Varieties of English (2018/2019)

Course code
Name of lecturers
Roberto Cagliero, Valeria Franceschi
Roberto Cagliero
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
II semestre dal Feb 18, 2019 al Jun 1, 2019.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

The course aims at providing students with necessary knowledge to understand and analyze contemporary English language in its complexity and plurality, starting from the perspective of sociolinguistics. On completion of the course students will acquire knowledge of the phenomena that have led to a diversification of English into Global Englishes, English as Lingua franca, and African American English. They will be able to identify and analyze with a critical approach the features, functions and implications of these languages. They will also achieve a linguistic proficiency of English corresponding to C2 level in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.


During the course we will cover and discuss aspects related to the historical evolution of the English language, its spread and its geographical diversification. In the first part of the course, attention will be paid on phenomena of linguistic and cultural context and on processes of language change in the different contexts of use of the English language, including its role as a global language. Examples of different varieties of English will be analyzed and discussed in class. The second part will focus on the variety of African American, on its history and modifications within American society.

Main Topics of the course:
Key concepts in the study of English(es)
Models for understanding the spread of English
Language contact phenomena: hybridity in World Englishes, English-based pidgins and creoles
English in different areas of the world
English as a global language: English as a Lingua Franca
African American Vernacular English SEE READING LIST HERE BELOW ->

Prof. Cagliero (PART 2)
Reading List

- PLEASE ADD TO THIS LIST ALL THE MATERIAL AVAILABLE ON THE MOODLE PLATFORM (entries listed as 'Suggested Reading' are not officially part of the program)

-“Ann Arbor Decision”

-Baldwin, J. “If Black English Isn't a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?”

-Baron, D. “Ebonics & the Politics of English”. World Englishes, 19,1, 2000, p. 5-19

-Call and response - an example

-Green, Lisa J. “African American English: a Linguistic Introduction”

-Documentary clip, DYSA African American English (or Ebonics) in the classroom

-Hurston, Z.N.,"Story in Harlem Slang" (1942). and Glossary to the story
-Kautzsch, A., Historical Evolution of Earlier African American English. Berlin: Moutonb de Gruyter 2002 (chapter 1 only, pp. 1-11)

-Lee, S., Get on the Bus (film)

-Lippi Green, R. English with an Accent. New York: Routledge 1997 (chapter 9 only, "The Real Trouble with Black English", pp. 177-201)

-Macedo, D. et al., The Hegemony of English. New York: Routledge 2016 (chapter 1 only, “The Politics of Intolerance”)

-“Oakland Resolution” (1996)
-Renna. D. “Notes on AAVE”, including all links inside (File available on the Moodle page)

-Tottie, G., An Introduction to American English. Malden: Blackwell 2002 (section on “Black English/African American Vernacular English” in chapter 9 only)

-Wolfram, W. et al., The Development of old African American English. Oxford: Blackwell 2002 (chapter 2 only, “Issues in the Development of African American English”)

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Tottie, G. An Introduction to American English Blackwell 2002 Capitolo: "Black English/African American Vernacular English"
Philip Seargeant and Joan Swann English in the World. History, Diversity, Change (Edizione 1) Routledge 2012 9780415674218 chapters 4(with readings) 5, 6 (with readings)
Spike Lee Get on the Bus (film) 1996 Script available at
Wolfram, W. and E.R. Thomas The Development ofd African American English Blackwell 2002 selected parts
Kautzsch The Historical Evolution of Earlier African American English. Mouton de Gruyter 2002 selected parts
Saraceni M. World Englishes. A Critical Analysis Bloomsbury 2015 chapters 1, 3, 4

Assessment methods and criteria

Pre-requisite: C2 level language certificate (Common European Framework of Reference), obtained through CLA or through external institutions and validated by the CLA

Type of exam: Oral exam in English. The questions will be on the theoretical issues and examples of English varieties covered in the course. Students should demonstrate metalinguistic awareness, analytical skills and critical thinking.

Students who have attended at least 28 hours of classes may give, on the day of the exam, a short presentation on a specific topic or variety of English of their choice. Such a presentation will be one of the topics discussed during the exam.