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 54.
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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
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Too Glib I found this course to be disappointing, because I felt Professor Schilling fell too far on the side of "anything goes" with language standardization. There will always be tension between standardization and expression, but I felt that she failed to acknowledge that some standardization is essential. I am a combat veteran - clarity of language is vital in some circumstances, period, full stop.
Date published: 2021-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Centering English Fascinating! Suggestion on Latinos and English. Puerto Rican English in New York influence of Black English historically based on both communities arriving in significant numbers in the 1920s and 1950s. Contact with Spanish omits circular migration with the Islands of Puerto Rico in helping extend the life of Spanish. In addition, the role of churches in reinforcing Spanish speaking and literacy. Recommend Toward a Language Policy for Puerto Ricans in the United States (1977), National Puerto Rican Task Force on Educational Policy, Centro de estudios puertorriqueños, Hunter College and the work of Pousada, Poplack, and Alvarez during the 1970s on Puerto Rican code- switching.
Date published: 2020-08-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from English in America: A Linguistic History I already wrote a review and even added an addenda. I'm concerned that this is not in your records.
Date published: 2020-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So that's why.... Dear Dr. Schilling: I would like you to know that your course on American English through The Great Courses is a great resource for the semi-foreigner (if that may be an appropriate reference for my background). Please allow me to explain. I grew up in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty With a childhood L1 of Italian from my immigrant parents, which quickly extinguished upon entering the public school system in New Jersey. At seventeen I resided abroad in a series of countries for ten years. During a seven-year period in Italy, my birth language was restored and ameliorated within a few months, but upon returning to the US, numerous cultural/ linguistic peculiarities emerged, especially questions regarding the myriad phonetic and vernacular diversities spoken in the US. For example, I discovered that just because Mexicans in the southwest conversed fluently among their peers, many of them could not read or write Spanish. They exhibited a speaking vocabulary but committed countless errors of literacy when writing. The explanations you provided for these disconcerting curiosities I harbored about American English were clarified through your course presentation on American English, and I am grateful for your research-based sociolinguistic perspective that has ostensibly offered plausible explanations for these ‘mysteries.’ Thank you for your perspicacious enlightenments. Luigi Yannotta
Date published: 2020-06-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very good Instructor is excellent and I am learning a great deal
Date published: 2020-04-10
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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
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