The Center for Digital Storytelling sponsors several youtube playlists, including Place. Advanced and basic writers respond well to assignments on place. The cross disciplinary and potential research for the subject makes it compelling and flexible for many classrooms. If you’re looking for prompt inspiration, view some of the playlist, and use your own selected medium for your own project.
Students and I discussed this week the new internet-influenced use of “because.” CBS, Grammar Girl, and The Atlantic have reported the grammatical evolution where Because + Noun is happening online. Perhaps since this discussion followed a lesson on run-ons and pronoun clarity, students reacted quite negatively to this news.
In fact, I observed we’ve used “because” in different ways for a long time. For example, children typically ask parents “why” some rule exists the way it does, and the parents answer “Because” without any reason, phrase, or additional words. “Because” is a powerful indicator of reasoning in our speaking and writing, even if the reasoning is simply autocratic and assumed.
Students were glad to hear that “because internet” was not standard English (not something I would have predicted), but they also wanted to know when their non-standard expressions would be essay acceptable. Sorry to say, all of this is not standard (or what some call “proper”) English. The march toward efficient, quick language is what I think we should find intriguing, however. People forget that little more than a hundred years ago the passive sentence was championed as “proper,” yet few accept passive construction as the norm today. Because change.
ENGL 250 COURSE DESCRIPTION (Updated Feb 2013)
A survey of world folklore studying the more representative literary forms including traditional folk and fairytales, nomenclature, riddles, rhymes, legends, songs, ballads, enchantments, and superstitions. Selected tales, formats, and retellings will be examined to trace the development of worldview and identity. Emphasis is on the uniting qualities of folklore for various civilizations and as constructed by their cultural context. Three class hours weekly. Prerequisite: English 101.
Writing Intensive (WI appears on student transcript.)
J.R.R. Tolkien commented that the greatest value of studying folklore is that it motivates people to write their own culturally significant stories. Thus, the prompts and folk stories written in this course will be evaluated for their development of fluid ideas, character and lore that connect, exemplify, or are clearly inspired by the assigned readings. Special attention will be paid to clear language and well-crafted imagery.
The selected folklore will be distributed widely from across world cultures and countries, such as Germany, Russia, Scotland, Iceland, Peru, North America, Cuba, Africa, Italy, Syria, China, Korea, France, India, Ireland, Papua, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan. Topics include:
- Literary and Oral traditions; contemporary storytelling
- Tall Tales, Fooling the Devil, Rogues and Cheats
- Medicine and Death, Ghost stories, Weatherlore
- Place and Family Names
- Young, Old, and Unlikely Heroes; Fools
- Shape Shifters, Animal Fables, and the Not Quite Human
- True Loves and Enchanted Sweethearts
- Folktale and Fairytale differences
- Hobbits, Dragons, & Magic