Phone: (309) 438-2961
Office Hours: Tuesday 10:30-11:30
Any student needing to arrange a reasonable accommodation for a documented disability should contact Disability Concerns at 350 Fell Hall, 438-5853 (voice), 438-8620 (TDD).
Tuesday & Thursday 12:35-1:50
From the ISU Course Catalogue: Traditional, structural, and transformational grammars applied to needs of writers. Choosing among alternative grammatical strategies. Usage; semantics of punctuation. Revising.
This course will not resemble other grammar courses you have taken for three reasons. First, during the first part of the semester we will discuss the political, ideological implications of grammar, dethroning, as it were, the gods of standardized grammar and deconstructing the right/wrong binaries of language usage that have become naturalized by traditional grammar instruction in the academy. Second, the course includes applied grammar and usage rather than descriptions of a language system of the kind taught in many grammar classes. In other words, you will focus your study upon issues of grammar as they relate to the discourses, styles, and usage(s) applicable to specific audiences and specific rhetorical situations. Third, you will be researching and discovering for yourself the grammar and usage that will be most appropriate for your chosen major or future occupation.
Discussions of grammar, then, will lead you to a better understanding of the ways that language works within specific communities: the ways that language creates or destroys understanding, the ways that certain language practices mark a text as belonging to a particular discourse community, and the ways that language acts as a gatekeeper marking the language user as outsider.
Thus the work that you do in the course will direct you toward understanding what "good grammar" means in the field or fields where you plan to do your work. I will ask you to do some theorizing about the information you discover as you do your assignments and activities for the course, but the conclusions you draw will be based on your own discoveries.
I would prefer, then, that you think of this as a class in the third canon of rhetoric: style. With the birth of composition in the university, style, which was taught as one of the five canons of rhetoric, became subsumed under instruction in grammar. In other words, grammar, which is just one part of style, became the primary focus of writing/rhetorical instruction. You will come to recognize that while good grammar may mark a text as worthy of consideration by a specific community of readers, it is just one stylistic consideration out of many.
You will also want to purchase a grammar handbook that is recommended by a professor or professional in your field and a Dictionary of English Usage (two texts that should be in every writer's library). A good general grammar and style guide (one that is quite fun and informative) is Things Your Grammar Never Told You by Maurice Scharton and Jan Neuleib.
We are working in a computerized classroom because this is, in every sense of the word, a writing class. We will also be using an Internet Classroom to post documents for analysis, to conference about issues, to complete group and individual classroom activities, and to access links for discussion during class and for homework. I encourage you to post links that you discover as you research your particular field, and we will discuss how to do this in class. A large list of course-related links may be accessed from our homepage, or by clicking here. The course-links page provides some information on grammar and style in various discourse communities, so you may wish to begin your research and inquiry there.
Format of the Class
Class time will consist of discussion based on the texts and the research you are doing. We will discover together what we know about language and what the world around us expects us to know. There may be times when it is necessary for me to "lecture" to get us started on a particular activity, but I would prefer for issues, discussions, and lessons to occur in a more organic fashion, stemming, for example, from your questions about the reading assignments or about specific grammar/style issues you encounter in your own work.
Toward the end of the semester, you will be asked to bring in various drafts of your final project for peer review, workshopping, and copyediting. I consider these classes to be at least as important as (if not more important than) the other work we do this semester, so please be prepared to present drafts and provide valuable feedback to your peers.
I have also set aside a few classes for copyediting texts in groups.
During these classes, you will bring in papers, memos, articles you have
written or work written by friends, roommates, or family members (hard
copy please). You will spend the class working with one or more
of your classmates improving the grammar and style of these texts. Ideally,
you should bring in your own work, but I realize this is not always possible.
These course materials
are licensed by Lori Ostergaard under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.