Skip to main content

First-Year Seminar (105-6-22)


Language & Everyday Experience


Lisa M Del Torto
555 Clark St., Room 204

Meeting Info

Technological Institute M120: Tues, Thurs 12:30PM - 1:50PM

Overview of class

This seminar will explore language as part of our social experience. We will examine the spoken and written language we use and observe in a variety of everyday situations, considering such questions as: Why do we call some language varieties "dialects" and others "languages?" Why do some people think you have an accent while others think you don't? Has your own language changed since you came to Northwestern? What patterns govern the conversations we have, and how do we create social relationships, communities, and identities in those conversations? Why do some people mix multiple languages when they speak and write? Is it, like, ok for me to, like, use like so much? What about um or ain't or ya know? Students will formulate and consider their own questions about language and social life in papers and presentations.

Class Materials (Required)

Most of our course materials will be available via free download on Canvas.

There is one book that students will purchase, rent, or access via course reserves:

Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. ISBN: 978-0393631678

Students can get the 3rd, 4th, or 5th edition of They Say/I Say. Used and new books are equally fine as are print and e-books. This book ranges in price from about $15-$35, and can be found at the Norris Bookstore as well as from various online booksellers.

Class Attributes

WCAS First-Year Seminar

Enrollment Requirements

Enrollment Requirements: Reserved for First Year & Sophomore only