Jean Lorrah, Ph.D.

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This site was last updated on June 30, 1999.

You are visitor number since November 24, 1997.

Table of Contents

Click to go to information on the Interactive Television Courses I teach.

Click to find out who I am and where I teach.

Click to go to information on English 243, Fantasy, Myth, and Legend.

Click for information about my other professional activities.

Click to visit the website I maintain at Murray State with current syllabi, lessons, instructions, and assignments.

Welcome! I am Professor of English at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. That's in the far west end of the state of Kentucky, near the Mississippi River. The nearest city of any size is Paducah, Kentucky, 40 miles away. The nearest jet airport is in Nashville, Tennessee, 120 miles away. If you like outdoors recreation, you may have heard of the Land Between the Lakes. Murray is only fifteen miles from the nearest access to that area. Click to go to the Murray State University web page.

I teach classes at all levels, from freshman through graduate. Like everyone else in the department, I teach Freshman Composition and Humanities most semesters. My specialties are History of the English Language, which I teach via interactive television; Medieval British Literature; and the Fantastic. I am a charter member of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, and participate in their conference every year. For more information on this exciting organization, click .

As a teacher, I am concerned for my students even after they graduate. In today's job market, one of the most important skills required by industry is the ability to write effectively. Click to go to the Virtual Job Fair. I visited there one day at random, and found thirty-five job openings for technical writers.

Another great site to visit to find job opportunities is Monster.Com, a strange name for an extremely helpful site.

For a website with some really great tips on surviving college, studying, test taking, etc., click .

Click to return to the Table of Contents.

Professional Activities

I am also a professional writer, the author of fifteen published science fiction and fantasy novels as well as a few short stories. Click to get a list of my current activities, works available, and works in progress.

Click for Advice to Beginning Writers.

Interactive Television Courses

I have been privileged to teach two different courses in the past four years by Interactive Television. My classroom at Murray State is connected via both picture and sound to classrooms at Paducah Community College, Hopkinsville Community College, and Madisonville Community College, so students at four different geographic locations all participate at once.

This program makes Murray State University courses available to students who are unable to come to the campus at Murray, Kentucky. They need only reach their local community college campus to take upper division courses with full participation and full credit.

My favorite course for teaching in this way is English 309, The History of the English Language. This course looks at the way language works. It is not a grammar course; it is a course in language theory, something that most students have never encountered before.

Do you know the origin of the "Y" instead of "Th" in "Ye Olde Tea Shoppe"? What about those extra e's on the ends of "Olde" and "Shoppe"? If the plural of "goose" is "geese," why isn't the plural of "moose" "meese"? If it's "drink-drank-drunk," why isn't it "think-thank-thunk"? Why is English the only modern language to use an apostrophe in the possessive (and don't you wish it didn't)? Where did "ain't" originally come from? Would you be surprised to learn that it was once perfectly correct, with definite rules for its usage? Why will we never get spelling reform in English? How did our spelling get into such a mess in the first place? If this kind of question has always interested you, English 309 has the answers.

Okay--after wading through all that, you deserve at least one of the answers! Click to find out why the plural of "moose" is not "meese."

History of the English language works very well in the interactive classroom. Students have daily exercises in their workbooks, and share via the regular cameras and the elmo what they do each day. Because all students actively participate, the class is lively and there is always something going on on the screens in the remote classroom besides the teacher's talking head.

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Why no meese?

The plural of "goose" is "geese" because "goose" comes from an ancient Germanic word that underwent a process called "mutation" or "umlaut." When it was made plural, an "i" or "j" sound was added, causing the tongue to rise in preparation for making that sound, and change the "oo" to "ee." "Foot/feet" and "tooth/teeth" show this same result. However, these changes took place thousands of years ago. "Moose" is a Native American word, added to the word stock of the English language during the past four hundred years. By that time plurals were created in English simply by adding an "s"­or, in this case, when we are speaking of an animal used for food (deer/deer, sheep/sheep, fish/fish), no inflection at all in the plural. You say you can easily think of exceptions (cow/cows, pig/pigs)? Well, remember "swine/swine." In English 309 you will learn about the exceptions, too! Language is a living thing, and like all living things it doesn't like to go by one simple set of rules. That's what makes it so much fun to study.

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Links to other sites on the Web

Roget's Thesaurus
Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Elements of Style
Word of the Day
Rhyming Dictionary
Free Resources for Teachers
Guide to Grammar and Writing
Liszt, a place to find mailing lists
Publicly Accessible Mailing Lists

© 1996. 1997, 1998, 1999 Jean Lorrah
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