on way. We will, for one thing, deal with the rich variety of approaches in the “classic” sociolinguistic paradigm, looking into some of the social aspects of language use and variation outlined above. However, we will also discuss the most recent developments in this dynamic field of inquiry. In a globalised world, language use and language users are no longer fixed in space and time but can transgress national and cultural boundaries. In a quite unprecedented way, local codes and usage patterns (such as Jamaican Creole [Mair 2009] or features of African American English [Lee 2011]) have spread around the globe through the internet and popular culture, and are used by speakers worldwide. What does this mean for the basic premises of sociolinguistics, which haver traditionally focused on language use within the confines of a nation or a culture? Do we need a new “sociolinguistics of mobility” (Blommaert 2010: 5)?
This course forms part of the Master’s Programme in English Linguistics, but students in their Profilmodule are equally welcome to acquire credit points and linguistic expertise. It is intended to provide first-hand experience and critical discussion of seminal works of 20th century linguistic theory and methodology, covering the classical texts of different schools of modern linguistics as well as more recent studies relevant to the ongoing research at our Department. - Requirements for a course credits: regular reading, oral presentation, short essays based on the readings.
This course is an introduction to the study of the English language. After an initial discussion of the main properties of human languages that set them apart from animal communication, the first part of the course offers an overview of the main structural properties of the English language. These will include a description of the following linguisticlevels:
1. Phonetics and phonology: i.e. the human speech sound inventory as well as the specific sounds used by the English language;
2. Morphology and word-formation: the analysis of meaningful units below the word level (such as plural -s in cats,dogsor horses) and the various ways of creating new words (e.g. the verb to google deriving from the name of the search engine Google);
3. Syntax: the structure of English sentences;
4. Semantics and pragmatics: both dealing with different types of linguistic meaning.
5. Effects of the main linguistic changes on all linguistic levels that have affected the English language since its “birth” in the 5th century (History of the English language).
Requirements: regular attendance, homework, final exam (the exact date will be announced in the first session).
Trotz aller Internationalität verrät noch das Englische der Gegenwart im Grundwortschatz und in den morphologischen Strukturen seine germanische Herkunft. In den ältesten schriftlichen Zeugnissen fallen die ererbten Gemeinsamkeiten mit dem Deutschen noch weit stärker ins Auge, und viele Unregelmäßigkeiten der neuenglischen Grammatik wer- den als Relikte früherer Regeln erkennbar. Dieser Kurs stellt Schreibkonventionen, Lautsystem, Morphologie, Wortschatz und Syntax des Altenglischen anhand einer Textsammlung vor, die zugleich einen Eindruck von Reiz und Vielfalt der angelsächsischen Überlieferung vermitteln soll. Eine erfolgreiche Teilnahme setzt regelmäßige Vor- und Nachbereitung des Stoffes im Semester voraus. — Anforderungen: Übungsaufgaben und Klausur.
Textgrundlage: W. Obst & F. Schleburg, Lehrbuch des Altenglischen, Heidelberg 2004.
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