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Ways into Academic Writing The academic writing programme at the English Department of Bern University Franz Andres Morrissey University of Bern GmbH.

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Presentation on theme: "Ways into Academic Writing The academic writing programme at the English Department of Bern University Franz Andres Morrissey University of Bern GmbH."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ways into Academic Writing The academic writing programme at the English Department of Bern University Franz Andres Morrissey University of Bern GmbH

2 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM2 The Plan for the Presentation The Background The Didactics The Programme Strengths and Weaknesses

3 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM3 The Plan for the Workshop Essay Structure Paragraphing Style and Register Cohesion Devices Analysis Literature Comparison and Contrast (Linguistics) Elements of an Introduction (Linguistics) Forms: –How to Plan a Paper –Paper Log –Assessment Criteria

4 The Theory Overview of the programme and its aims

5 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM5 The Backgrounda) Traditional essay writing course –general themes –focus mainly on correct English –1 to 2 hours per week Workload of academic tutors –supervision of papers –evaluation of content –dealing with structural and stylistic short- comings

6 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM6 The Backgroundb) Meeting where complaints from academic tutors were collected inconsistencies in stylistic control Students write pretty much how they would speak. problems with logical development Texts start at the top left and end at the bottom right. lack of clear structure Its often difficult to see where the essay is headed. difficulties with focus or main point Students throw in anything they think may be relevant.

7 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM7 The Backgroundc) General disaffection: Why dont students know how to write? Arent gymnasia doing their job? Problem difference between Germanic and Anglophone academic discourse M i c h a e l C l i n e, M o n a s h U n i v e r s i t y : T h e G e r m a n i c a c a d e m i c w r i t e r e x p e c t s a l o t f r o m t h e r e a d e r. T h e A n g l o p h o n e r e a d e r e x p e c t s a l o t f r o m t h e a c a d e m i c w r i t e r.

8 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM8 The Backgroundd) Consequences of objectives of course clarity of concepts and direction structure of the paper reader guidance all the way to the clinching at the end Evangelist Priest in Chicago: first A tells what As gonna tellum then A tells um then A tells um what A tole them

9 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM9 The Didactics a) critical reading is essential for improved writing but, to write one has to readWriting is a stand- alone skill. formal writing is a skill that can be acquiredYou can write or you cant… rewriting, whats that? written - for better or for worseWriting represents ones optimum achievement. no direct feedback (puzzled looks, etc) development may leave out crucial steps ideas developed in authorial isolationWriting is a solitary occupation. Some basic thoughts on writing

10 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM10 The Didactics b) writing and rewriting readers and sample texts techniques of academic discourse developing the art of feedback text cohesion peer assessment elements of a good paper students bring in their drafts input in classworking at homeclasses as workshops reading and emulating texts are never finished pooling of minds The basic concept

11 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM11 The Programme a) describing a response to a work of art and justifying it short paper on a linguistics topic, using references analysing a short work of literature or newspaper article short paper on a literary topic; or practice essay on an issue that requires arguing ones corner 2 nd Semester1 st Semester The written texts describing a response to a work of art and justifying it analysing a short work of literature or newspaper article

12 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM12 The Programme b) bibliographiesintroductions and conclusions quoting from primary and secondary sourcescutting away the dead wood (relevance, verbal Styrofoam) conclusions (refined)using a primary text to back up ideas developing a topic for a personal projectlevels of formality summarising and paraphrasing vs. (effective) quoting elements of introductions identifying key issues in background readingcohesion devices preparing materials for a paperparagraphing developing an introductiondeveloping and argument approaches to texts and formulating an argument overall text structure 2 nd Semester1 st Semester

13 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM13 Strengths and Weaknesses a) Weaknesses many students fall by the wayside (20-30%) Quality of peer feedback is hard to predict Workload of marking impact on quality of help given by tutors readers have different foibles and bugbears students leave the course and the regimen of writing on a regular basis different focus and different style sheets in various disciplines not enough personnel for a more vigorous course with more writing

14 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM14 Strengths and Weaknesses b) Strengths Students complete the long and arduous journey Good writing and research habits are promoted Students use the insights in other courses Students hate the workload, but come to appreciate the content (material used in other departments) Reading groups have been established (all the way to PhD and Habil level)

15 The Practice Selective Activities and Worksheets

16 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM16 Structure I: An Essay With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved. Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a deep ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair. This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me. Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a hated burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer. I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasyecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves lonelinessthat terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it, finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is whatat lastI have found.

17 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM17 The structure II: An Essay link parts extend idea Pity Knowledge Love Three passions in my life Conclusion Theme 3 Theme 2 Theme 1 Introduction:

18 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM18 With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved. Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a deep ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair. This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me. Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a hated burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer. I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasyecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves lonelinessthat terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it, finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what at lastI have found.

19 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM19 Paragraph Structure: Jane Austen clincher 4.In everything else the etiquette of the day might stand the strictest investigation. discussion (anticipating criticism) 3.Nothing could be objected to when it came under the discussion of the neighbourhood, except that the carriage which conveyed the bride and the bridegroom and Julia from the church door to Sotherton was the same chaise which Mr. Rushworth had used for a twelvemonth before. Illustration 2.The bride was elegantly dressed; the two bridesmaids were duly inferior; her father gave her away; her mother stood with salts in her hands, expecting to be agitated; her aunt tried to cry; and the service was impressively read by Dr. Grant. Topic 1.It was a very proper wedding. proper

20 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM20 Manual labour of one kind or another, from digging roads to repairing high voltage power lines, is perhaps the most crucial resource in any industrially developing country. To begin with, ploughing fields, planting and harvesting crops, and raising livestock are all important to development of the food supply and require people who work with their hands. Secondly, mining natural resources, building roads and bridges, and constructing dams for irrigation and electrical power, all of which require enormous numbers of skilled manual workers, are essential to any kind of industrial development. Moreover, the manufacture, as well as the maintenance, of machines of all kinds demands a large number of trained mechanics and technicians. Finally, the establishment of efficient transportation and communication systems, essential services in a modernising economy, relies heavily on a labour force of expert craftsmen who take pride in their manual skills. Clearly, in agriculture and in industry, the progress of a country depends on the busy hands of its working people. Cohesion devices I

21 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM21 Cohesion devices II as a rule, for the most part, in general, in most cases, of course, on the whole, speaking generally, usually Generalising as one might expect, clearly, (it goes without saying), naturally, obviously, of course, surely (Stating the obvious) as follows:, for example, for instance, in this case, namely, such as, that is to say Giving an example also, as well as, besides, furthermore, in addition, in the same way, not only... but also, what is more Addition

22 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM22 accordingly, as a consequence/result, because, because of this, for this reason, hence, in order to, in that case, it follows that, so that, therefore, thus, under those circumstances Cause and effect although, despite, even though, however, however much..., in spite of …, nevertheless, on the contrary, still, whereas, yet Contradiction (but...) / Concession alternatively, in contrast to, on the contrary, on the other hand Contrast alternatively, in other words, or rather, (to be more precise), to put it another way Restating in different terms Cohesion devices III

23 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM23 in summary, to sum up Summarize clearly, finally, in conclusion, so, therefore, thus, to conclude Conclusion as for …, clearly especially, in fact, in particular, mainly, namely, particularly, surely Highlighting apart from this…, as far as X is concerned, as for..., It follows that, moreover, now, with regard to Making a new start A useful site: Cohesion devices IV

24 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM24 Analysis I: The Rabbits Who Caused All the Trouble WITHIN the memory of the youngest child there was a family of rabbits who lived near a pack of wolves. The wolves announced that they did not like the way the rabbits were living. (The wolves were crazy about the way they themselves were living, because it was the only way to live.) One night several wolves were killed in an earthquake and this was blamed on the rabbits, for it is well known that rabbits pound on the ground with their hind legs and cause earthquakes. On another night one of the wolves was killed by a bolt of lightning and this was also blamed on the rabbits, for it is well known that lettuce-eaters cause lightning. The wolves threatened to civilize the rabbits if they didnt behave, and the rabbits decided to run away to a desert island. But the other animals, who lived at a great distance, shamed them, saying, You must stay where you are and be brave. This is no world for escapists. If the wolves attack you, we will come to your aid, in all probability. So the rabbits continued to live near the wolves and one day there was a terrible flood which drowned a great many wolves. This was blamed on the rabbits, for it is well known that carrot-nibblers with long ears cause floods. The wolves descended on the rabbits, for their own good, and imprisoned them in a dark cave, for their own protection. When nothing was heard about the rabbits for some weeks, the other animals demanded to know what had happened to them. The wolves replied that the rabbits had been eaten and since they had been eaten the affair was a purely internal matter. But the other animals warned that they might possibly unite against the wolves unless some reason was given for the destruction of the rabbits. So the wolves gave them one. They were trying to escape, said the wolves, and, as you know, this is no world for escapists. Moral: Run, dont walk, to the nearest desert island.

25 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM25 Analysis II: Finding a Way in 1.Each student writes down 3 points that struck you about the text. 2.With your neighbour look at your combined 6 points. Put them into order of importance. 3.In groups of four: What are the key points you would make about this text if you were to analyse it?

26 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM26 Analysis III: Working with The Rabbits 4.Choose one specific example that demonstrates your point and analyse that example. 3.In one sentence, say what you will argue. How is that argument connected to what you find striking and how it is achieved? different groups and their depiction (wolves normally just eat rabbits) the reactions of each group – especially the other animals Irony (the tone of the text) the use of the fable form the way the ridiculous is presented as self-evident (characteristics of rabbits linked to natural disasters) expectations are overturned (the way statements are distorted by shifts to other meanings of words) 2.Say what you find interesting / striking / effective about the text and identify how this is achieved. the dynamics of power the way the powerful can use a variety of means to control the way the powerful can manipulate 1.First impression: Say very briefly what the text is about. (What is the main theme?)

27 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM27 Analysis IV: The next step The next step is to work with these points until you see an approach which allows you to: connect the most details, or examine the details that particularly interest you

28 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM28 Analysis V: A concrete example Choose one specific example that demonstrates your point and analyse that example. In The Rabbits Who Caused All the Trouble, Thurber takes one of the most commonplace hunter-hunted relationships in the animal kingdom and creates a tale which examines manipulation and its effects. The narrator presents a world in which the powerful manipulate reason by turning the sense of what is logical upside down. In one or two sentences, say what you will argue. In the next sentence, explain how that argument is connected to what you find striking and how it is achieved. reason used to turn logic upside down reversals repetition ridiculous as self-evident dual meanings of words Say what you find interesting / striking / effective about the text and identify how this is achieved. the way the powerful can manipulateFirst impression: Say very briefly what the text is about. (What is the main theme of the text?)

29 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM29 Analysis VI: Opening paragraph In The Rabbits Who Caused All the Trouble, Thurber takes one of the most commonplace hunter-hunted relationships in the animal kingdom and creates a tale which examines manipulation and its effects. The narrator presents a world in which the powerful manipulate reason by turning the sense of what is logical upside down. He presents reversals from the outset, and by the end of the text, even the familiar saying Walk, dont run has been inverted. The narrator uses repetition, he presents the ridiculous as self-evident, and he exploits dual meanings of words in order to show the ways the powerful can manipulate both language and situation. Because he has chosen the fable as his form, his examples resonate so that he depicts more than the world of these rabbits and wolves; the story becomes a critique of human behaviour.

30 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM30 Analysis Linguistics I: The Topic and the Data The Topic: Write a paper about problems of prefixation in English adjectives The Data: disfigured disgruntled disinherited disinterested impeccable impossible impromptu incognito inconsequential inept inert mischievous misguided misogynist(-ic) mistaken misunderstood nondescript nonplussed non-standard nonchalant unbeknownst uncouth uneven ungainly untidy

31 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM31 Analysis Linguistics II: An Approach data limited to adjectives and ed- participles only limited discussion of etymologies (remarks on limitations of research) elements to be covered prefix cannot be readily separated from the stem in some prefix+stem constructions hypothesis / question / issue at stake prefixation is more complex than it may seem reason for interest interpretations of prefixes in English as bound morphemes (field or research approaches to date/in general) prefixes un-, in-/im-, mis- and non-linguistic phenomenon When prefixes do not seem to be bound morphemes Topic/ Possible Title examples where a) basic prefixation works, b) the meaning changes and c) the stem is not a word in English

32 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM32 Analysis Linguistics III: Elements and Approaches linguistic approachliterary approach (remarks on limitations of research) elements to be covered to make the point elements focused on for proof hypothesis / question / issue at stake argument reason for interestwhat is striking (field and/or research approaches to date) (brief context/content) Basics linguistic phenomenonBasics: Name of the text / author Title

33 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM33 Analysis Linguistics IV: From Approach to Introduction (Due to limitations of space, analogous phenomena with nouns or verbs will be excluded from the discussion, as will a detailed consideration of the etymologies of the stem morphemes.) only adjectives and ed- participles limited discussion of etymologies (remarks on limitations of research) The discussion of the prefixes un-, in-/im-, mis- and non- will show that prefixation often works as predicted, but also that there are instances where the stem differs in meaning and lastly where the stem is not a word used in current English. a) normal prefixation, b) stem exists but has different meaning, c) stem does not exist. elements to be covered In this paper, then, a number of adjectives will be examined in terms of where the separation of the prefix from the stem morpheme works according expectations but also where it shows phenomena that deviate from these expectations. prefix cannot always be readily separated from the stem prefix+stem constructions hypothesis / question / issue However, not all words in English that seem to consist of a stem with a prefix seem to function according to this rule of word formation. prefixation is more complex as it may seem reason for interest In the majority of cases the prefix can be added or separated from the stem with predictable results because the stem is usually used as a distinct word in the language. limitations to interpretations of prefixes in English (field / or research) English adjectives, like other content words, can be modified in their meaning and morphology by prefixes. prefixes un-, in-/im-, mis- and non- linguistic phenomenon

34 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM34 Analysis Linguistics V: A possible Introduction English adjectives, like other content words, can be modified in their meaning and morphology by prefixes. In the majority of cases the prefix can be added or separated from the stem with predictable results because the stem is normally used as a distinct word in the language. However, not all words in English that seem to consist of a stem with a prefix seem to function according to this rule of word formation. In this paper, then, a number of adjectives will be examined in terms of where the separation of the prefix from the stem morpheme works according expectations but also where it shows phenomena that deviate from these expectations. The discussion will focus on the prefixes un-, in-/im-, mis- and non- and will show that prefixation often works as predicted, but also that there are instances where the stem differs in meaning and lastly where the stem is not a word used in current English. Due to limitations of space, analogous phenomena with nouns or verbs will be excluded from the considerations, as will be a detailed consideration of the etymologies of the stem morphemes.

35 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM35 Comparison and Contrast I: Two Excerpts from Novels Every night he bolted himself in his room. As soon as he was still he felt the stillness around him and he had to make movements to destroy the stillness, to challenge the alertness of the room and the objects in it. He was rocking hard on the creaking board one night when he thought of the power of the rockers to grind and crush and inflict pain, on his hands and toes and the tender parts of his body. He rose at once in agony, covering his groin with his hands, sucking hard on his teeth, listening to the chair, as rocking, it moved sideways along the cambered plank. The chair fell silent. He looked away from it. On the wall he saw a nail that could puncture his eye. The window could trap and mangle. So could the door. Every leg of the green table could press and crush. The castors of the dressing table. The drawers. He lay face down on the bed, not wanting to see and, to drive out the shapes of objects from his head, he concentrated on the shapes of letters, working out design after design for the letter R. At last he fell asleep with his hands covering the vulnerable parts of his body, and wishing he had hands to cover himself all over. Louis Vale let himself into his ground-floor flat in Curzon Street, slammed the metallic door, threw his briefcase onto the bed or divan (he preferred to call it a bed), and turned on his bath. His room, one of an enormous block, resembled the cell of some privileged prisoner. Bare but very expensive essentials were symmetrically arranged in a room so small and so dark that colour, untidiness, or time- wasting trivia of any kind would have been lost or unusable in it. Everything possible was flush with the walls. The cupboard for his clothes, the shelf for his alcohol, the wireless: even the lights clung like white bulbous leeches to the grey paint. There was a cringing armchair and a small double-tier table on which lay an ash tray, a telephone, and the current copy of The Architectural Review. The curtains were grey: he never drew them. His bathroom, equipped like a small operating theatre for the business of shaving, and now slowly suffusing with steam, was a bright uncompromising white. He emptied his pockets, flung off his clothes, and bathed. Ten minutes later he was in his dinner jacket swallowing whisky and water.

36 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM36 Comp/Cont II: Overview of the General Approach Compare and Contrast How alike ? How different? with regard to … Patterns of similarities and differences: Argument or interpretation

37 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM37 Comp/Cont III: How are the texts alike? A House for Mr BiswasThe Long View How alike ? room / evening (Setting) very detailed descriptions of setting (adjectives) one man in a room actions and feelings interaction of man and room (confinement/prison)

38 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM38 Comp/Cont IV: How do the texts differ? How different? fear /conveyed via description of the room with regard to mans feelings feeling conveys by actions protagonists thoughts are given with regard to narration narrator is a watcher, not omniscient no names mans actions and fears with regard to kind of details name/address/floor level room neutral and grey potential causers of pain / furniture has power with regard to furniture cringing armchair, lights like leeches/ room remains passive protagonist covers his body with regard to protagonist strips and has a bath

39 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM39 Comp/Cont V: Now what do we do with this? xxxxxxxx with regard to xxxx xxxxxxxxx Patterns of similarities and differences: Same subject matter but treated in rather different ways: Room as place of enslavement in Text A vs. enslaved room in Text B Argument or interpretation: Different depictions of loneliness in terms of power experienced (Text A) or exercised (Text B)

40 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM40 Forms a) Getting the elements of the paper into place Topic Point to make/Argument Importance/ Relevance Methodology Evidence (content of paper) Structure References (bibliography)

41 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM41 Forms b) Peer Group Assessment sheet Find the theme Find what works Find what doesnt

42 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM42 Forms c) Assessment Criteria Surface Features Range Structure Content Style

43 ETAS-SIG Day 2010© FAM43 Thanks for listening And if you want more detailed information: Writing Skills or me


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