ENGL 569 -- Spring Quarter 2006

Topics in Language Moore TTh 3:30-5:20

Language Ideology, Nation, and History

In modern history, conceptions of language have been central to developing conceptions of nationhood. Language ideologies inform national cultural perceptions, educational philosophies, and public policy, and therefore shape the relation between a changing language and a changing nation. This course examines some present-day ideologies of English -- including ideas about a standard English, varieties of English, and the role of English abroad -- and investigates the ways that these ideologies were constructed through and informed by language history. How was English spelling regularized (mostly)? How do present-day usage manuals reveal eighteenth-century cultural ideas about English? How do "English-only" policies stem from nineteenth-century ideas about the relation between language and nation? This course will address these and other questions as we examine the historical relationship between language ideology and ideas of nationhood. Course requirements include several brief response papers and one seminar paper. Students are not expected to have previous experience with the history of English or with language study; interest in these questions and enthusiasm for the English language are the only prerequisites.

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