Language Analysis, English I
(These are the topics to choose from; remember to come up with a title of your own.)
1) Are English language and culture related when it comes to teaching English as a foreign language?
2) The following languages are currently national minority languages of Sweden: Finnish, Me?nkieli, Sami, Yiddish, and Romani. Should English be added to the list?
3) What makes some words taboos and not others?
4) ?There is a built-in masculine bias in English? (Cheshire, 2008, p. 7). Do you agree with this statement?
5) ?If, moreover, we want what ?society lays down? for women and men to change, then one way to do this may be to focus to a certain extent on language and try and change that? (Trudgill, 2000, p. 80). Is Trudgill correct in his analysis?
6) In your view, is the increasing use of English in Sweden a cause for concern?
7) Is a bilingual approach to education always a good policy?
8) While there are billions of people in the world who are bilingual, some people believe there is no such thing as ?true bilingualism? (cf. Beardsmore, 2003, pp. 12-13). Argue whether it is possible for an individual to know two or more languages perfectly, what is meant by ?perfectly,? and whether we should adopt perfectionist or maximalist definitions of bilingualism (i.e. a bilingual has ?native-like control of two languages? (Bloomfield, 1935, p. 56)).
Topic and aim
You are asked to write an argumentative research-based essay of 900-1200 words (excluding references), where you discuss and argue for or against a sociolinguistic topic. You may choose one of the topics discussed in class (the themes in the schedule) or choose your own. If you want to choose your own topic, please consult your teacher first.
The aim of your essay is to produce an argumentative research-based linguistic essay. This involves reading relevant books and/or articles to become acquainted with research in the field, forming your own hypothesis based on the research, expressing it clearly in text and then arguing for it on the basis of what you have read. In other words, it is not enough to have an opinion; you have to be able to argue for it convincingly and in keeping with academic discourse.
The essay is to be written in academic English. The essay must have a clear structure, an appropriate title, a thesis statement in the introduction of the essay, sufficient evidence to support your claims, and a conclusion. For more on this, see the Style Guide and the information below.
You will be graded on the following (scale A-F):
? linguistic accuracy (the use of grammatical, idiomatic, academic English);
? the ability to write with a clear and transparent structure;
? the ability to formulate a convincing argument based on secondary sources;
? the proper use of secondary sources (see further below).
Your grade will involve the following considerations: structure, content, and academic English language. Note that language proficiency is a prerequisite for the higher grades, but that high levels of proficiency in a text without content will still result in a poor grade.
The course essay should be based on what you have learned in the course and in Oshima and Hogue (2006). It should contain (although not necessarily in this order):
? an introduction to the issue at hand
? a clearly expressed thesis statement
? an account of your arguments, based on secondary sources (and possibly your own
? the opposing side?s arguments, based on secondary sources
? your rebuttal of these arguments, based on secondary sources
? a conclusion
? a reference list
The essay should be written using formal, academic English (e.g. without contractions or slang words), with clear transition signals between sections and paragraphs. The essay should also be checked for grammatical and spelling errors. Tables and graphs can be included if you want to present your own data.
You use secondary sources to support your claims. Whenever you make a claim, support it up by using secondary sources. For instance, if you want to make the claim that language changes over time, you can cite other research that has shown this:
?A living language never stays the same, but keeps changing over time? (see e.g. Bauer & Trudgill, 1998, p. 1; Yule, 2006, p. 182).
Whenever you use material from your secondary material, this should be immediately accompanied by a reference to that source, using the APA style of referencing (see the APA Guide on Mondo).
For your essay, you will be expected to use at least three academic secondary sources in English. These may be material given to you as part of the course, but you can also find more yourself. None of these sources can be Wikipedia (or any other wiki).
When looking for suitable secondary sources, we recommend the extensive bibliography in Trudgill as a starting point. Also, SUB has a large number of books and journals, and can bring in books from other libraries through ?Fj?rrl?n?.
The reference list should list your secondary sources, according to the APA system (see the APA Guide on Mondo).
Submitting the essay
The essay will be submitted twice: first as a draft, then in a final version. On both occasions the text should be complete, i.e., no sections should be missing.
The essay is to be submitted in an electronic format and on paper (on Mondo / Assignments). All essays should be written with 1.5 line spacing, with your name, group and the name of your teacher clearly visible on the first page. Essays should conform to the Style Guide.
Students should demonstrate that they have reflected about the comments they receive on their essay draft. Write a two-paragraph response to the feedback. In the first paragraph, identify the comments that you will incorporate into your essay, and explain the reason(s) why you will use those comments. In the second paragraph, identify the comments that you will not incorporate into your essay, and explain the reason(s) why you choose not to use those comments. It is more important at this stage to think about content, organization, argument, and sources than it is to think about grammar. This reflection should total between 100 and 150 words.
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