Regional and Social Dialects of American English - Diversity Intensive (online)

ENGL 4620/7620
Section 01
Matthew Gordon
Course Description

When a lost amnesiac shows up at your door, will you be able to help by identifying that person’s hometown based on his/her dialect? This is but one of the real-world applications of the knowledge and skills learned in this class. The course examines how the English language varies in the U.S. along regional and social lines. We will study differences in pronunciation, word choice, and grammar. Among other things, we’ll learn how to pretend you’re from New York, why he frontin’ and he be frontin’ do not mean the same thing, and how to reduce tension in cross-gender conversations. In addition to understanding how American dialects differ, you’ll also gain an appreciation for how linguists investigate these differences. We will also explore attitudes toward dialects in U.S. society as we consider the political and educational dimensions of linguistic variation. In addition to quizzes and regular homework assignments, students will conduct research projects involving the collection and analysis of linguistic data. [This course is taught 100% online with synchronous meetings during our scheduled times.]