This course asks questions about language, with special reference to English as it is currently spoken and written in Canada and elsewhere in the world: How do we acquire language? Why is translation so difficult? Can one person's speech be better than another’s? Do men and women speak differently? Does exposure to offensive language harm children? What do we lose when a language dies? The course is meant to serve a wide variety of students, for instance scientists interested in the objective analysis of English; educators hoping to teach language with greater insight and sensitivity; and English majors interested in appreciating the medium which enables their own writing and that of all other English-language authors. All students who take the course should find that it enhances their understanding of and interest in their own language use and that of other people. This is not a course in composition; nor is it a course in remedial grammar.
Donna Jo Napoli and Vera Lee-Schoenfeld, Language Matters: A Guide to Everyday Questions About Language, ed. 2 (Oxford, 2009).