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Course Proposal
Educational Linguistics: The Acquisition of Literacy
By Steve Hoenisch
Last updated on Feb. 21, 2006
Copyright 1996-2006 www.Criticism.Com
Table of Contents
1 Purpose of Course
2 Goals
3 Description
4 Requirements
5 Preliminary Readings: Getting Started
6 Primary Readings
7 Background Reading
8 Extended Bibliography
9 Related Pages
10 Bookstore

1 Purpose of Course

To explore the structural and functional linguistic influences of a learners' spoken language on the acquisition of literacy, particularly writing.
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2 Goals

To acquire a knowledge of the linguistic issues, problems, and findings pertaining to the acquisition of writing as set forth in representative papers and books from the linguistics literature.
To analyze the structural, functional, cultural, and discourse factors that may affect the acquisition of writing and literacy in a first or second language.
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3 Description

This course will examine the linguistic factors that affect the acquisition of literacy. We will look at the linguistic influences of spoken language on written communication, making the acquisition of writing our primary focus. The emphasis will be on the acquisition of writing in the first language, but effects of literacy and illiteracy in a first language on learning to write in a second language will also be considered.
The problems encountered by speakers of nonstandard dialects in producing standardized writing will be investigated. A central issue, at least on the surface, is the conflict between the everyday use of a nonstandard dialect and the societal requirements of using a highly standardized form in written communication, including that of educational institutions. Grammatical structures commonly used in spoken communication, for instance, often violate prescriptive rules of written communication. What problems do the morphology, syntax, semantics, phonology, and narrative structure of disfavored dialects create in learning to write in the standard dialect or prestige norm?
Other issues pertain to education. Why has there been a general failure among teachers to pass their qualifying examinations in writing? What are potential linguistic influences that have contributed to that failure? If the acquisition of writing has been a problem for pupils, can we identify potential linguistic causes of it? How can the insights of linguistics contribute to enhancing the practice of teaching writing to first- and second-language learners?
Can the findings of discourse analysis about the coherence and structure of written texts beyond the level of the sentence contribute to the teaching of writing? As Odlin (1989: 58) points out,
Differences related to expectations about coherence in discourse may create special problems for learners in their reading or listening comprehension efforts. Alternatively, those differences may lead members of a speech community to consider the speech or writing of non-native speakers incoherent. It is not yet clear just how often such differences actually result in negative transfer. What is clear is the potential that cross-linguistic variations in discourse have for creating misunderstandings.
More specifically, how do differences in standards of logicality and relevance among speech communities within the same language affect their production and understanding of written communication.
These issues and others like them will be our point of departure.
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4 Requirements

An substantial essay on the acquisition of writing.
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5 Preliminary Readings: Getting Started

 Fasold, Ralph. 1990. The Sociolinguistics of Language. Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell. Chapter 9: Some applications of the sociolinguistics of language.
 Gumperz, J. 1982. Discourse strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chapter 2: The sociolinguistics of interpersonal communication. Chapter 8: Interethnic communication. Chapter 9: Ethnic style in political rhetoric.
 Labov, William. 1972. Language in the Inner City. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Chapter 1: Some sources of reading problems for speakers of the Black English Vernacular. Chapter 2: Is the Black English Vernacular a separate system?
 Odlin, Terence. 1989. Language Transfer: Cross-Linguistic Influence in Language Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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6 Primary Readings

 Brewer, William F. 1985. The story schema: universal and culture-specific properties. In Olson, Torrance, and Hildyard (eds.). 1985. Literacy, Language, and Learning: The Nature and Consequences of Reading and Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
 Carrell, Patricia. 1982. Cohesion is not coherence. TESOL Quarterly 16: 479-488.
 Chafe, Wallace L. 1985. Linguistic differences produced by differences between speaking and writing. In Olson, Torrance, and Hildyard (eds.). 1985. Literacy, Language, and Learning: The Nature and Consequences of Reading and Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
 Cheshire, Jenny. 1984. Indigenous nonstandard English varieties and education. In Trudgill 1984b: 533-545.
 Connor, Ulla. Contrastive Rhetoric: Cross-cultural Aspects of Second Language Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
 Edwards, V. 1984. British Black English and education. In Trudgill 1984b: 546-558.
 Farr Whiteman, Marcia. 1981. Writing: The Nature, Development, and Teaching of Written Communication. Volume 1, Variation in Writing: Functional and Linguistic-Cultural Differences. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
 Hall, R.A. Jr. 1975. Review of J. Vachek Written English. Language 51, 2, 461-464.
 Kroll, Barbara (ed.). Second Language Writing: Research Insights for the Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
 Reed, Carol. 1981. Teaching teachers about teaching writing to students from varied linguistic social and cultural groups. In Farr Whiteman 1981: 139-152.
 Richmond, J. 1979. Dialect features in mainstream school writing. New Approaches to Multiracial Education, 8:10-15.
 Stewart, William. In English Across Cultures, Cultures Across English. Garcia and Otheguy, eds. Mouton.
 Stubbs, Michael. 1980. Language and Literacy: The Sociolinguistics of Reading and Writing. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
 Stubbs, Michael. 1983. Discourse Analysis: The Sociolinguistic Analysis of Natural Language. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
 Stubbs, Michael. 1884. Applied Discourse Analysis and Educational Linguistics. In Trudgill 1984.
 Stubbs, Michael. 1986. Educational Linguistics. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
 Trudgill, Peter. 1975. Accent, Dialect and the School. London: Edward Arnold.
 Trudgill, Peter (ed.). 1984a. Applied Sociolinguistics. London: Academic Press.
 Vachek, Josef. 1973. Written Language: General Problems and Problems of English. The Hague: Mouton.
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7 Background Reading

 Brown, Gillian and Yule, George. 1983. Discourse Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
 Trudgill, Peter (ed.). 1984b. Language in the British Isles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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8 Extended Bibliography

Brown, Gillian and Yule, George. 1983. Discourse Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Carrell, Patricia. 1982. Cohesion is not coherence. TESOL Quarterly 16: 479-488.
Chafe, W. L. 1976. "Givenness, contrastiveness, definiteness, subjects, topics, and point of view." In C. N. Li (ed.).
Chafe, Wallace L. 1985. Linguistic differences produced by differences between speaking and writing. In Olson, Torrance, and Hildyard (eds.). 1985. Literacy, Language, and Learning: The Nature and Consequences of Reading and Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Clyde, M.G. 1987. "Cultural differences in the organization of academic texts: English and German." Journal of Pragmatics 11, no. 2: 211-247.
Connor, U. 1991. "Linguistics\rhetorical measures for evaluating ESL writing." In Lyons, L. Hamp (ed.). 1991. Assessing Second Language in Academic Contexts, 215-226. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Connor and Farmer. 1990. "The teaching of topical structure analysis as a revision strategy for ESL writers." In Kroll, Barbara (ed.) 1990. Second Language Writing: Research Insights for the Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dahl, O. 1969. Topic and Comment: A Study in Russian and Transformational Grammar. Slavica Gothoburgensia 4: Goteborg.
Dahl, O. 1976. "What is new information?" in N. E. Enkvist & V. Kohonen (eds.) Reports on Text Linguistics: Approaches to Word Order. Abo, Finland: Abo Akademi Foundation.
Danes, F. 1964. "A three-level approach to syntax." Travaux linguistiques de Prague 1: 225-240.
Danes, F. (ed.) 1974. Papers on Functional Sentence Perspective. Prague: Academia.
de Beaugrande, R. & Dressler, W. U. 1981. Introduction to Text Linguistics. London: Longman.
Enkvist, Nils Erik. 1973. Linguistic Stylistics. The Hague: Mouton.
Farr Whiteman, Marcia. 1981. Writing: The Nature, Development, and Teaching of Written Communication. Volume 1, Variation in Writing: Functional and Linguistic-Cultural Differences. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Fasold, Ralph. 1990. The Sociolinguistics of Language. Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell.
Firbas, Jan. 1964. "On defining the theme in functional sentence perspective." Travaux linguistiques de Prague 1: 267-280.
Gumperz, J. 1982. Discourse strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Holliday, M. A. K. 1967 & 1968. "Notes on transitivity and theme in English." Journal of Linguistics 3: 37-81, 199-244; 4: 179-215.
Holliday, M. A. K. & Hasan, R. 1976. Cohesion in English. London: Longman.
Kroll, Barbara (ed.). Second Language Writing: Research Insights for the Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Labov, William. 1972. Language in the Inner City. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Lautamatti, L. 1987. "Observations on the development of the topic in simplified discourse." In R.B. Kaplan and U. Connor (eds.) 1987. Writing Across Languages: Analysis of L2 Text. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1987.
Levinson, Stephen C. Pragmatics. 1983. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Li, C. N. (ed.) 1976. Subject and Topic. New York: Academic Press.
Lyons, Liz Hamp (ed.). 1991. Assessing Second Language in Academic Contexts. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Odlin, Terence. 1989. Language Transfer: Cross-Linguistic Influence in Language Learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Reed, Carol. 1981. Teaching teachers about teaching writing to students from varied linguistic social and cultural groups. In Farr Whiteman 1981: 139-152.
Schneider, M., and U. Connor. 1991. "Analyzing topical structure in ESL essays: Not all topics are equal." In Studies in Second Language Acquisition 12: 411-427.
Stubbs, Michael. 1983. Discourse Analysis: The Sociolinguistic Analysis of Natural Language. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Stubbs, Michael. 1980. Language and Literacy: The Sociolinguistics of Reading and Writing. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Stubbs, Michael. 1884. Applied Discourse Analysis and Educational Linguistics. In Trudgill 1984.
Stubbs, Michael. 1986. Educational Linguistics. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Trudgill, Peter (ed.). 1984a. Applied Sociolinguistics. London: Academic Press.
Vachek, Josef. 1973. Written Language: General Problems and Problems of English. The Hague: Mouton.
van Dijk, Teun A. 1977. Text and Context: Explorations in the Semantics and Pragmatics of Discourse. New York: Longman Group.
Witte, S.P. 1983a. "Topical structure and revision: an exploratory study." College Composition and Communication 34, no. 3: 313-341.
Witte, S.P. 1983b. "Topical structure and writing quality: some possible text-based explanations of readers' judgements of students' writing." Visible Language 17: 177-205. 
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