Overview of Unit One: Examining the Functions of Language

In Unit One you will explore ideas about the functions of language by reflecting on personal language experiences, reading and responding to the work of authors who address language issues, and developing an extended essay that focuses on one question or issue raised in class.

The unit begins with a brief reflection essay about an experience you have had with language. This first assignment (Personal Essay: Exploring the Functions of Language in Everyday Life) is designed to focus your thinking about one way that language has shaped your life. This essay is followed by a series of informal responses to essays written by other authors, culminating in a formal, focused Response Essay. The unit concludes with the major assignment for Unit One, the Inquiry Essay: Intersection of Personal and Academic Languages. In the Inquiry Essay, you will use multiple course readings and personal experience to represent your understanding of an issue or question raised during class discussions.

Unit One begins with the focus on a particular event in your life, expands that focus to your response to a single essay written by another author, and then further expands the focus to your understanding of a particular issue being discussed by a community of authors. The third essay in this unit, the Inquiry Essay, asks you to put in practice skills you have been developing earlier in the unit: exploration of personal experience and response to academic texts.

Your goals in the unit are to familarize yourself with some of the issues discussed by authors who write about language and its functions, to gain an understanding of the techniques and skills used by writers engaged in this academic conversation, to understand how you as a writer participate in the conversation, and to hone your writing skills. Some of the skills you'll develop and refine in this unit include:

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