Week 11:  Evaluation Week

Please be sure to come to your evaluation conference at the appointed time!  You will need to bring an evaluation of both Rachel and Susan. If you prefer not to submit them directly to us, you can give them to the program secretaries in Sem II, A2117. They will give each of us your faculty evaluation when our evaluation of you is posted. There is a form for these faculty evaluations but they are not essential. It is important to type the evaluation and sign it.

Here is the description that will be in your evaluation. It describes what you did; your self evaluation should be about what you learned. Focus on 2-3 concetps that you have understood, or on 1-2 texts that were particularly useful and explain why. 

Program Description:

This full-time program was a linguistic inquiry of a wide variety of written materials in the popular media designed to persuade. Through lectures and workshops on pragmatics and discourse analysis, seminar discussions on analyses of the media, workshops on language and gender, and writing their own persuasive essays and syntheses, students gained an in-depth understanding of linguistic resources used in persuasive texts.  To gain expertise in discourse analysis, they wrote focused analyses of commercials, print advertisements, news articles, op-ed newspaper columns, political analyses, talk radio transcripts, and blogs. Linguistic resources they examined included goal-hooking, framing, metaphor, speech acts, implicature, presupposition, entailment, metadiscourse markers (including evidentials), collocations, puns, verb choice, poetic devices, and the structure of ad hominem arguments. Students worked each week to synthesize learning in pragmatics, discourse, ideology, and gender studies. Finally students wrote and presented short research projects on persuasive texts either extending an analysis they had already worked on or researching a linguistic topic in persuasive popular media. Specific learning objectives follow: learn the principles of pragmatics; demonstrate an ability to do discourse analysis of written texts; gain an understanding of media and popular culture from a linguistic perspective; explain theories in language and gender studies; write persuasive essays; exemplify an ability to do database research; demonstrate improved critical thinking and time management skills. Books, articles, and chapters include Graff & Birkenstein, They Say, I Say:The moves that matter in academic writing; Altheide, Terrorism and the Politics of Fear; Lakoff, Moral Politics; Pinker, The Stuff of Thought; Barker, Rushed to Judgment: Talk radio, persuasion, and American political behavior; Savan. Slam Dunks and No Brainers: Pop Language in Your Life, the Media, and Like . . . Whatever; Eckert & McConnell-Ginet, Language and Gender; Poggi, “The goals of persuasion”; Walton, “Ad Hominem Arguments in Political Discourse”; Lewis, “Ridicule to Rule”. 


Notice from the Bookstore: Starting Monday March 16, the Bookstore will not only buy your textbooks back, but will also buy some of the regular books that are cluttering up your room or closet. The store’s general book department is moving to become more like Powell’s & Half Price Books, in that we will purchase and resell used general books. We are only buying general books that have minimal wear— no underlining or highlighting – and current editions please. Our buyback period is next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in front of the bookstore from 9am to 5pm. Bring us your books and see what we can give you for them!

Why are men better stand up comedians than women? Germaine Greer writes: http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2009/mar/02/germaine-greer-comedy-women


Listen to this!  Ron Reagan interviews George Lakoff about Obama's speech to Congress (and his use of family metaphors): http://airamerica.com/content/ron-reagan-professor-george-lakoff

You can also read his essay about Obama's framing of issues through language here: http://www.truthout.org/about


Watch this video (17 minutes) to understand more about the persuasive power of talk radio: Rage on the Radio


Hear how snark undermines public discourse on NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100763005

Computers find metaphors! http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i20/20a01101.htm

Want to read about "diphthong" used as an expletive? http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=978

Check out Steven Pinker's Op-ed in the NY Times on prescriptive grammar and the Presidential Oath:  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/22/opinion/22pinker.html?em


Are you curious about why people procrastinate? Read about it in The Economist: http://www.economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12971028


Program Explanation:

Faculty: Rachel Hastings & Susan Fiksdal

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the principles of pragmatics;
  • Demonstrate an ability to do discourse analysis of written texts;
  • Gain an understanding of media and popular culture from a linguistic perspective;
  • Explain theories in language and gender studies;
  • Show an ability to write persuasive essays;
  • Exemplify an ability to do database research;
  • Demonstrate improved critical thinking and time management skills


Language Matters will focus on the linguistic resources used in popular culture to persuade us of a particular point of view including metaphor, framing, stance, fixed phrases, lexical choices, and evidentials. We have five themes and we will examine them in the following order: advertising, news media, politics, blogs, and comedy.

For each theme we will read analyses of these genres and then draw upon linguistic resources to do our own analyses. You will, then, analyze commercials, print ads, editorials, news articles, editorials, talk radio transcripts, and blogs. As we do this work, we will also examine the relationship of gender and rhetorical strategies. You can expect to learn rhetorical strategies used to persuade and you will work on your own persuasive writing.

Weekly Assignments:

Lectures: Each week your faculty will present a lecture introducing the linguistic principles needed for the week's work.

Seminars: Each week you will seminar on the readings listed in the syllabus. You will bring a seminar response paper to our discussions. This assignment is described in the Writing Assignments section of the web page.

Language and Gender: Each week you will participate in a workshop on your text, Language and Gender. There will be a final, open-book exam.

Synthesis Workshop: You will write one short persuasive essay each week and a short synthesis essay. This assignment is described in the Writing Assignments section of the web page.

Linguistic Analysis: Each week your faculty will introduce a type of linguistic analysis and you will do that analysis in class. Then you will find your own written materials and analyze them according to the specifications given.

Final Project: You will write and present a short research project at the end of the quarter on a topic connected to our program themes or present a linguistic analysis.

Program Portfolio: You will keep your work in a portfolio to be submitted at the end of the quarter.


Possible Equivalencies:

4 - Pragmatics

4 - Discourse Analysis of Print Media

4 - Media and Popular Culture

2 - Persuasive Writing

2 - Theory of Gender and Language