This special issue of the AU TESOL Working Papers highlights work done by our students on the structural workings of the English language. The papers were produced in a variety of TESOL courses taught over the past several years by Professors Naomi Baron and Robin Barr. The contributions address a wide swath of issues, from Caribbean Creole English and contemporary use of “like”, to semantic shift in slang and syntactic conversions from nouns to verb.
We hasten to say that these papers are but a sampling of the fine work on the structure of English that students in AU TESOL courses have produced. We hope you enjoy this present collection.
Naomi S. Baron
Professor of Linguistics
Ingrid Rodrick Beiler and Cynthia Hatch's paper Dialect Variation in Number Agreement with Collective Nouns in English was written for Prof. Baron's 2009 Structure of English class.
Megan Calvert's paper Weirding the Language: How Grammatical Conversions Impact English discusses the transition of some words in English from one part of speech to another, and the effects this process has on the English language.The paper was written for Prof. Baron's 2009 Structure of English class.
Connie Gelb's paper Do-support: Historical Roots and Current Usages examines the role of the word do in questions, negations, and other phrases. Her paper was written for Prof. Barr's 2008 Structure of English class.
Rebecca Karli and Brynna Larsen's paper: Caribbean Creole in Class examines how use of Caribbean Creole affects several high school students in an ESL classroom. The paper notes the phonological and lexical differences between Standard American English and Caribbean Creole English. It was written for Prof. Baron's 2010 Structure of English Class.
Philippa Kirby's paper: Double and Multiple Negatives describes the historical and currently accepted use of double negatives, and describes the stigma this phenomenon has acquired in modern usage, despite its history in the language. The paper was written for Prof. Baron's 2009 Structure of English class.
Samantha Parkes and Rebecca Wilner's paper: Has Our Wickedness Made Us Sick?: A Study of Semantic Shift in Slang Usage explores the increasingly prevalent use of formerly negative words such as sick and wicked in a positive sense.The paper was written for Prof. Baron's 2009 Structure of English class.
John Petersen's paper: Semantic and syntactic language intervention was written for Prof. Barr's 2008 Structure of English class. The paper reports the results of action research done in a 6th grade classroom in the D.C. Public School system regarding the use of prototypical and atypical nouns, verbs, and adjectives, and how to make learning parts of speech easier for students.
Jacqueline Schenkel and Janice Prucker's paper: A verray parfit word? was written for Prof. Baron's 2010 structure of English class. It examines the historical and current use of adjectives such as sincere, round, or correct, which are often considered non-gradable in prescriptive grammars.
Huijin Yan's paper: Contemporary use of like and its effects on non-native English speakersexplores the use of the word like in native and non-native speakers of English, and discusses the different ways the word is used in speech and writing. The paper was written for Prof. Barr's 2008 Structure of English class.