NCSU Linguistics Program | Dialect Education

Linguistic Application in the Classroom : Introducing Language Exploration

Skip to the download portion of this page to download the materials by day for teaching this unit or select individual days below.

Visit the youtube.com channel for this curriculum, where you can browse all associated audio and video materials.

Return to the Dialect Education Portal to browse other curriculum resourses.


Designed in 2011 by Nicolette Filson at NC State, this curriculum corresponds to the North Carolina Standard Course of Study for 9th Grade English Language Arts. It is designed to provide students with the necessary tools to describe the English language through understanding its evolution and critically thinking about the consequences of that change.

Language can be a challenging aspect of the English education curriculum to teach; however, this material is designed particularly so teachers who may have minimal or no linguistic background can still be successful teaching this material. Each day of the curriculum is prefaced with basic information about the material for that day, the key concepts, and, if needed, the historical or social background of the topic.

In this unit, students will study language in terms of how it has changed over time, why it has evolved, how this growth affects them, and the role of language on a personal level as far as language ideology and language's relationship to identity and ethnicity. Students will be able to explore authentic language and consciously think about how language is used by themselves and others. Students will be exposed to many different language varieties and will be able to compare and contrast these dialects to Standard English. This unit encourages students to see language as a relevant part of their identity and life as it reflects their own culture and that of the society around them.


Major topics include:

  • Language Ideology and Attitudes
  • Spoken and Written Dialects
  • Language Change
  • Language and Identity
  • Language and Ethnicity


The curriculum goals are:

  1. To develop an understanding of how language is shaped by factors such as identity, ethnicity, geographic location, age, etc., and become aware of those influences in their speech and the speech of others.
  2. To reflect on personal language ideology and address the effects those beliefs can have on relationships with other people and social groups.
  3. To develop an academic understanding of language change and understand how and why it took place in the past, is happening in the present, and will occur in the future.
  4. To recognize the power of language in society and small social circles by identifying its ability to create unity with certain people while excluding others.
  5. To explore the patterned and rule-governed system of all language varieties.



Introducing Language Exploration: Downloads

Download lesson plans, materials, powerpoints, worksheets, and audio and video resources by day for teaching the 9th grade language exploration curriculum. The audio and video clips are links to the corresponding individual clips from the curriculum's youtube.com channel.










Day 1: Why Study Language?


Day 2: What's My Language Ideology?


Day 3: Language...It's Alive!


Day 4: Why Does Language Change?


Day 5: Language and Identity


Day 6: Language and Ethnicity