Age of Linguistic Anxiety

KEYTERMS

1. A set of key terms useful for the study of English in and around the eighteenth century.

EARLY DICTIONARIES   

2. Download and print this PDF with early dictionary examples and exercises. Read the instructions on the first page of the PDF, complete the exercises, and take them to your next section. You will need to use the online OED for some of the exercises.

GRAMMAR BOOKS

3. Links in this section will take you to digitized copies of some early grammars so that you can answer some questions.

SHIBBOLETH

4. Early grammars singled out a small set of variant usages for special attention. This exercise lets you explore what four grammarians thought about the use of "shall" vs. "will."

"TENSE PRESENT"

5. This link opens an opinionated review article by David Foster Wallace (author of Infinite Jest) published in Harpers 2001. Read it carefully, and come to section prepared to argue for or against the positions on language advocated by DFW. You can also find this article on the course Canvas site.

WORD CRIMES

6. This link opens "Weird Al" Yankovic's music video, "Word Crimes." Note among other things the (comic) violence directed at the word criminals.

ANALYSIS OF 2 TEXTS

7. This exercise asks you to compare the etymologies in the diction of two texts of your own choosing.