Freshman English: Readings and Lab
Fall Semester 2003
Colleges of Law, Management and Social Sciences
Monday 新 203, Thursday AV 201 8:10-10:00am
Instructor: Karen Steffen Chung

(the first Google hit for 'Karen Chung')

Click here to jump to listening assignments

New! Cory's photos from Morocco!

New! Farewell photos! 1 2 3 4

    Total class meetings and important dates:
     33 class meetings

     September 15, 18, 22, 25, 29;
     October 2, 6, 9, 13, 16, 20, 23, 27, 30;
     November 3, 6, 10, 13, 17, 20, 24, 27;
     December 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29;
     January 5, 8.
     No class on January 1 (New Year's and Founding Day of ROC); cancel-add: September 29-October 3; mid-terms: November 1-7; last day of class: January 9; final exams: January 12-16.

     Goals of Course: This course will concentrate on four main areas:

     (1) Literary appreciation and pronunciation correction through poetry memorization. Students are required to memorize and recite or read aloud in class one poem per week from a handout to be distributed, also available online. Each poem will be analyzed and discussed in depth regarding form and content. Students will receive intensive individual guidance and correction on their pronunciation when reciting the poems.

     Click here for the Poems for Memorization handout for Fall 2003.
     Find more poems online yourself; there are also some links here that can help you better understand and analyze poems on your own.
     Click here for the About Poetry: English Prosody Plus Selected Literary Terms handout. (Refer to this for definitions of terms like iambic, doggerel, and synaesthesia; also includes links to sites on how to scan a poem, questions to ask of any poem.)

     (2) Reading and translation practice. This semester we will mainly be reading excerpts from modern literature, though additional texts not in the textbook may be assigned. Each of the passages will be read in depth and translated orally into Chinese, and sometimes acted out in class. The reading will be followed by a class discussion and a short quiz, usually on vocabulary. Students are actively encouraged to relate what they read and learn to their own life, experiences, and feelings, and to listen attentively to what their classmates have to say.

     (3) Listening practice with audio and video tapes and online resources. Two hours of class a week will be held in the Audio-Visual Building, where audio and video tapes will be used as the basis for listening comprehension exercises. There will normally be one written listening assignment a week.

     (4) Various oral presentations, including a dramatization and a book report.


      This is not a composition course, and we unfortunately have too large a class and not enough time for lots of conversation practice. You must create opportunities for yourself to get practice in these areas. Remember that you are responsible for your own education – the NTU faculty and staff can help you with only part of it!

E-mail: Every student is expected to apply for and actively use an NTU e-mail account, available free from the Computer Center, if you don't already have one. Even if you do have an e-mail account, you are strongly encouraged to get an NTU account - it is in general more dependable and less prone to problems than 'Hotmail' type accounts. Each student is responsible for keeping their e-mail inbox under quota so that you are able to receive and send mail at all times. In the first week of class, each student is required to send an e-mail message to the instructor with an English quote you like, together with its source. (Example: We are so fond of being out among nature, because it has no opinions about us. -Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, philosopher (1844-1900)) It must be a verifiable quote, correctly formatted, containing no errors. The purpose of this is (1) to collect the e-mail addresses of everyone in the class, so we can all use them for class communications; and (2) to remind you right at the beginning of the semester of the importance of producing careful and not sloppy work.

     All students are encouraged to use the Freshman English discussion board to discuss in English any topic you like, but particularly matters relating to our class work.

     Grade calculation: Attendance (note that missing more than three classes or being late to class more than five times without good reason is sufficient grounds for receiving a failing grade for this course; if you must miss class or be late let Ms. Chung know by e-mail or otherwise beforehand), homework, quizzes (usually given after we finish reading and discussing each text), oral presentations, class participation, attitude, progress made, final exam. Extra credit will be given to students who do independent research on a class-related topic and share their findings with the class.

     Lab Fee: NT$600 per semester.

     Submit a blank 90-minute cassette tape: Students must supply a blank 90 minute cassette tape on which will be recorded the poems, maybe some of the readings, and the listening exercises. Label the tape and the spine of the tape case insert with your name in English and Chinese, your student number, your department, and course title.

     Contents of tape:
1. Poems for memorization and reading aloud

Readings from Reading in the Content Areas: Literature 2:
2. "The Last Leaf" by O. Henry
3. Selections from: Walden by Henry David Thoreau
4. "Mending Wall" by Robert Frost
5. "I'm nobody! Who are you?" by Emily Dickison
6. Selection from: Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Listening assignments:
7. Popular song: "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas
8. Lives of the Writers: Langston Hughes
9. Lives of the Writers: Charles Dickens
10. Popular song: "Behind the Wall" by Tracy Chapman
11. "Word" by Whoopi Goldberg, from Audiobook
12. Ask Dr. Laura: (1) Elizabeth; (2) Julie
13. Ask Dr. Laura: (3) Theresa; (4) Dave
14. Popular song: "Affair on 8th Avenue" by Gordon Lightfoot

     Text: Laura Stark Johnson. Reading in the Content Areas: Literature 2. 2003. Taipei: Crane. 96pp. Paper. Available at Crane's Bookstore 文鶴; NT$250; discount if you say you are in this class. Additional texts from other sources may be assigned.

     Pronunciation journal: You are required to keep a running record of specific sounds and other areas you need to work on in your pronunciation in a small notebook, based on feedback you receive in class. You are expected to have your journal open and ready throughout each class, without being reminded. You will be asked to write and hand in a summary of your pronunciation journal at the end of each semester. IPA fonts for inserting KK pronunciation symbols in computer documents are available here:

     Dictionaries: Please use an online English dictionary with audio files (e.g. the Merriam-Webster and/or the American Heritage dictionary) to check the pronunciation of any word you encounter that you aren't sure how to pronounce. You have no excuse for getting a pronunciation in a poem or written exercise wrong in class!
      The following paper dictionary is highly recommended: Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English: The Living Dictionary. 2003. Essex: Pearson Education. Available at Crane's in hardcover or paperback. It comes with a CD-ROM (requiring 500MB of disk space) which offers definitions, audio files of pronunciation of the entry in British English (no dictionary with British English sound files is available online so far, as far as we know) and U.S. English, plus exercises and many other excellent features. It gives word pronunciations in IPA symbols, which are very close to the KK system you are familiar with.
      This dictionary doesn't include very difficult or technical words; you can get these from the online dictionaries, or get a desktop dictionary, such as: Webster's New World College Dictionary. 4th edition. Webster's New World. 1,716 pages. The American Heritage Dictionary and the Merriam-Webster are also good choices. US English-English dictionaries usually use a strange (for you) set of pronunciation symbols based on English spelling habits, which may be difficult to get used to at first. You will find a pronunciation key on each page of the dictionary to help you. If in doubt, use an online dictionary with audio files and listen to the correct pronunciation!
      A pocket edition of one of these English-English dictionaries is handy for class use; most English-Chinese dictionaries published in Taiwan are full of errors, especially in the KK pronunciations of words. Electronic dictionaries are handy and very popular among students these days, but they are also not always as reliable, since they are mostly produced domestically.
     The best English thesaurus, in my opinoin, is: The Synonym Finder. 1987. Emmaus: Rodale. 1361pp. Paper. It might be available at Cave's 敦煌.
      In my view, the very best Chinese-English dictionary is one compiled on the Chinese mainland: 漢英辭典. 修訂版. 1995. 北京:外語教學與研究出版社. 主編:危東亞
. It may be available locally if you ask around; you can get it in Hong Kong, or you may be able to order it online. (Try this link or the 大路書屋 Wanlung St., Lane 29, No. 2, 1st floor 萬隆街 29巷 2號 1樓 Near the Wanlung 萬隆 MRT stop (02) 8931-6937~9
      See homepage and the Language and Linguistics page for links to more online dictionaries, including Chinese ones.

     Each student will also be asked to choose a simplified or original novel to read with a partner and give an oral book report on.

     Handouts will be posted on this Web site.

     Readings: Some of the readings from the text are also available online; these may be helpful if you sometimes forget your textbook, or for students who are not enrolled in the course but would like to follow what we are doing. These are readings for both semesters, and we most likely will not finish them.

     1. Short story: "The Last Leaf" by O. Henry (1862-1910), p. 6-11, on tape. Online audio file
Online at:
Short bio of O. Henry:

     2. Short story: "The Catbird Seat" by James Thurber (1894-1961), p. 12-20.
Online at:
Short bio of James Thurber at:

Compare "The Catbird Seat" with Thurber's signature piece, "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", a story about a henpecked husband who fantasizes himself as a series of great heroes. Online at:

     3. Short story: "A Lamp in a Window" by Truman Capote (1924-1984), p. 28-30.
Short bio of Truman Capote:
Another bio, with notes on In Cold Blood:

     4. Essay: "Why You Watch Some Commercials – Whether You Mean to or Not" David H. Friedman (1949- ), p. 59-63.

     5. Drama: Selection from "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller (1915- ), p. 86-92; on tape.
Short bio of Arthur Miller at:
Summary of Death of a Salesman:
New York Times review of Dustin Hoffman's performance in "Death of a Salesman" (a video of this performance is available in the AV library):
     Miller described Death of a Saleman’s tragic character Willy Loman as a “segment of my flesh.” Loman provided a “vessel for many feelings, thoughts that had been floating in my head” for many years, and even since childhood, Miller said.
    When asked if he thought the play has been too effective, with audience members often crying at the highly intense scenes instead of pondering their meaning, Miller responded: “I’m happy that it affects people so profoundly. I was disturbed at first that it was sweeping people away rather than offering them clarity, but you can’t make people see unless they feel.”
Audio file in which Arthur Miller speaks and reads: New York Times: William Honan Introduces Arthur Miller
SwissEduc - The English Page: Lots of Arthur Miller links, including audio files

    6. Poem: "The Unknown Citizen" by W. H. Auden (1907-1973), p. 82-83.
Short bio of W. H. Auden:
Online text of "The Unknown Citizen":

     7. Novel: Selection from: All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque (1898-1970), p. 40-44.
pseudonym for Erich Paul Remark, the German family name Krämer spelled backwards.
Short bio of Erich Maria Remarque:
Another short bio:
The Writer's Almanac on Remarque:

The Great War: Interactive Timeline:
Trenches on the Web: Timeline:
Assassination of an Archduke, 1914:
Bio of Franz Ferdinand, Archduke (1863-1914):

     8. Essay: "How to Speak Child Fluently" by Erma Bombeck (1927-1996), p. 54-58.
Short bio of Erma Bombeck:
Quotes from Erma Bombeck:

Short bio of Catalan painter Joan Miro (1893-1983):
Joan Miro links:

    9. Selections from: Walden, by Henry David Thoreau (parts on tape), p. 64-68.
The Thoreau Reader:
Text: "Where I lived, & what I lived for": Start at [16] to just before note 15; jump to [22], first five lines; then down to [23]:
"Solitude": [1], [2], line 13 of [5]; to [12]:
"Conclusion"; paragraph 6, not counting poems (this is at a different site; the conclusion link in the first site doesn't seem to be working):

More Thoreau links:

Alder tree:

Poplar tree:

Call of the whippoorwill (many sound files):
More whippoorwill links:

Painter Neil Welliver, p. 65:

Painter Morris Graves, p. 67:

     10. Short story: "A Mother in Manville" by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1896-1953), p. 21-27.
PowerPoint presentation:

Short bio of artist Andrew Wyeth:
Sample works by Andrew Wyeth:

     11. From: Twenty Years at Hull-House by Jane Addams (1860-1935), p. 69-74.
Museum site:
Short bio of Jane Addams (same site):
Another bio:

Text: Chapter V. First Days at Hull-House (some paragraphs are omitted in the text we are using):

Street map (look for the intersection of Harrison Street and Halsted Street):

Charles J. Hull:
Obituary for Charles J. Hull:

     12. Novel: From The Pearl, by John Steinbeck (1902-1968), p. 45-52.
Short bio of John Steinbeck:
Another short bio:,%202002%20bios/John%20Steinbeck%20bio.htm

     13. Short story: "God Sees the Truth, but Waits" by Leo Tolstoy, p. 31-38. Online audio file
Online works, etc.
Pictures of Tolstoy:

Short bio of painter Marc Chagall:
Marc Chagall prints:
Chagall images on the Web:

Painter Ben Shahn at Harvard:
Photo, short bio:
Short bio, links to works on the Web:

     14. Drama: From Sunrise at Campobello by Dore Schary, p. 93-96.
Note on the movie:
Official White House bio of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: bio:

     15: Poems:

p. 76
"I Hear America Singing"

Walt Whitman   American (1819-1892)
The Walt Whitman Archive

p. 77
"I, Too, Sing America "

Langston Hughes   American (1902-1967)

p. 78

"Mending Wall"
(on tape)

Audio file of "Mending Wall" and other poems:

Robert Frost   American (1874-1963)

p. 80

"I loved my friend"

Langston Hughes   American (1902-1967)

p. 81


Sara Teasdale   American (1884-1933)

p. 82

"The Unknown Citizen"

W.H. Auden   English (1907-1973)

p. 84
"I'm Nobody! Who are you?"
(on tape)


Emily Dickinson   American (1830-1886)



  1. Listening Assignment for Sept. 18-25: A Moment of Science IV: (1) The Science of Suicide and (2) The Sexiest Frog in Borneo (There are also A Moment of Science III II I from previous years, if you'd like extra practice. These are not required this semester.

     2. Listening Assignment for Sept. 25-Oct. 2: A Moment of Science V: (3) Ancient Performance Enhancers; (4) Rocket Roach; (5) Here, Boy.

     3. Listening assignment for Oct. 2-9: Statement by Richard Jewell
after being cleared of responsibility in the July 27, 1996 bombing at Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta, Georgia

     4. Listening Assignment for Oct. 9-16: Lives of the Writers: Langston Hughes (on tape, after all of the poems, and the song "Dust in the Wind")

     5. Listening assignment for Oct. 16-23: Lives of the Writers: Charles Dickens
     6. Listening assignment for Oct. 23-30:
Cooking video: Rolled omelet

     7. Listening assignment for Oct. 30-Nov. 6: Popular song: Dust in the Wind by Kansas

     8. Listening assignment for Nov. 6-13: The Infinite Mind: Cheating

     9. Listening assignment for Nov. 13-20: Dr. Laura (4): Elizabeth and Julie

     10. Listening assignment for Nov. 20-27: Dr. Laura (5): Theresa and Dave

     11. Listening assignment for Nov. 27-Dec. 4: Popular song: Behind the Wall by Tracy Chapman

     12. Listening assignment for Dec. 4-11: The Voices of Innovation: Artificial hand and Zipper

     13. Listening assignment for Dec. 11-18: Best friend donates kidney

     14. Listening assignment for Dec. 18-25: MPR: Listening House

     15. Listening assignment for Dec. 25-Jan. 1:

     16. Listening assignment for Jan. 1-8:
Popular song: Affair on 8th Avenue by Gordon Lightfoot

     17. Winter break assignments:
(1) Find and hand in an English poem suitable for use in this class; be sure to include the title of the poem; the name, nationality, and years of birth and death of the poet; and the source of the poem (where you found it); (2) Listen to a total of two hours of spoken English audio (not video) recordings (cassette, CD, or Internet), and write a short summary on each piece. Both of these are to be handed in first day of class, Spring semester.

Spring semester 2004:

     1. Listening assignment for Feb. 19-26: I Love Lucy: Breaking the Lease

     2. Listening assignment for week of February 26-March 4: How To Find a Husband after Thirty-five

     3. Listening assignment for week of March 4-11: Monologue by Ellen DeGeneres

     4. Listening assignment for week of March 11-18: PBS Kids: It's My Life

5. Listening assignment for week of March 18-25: Mars Exploration Rover Mission: First Person - Ayanna Howard

6. Listening assignment for week of March 25-April 1: Gunsmoke: Indian Baby (I)

Listening assignment for week of April 1-8: Gunsmoke: Indian Baby (II)

Listening assignment for week of April 8-15: Popular song "Between" by Vienna Teng

     9. Listening assignment for week of April 15-22: Oprah Winfrey's After the Show: Incredible Stories of Survival, Part Two

10. Listening assignment for week of April 22-29:
Correct your You've Got Mail transcription against the one at the link (and please e-mail me if you find any errors in this transcription); then categorize your errors as follows: (1) omitted word or extra word; (2) wrong word (because of mishearing or lack of clarity of one or more consonants? vowel(s)? stress? number of syllables?); (3) wrong grammatical form, e.g. problem of (a) verb agreement; (b) verb tense; (c) singular/plural; (4) misspelling/typo.

     11. Listening assignment for week of April 29-May 6: National Public Radio Morning Edition: When Walking Fails

     12. Listening assignment for week of May 6-13: CBC: Rats

     13. Listening assignment for week of May 13-20: MPR: Coach Said Not To

     14. Listening assignment for week of May 20-27:
Design your own listening assignment! Find an interesting audio file on the Internet suitable for use as a listening comprehension exercise; prepare a vocabulary list for it and 10-15 listening comprehension questions.

     15. Listening assignment for week of May 27-June 3:
Interview with Michelle Pfeiffer on her role in the movie "I am Sam"

     16. Listening assignment for week of June 3-10: NPR: Five Years after Columbine


Outside Work: All students are encouraged to advance their English skills on their own, outside class. Here are some ideas on how to do this; also please visit Extras on this site for some resources to get you started:

      Read English newspapers and magazines (many available free online – see Extras or do a search), novels (simplified ones are OK!), materials on the Internet, anything else of interest;

     Listen to the radio – programs like Studio Classroom or Ivy League, and ICRT, which broadcasts BBC programming every weekday morning 6am-7am, Internet broadcasts from around the world (see Extras);

     Watch English language TV programs, e.g. sitcoms and the news, and movies: movies can be borrowed and viewed in the AV library;

     Speak and write English with friends: you may want to set up a language exchange, meet English speakers through activities in Taipei's foreign communities, or just practice with classmates; writing to an e-mail pen pal – try joining a special interest discussion group (see Extras) and send a note to someone who says things you think are interesting.

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