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Assignments

There are three types of assignments in this course, plus two take-home ‘tests’. These are described below. All assignments may be modified if you have a burning desire to do one type of project or another – just come talk to me about it.

Pre-class writing

Each week, students will post to the course blog about that week’s topic. One person (the motivator) will introduce the topic and describe what it is about. Everyone else will then respond with at least one example from real life, a movie/television, music, or fictitious conversation, etc. and explain how it illustrates the topic of the week. We will discuss the responses in class on Thursdays. Each week is worth 20 points. These posts will comprise the bulk of your grade, and they are your chance to get feedback on your ability to apply the theory to the real world. Grading is based on completeness.  To get 20 points for this assignment if you are a motivator, you must:

  1. Identify the topic
  2. Explain the topic in your own words
    1. Rewritten definitions do not help anyone to understand the topic better. Think of this part as explaining the idea or topic to someone who cannot understand the definition in the textbook and needs it to be presented in another way. There are lots of ways to explain these ideas – your job is to think about it for yourself and then explain it to everyone else.
  3. Highlight the key ideas
  4. Cite your sources (if you use any)

To get 20 points in this assignment, if you are a responder, you must:

  1. Provide the data
  2. Cite the data
  3. Explain how it relates to the topic
  4. Use the key ideas and terms from the topic

Extra Credit

You are able to score as many extra credit points as you wish by posting relevant examples to twitter using the clashtag[1] (class + hashtag = clashtag) #lng340 you will earn one point for every tweet. The goal of this extra credit opportunity falls in line with the goal of the blog – to relate the classroom to the world outside and make it searchable and accessible to a public audience. To earn the extra credit points, you must email me with your twitter handle. If you teach your friends pragmatics and they tweet at you, using #lng340, you will also earn one point (retweets of something you posted do not count).

Research Project

  • The research project will be an in-depth discourse and cultural analysis that builds on the theory we have constructed in class. This is your opportunity to be a linguist by doing linguistics.  The data and a research question will be decided early in the course of the semester, and agreed upon by all group members. While group work may be intimidating, especially in United States culture which highly values individual achievement, and different people may have different ideas about grades and education, it is a very realistic possibility that you will have to work with others on teams, committees, etc. It’s also likely that you will be appraised as a member of a team in the workplace, and since working with others is a skill, it is something that can be learned and developed.
  • There are a variety of options for the presentation. The purpose is to create the type of work you would in the workplace. Academic papers have a valid and important place, but they are not the only way to present ideas or communicate information.
    • Face to face group presentation during the last week of classes. Since the group is so small, this would be open to invited guests (friends, family, etc.)
    • Write a short manual for publication on the internet that explains how to do a discourse analysis to a layperson.
    • Write a magazine article about avoiding miscommunication for publication in a magazine for travelers
    • Design a travel book for understanding any culture – either written or pictoral.
    • Write an advice column for new students to the US about American communication.
    • Write a children’s book about pragmatics.
    • Etc.
    • There are three tests, all of which are take-home. The purpose of these is to make sure you are developing the ability to do discourse analysis. These will all be hands-on activities – a discourse analysis of a movie clip, you tube video, radio piece, etc. Unlike the research project, the discourse analysis tests are individual work.
  • The research project will consist of 6 main parts
    • Development of a research question (100 word summary due September 24th)
    • A literature review
    • Project Design
    • Analysis of the Data
    • Bibliography
    • Peer evaluation
  • You will have some time to work on this project during class, but it is expected that you will determine a working plan and be able to either coordinate out of class meetings or conduct virtual meetings.
  • More details will be given September 17th at the beginning of class.

Presentation

  • There are a variety of options for the presentation. The purpose is to create the type of work you would in the workplace. Academic papers have a valid and important place, but they are not the only way to present ideas or communicate information.
    • Face to face group presentation during the last week of classes. Since the group is so small, this would be open to invited guests (friends, family, etc.)
    • Write a short manual for publication on the internet that explains how to do a discourse analysis to a layperson.
    • Write a magazine article about avoiding miscommunication for publication in a magazine for travelers
    • Design a travel book for understanding any culture – either written or pictoral.
    • Write an advice column for new students to the US about American communication.
    • Write a children’s book about pragmatics.
    • Etc.

Tests

  • There are three tests, all of which are take-home. The purpose of these is to make sure you are developing the ability to do discourse analysis. These will all be hands-on activities – a discourse analysis of a movie clip, you tube video, radio piece, etc. Unlike the research project, the discourse analysis tests are individual work.


[1] Not my joke – this is taken from Peter McGraw – an excellent researcher of humor http://blog.petermcgraw.org/

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