Language structure and verbal art
The purpose of this course is to explore the relationship between the largely unconscious knowledge that humans have about language and the use of language for artistic purposes.
The first half of the course is concerned primarily with how the sounds of language are manipulated artistically through meter and rhyme in English and elsewhere.
The second half of the course focuses on various other aspects of language, including the meaning and structure of sentences, conversations, and narratives.
This course fulfills Arts & Letters general requirement.
¥ Form vs. content in language: what does it mean for something to be English?
¥ What is translation?
¥ Is iambic pentameter more than da-DUM-da-DUM-da-DUM-da-DUM-da-DUM?
¥ What did Chaucer's Middle English really sound like?
¥ What is a syllable really?
¥ What is rhyme really? where did it come from? how is it used now?
¥ How was 'literature' in pre-literate societies different from that of today?
¥ What rules do people unconsciously obey in conversation?
¥ What do these rules, and breaking them, tell us about why jokes are funny?
¥ What is a "story"?
¥ How do we use language to talk about time?
¥ What rules do people unconsciously obey when constructing narratives about their own personal experiences?
professor: Rolf Noyer
email: rnoyer AT babel.ling.upenn.edu
office: Williams 603
mailbox: Williams 619
office hours: M 12:30-2:00 and Th 11:00-12:30
teaching assistant: Jon Stevens
email: jonsteve AT babel.ling.upenn.edu
office hours: Tu 1:00-3:00 in Williams Hall 401
class meeting time & place: MW 3:30-5:00 Meyerson Hall B4
All course reading materials will be provided electronically.
Modern and Early Modern English
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (with word search engine)
Manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales (scroll down to "Chaucer")
Old English text of Beowulf (Perseus Project)
Old English text of Beowulf (Project Gutenberg)
Glossary of words occurring in Beowulf (Project Gutenberg)
Modern English text of Beowulf (tr. Hall, Project Gutenberg)
Modern English text of Beowulf (tr. Garnett, Perseus Project)
The Iliad of Homer (Perseus Project)
The Divine Comedy (Princeton Dante Project: trans. by Robert and Jean Hollander)
The Divine Comedy (trans. H F Cary)
The Divine Comedy (comparison of translations by H F Cary, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Allen Mandelbaum)
Manuscript of the Divine Comedy (Biblioteca del Centro Dantesco)
La Chanson de Roland
The Song of Roland (Project Gutenberg, trans. C Moncrieff)
The Song of Roland (e-text of MoncrieffÕs translation)
La Chanson de Roland (unedited Old French text)
La Chanson de Roland (images of the Oxford manuscript)
Gormont et Isembart
On the Sonnet
If by dull rhymes our English must be chainÕd,
And, like Andromeda, the Sonnet sweet
FetterÕd, in spite of pained loveliness,
Let us find, if we must be constrain'd,
Sandals more interwoven and complete
To fit the naked foot of Poesy:
Let us inspect the Lyre, and weigh the stress
Of every chord, and see what may be gainÕd
By ear industrious, and attention meet;
Misers of sound and syllable, no less
Than Midas of his coinage, let us be
Jealous of dead leaves in the bay wreath crown;
So, if we may not let the Muse be free,
She will be bound with garlands of her own.
— John Keats