Department of English

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188-001 WBIS: Watch Your Language

188-001 WBIS: Watch Your Language
Instructor: Sam Looker
Description:
We all use language in many distinct ways. In the course of one day, you might text several friends, write part of an essay for class, call your mom, practice for a job interview, and talk with your roommate over dinner. Some of us would use English for all of these tasks; some of us wouldn't. Even if you're technically using the same language, though, you'll find that it sounds very different depending on the situation. This class will explore how we vary our spoken and written language to fit in with different people and communities and to present ourselves how we want to be seen. It will also consider the ideas that circulate in our culture about what ways of speaking and writing are more correct, appropriate, or "good" than others. What rules do we learn without trying, what rules do we have to struggle to learn, and what rules might we want
to break on purpose? Through readings, discussions, and essays, we'll see how our thoughts on language affect our behaviors and our opinions of others—at home, at school, and everywhere in between.

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