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Ancient English for New Speakers

Project #: 15
Name: Reese M. Heitner (rmh54@drexel.edu; 215-895-5856)
Department: English Language Center
Academic Area: Anthropology, Communication, English, ESL, History, Linguistics

Title: Ancient English for New Speakers: A Teacher's Guide to Understanding and Explaining the Hidden Historical Principles of Modern English to Non-Native Learners

Description:
At the dawn of the 21st century, more people are trying to learn English than speak English as a native tongue. With pressures like these, the proliferation of questionable pedagogical techniques is unsurprising. One strategy, however, remains untapped: Bringing the basic facts of English history into the ELL classroom. By leveraging knowledge regarding the past history of English,. many surprisingly common problem areas in English grammar, vocabulary, spelling and pronunciation (for teachers and learners alike) can be uniquely explicated and anticipated by specific reference to the history of English. In this way, the echoes of English can--and should--be heard in today's classroom.

Associated Independent Study:
The research project would culminate in a poster presentation designed and delivered by the CoAS Humanities Research Fellow appropriate for conference presentation (as well as Drexel's Research Day) detailing how a few "flagship" problem areas in English grammar, vocabulary, spelling and pronunciation can be uniquely explicated and anticipated by specific reference to the history of English. . . . . suitable for conference presentation.

Gained Experience:
In addition to learning more about the (diachronic) history of the English language, its current (synchronic) status and how they are related, the CoAS Humanities Research Fellow will also (I) learn to evaluate various pedagogical techniques, (ii) improve research literacy skills and (iii) conduct corpora-based research.

Outcome:
The expected outcome of the research is a published article and a poster presentation.

Tasks:
Under the supervision of the advisor, the CoAS Humanities Research Fellow is responsible for researching, digesting and exploring important points of convergence between historical developments within English and their modern counterparts which would aid in the teaching and learning of contemporary English for non-native speakers.

Location:
Drexel University, English Language Center

Meetings:
M-F, within normal 9-5 working hours.

Interview Availability: April 18, 2014; April 21, 2014; April 22, 2014