Teaching Hel Is The Variation Of Language And Give Voice Of Ordinary People Speaking

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Our approach to teaching HEL is to embrace the variation of language and give voice to ordinary people speaking these variants. While we must rely on textual documentation for most historical samples, we do have recordings of older speakers in American English that continue to exhibit some of the same dialect features found in early Englishes. These voices are found in the interview data collected for the Dictionary of American Regional English, a six-volume dictionary of regional American English variation (DARE, 1985-2012). As we near the end of our HEL course, we present an overview of the settlement patterns that have most influenced American regional dialects. Throughout these lectures, we play recordings from DARE speakers as evidence of dialect features that retain links to British and other historical English dialects. Past courses we have taught revealed that standard American English-speaking students are often dubious of language features or words that they have never heard before. To counter these views, we engage students in several linguistic sleuthing activities that allow them to become linguistic researchers as they must use DARE evidence to trace dialect features and word etymologies, thereby enriching students’ experiences learning the history of English. To illustrate, we present three such activities.
The first activity is a group project in which a small cohort of students are given an audio clip that illustrates a feature such as a-prefixing, want plus

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