EXPOSITORY WRITING: LANGUAGE DEATH
2009/2010, Semester 1
University Scholars Programme (University Scholars Programme)
Modular Credits: 4
This course is part of a pilot project testing writing courses for NUS's planned expansion in U-Town.
There are two kinds of writing courses being piloted, 'analytical' and 'expository'. This module (WP 2201a) is an expository writing course.
Expository writing courses focus on argumentative writing, reasoning, evidence, persuasion, and critical insight. Each UTWP module is content-driven, with a topic decided by individual instructors (in this case, 'Language Death'). Classroom exercises are dedicated to exploring and practicing writing techniques designed to develop clarity, cohesion, persuasiveness and intellectually rigorous arguments. Students proceed through progressively more challenging tasks, beginning with précis writing, to arguing a policy position, and culminating in a research paper.
Students develop skills in critical reading and rhetorical writing, especially in formulating and defending arguments. Students learn to make claims and substantiate them with defensible reasons. They are taught to articulate the assumptions on which their claims and reasons are based, and to recognize and elucidate the claims made by authors in assigned readings.
Skills you develop in this module are all designed to be applicable to contexts and tasks throughout your academic life.
Students must have passed/been exempted from NUS Qualifying English Test (QET) or have passed the CELC English for Academic Purposes (EAP 1 & EAP 2) modules.
All UTWP modules will preclude each other, i.e. if you have read one, you will not be allowed to take any others in the future.
This course is capped at 15 students. The course will be organized as a seminar-cum-workshop, fueled by student participation, discussion, and many practical exercises.
Monday & Thursday 10:00 AM-12:00 PM
All classes will be held at BLOCK ADMIN SR-6, Level 5.
Here are some of the writing skills you will learn in this module:
Prose revision and style
Identifying a thesis,
Identifying genres of writing
Identifying modes of argumentation
Writing Inductive vs deductive arguments
Designing and defending claims
Using hedges in writing
Formulating cogent researchable topics
Writing a literature review
Ordering arguments and evidence
Writing introductions by problematizing central claims
Revising and rethinking essays
Transposing arguments to visual presentations
What does it mean for a language to die? In this course we examine issues in language extinction: its social, political, and economic causes, and the impacts that the loss of language diversity will likely have on human society. Students will read key texts in the field, supplemented with films and other materials.
Here are some of the readings we will use in this course:
Dauenhauer, Nora Marks and Richard Dauenhauer. 1998. ‘Technical, Emotional and Ideological Issues in Reversing Language Shift: Examples from Southeast Alaska.’ in: Grenoble, Lenore A. and Lindsey J Whaley. Endangered Languages: Current Issues and Future Prospects Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pg. 57-98
Day, Richard. R. 1985. ‘The ultimate inequality: linguistic genocide.’ Language of Inequality. N. Wolfson and J. Manes. Berlin, Mouton Publishers: 163-193.
Dorian, Nancy C. 1973. ‘Grammatical Change in a Dying Dialect’ Language 49:2 pg. 413-438
Fasold, Ralph. 1984. The Sociolinguistics of Society. NY: Basil Blackwell. [Chapter 8: Language Maintenance and Shift. pg. 213-245.]
Fishman, Joshua A. 1990. ‘What is Reversing Language Shift (RLS) and How Can It Succeed?’ in: Durk Gorteret al (eds.) Fourth International Conference on Minority Languages Vol 1: General Papers Bristol PA: Multilingual Matters, Ltd
Huntington, Samuel P. 2004. ‘The Hispanic Challenge’ Foreign Policy, No. 141 (Mar. - Apr., 2004), pp. 30-45
Krauss, Michael. 1992. ‘The World's Languages in Crisis’. Language 68: 4 -10.
Krauss, M. 1982. In Honor of Eyak: the Art of Anna Nelson Harry. Fairbanks: Alasaka Native Language Center, University of Alaska.
Kulick, Don. 1998. ‘Anger, Gender, Language Shift and the Politics of Revelation in a Papua New Guinean Village.’ in: Bambi B. Schieffelin, Kathryn A. Woolard, and Paul V. Kroskrity, eds. Language Ideologies: Practice and Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Leonard, Wesley Y. 2008. ‘When is an ‘Extinct Language’ Not Extinct? Miami, a Formerly Sleeping Language.’ in: King, Kendall A., Natalie Schilling-Estes, Lyn Fogle, Jia Jackie Lou and Barbara Soukup (eds.) Sustaining Linguistic Diversity: Endangered and Minority Languages and Language Varieties Washington DC: Georgetown University Press. pg 23-33
Nettle, David and Suzanne Romaine. 2000. Vanishing Voices: The Extinction of the World’s Languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Skutnabb-Kangas, Tove. 2000. Linguistic Genocide in Education - or Worldwide Diversity and Human Rights? Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. pg. 291-378
Spolsky, Bernard. 2004. Language Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Toelken, Barre. 1996. ‘From Entertainment to Realization in Navajo Fieldwork.’ in: Bruce Jackson and Edward D. Ives, eds. The World Observed: Reflections on the Fieldwork Process. Illinois University Press. pg. 1-17
Tosco, Mauro. 2004. ‘The case for a laissez-faire language policy’ Language & Communication 24:2 pg.165–181
Vail, Peter. 2006. ‘Can A Language of A Million Speakers Be Endangered? Language Shift and Apathy Among Northern Khmer Speakers in Thailand’ International Journal of the Sociology of Language. Volume 2006, Issue 178, Pg. 135–147
Film: Mar a Chuannic Mise: Nancy Dorian agus a Ghàidhlig
Film: The Linguists. 2008. Directed by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller & Jeremy Newberger. Ironbound Films, 65 minutes.
In this class you will write a series of increasingly complex papers.
We will start with precis writing, in which you critically summarize articles and arguments of other authors.
You will then write a policy paper, in which you advocate a particular stance relevant to the course topic (in this case Language Death) and try to persuade an audience to your point of view.
The course will culminate in a research paper, on a specific topic you select in consultation with the instructor.
These papers will be supplemented with a variety of writing exercises, debates, discussions, etc.
Assessment in this class is based almost entirely on your written work, with some credit given to class participation and presentations. There is no final exam.