Friday, January 30, 2009

Interesting Email

I received this email tonight from my Aunt and thought that it might be a good start to the journal discussion on here. Since I am auditing I am not going to go in-depth on the many different language possibilities and oddities from this email, but just comment on the need of context to fully understand a word's meaning. Before this email, I did not know that UP could be such a confusing word.
Hope that you enjoy this email as much as I did. Watch your language, you never know what you might say! :)

The idiotic beauty of English!

Can you read these right the first time?

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse .
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick'

You lovers of the English language might enjoy this .
There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP.'

It's easy to understand UP , meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UPa report ?

We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car .. At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP tr ouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special ..

And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP! To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions. If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more. When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP . When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP .

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP , for now my time is UP, so............
Time to shut UP .....!


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Class 2

January 27. Absent: Rebecca Catron

After introductions, we discussed the syllabus. I have adapted Dr. Sobol's syllabus with slight alterations. My intention is to follow his syllabus where possible, but also to make different approaches where it better suits my perspective and objectives. My primary objective being to make this course a study of Linguistics as it relates to Storytelling. To that end the BIG IDEA will be to consider IF there is a Grammar for Storytelling and WHAT that Grammar might be.

We discussed the 3 parts of the Journal Assignment: Collection of language examples, Etymologies, Neologisms. Journal entries are to be posted to the blog in an ongoing basis for the benfit of the entire class.

For etymologies, check the Online Etymology Dictionary. What are key words in the storytelling vocabulary? What are their origins? For example: "Story" "Tell" and so on.
Important for our studies, consider the etymology of "Word"

Please post additional notes on concepts and questions covered in today's class.

Master of Masters

Here is a folk tale type that makes explicit use of the act of naming and the need for a common vocabulary: The Master Who Gave Strange Names To the Thing In His House

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Course Schedule

Course Schedule
Week 1: Jan. 20
*snow day*

Week 2: Jan. 27
Introductions. Course design & goals. Language Journal.
Readings: Crystal, 290-293 ; Leguin “She Unnames Them”; Locke Chapter 3

Week 3: Feb. 3
Language origins and the “stroke economy.”
Readings: Crystal, 1-15, 408-418

Week 4: Feb. 10 * no class
Readings: Crystal, 81-122;

Week 5: Feb. 17
Levels of Language.
Readings: Crystal, 123-131; Bryson “Becoming Americans”

Week 6: Feb. 24
Dialect, Phonetics, Phonology, Morphology
Readings: Crystal, 179-183; Tannen, “Oral/Literate Continuum”

Week 7: Mar. 3
Quiz, take home. Due March 3.
Readings: Crystal, 229-257; Russel “A Grammar For Storytelling” ; Spring Break

Week 8: Mar. 17
Readings: Tannen, Chapters 1-2; Chafe, “Integration & Involvement”; Sutton-Smith, “Folkstories of Children.”

Week 9: Mar. 24
Readings: Bauman, 1-32; Tannen, Chapter 3

Week 10: Mar. 31
Readings: Bauman, 33-53; Tannen, Chapter 4

Week 11: April 7
Readings: Bauman, 54-77

Week 12: April 14
Readings: Bauman, 78-115
Readings: Propp, 17-65

Week 13: April 21
Readings: Propp, 66-117

Week 14: April 28 (Final Class)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Syllabus READ 5190 - ETSU

Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Linguistics Rdng - 13514 - READ 5190 - 001
Linguistics of Reading/Storytelling: 3 credit hours
Course Syllabus
Instructor: David Novak
Phone: 828-280-2718
Office hours: TBD
Course Schedule: Jan 20 – Apil 28, T, 10:45am-1:30pm
Room: Warf-Pickel 405
Crystal, David. Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. NY: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Tannen, Deborah. Talking Voices: Repetition, dialogue, and imagery in conversational discourse. NY: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Bauman, Richard. Story, Performance, Event. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.
Coursepack (see Additional Bibliography).
CATALOG DESCRIPTION: Relationships of local dialects to reading; alphabets; phonology; morphology; syntax, and semantics as related to reading; aspects of psycholinguistics which are primarily linguistic.
This section of Linguistics of Reading/Storytelling will be especially geared to the needs and interests of storytellers, focusing intensively on the psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics of narrative. Reading students should consult the Instructor for further information.
Relationship of Course to College Philosophy and Goals:
COE Conceptual Framework Standards:
This course gives students an opportunity to assimilate five dimensions of leadership: concern for diversity, reflective practice, lifelong learning, caring, and critical thinking. General knowledge, content knowledge, and professional knowledge requirements are also met.
1. To explore in depth the linguistics of storytelling, in its conversational, performance, and literary contexts.
2. To understand the linguistic and rhetorical strategies which signal the emergence of narrative from the matrix of everyday conversational and informational speech and writing.
3. To inventory the specific linguistic techniques that foster teller-listener involvement in storytelling performance.
4. To help storytelling and reading majors to understand how to better use these techniques to raise the level of their own performance, teaching, and communication.
1. Basic tools of linguistic analysis: linguistic levels; analysis at the levels of morphology, phonetics, phonology, grammar/syntax, semantics, stylistics, and higher levels of structure, especially including narrative.
2. Discourse analysis: the methods which sociolinguists, anthropologists, and folklorists have devised to represent spoken language and oral narrative in print, and how these methods reflect on and refract the oral language process.
3. Dialect, and its roles in storytelling and literature.
4. Linguistic and paralinguistic involvement strategies.
5. Defining and exploring narrative and the linguistics of story and storytelling: the dynamic representation of events in passing time; levels of narrative density; general and specific verb tenses, demarcative transitions, construction of action and dialogue, creation of anticipation, qualities of style and “voice” in storytelling and literature.
Writing assignments:
1. Record and transcribe a story told in a conversational setting. Notate all conversational turns, interactive responses, and as many of the paralinguistic elements such as pauses, expression, inflection, dynamics, laughter, etc. as can be reconstructed. Write a socio-linguistic analysis of the context, stylistics, and interactional dynamics as revealed in the language of the performance. 10-20 pp. double-spaced total.
2. A. (for Storytelling majors) Record and transcribe a storytelling performance in a more formal solo performance setting. This can be from one of the class members, a member of another storytelling class on campus, one of the storytelling professors, or any other professional or avocational storytelling performer on campus or elsewhere (it is fine to record the performance in the student’s home region before the beginning of the course). It is acceptable to use a recording of one of your own performances, but it will need to be in a live setting, and will also need to be recorded within one month of the beginning of class. Write a sociolinguistic analysis of this performance. Compare and contrast the linguistic strategies, paralinguistic aspects, and interactional elements of this performance with the conversational performance analyzed earlier. Analyze the narrative structure according to the models covered in readings and in class (Propp, Sutton-Smith, etc.) 10-20 pp. double-spaced total.
2.B. (for Reading majors) Choose a children’s book, short story, or novella (no more than 50 pp. in length) and do a close analysis of the linguistic and narrative strategies therein. Compare and contrast the language of the literary work with the language of the conversational story that you have analyzed above, on the levels of structure, style, vocabulary, syntax, and the presence or absence of involvement or interactional markers.
3. Language Journal (100 pts.): Students will keep a language journal during the
course, consisting of word etymologies, neologisms, and particularly interesting, thought provoking, odd, funny, revealing, eccentric, creative, or dumbfounding examples of language collected in the field. The word etymologies should be selected for their relevance to the art of storytelling. Neologisms are to be of newly coined words currently in use. The language samples can come from encounters with spoken, written, or electronically transmitted language—from conversation, overheard or reported speech, published or unpublished writing, or from language on radio, television, film, or the internet. Each sample should be at least the length of a complete utterance (depending on the context an utterance may or may not conform to the grammatical confinements of a complete sentence—i.e., a proverb (“Waste not, want not”), and exclamation (“Phat!”), or an advertising slogan), but no longer than a paragraph or a conversational turn or two. You will document the context in which you encountered the sample, the date, time, place, speakers, and media involved.You will then write a paragraph analyzing and commenting on precisely what is revealing and distinctive about it. Examples recorded without commentary or analysis will not be credited. Nor will more than three examples from any single source, unless you apply for and receive a special exemption. The purpose of this exercise is to hone your sensitivity to the subtleties and creative uses of language in many different forms and contexts. The complete language journal should contain at least twenty five word etymologies; twenty five neologisms, and fifty entries of examples of language collected in the field. Journal entries are to be posted to the class blog over the course of the semester and are to be completed by April 28.
Midterm Quiz (100 pts.): Short essays on themes drawn from the topics of the course and may be freely answered with examples, stories, and reflections from your own experience. Open-book and open-notes.
Other assignments and exercises TBA
Paper #1 300 pts.
Paper #2 300 pts.
Language Journal 100 pts.
Quiz: 100 pts.
Attendance and Participation: 200 pts.
Total Points: 1000
Students are required to be in class on time for each meeting. Three late arrivals or early departures will be counted equivalent to one absence on your record. A second absence will result in a drop of 50 points. Each subsequent absence will result in a drop of 100 points. Arriving more than 30 minutes late or leaving more than 30 minutes early will count as an absence
A: 926-1000
A-: 900-925
B+: 875-899
B: 825-874
B-: 800-824
C+: 775-799
C: 700-774
Grades lower than a C in a graduate class are considered failing.
Because of the concentrated time span within which the course will be meeting, students would be wise to get hold of the required texts in advance, and to familiarize themselves with their main outlines.
They should also be thinking about and making notes on the two major writing assignments. They are encouraged, though not required, to record and transcribe their conversational and performance stories at home before their arrival.
Key readings for the two papers are:
1. Conversational narrative—Talking Voices pp. 1-165; Story, Performance, Event, pp. 1-77
2. Storytelling performance—Story, Performance, Event, pp. 78-115; “Jack in the Raw: Ray Hicks,” and “Hardy Hard-Ass, as told by Ray Hicks,” pp. 3-26 of Jack in Two Worlds , William B. McCarthy, Ed. (Coursepack); Sobol, Joseph D. “Innervison and Innertext: Oral Traditional and Oral Interpretive Modes of Storytelling Performance,” in Carol Birch and Melissa Heckler, Who Says: Essays on Contemporary Storytelling; Propp,Vladimir. Morphology of the Folktale, Austin, TX: U of Texas Press,1968.
2b. (for Reading majors)—from Spoken and Written Language, Deborah Tannen, ed. NJ: Ablex, 1982: Heath, Shirley Brice. “Protean Shapes in Literacy Events: Ever-shifting Oral and Literate Traditions.” 91-117; Lakoff, Robin Tolmach. “Some of my Favorite Writers are Literate: the Mingling of Oral and Literate Strategies in Written Communication,” 239-260; Rader, Margaret. “Context in Written Language: the Case of Imaginative Fiction,” 185-198.
For more information on courses and the masters program, go to
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED BIBLIOGRAPHY (much of the following will be included in a Course reading pack, to be available at the start of class):
1. Bryson, Bill. “Becoming Americans” from Made In America, pp. 13-29.Perennial, 1995.
2. Chafe, Wallace. “The Deployment of Consciousness in the Production of a Narrative.” 9-50, from The Pear Stories, Wallace Chafe, ed. NJ: Ablex, 1980.
3. ---. “Integration and Involvement in Speaking, Writing, and Oral Literature,” Spoken and Written Language, Deborah Tannen, ed. NJ: Ablex, 1982, 35-53.
4. Darnell, Regina. “Correlates of Cree Narrative Performance.” In Explorations in the Ethnography of Speaking, pp. 315-336. NY: Cambridge University Press, 1974.
5. Fine, Elizabeth. “An Illustration of a Performance-Centered Text.” From The Folklore Text. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1994.
6. Hymes, Dell. “The Lost Boy.” From “In Vain I Tried to Tell You”: Essays in Native American Ethnopoetics, pp. 143-183. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1981
7. Locke, John L. “Social Work” from Why we Don't Talk To each other Anymore, pp. 67-102. Simon & Schuster, 1998.
8. Propp, Vladimir. Morphology of the Folktale.
9. Rader, Margaret. “Context in Written Language: the Case of Imaginative Fiction.” Spoken and Written Language, Deborah Tannen, ed. NJ: Ablex, 1982, 185-198.
10. Schiffrin, Deborah. “Tense Variation in Narrative.”
11. Sobol, Joseph D. “Jack in the Raw: Ray Hicks,” and “Hardy Hard-Ass, as told by Ray Hicks,” pp. 3-26 of Jack in Two Worlds , William B. McCarthy, Ed.
12. Sobol, Joseph D. “Innervison and Innertext: Oral Traditional and Oral Interpretive Modes of Storytelling Performance,” in Carol Birch and Melissa Heckler, Who Says: Essays on Contemporary Storytelling.
13. Sutton-Smith, Brian. The Folkstories of Children, pp. 1-43. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1981.
14. Tannen, Deborah. “The Oral/Literate Continuum in Discourse.” Spoken and Written Language. NJ: Ablex, 1982, 1-16.