You are on page 1of 2

Linguistics 1

Essay Assignment

Choose one of the following three topics and write an essay of 5-6 word-processed pages (double-spaced in 12 point type with 1-inch margins all around). You should hand in a printed version of the assignment to your TA in the last discussion section meeting of the quarter (Dec. 2 or 3). If for some reason that is not viable, the only other option is to upload the essay (in PDF format) via the Assignments page on SmartSite, in which case, the exact due date/time is Dec. 1, 11:55 PM.1 A Summarize the problems that speakers of African American Vernacular English face in learning to read standard American English and the reported successes, failures, and limitations of the use of dialect readers for overcoming these problems, based on the journal article Dialect Readers Revisited by linguists John Rickford and Angela Rickford.2 Then, compare and evaluate the approach to raising achievement levels of struggling readers in low income schools that is being used in William Labovs Penn Reading Initiative,3 taking into account both the tutoring program and the innovative reader in standard English (The Reading Road),4 as well as the role in these of insights from linguistics concerning the relationships between sounds and letters and dialect differences. In the video He Said, She Said: Gender, Language, & Communication,5 sociolinguist Deborah Tannen claims that men and women have different conversational styles and use language in systematically different ways. Summarize her claims about how women and men differ in their use of language, why these differences exist, and what some of the consequences are. Argue in support of or against these claims, drawing on additional sources that consider this matter and your own experience and observations of women and men or boys and girls in conversation. Other potential sources include the bestselling book by Tannen, You Just Dont Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, and commentaries on this book.6 This video will be shown in lecture on Friday, November 5. As it is not available on the internet and cannot be put on reserve, you can only choose this option if you attend class on this day. As advances in technology over the past couple of decades have brought video and computer entertainment into the foreground of the cognitive landscape of children, their ability to develop the reading and writing skills needed to excel in school has become a major concern, for both parents and educators. Describe, compare, and critically evaluate the following two programs for early reading development that have emerged in recent years, taking into account their design and purpose, their relationship to linguistic theories of how children acquire language, and how participants have evaluated them in the videos that their websites (and others) point to.

1 Essays may be uploaded to SmartSite after the due date/time, with points subtracted for lateness. The ultimate deadline for late submissions is Dec. 3, 11:55 PM. 2 See SmartSite, under Resources. 3 http://www.ling.upenn.edu/pri/index.html 4 http://www.ling.upenn.edu/pri/readingroad/aboutreadingroad.html 5 Tannen, D. (Producer/Writer). (2001). He said, she said: Gender, language, & communication (VHS). Los Angeles: Into the Classroom Media. 6 For example, http://raysweb.net/poems/articles/tannen.html, http://www.archive.org/details/openmind_ep1375, http://coffeytimes.blogspot.com/2010/02/deborah-tannen-you-just-don-understand.html

The first is a commercial program, centered around a DVD, developed by developmental psychologist Robert Titzer: Your Baby Can Read. The second is a philanthropically-funded, non-profit read-aloud program centered around books: Bring me a Book.7 General guidelines You should begin the essay with an introductory paragraph in which you present the question or questions to be focused on and summarize your strategy for addressing them. In the body of the essay you should implement your strategy, making sure that you accomplish the tasks assigned in the instructions and that you include adequate support for your conclusions, i.e., well-reasoned arguments and relevant evidence and illustrative examples, as appropriate. If you report on matters you have read about, summarize them in your own words. Quotations should be used sparingly and must be clearly marked as such, with a citation of the source. If you mention or rely on source materials of any kind, indicate this in the text and include a list of references at the end. Use some standard set of conventions for citing and listing references. If you are unsure about what conventions to use, you can follow the APA citation style.8 Scoring Rubric Points are subtracted from or added to a baseline score, which is 9.3 for any legitimate attempt,9 in which case the range of possible scores is 6-10. + or + + range .2.5 .2.5 .2.9 .2.5 .2.5 .2.9 .3.5 factor points initial value 9.3

demonstrates a superb understanding of the topic and issues, as they relate to linguistics exhibits skillful use of language and critical thinking to develop an insightful point does not accomplish tasks assigned in instructions does not provide adequate support for conclusions does not cite work appropriately or does not demonstrate that appropriate sources were used has deficiencies in clarity, organization, sentence structure, or other mechanics of writing is late final value 610

http://www.bringmeabook.org/ http://www.library.cornell.edu/resrch/citmanage/apa 9 Examples of non-legitimate attempts: essays written in Swahili, essays lifted from the internet or otherwise plagiarized, essays concerning the role of nocturnal arterial hypotension in optic disorders, essays that are not submitted according to the rules,
7 8