Thursday, July 7, 2011

Free English Language Course on Style Analysis

This on-line seminar might well be a class assignment for my students of next course and any institution or individual is welcome to join us.

The general objectives of the course consist of dwelling on the real use of written language, finding out the statistics of the different sentence types and clauses, their connectors and literary figures; an awareness which should improve students' skills to communicate.

Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code holds a very complex plot line; however, its short chapters often display an apparently simple use of syntactic structures which are perfect in length and degree of difficulty to study and analyze for both native speakers and English students.

My proposal would be:

First, get familiar with the grammar units, literary figures and codes we will research on by following this link.

Second, see for yourself the Prologue of The Da Vinci Code as an example of the statistics and the kind of output document we should be obtaining by the end of the two-week seminar.

Third, download the document to be used as a template.

Fourth, erase everything that you won't need,

Fifth, contact me for a chapter assignment,

Sixth, once you have been given the green light on one of the chapters, transcribe the paragraphs into the spreadsheet, one cell per grammar unit running from one full stop to another.

Seventh, mark those cells with the most relevant features for that text, type of sentence and verb, compound and complex sentences, literary figures, etc...

Eigth, count them (I will try to provide the tools for an automatic recount) and summarize your conclusions in an essay like this.

Nineth, send both documents to me,

Tenth, check out one of your colleague's chapters (to be assigned) and send your corrections to me as well,

and that's all. I will try to make all documents public for everybody to consult and use in school, college or conferences. However, if this material was to be published, part of the benefits should revert to those institutions or individuals taking part in a proportional way. Nevertheless, if by any chance, I did not have the time or resources to process all the information regarding these corrections, or could not publish documents or statistics, I will not be held resposible for it.

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