Dr. Jean Lorrah

About Jean Lorrah

Latest News
Courses Currently Taught
Professional Activities
Interactive TV Courses
Murray State University
Author Website
Hobby Website
E-mail me.

Useful Sites for Students

Study Guides

Strategies for Success


Netscape Calendar



Useful Sites for Teachers

Resources for Teachers

Information for Writers

WorldCrafters Guild
Read a Good Story, Do a Good Deed
Advice for Beginning Writers
Essays on Writing




Jean Lorrah, Ph.D.

Academic Home Page


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 the outdoors, you may have heard of the Land Between the Lakes. Murray is only fifteen miles from the nearest access to that area.

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 sometimes 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 the IAFA link in the left column.

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. Over in the left column you will see links to two job market sites. Monster.Com is a strange name for an extremely helpful site. Net-Temps is a new job opportunity website where you can create your own desktop.

The Strategies for Success website has some really great tips on surviving college, studying, test taking, etc.

There are a number of free services extremely useful for college students, and any on-line calendar will do that provides e-mail reminders. I happen to use the Netscape Calendar because Netscape is not as ad-loaded or cookie-loaded as other services, and you can set it to send you reminders. You can log right on with your screen name from AOL, AIM, Compuserve2000, or Netscape Mail. It's great for students or teachers, or for anyone with a busy schedule who has trouble remembering anniversaries, dentist appointments, or when payments are due. With this service you can send yourself an e-mail on any day you specify. At the beginning of the semester you can stack messages to remind yourself two or three days before every exam or paper all semester long. Do the same thing with all your appointments and deadlines.

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Professional Activities

I am the teacher/practitioner in action, not just a scholar but a professional writer, the author of seventeen published science fiction and fantasy novels as well as a few short stories. My most recent book (Fall, 2001) is a novel, Blood Will Tell. The year before I published a children's book, Nessie and the Living Stone with Lois Wickstrom. Both of these books have won literary awards. You can always get an update on my publications by clicking on "Latest News" under "About Jean Lorrah" to the left, or click "Professional Activities" to get a list of my current activities, works available, and works in progress. My "Author's Website" is geared to that side of my professional activities.

Each year I write at least one scholarly paper for presentation at a conference, and a few have been published over the years. However, the majority of my writing has been creative. I am one of the founders (with Jacqueline Lichtenberg) of the WorldCrafters School of Creative Writing, and also of the Read a Good Story, Do a Good Deed program, currently being administered by Lois Wickstrom. To the left, under "Information for Writers" you will find links to these programs as well as to my Essays on Writing and Advice to Beginning Writers.

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Interactive Television Courses

I have been privileged to teach two different courses in the past several 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 here 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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© 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 Jean Lorrah

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