Dr. Menzer received her B.A. from Williams College and her Masters and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. She came to Furman as barely more than a child and is in her 18th year on the faculty, having been tenured in 2002, and promoted to full professor in 2010. Her research interests revolve around two poles: the history of linguistic thought and the importance of reading medieval texts in their manuscript context. She has published on works by Ælfric of Eynsham and by Byrhtferth of Ramsey and has recently completed a project on the glosses on BL, Cotton Faustina A.x.

Dr. Menzer teaches English department courses in linguistics and early medieval texts, as well as a regular First Year Writing course entitled "Who Speaks Bad English?" In May 2014, she hopes to teach her first May X course, "Why We Swim."

Dr. Menzer can be found weekdays at lunchtime at the pool at the PAC. She has done a number of open water swims, including the Alcatraz Sharkfest swim and the Lowcountry Splash. She regularly teaches fourth grade Hebrew at the Temple of Israel religious school.

Name Title Description


Texts and Meaning

An introduction to the study of the structures and methods by which texts create and convey meaning. Texts and approaches will be determined by individual instructors, but all emphasize reflective, critical reading, as well as text-centered discussions and written assignments.


Literature Before Print

Medieval English literature. Exploring the differences between the way medieval people read--their experience of reading and their training as interpreters of texts--and the way we read today. The complexity and variance of texts created in a pre-print world. Introducrion to canonical and non-canonical texts of the medieval English period, with a focus on the question of what it meant to read in the Middle Ages.


History of English Language

Survey of the internal history of English, reviewing Indo-European and Germanic background and studying the development of phonology, morphology, and syntax from Old English to Modern English.


English Language: How It Works

Introduction to basic English linguistics. The difference between prescriptive grammar (the rules we learn in school) and descriptive grammar (the linguistic rules that native speakers of a language have learned). Discussion of the main divisions of linguistics, focusing on the phonology, morphology, and syntax of Edited American English. Study of the ways other dialects, in particular, Southern American English and African American Vernacular English, differ from the standard and exploration of the implications of linguistics on social and educational policy


Studies in Chaucer

The poetry of Chaucer, in Middle English, including some early poems, Troilus and Criseyde, and substantial selections from The Canterbury Tales. Special attention to the development of Chaucer146s narrative art, his invention of the Chaucerian persona, and his relevance to postmodern thought, conceived as his self-consciousness about the use of language and his ambivalence about the value of literary art.


Senior Seminar in English

Course topic changes with each offering.


Who Speaks Bad English?

Should English be our official language? What is Black English? Who makes the grammar rules we learn in schoo--and should those rules be changed? Students will be introduced to basic linguistics and use their knowledge to discuss issues from national language policy to attitudes about ain't.""


General Linguistics

Introduction to the nature, structure, and functions of human language. Topics include: design features of language; phonology, morphology, and syntax; semantics; and language variability.


Why We Swim

Exploring swimming as a cultural practice, reading literature, analyzing art, and discussing its history, including racial segregation in the U.S. Students will swim frequently in pools and open water and make connections between their swimming and the readings and site visits.

University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
Williams College

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