A Study of L2 Writing Skills Acquisition under Conditions of Biostress—John Carsey-Brasco and Neddy Jacks SpecGram Vol CLXXX, No 1 Contents A Classroom-Based Study of Semantic Entailments: Definiteness, Specificity, and Anaphoric Reference in English, French, and German—Skiffy Bafflegab

Linguistics 897 TA Training/Practicum Course
Spring Semester 2018

L’École de SpecGram
Paris (Texas), USA

Course Goal: This course is limited to Graduate students who are currently serving as Teaching Assistants. The goal of the course is to help you survive your first semester as a TA, and secondarily to prepare you for a lifetime of teaching Linguistics.

Grading: A simple test will be administered at the last class session. Each student will be asked a single question, and all those who answer calmly will receive an “A” grade. Questions will be of the form What are “phonemes” and what do I need to know about them for the test?

Instructor: Jennifer Oliviera, ABD, Linguistics Department Head TA. (Veteran of 17 Ling 101 classes in our department.)

Time and place: Class sessions will be held on Fridays from 8-11 pm, at various locations near campus. Call the instructor’s cell phone (number provided separately) for the location each week.

Office hours: By appointment. Note that I am typically in my office (Room 4, basement level 2; take the stairs down from behind the departmental custodial closet) Monday through Friday, 8 am to 7:30 pm.


Class Session 1: Dealing with Psychology and Education majors.

Class Session 2: How to explain the phoneme.

Class Session 3: How to answer questions about careers in linguistics (no, we don’t know either).

Class Session 4: How to explain the phoneme again.

Class Session 5: Artificial Intelligenceexplaining why linguistics has made no contribution to this field.

Class Session 6: Descriptive vs. Prescriptivewhy writing ability matters anyway.

Class Session 7: Language Changehow to explain that language change is not degeneration, and what to do when the only three students who care won’t believe you.

Class Session 8: Flirting with undergradsa free, open, and honest discussion about the pros and cons of flirting with or even dating undergrads is your class; anyone who can freely, openly, and honestly think of any pros will be assigned a sixteen-hour language lab project transcribing all of former First Lady Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” speeches in excruciating detail.

Class Session 9: Sociolinguisticsexplaining why linguists are the only people in the entire world thickheaded enough to believe that any dialect is just as good as any other one.

Class Session 10: Gradingcreating quizzes, prelims, and final exams that you can grade quickly and “fairly” on a Sunday night, despite getting progressively more tipsy on cheap beer or wine.

Class Session 11: Fluff lecturesa discussion of topicslike animal communication, language games, in-class surveys of sociolinguistic features of students, and the applications of syntax in the real worldon which you can lecture without any preparation and despite being hungover from excessive “grading”.

Class Session 12: Another way to explain the phoneme.

Class Session 13: Educational technologythe benefits for linguistics. (Note: Class is typically cancelled on this day.)

Class Session 14: Advanced gradingusing spreadsheets to find the optimal weighting of homework, papers, quizzes, exams, and class participation so that the obnoxious engineering student who is obviously slumming gets no better than a C-, and the enthusiastic proto-linguist who always sits in the front of the class gets an A++.

Class session 15: Explaining how to pass the final without understanding what a phoneme is.

Class session 16: Final exam (see above).

Available extra lab credits:

A Study of L2 Writing Skills Acquisition under Conditions of BiostressJohn Carsey-Brasco and Neddy Jacks
A Classroom-Based Study of Semantic Entailments: Definiteness, Specificity, and Anaphoric Reference in English, French, and GermanSkiffy Bafflegab
SpecGram Vol CLXXX, No 1 Contents