This semester I'll be teaching two courses - one old, one new, both very exciting for me! (Click course titles for syllabuses)
LING 481 (Sociolinguistic Variation) is a graduate-level introduction to variationist sociolinguistics. This year I'm trying something different - instead of a series of articles, each tied to a narrow topic, the course will have two "anchor" texts - Labov (1966/2006)'s The Social Stratification of English in New York City and Penelope Eckert (2000's) Language Variation as Social Practice - complemented by additional readings. The idea is to work our way through the three "waves" of variation, revisiting questions such as how do we define coherent groups for study? And what causes/underlies variation? through different perspectives. Fortuitously, Eckert and Labov have just published a paper together in the most recent Journal of Sociolinguistics, which will really tie everything together near the end of the term. It's going to be a big class (20 currently enrolled) so I anticipate great discussions!
LING 400 is the Senior Thesis seminar, which I am leading for the first time as Director of Undergraduate Studies. Seven senior majors are enrolled in this year-long course, working on diverse topics such as the syntax of the left periphery in a dialect of Chinese, the discourse of online video chats, and how multilingual people acquire a third language. I love working with students on their own projects and guiding them through the research process, so I'm really looking forward to this year!