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For this paper, you will be writing about one of the following articles from Language: A Reader for Writers that we have read and discussed for this class: Lera Boroditsky’s “How Does Our Language Shape the Way We Think?” (pp. 2-11) or Arika Okrent’s “Body Language” (pp. 18-26)

Once you have selected an article, you will need to accurately summarize its main ideas, but more importantly, you will need to develop an informed interpretation of its core argument, moving beyond mere response (e.g., “The article was interesting”) into more scholarly analysis (e.g., “The article calls into question certain long-held assumptions about language”) that looks at how that argument is conveyed through details.

  • As you begin, think about some – but not necessarily all – of the following questions:
  • What is the purpose of the article?
  • How well does the author explain his/her main claims?
  • Is the article organized in a logical way?
  • How does the author try to catch the reader’s attention?
  • Does the article conclude in a satisfying way or does it leave the reader with lingering doubts?

Again, you don’t need to answer all of these questions, and your paper certainly should not read like a list of answers. Instead, it should be an overview of the chosen text and a careful analysis of some particular aspect(s) of that text supported by evidence from the text and written in your own words.

Remember, you are writing this paper for several reasons. First, you want to show that you’ve read and understood the article, but you also need to show that you can think deeply about what it is saying about the connections between language, thought and culture. In addition, you will be exercising writing muscles that you’ve already developed: summary, description, illustration, organization, development, and so on. You will be strengthening these muscles in the writing that we’ll be doing all semester.

Length: 750 – 1,000 words (3-4 pages) in MLA format

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