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Northlake college Writers notebook Discussion

2 Different Notebooks

1. This Writer’s Notebook entry consists of two parts:

Part 1: Imagine that, due to an emergency, you were unable to attend class or complete an assignment. Write a text message or email to a friend telling him or her about the incident. Relate the incident in casual register language, using simple words, slang, jargon or dialect—the “insider language” that you speak among friends and the type of language McWhorter discusses in the video above. If you speak English as a second language, you may mix your two languages—even to the extent of using a few made-up or combination words. Let your sentences be incomplete, your grammar incorrect, your word choice colorful, even mildly offensive—just make us believe you might really write this way to your friend. In other words, keep it real.

Part 2: Using the same story you related above, now rewrite the incident as an email to your instructor in Formal Register English. Your goal is to maintain credibility with your instructor while asking for him or her to accept your excuse. You must carefully decide what details of the story you include and what details you leave out. Remember, communicating with your instructor should be done in formal register, and you should use the conventions of professional communication.  You will also need to include your name, course and section number, just as if you were sending a “real” message to me.  Click here to read a little about how to write a professional email message.

Complete both parts of this assignment in the same document. 

2.  After reading Malcolm X’s text above, think about the audience and purpose he has for writing. To whom does he seem to be speaking? For what purpose does he relate his story about learning to read? After you’ve thought about it, write a response that shows what you think his audience and purpose are and why you think the way you do. Be sure to provide support for your thinking by using examples from the text. 


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