ENGLISH 408 - Varieties of English
Fall 2018, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


A study of the ways our speech reflects personal facts about national and regional origins, race, class, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, and sexual orientation.

When we meet a new person and listen to them speak, we are able to make guesses (sometimes even make judgments) about them.

  • Are they local, or from an easily identifiable region (England, Boston area, the deep South, the UP)?
  • Are their roots urban or rural?
  • What is their educational, social and/or economic level?
  • Does their speech reflect facts about their race, ethnicity or national origins?
  • Might you guess that the speaker is a member of a fraternity/sorority, an athlete, in the school of engineering, or the program in theater and drama?

This course will explore the ways in which our own varieties of English reflect facts about ourselves, our group affiliations, our backgrounds, the things we do with language and the settings within which we do those things. We will begin close to home within the university/campus environment in which we live, work and learn. We will learn to recognize and analyze features of our own speech, most of which are invisible to us. We will then turn to the British origins of American English examining both the forms and attitudes we inherited from the first speakers of English. This study will enable us to get more personal about our language — how age, class, education, race, gender and sexual orientation influence our daily use of language. Our aim is to understand both how we use our language and, in an important sense, our language uses us.

Course Requirements:

2 Exams, on-going journals, several short written assignments

Intended Audience:

UM upper-level undergraduates

Class Format:



ENGLISH 408 - Varieties of English
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
 In Person
TuTh 8:30AM - 10:00AM
9/4/18 - 12/11/18

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