Universität Wien FIND

340304 UE Functional grammar and stylistics English (2020W)

4.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 34 - Translationswissenschaft
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 25 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

(UPDATE: 6 Nov 2020):
Due to new measures to contain the corona virus, all units planned as hybrid will take place online only.

Format: Hybrid teaching/learning: probably via Blackboard Collaborate (with BigBlueButton, Jitsi, or Zoom as possible alternative platforms).

Friday 16.10. 12:30 - 14:00 Seminarraum 9 ZfT Philippovichgasse 11, 2.OG
Friday 23.10. 12:30 - 14:00 Seminarraum 9 ZfT Philippovichgasse 11, 2.OG
Friday 30.10. 12:30 - 14:00 Seminarraum 9 ZfT Philippovichgasse 11, 2.OG
Friday 06.11. 12:30 - 14:00 Seminarraum 9 ZfT Philippovichgasse 11, 2.OG
Friday 13.11. 12:30 - 14:00 Seminarraum 9 ZfT Philippovichgasse 11, 2.OG
Friday 20.11. 12:30 - 14:00 Seminarraum 9 ZfT Philippovichgasse 11, 2.OG
Friday 04.12. 12:30 - 14:00 Seminarraum 9 ZfT Philippovichgasse 11, 2.OG
Friday 11.12. 12:30 - 14:00 Seminarraum 9 ZfT Philippovichgasse 11, 2.OG
Friday 18.12. 12:30 - 14:00 Seminarraum 9 ZfT Philippovichgasse 11, 2.OG
Friday 08.01. 12:30 - 14:00 Seminarraum 9 ZfT Philippovichgasse 11, 2.OG
Friday 15.01. 12:30 - 14:00 Seminarraum 9 ZfT Philippovichgasse 11, 2.OG
Friday 22.01. 12:30 - 14:00 Seminarraum 9 ZfT Philippovichgasse 11, 2.OG
Friday 29.01. 12:30 - 14:00 Seminarraum 9 ZfT Philippovichgasse 11, 2.OG


Aims, contents and method of the course

With a COVID SAFE plan in place, we will have one-hour workshops in our brick-and-mortar classroom during fall foliage season and winter. In case of emergency the course will be moved online (virtual live-streamed classes; video/remote learning).

“It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.” (Oscar Wilde)

“The price a world language must be prepared to pay is submission to many different kinds of use.” (Chinua Achebe)

In this course we do grammar—and we’ll do it in style; (here we go) ... “Bring, brang, brung.” … … … (ah, ... feeling transported right into the thick of it?) ... some would call this conjugation 'UNEDUCATED', 'SUBSTANDARD', or 'NONSTANDARD' … others 'LEGITIMATE', 'REGIONAL', or 'ARTISTIC LICENSE'. What about you? “Context,” you say? “Following my heart ...,” you say? And what about “broughten” (and dare we say “bringed”?) … … … or, and now for something completely different, what about “bad, ... badder, baddest”? Check it out and share your thoughts with us in class.

There are no apolitical classrooms, and our course will provide enough room for ALL THE ENGLISHES …—we will counter artificial notions of correctness and superiority. The idea of CORRECTNESS usually presupposes that usages in grammar, pronunciation or meaning can be RIGHT or WRONG according to some ideal standard (or—and even worse—to make language use conform to one’s own ideals of beauty, efficiency, civility, etc.). That is not to say that we are libertines: But, in our class, we determine rules of grammaticality by actual usage and patterns. “He’s a quick sort of a bairn is that.”—a perfect sentence; and a beautiful one, innit? So is: “Irks care the cropfull bird?” ———Thus, in this course, we will have to discuss DIALECTICAL and STYLISTIC VARIATION, ACCEPTABILITY and APPROPRIATENESS.

In our class, you will experience a collaborative and supportive environment. The course will be co-taught by Lukas Felser and Karlheinz Spitzl. Current edited writing and broadcast spoken word will serve as our chief metric (our yardstick) when assessing your work. (“The only evidence we have of what makes up the English language is how people write and speak it.” —Oliver Kamm)

Learning objectives:
(i) to improve your grammatical knowledge (and thus perhaps turn you into grammaficionados and grammartists);
(ii) to broaden your stylistic repertoire.

On the menu?
Present and future tense (Let us not look back. The past is gone.). Conditional clauses. Purpose, reason and result clauses. Stative verbs. Gerunds and infinitives. Subjunctives. Punctured punctuation. Adjectives and adverbs. Connectors. Phrasal verbs. Idioms and expressions. Morphologically similar but distinct words. 'Not-so-close' friends (language transfer). A free wish.

Weekly group presentations on selected topics, discussion of issues (based on real-life examples), exercises in and out of class. Individual, pair and group work.

So, let’s hit the ground running …

Assessment and permitted materials

- Midterm Test
- Final Test
- Assignments (in-class and homework)

You are not allowed to bring any material (e.g. written notes, dictionaries, paper) into the exam. No electronic devices permitted.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Make-up of the final grade:
Midterm Test: 40%
Final Test: 40%
Assignments: 20%

Grading scale: 90-100%: 1 // 80-89%: 2 // 70-79%: 3 // 60-69%: 4 // < 60%: 5 (fail).

Students must complete all assignments. To pass, you must not miss more than two classes (attendance will be taken), and you will have to attain a passing score (60% or more) on at least one of the tests.

Examination topics

Both tests will be based on the assignments and our work in class.

Reading list

Aarts, Bas. 2011. Oxford Modern English Grammar. Oxford: OUP.
Agana-Nsiire, Agana. 2018. Master the [Pigeon]—An Elementary Grammar of Ghanaian Pidgin English. Accra: Merizm Books.
AP—The Associated Press. 2020. The Associated Press Stylebook. 55th Edition. New York: Basic Books.
Brownholtz, Bethany M. 2013. [Queneau's] Exercises in Style: 21st Century Remix. College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences—Theses and Dissertations 138. https://via.library.depaul.edu/etd/138/ [22/01/2020].
Cameron, Deborah. 2012. Verbal Hygiene. London: Routledge.
Forvo.com (regularly updated): All the Words in the World. Pronounced. https://forvo.com/
Google Ngram Viewer (regularly updated): [Frequencies of Writing Habits]. https://books.google.com/ngrams
Huddleston, Rodney & Pullum, Geoffrey K. 2002. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge: CUP.
Kamm, Oliver. 2016. Accidence Will Happen. A Recovering Pedant's Guide to English Language and Style. (Previous edition subtitled: The Non-Pedantic Guide to English.) London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
Marsh, David. 2013. For Who the Bell Tolls. One Man's Quest for Grammatical Perfection. London: Guardian Faber.
McCulloch, Gretchen. 2020. Because Internet. Understanding the New Rules of Language. New York: Riverhead.
Merriam-Webster.com (regularly updated): Dictionary and Thesaurus. https://www.merriam-webster.com/
Mesthrie, Rajend & Rakesh M. Bhatt. 2008. World Englishes: The Study of new linguistic varieties. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Norris, Mary (regularly updated): Comma Queen. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/comma-queen
OALD—Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (2020): Tenth Edition. Oxford: OUP.
ORAAL—Online Resources for African American Language (regularly updated): [The Corpus of Regional African American Language]. https://oraal.uoregon.edu/
Pennycook, Alastair. 2008. Translingual English. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics 31 (3), 301-309.
Quirk, Randolph & Greenbaum, Sidney & Close, R. A. 1973. A University Grammar of English. London: Longman.
Schneider, Edgar W. & Bernd Kortmann (eds.). 2008. Varieties of English. 4 Volumes. Berlin & Boston: De Gruyter.
Seidlhofer, Barbara. 2011. Understanding English as a Lingua Franca. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Swan, Michael. 2016. Practical English Usage. Fourth Edition. Oxford: OUP.
University of Chicago Press. 2017. The Chicago Manual of Style. The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors and Publishers. 17th Edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Wales, Katie. 2014. A Dictionary of Stylistics. London: Routledge.
Wroe, Ann. 2018. The Economist Style Guide. London: Profile Books.
Yale Grammatical Diversity Project (regularly updated): [English in North America]. https://ygdp.yale.edu/

Association in the course directory

Last modified: We 16.12.2020 10:09