new middle school class???

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIO.EDU
Thu Apr 7 03:23:23 UTC 2005

Roger Shuy's little book IS great, but since it's out of print, you might
use the excerpted chapter in Clark, Eschholz, and Rosa's 8th edition
collection of short and readable articles (I've forgotten the title of the
book and don't have it at home).  The chapter includes lexical,
grammatical, and pronunciation items that kids can use for elicitation, as
Roger suggests, and it reprints the nicely abstracted map of dialect
regions that was at the end of the book (I use it all the time, crediting
you of course, Roger!).

And do use Allan Metcalf's very readable paperback, _How We Talk: American
Regional English Today_.  Middle schoolers can handle that nicely.  And
frankly, I think they'd be more interested in the variety of things
included in that book more than they would enjoy looking up word
etymologies and origins out of context.  One more good small book is Peter
Trudgill's _Language Myths_, good for debunking prescriptive notions
drilled into the kids in their first eight years of school.

Beverly Flanigan

At 07:30 PM 4/6/2005 -0600, you wrote:
>on 4/6/05 7:08 PM, Jan Kammert at write at SCN.ORG wrote:
> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> > -----------------------
> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Poster:       Jan Kammert <write at SCN.ORG>
> > Subject:      new middle school class???
> >
>--> -
> >
> > Those of you on this list have always been fantastic about answering my
> > questions.  I hope you can help me out again.
> >
> > I teach 8th grade, and my principal has invited teachers to come up with
> > new elective classes for grades 6 through 8.  I'm thinking about a course
> > on language.  I'm thinking of having a bit of vocabulary, grammar, and the
> > history of English.  The course would be one semester (18 weeks).
> >
> > I have to write a course description by noon on Friday.  Teachers only got
> > this request yesterday.  I don't know how anyone can write anything very
> > thoughtful in that amount of time, but I'm going to give it my best try!
> >
> > Do any of you have thoughts about what topics could be covered in this
> > course?  Thoughts about printed resources?  Thank you in advance for any
> > ideas you have.
> > Jan
> >
>Back in the old days, when linguistics seemed to be important to the
>schools, the NCTE asked me to write a little booklet for high school
>teachers and students--about dialects. I did (in 1967) and it was published
>by NCTE and became a best seller for a number of years. It even included a
>checklist of dialect features that young people could gather from their
>families and friends. Discvering American Dialects is out of print now (just
>as linguistics seems to have gone out of style in the secondary curriculum)
>but your question prompted me to think of it again. There is so much about
>language that can be made exciting to young students. I had taught 7th
>graders in my early teaching and I had them find out whether the wh in
>"which" was used by their school principal, their teachers and their family.
>As it turned out, in this Midland dialect community where I taught,  nobody,
>I mean nobody, used the wh in those words. Purists claimed that they
>couldn't tell the difference between a female who rode a broom from a
>relative pronoun. Bosh. They knew full well whitch was which. Kids are often
>a lot smarter than we are.
>Roger Shuy

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