Linguistics Chapter 1 Instructors Manual This Covers The Innateness Language Aspects Language Upon

Document Type
Homework Help
Book Title
English with an Accent: Language-- Ideology and Discrimination in the United States 2nd Edition
Rosina Lippi-Green
Chapter 1
Instructors Manual
This chapter covers:
The innateness of language
Aspects of language upon which linguists agree
The universality of language change
The linguistic equality of spoken languages
The difference between grammaticality and communicative effectiveness
The differences between spoken and written language
Language variation
Sample answers to the questions from the text and the website
From the textbook
1. Browse through The Speech Accent Archive. Listen to speech samples from places you know
well, where you have lived. How does your own variety of English compare? Do the samples on
the website strike you as representative? Consider submitting a sample of your own speech to
add to the archive (under how to use this site").
2. Pick one of the website resources provided above (but not the Speech Accent Archive) and
report to the class on what it is, and how it might be of interest or use.
3. Ask five people you don‟t know well why it‟s wrong to say “I seen it yesterday when I got
home.” Do not react to their response, and don‟t engage in conversation. Concentrate on taking
notes. In class, compare the answers you got to those other students recorded. Similarities?
Differences? Does gender or age make a difference? How does this exercise illustrate the
taxicab maxim, if it does at all?
Copyright © 2012 Taylor & Francis
taxicab maxim because, while this sentence may be violating the prescriptive rules of the people
who disapprove of the grammatical construction, it does not violate the laws of English (as
evidenced by the fact that it is a comprehensible sentence rather than word salad.)
4. In his essay Standard English a Myth? No! Kilpatrick disputes the claim that all languages
and language varieties are potentially equal, and uses this comparison to make his point: And
to assert that all languages and all dialects have the same expressive potential is to assert that
the ukulele ranks with the cello (Kilpatrick 1999). Does this strike you as a valid comparison?
Why or why not?
5. Milroy and Milroy (1999) state: As writing skills are difficult, our educational systems have
concentrated on inculcating a relatively high degree of literacy, with little attention paid to the
nature of spoken language as an everyday social activity. Can you conceive of ways that our
schools might pay more attention to developing spoken language skills? What would the goals
6. Galileo was the mathematician and astronomer who first observed that the earth revolves
around the moon. This did not sit well with the Catholic Church, which taught that the earth was
the center of the universe and everything revolved around it. They forced Galileo to recant his
position, but afterward he is said to have mumbled (rebelliously) Eppur' si muove: And yet, it
moves. How does this episode parallel the way linguists and people more generally think about
language in the present day?
7. Is FOXP2 evidence that supports Chomskys innateness hypothesis?
From the website
Listen to the samples of the language varieties spoken in Orange County, Chicago, South
Boston, and Smith Island provided by the International Dialects of English Archive and The
Speech Accent Archive.
1. In Chapter 1, the author states that these varieties, while very different, “are all equally
efficient as languages, although they do not enjoy the same degree of respect (p. 9).”How do you
think each of these dialects might be evaluated by speakers in your community? Which would be
most respected and why? What does this reveal about language attitudes in your community?
2. How did this news clip frame the story on “bad grammar” and what was its main message?
What linguistic examples did the story provide to support this message? Was the evidence they
provided for the decline of English convincing? Why or why not?
3. According to this clip, who or what has the authority to determine what is “good” and “bad”
Suggested activities and discussion questions
1. Discuss the difference between descriptive and prescriptive grammar. Ask students to write
down one prescriptive rule violation (or a prescriptive rule) that bothers them. Discuss these
rules in small groups or as a class. Ask students to make an argument attacking or defending the
rule” or violation.” Why do the students feel the way they do? Do any the prescriptive rule
violations the class mentioned prevent communication?
2. Linguists agree that all living languages change. Ask the students to think of any ways that
English or any other language(s) they speak is changing. For example, do their parents or
grandparents speak differently than they do? Encourage brainstorming at every level if possible
phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic, lexical, etc. What makes the speech of their
generation unique? Discuss these changes. Do the students think these changes are bad, good, or
neutral? Why do they feel the way they do?
3. Ask the students if they have ever been corrected on their grammar. How did that make them
feel? If they have children now, or if they plan to have children in the future, do (or would) they
correct their children on that same grammatical issue? Do (or would) they correct them on any
language use? What do they think is most important to correct and why do they place importance
where they do?
4. Review the differences between speaking and writing, and discuss some differences in
grammatical construction. Have students experiment with speaking the way that they write for
one day (or part of one day, or even one conversation!). Ask them to take careful notes on what
the experience is like and report their reflections back to the class or in writing. What did they
think about the experience? Was speaking as close to writing as possible more efficient or
effective than speaking in their normal fashion?

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