Associate Professor Ezra Keshet’s new LING 102 First Year Seminar topic, Epic Grammar Fails, is featured in the Fall 2016 edition of LSA Magazine. In this course, he examines complaints about language use in order to explore what it means for language to be "correct" or "incorrect".

One of Ezra’s goals in teaching this course is that the students will replace their judgement of “word crimes,” as labelled by “Weird Al” Yankovic in his song of the same name, with the understanding that language is fluid and ever-evolving. “We all use language every day, so we all have opinions about how it should be used,” Keshet says. “And it is important to understand that there isn’t just one correct version and the rest are mistakes or bastardizations. Language changes. That’s neither good nor bad. It just is.”

LING 102 - Epic Grammar Fails Course Description

Are you someone who feels compelled to correct everything you read or hear: signs, menus, emails, web pages, song lyrics, fortune cookies? Or have you been the target of such a "Grammar Nazi"? This course traces protests over English usage, from 14th-Century complaints of English being spoken using "snarling and grating gnashing of teeth" to contemporary anthems decrying "word crimes," focusing mainly on detractors and defenders of language innovations popular among internet users. Along the way, we will discuss what merit such complaints might have, as well as what problems they might pose, especially to speakers of non-standard varieties of English.

Read “Epic Grammer Failz” by Brian Short

LSA Magazine Fall 2016 Edition "Epic Fail"