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English in America: A Linguistic History

Follow a Professor of Linguistics to trace the history of our language from the Jamestown settlement to our modern era of mass immigration, globalization, and Internet communication.
English in America: A Linguistic History is rated 3.8 out of 5 by 59.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyable! I do enjoy any course about Language study, linguistics and the related. This couese is an overview of English language in America - history, contemporary challenges and the like. Anyone who interested in Linguistics, history, American history and sociology would enjoy this course.
Date published: 2024-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course Professor Schilling provides a clear and informative history of American English. Her approach as a linguist offers helpful guidance for understanding the factors influencing the varieties of ways in which the language has developed and is spoken today, and her selection of topics is pertinent to contemporary discussions about American English. Some of the negative reviews I've read appear to me to be unfair. For instance, she has a pleasant speaking voice and does not speak in a monotone. In addition, her pronunciation of Yiddish is what I heard from my three Jewish suite mates in college. They were from Baltimore, as Professor Schilling is, but her pronunciation is no different from what I heard later when I resided in New York City. However, the criticism may have come from someone living where Yiddish is pronounced differently in another part of that large city. In any event, it would be unfair to expect her to be adept in pronouncing words from all languages and dialects. Most significantly, Professor Schilling should not be criticized for being a descriptivist rather than a prescriptivist. She's a linguist, not a grammarian, and her course should be evaluated on that basis.
Date published: 2023-07-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from should have been better while i like language as a subject, i found Prof Schilling somewhat boring. More significantly, it seems to me she's all too ready to accept what is frankly bad English as merely dialectical. I understand academia's need to be PC, but when what's being spoken is supposed to be English, yet is virtually unintelligible, it should be recognized as bad English, not excused as a dialect. In a related vein, she also seemed to accept the abusive use of the word "like" as more or other than people using the word randomly & meaninglessly, & so frequently as to be orally offensive. Finally, as to her reference to Yiddish, i've never heard anyone pronounce certain yiddish words as she does (& i'm from NYC).
Date published: 2023-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative and engaging Dr. Schilling has a deep knowledge of the subject and an engaging style. I learned a lot from every lecture. I am currently making a second pass through the lectures and enjoying every minute. It is gratifying to take a step back and learn about the origins and development of the language I use every day, all day long.
Date published: 2022-05-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really interesting and fun The lecturer is very good and is clear and easy to listen to. She speaks directly to the camera which helps a lot for those hard of hearing. The subject manner moves quickly and keeps you paying attention. Very enjoyable
Date published: 2022-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! This course definitely had a "wow" factor in terms of material and concepts new to me. She presented some controversial topics in a quite balanced and matter-of-fact way. I listened to this as an audio course. Assuming that a visual version would include maps, I think those would have been helpful, but not a necessity.
Date published: 2021-08-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very interesting So far I have listened to the first four lectures, all of which are very interesting. Professor Schilling is a good presenter with a subtle sense of humor. Even better, she has a pleasing voice which adds to the enjoyment of listening to her lectures.
Date published: 2021-08-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I really enjoyed this course I am NOT a professional linguist by any means, though I enjoy Noam Chomsky's writings and John McWhorter's 2 courses on GCPLUS. I enjoyed THIS ,because it was a broader overvie focusing on the American experience with English. I learned quite a bit about details of American dialect, African American and Native American. So glad that she not try to make this course "end all to end all."
Date published: 2021-06-16
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Overview

Would you address a group of people as: you guys," "yinz," "y'all," or something else? Your answer can provide insight into who you are. American English has a colorful history, influenced by contact between many cultures. Dialect variations are widespread, reflecting and shaping changes in our society. The many American EnglishES represent who we have always been as a nation: e pluribus unum-out of many, one."

About

Natalie Schilling

If we approach language not as grammarians - as guardians of proper usage-but as scientists-as linguists-then we need to study human language as it really is, not how we think it should be.

INSTITUTION

Georgetown University

Dr. Natalie Schilling is an Associate Professor of Linguistics and head of a research project at Georgetown University called Language and Communication in Washington, DC. She earned a doctorate in Linguistics from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she also received a bachelor's degree in English, and she holds a master's degree in English from North Carolina State University.

Dr. Schilling has appeared on a number of NPR programs, and has authored and contributed to articles in national publications. She is the author of Sociolinguistic Fieldwork, coauthor of American English: Dialects and Variation (third edition), and coeditor of The Handbook of Language Variation and Change (second edition). She has conducted forensic linguistic investigation of speaker profiling and authorship attribution, applying expertise in American English dialect variation to casework.

Dr. Schilling is keenly interested in American literature as well as American linguistics, especially in the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, and Mark Twain. She specializes in the study of language variation and change in American English dialects, including regional, ethnic, and gender-based language varieties. Dr. Schilling's main expertise is stylistic variation: how and why individuals use different language styles as they shape and reshape personal, interpersonal, and group identities and relations.

By This Professor

English in America: A Linguistic History
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English in America: A Linguistic History

Trailer

Defining American English Dialects

01: Defining American English Dialects

Begin with a big-picture overview of the American English dialect map, asking as we explore: What is the difference between a language, a dialect, and an accent? Discover the intricate rules governing all linguistic systems, and consider how and why some varieties of language become valued standards and others are stigmatized....

31 min
The Foundations of American English

02: The Foundations of American English

The main English dialect hubs in the new American colonies were centered on Jamestown, New England, and Philadelphia. See how these were influenced by contact with Native American languages, Spanish, French, Dutch, and the West African languages of slaves, and learn about the five stages of development English dialects typically undergo everywhere English is spoken in the world....

30 min
From English in America to American English

03: From English in America to American English

Explore how the English settlers gradually transformed themselves from colonists to American citizens, and how English in America became American English. Myriad dialects began to coalesce, and there was an explosion of linguistic creativity, especially in the creation of dialect words - Americanisms like "raccoon" and "bifocal"....

30 min
The Rise of American Language Standards

04: The Rise of American Language Standards

In the 1800s, America began looking inward, not to England, for its language standards. The new norms were recorded in dictionaries, spelling books, and grammars, and celebrated in a profusion of distinctly American literary works. Noah Webster, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, and Mark Twain are all key figures in this stage in the historical development of American English....

29 min
Where Is General American English?

05: Where Is General American English?

Our journey continues with the westward expansion of American English, as the New England dialect spreads across the North, the South extends to the Southwest, and people in the middle increasingly intermingle. Along the way, dialect mixing and leveling lead to increasing standardization, or at least the ideal of a single, uniform standard, and "General American English" is born. But where is it, ...

29 min
Mapping American Dialects

06: Mapping American Dialects

What do you call a big road where you drive fast: highway, parkway, freeway, or something else? How do you pronounce the word "been": with the vowel in "sit," "see," or "set"? Take a quiz and see where your linguistic usages place you on the American dialect map. Delve into how linguists who study dialects - sociolinguists, dialectologists, and dialect geographers - get data to make their dialect ...

29 min
Ethnicity and American English

07: Ethnicity and American English

America has always been a land of immigrants, and American English has been shaped since its earliest days by contact among immigrants from all over the British Isles and from around the world. Consider how the languages of the many immigrants who poured into America in the 19th and early 20th centuries gave rise to distinctive ethnic dialects of American English, and how they left their mark on A...

30 min
African American English

08: African American English

Explore the indelible linguistic effects of the peoples of African descent who were brought to America as slaves, who went on to develop a richly expressive language variety that today is emulated by young people across the world-African American English. Contrary to common misunderstandings, this well-studied dialect is governed by intricate and consistent rules....

31 min
Mobility, Media, and Contemporary English

09: Mobility, Media, and Contemporary English

Moving into 20th-century America, examine how changes in movement patterns of peoples, and of information, have affected language change. Consider population movements from rural to urban to suburban-and then back to the city again; the Civil Rights Movement; and the increasing influence of Hollywood media and the dawn of the Internet age....

28 min
The History of American Language Policy

10: The History of American Language Policy

What's the official language of the United States? What should it be? See how American language policies and language attitudes have shifted back and forth over the centuries, from periods of relative tolerance for non-English languages in the U.S., to times of heightened fear for the "safety" of English in America, and concurrent attempts at stricter language legislation. Is there reason to worry...

30 min
Latino Language and Dialects in America

11: Latino Language and Dialects in America

In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, America has seen an upsurge in immigration, much as it did at the dawn of the 20th. Investigate the effects of immigrants from Latin America on American English, and confront a fear facing some native speakers of American English: Is Spanish taking over, and do we need language policies to prevent this? Also explore the native English varieties developed ...

28 min
Where Is American English Headed?

12: Where Is American English Headed?

Secure as a major player on the world stage, the U.S. can now look inward and focus on the intra-national linguistic and cultural diversity that's been there since English speakers first arrived on the American continent. Discover that regional dialect differentiation is actually increasing, not receding, even in the Internet age, and consider the development of English as it continues to spread a...

31 min