Advanced Writing (Haladó íráskészség) in spring 2015
Suff, Matthew, Mon 10:15–11:45, R422, host: DEAL (R306)
3-credit seminar, 30 h/term; strong prereq: BBN-ANG-204
description & set texts
This course will be tailored to the individual requirements of students as regards their theses: each class will contain material likely to be of interest to more than one student, and all students' specialisations will be considered in turn. (No advance information will be given as to whose chosen fields of study will be addressed in any given lesson, as attendance is mandatory — and useful — for all, and in the interests of peer reviewing and collegiality all students will be expected to take an interest in the work of their classmates.) The course will focus on professional application of English, in contexts ranging from business to education and even literary/aesthetic reviews. There will be a great emphasis on improving extant texts – this will sometimes take the form of peer reviewing and rewriting, and sometimes focus on unsatisfactory non-copyrighted scholarly works in progress from non-native speakers. This will be rooted more in semantics and even pragmatics than in syntax – students will be encouraged to analyse texts in terms of lacunae, ellipses, ambiguity and vagueness. There will be due recognition of the role of tone and register in creating effective communication strategies. At least two weeks will be devoted to material prepared for other courses, especially anything directly related to final theses: this will cover everything from bibliographies to layout. At least one week will be devoted to freer “creative” writing, although it will be heavily guided. Emphasis will be placed on argumentative skills, ensuring that a distinction is maintained between statement of fact and statement of opinion (emotive language and "weasel words" will be discouraged, but so will purely descriptive reportage, while clear statement of authorial position will be encouraged), and structure of a thesis (this will even include observance of conventions regarding footnotes/endnotes and chapter/section division). A certain amount of time will be devoted to analysis of, and avoidance of, Hungarian native-language interference in terms of both syntax and style (with due allowance made for students whose first language is not Hungarian: in the past, homework tasks have been emended to allow—inter alia—Spanish, Turkish and Iranian students to answer them, and this practice will continue, applying to any first languages that this year's intake might speak). Set texts are being decided. However, the Academic Skills Reader and Workbook (both editions: 104 and 108) will be used, despite being intended for first-year students, as this year's third-year students have had no experience of these texts in their current form. There will be some use of the works of Steven Pinker, John Lyons and related linguistic philosophers/philosophers of language.
requirements & assessment
A 400-word-long assignment will be given nearly every week: there will usually be a choice of 4 each week when such a task is set. This should be submitted electronically by a time specified in class (usually allowing at least 4 days for the students to write it and 2 days for the instructor to mark it).