ENGL 301A Section 1
Fall 2019 Prof. Guzik
Assignment #2: Fabricating Facts?
In this assignment, we’ll look more deeply at key aspects of a university-level essay that we didn’t have time to examine in much depth during Assignment #1: global arrangement, transitions on both thematic and sentence-levels, and more effective techniques for introductions and conclusions.
We’ll also discuss the writing process with an eye toward the second impromptu essay.
Time permitting, we will continue to look at the grammar issues that most frequently come up in the paper sets.
Linguists are people who study not just one particular language and its literature (as a specialist in American literature or Russian language might do.) Instead, linguists look at languages as systems.
Sometimes the field of linguistics overlaps with politics and current events. For example, in 2004, George Lakoff wrote a short book called Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate in which, as a liberal or progressive, he made an argument about how the two political parties in the US frame the issues that they hope to change policy on and opinion about. While he is arguing from a particular political perspective, his analysis is generally considered even-handed by the academic discourse community (ADC).
Basically, Lakoff’s argument suggests that when a political party—or even a government bureaucracy—wants to influence someone’s opinion, the language used can shape how people think about that issue. Too often, he argues, we assume that logic and facts alone will convince people. However, the work of Lakoff and other linguists shows that sometimes how we make an argument matters.
In this assignment, you’ll be asked to take a particular issue and look at a pair of terms used by people on opposite sides of the discussion and analyze how the language chosen frames the issue for one or both sides.
“Propaganda: How Not to Be Bamboozled” Donna Woolfolk Cross in LA
“Selection, Slanting, and Charged Language” by Newman P. Birk and Genevieve B. Birk in LA
“The World of Doublespeak” by William Lutz in LA
“Language That Silences” by Jason Stanley in LA
Chapter 1 of Don’t Think of an Elephant by George Lakoff (available online)
In a thesis-driven essay that avoids the formulaic pitfalls of a five-paragraph style essay, take a position on one of the following two prompts and defend that opinion with well-developed paragraphs as support:
Choose a pair of words that are freuqently used by people on different sides of a particular political issue (like marriage equality/gay marriage OR gun control/gun violence). Then analyze which term, IN YOUR OPINION, provides a more accurate frame for the ISSUE AS DISCUSSED IN THE academic discourse community. Be sure to explain why you chose one term as more accurate for this PARTICULAR audience.
Choose one of the logical fallacies explained in Woolfolk Cross’s reading. Then choose a political ad or a “news story” from a source that the academic discourse community would consider to be unreliable. Analyze why the “news story” is an example of the logical fallacy. Explain how education could be changed to help make the public less susceptible to being bamboozled, in the words of Woolfolk Cross.
Final drafts should be at least 1500 words from the first word of the introduction to the last word of the conclusion. Don’t go much over 2100 words for the body of the essay.
Final drafts should follow MLA style and formatting throughout, for citations and document set up.
Please submit only Word or rich text format files (.doc or .docx or .rtf) to Dropbox.
Make sure that your works cited page has entries for all works cited (including the news story if you choose option b).
Files should be named: f19e301AyourlastnameA2
As with all papers in this class, students must avoid plagiarism and other academic integrity issues (including but not limited to illegitimate collaboration or double-submission.)