Sunday, February 8, 2009

Class 4

We will conduct our 4th class via internet. Please consider the following and submit your responses directly to me via email at I will post your responses once I have received them all.
NOTE: You will be marked "absent" from class if you have not responded by 5pm on Tuesday, February 10.

Readings for Class #4: Crystal pages 1-15; 408-415


1. On page 1 of Crystal the author states "The world currently displays many signs of linguistic intolerance and tension." Give an example of the above.

2. On page 7 the author states "A belief that some languages are intrinsically superior to others is widespread, but it has no basis in linguistic fact."

Regarding this point,
A. what is the derivation of the imperative to 'speak the King's English'? and
B. why are some words consider crude or profane while others correct or respectable? For example, compare the use of "shit" v. the use of "feces".

3. On page 7 the author states the impossibility of rating the linguistic or aesthetic excellence of language. However, if it is possible for rating the quality of the storytelling event, what measures can you suggest? (consider Locke's remarks re: "verbal plumage")

4. In Plato's "Cratylus" the title character, Cratylus, states: "I believe, Socrates, the true account of the matter to be, that a power more than human gave things their first names, and that the names which are thus given are necessarily their true names."

A. How does this compare with Eve's actions in the short story "She Unnames Them"?
B. How does the imposition of a name affect our ability to know a thing?

5. What was the study of language called before it was named 'linguistics'?

6. Which of Sauserre's concepts, Diachrony or Synchrony, is most relevant to our search for a grammar for storytelling? Why?

7. Which of the grammars that have emerged since the 1960's (Crystal page 413) has relevance to our search for a grammar for storytelling? Why?

8. Which of the Interdisciplinary Fields of Linguistics (Crystal page 418) has relevance to our search for a grammar for storytelling? Why?

9. What concepts that we have touched upon to date should be included in our grammar for storytelling?

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