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Presentation on theme: "ENGAGING MULTIMEDIA IN THE HEL CLASSROOM Natalie Gerber, SUNY Fredonia."— Presentation transcript:


2 WHAT IS THE CONTEXT? Mid-sized comprehensive state university… with few Masters-level students without a linguistics department …or an Anglo-Saxonist …or an extensive foreign-languages department majors: Spanish, French, Adolescence Education other languages taught: Arabic, German, Russian in a fairly homogeneous demographic region, whose ethnic populations (e.g., Latino, Mexican American, Indian) still are not proportionately represented on campus

3 WHO IS THE AUDIENCE? Student body is… predominantly Caucasian and regional, although college has several international partnerships with institutions in South Korea and India probably more monolingual than bilingual hard-working and from families as often as not hard hit by the recession not infrequently the first in their family to attend college

4 SAMPLE CLASS PROFILE, BY MAJOR (2008) AccountingEnglishPhotography American Studies English (Adol. Ed.)Psychology Art History Exercise Science Social Work CoachingHistorySociology ChemistryInternational StudiesSpeech Pathology Childhood Ed.Music Performance Criminal Justice Philosophy

5 HOW I’VE DONE IT… Course Texts: Millward; Algeo & Pyles; Millward & Hayes, plus Lerer Course Design: Chronology-driven; System-driven (e.g., phonology vs. lexicon); Both Major Instruments for Course Assessment: Exams; Projects; Blog Posts Course Methodologies: Lecture; Discussion Based; Project Based

6 …AND HOW IT’S WORKED BEST --Minimize jargon --Teach basics of language systems; limit coverage of internal history to highlights, and use an occasional, apt pop-culture reference or resource to increase engagement --Take a problem-based approach, with parallels between circumstances in “historical” and “contemporary” language debates; maximize use of new media to engage us in debates --Focus on status and changing fortunes of English as a global language; draw attention to impact of explicit policies or implicit stances

7 LEAVENING HEL through pop culture and multimedia

8 PHONOLOGY FINDING ALLOPHONIC VARIATION IN THE SITCOM FRIENDS Allophonic Variation: Or Why Joey Gets Soaked by a Shakespearean Actor in FriendsFriends In these scenes, a Shakespearean actor tells Joey that great actors enunciate and when they enunciate they spit. The scene is, of course, hilarious; underlying its hilarity is a lesson in phonetics and the issue of allophonic variation. This enunciation centers on the pronunciation of words and syllables beginning with a /p/, as in picture, Paulette, pack, and personal (see bolded terms below). In such environments, this phoneme is pronounced with aspiration, that is, “a puff of breath accompanying a speech sound,” and represented by the following diacritical mark: a tiny h above the phonetic symbol, as follows [p ʰ ]. Aspiration does not occur, however, if p is not word- or syllable-initial; e.g., there is no aspiration in the word script or speech. In English, the distinction between [p] and [p ʰ ] is not meaningful—i.e., there are no minimal pairs differing in just these speech sounds in the way that /f/ and /v/ contrast and so comprise a minimal pair as in fine/vine. Thus, the only difference is in the phonetic rendition of the same phoneme. “Why do you have a picture of Paulette in your pack?”“You went through my personal property?”

9 MORPHOLOGY STUDYING AGENTIVE SUFFIXES AND OTHER MORPHEMES THROUGH SNL "The Bradster is makin' copies, Bradarolla, The Bradinator, Bradenjenthen-Bradenangelina, Mr. Pitt Makin' Copies” --Saturday Night Live HEL Point: -ster is an agentive suffix that turns a common noun into an agent. Proper nouns do not typically take agentive suffixes. Bonus: Consider the use of indefinite pronouns as proper nouns in e. e. cummings’s “anyone lived in a pretty how town”

10 LEXICON DISCOVERING THE JOYS OF LEXICON THROUGH PODCASTS AND WEBSITES Back formations: snark (Bob Garfield & Mike Vuolo, “Where Did the Word Snark Come From?” Lexicon Valley) snark smarm (Tom Socca, “On Smarm” smarm Affixation and reinvention: TruthinessTruthiness (Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report, original “The WØrd” sequence Slang and Taboo Words: Pinker, “Freedom’s Curse” (Atlantic Nov. 2008; includes George Carlin’s routine on words forbidden on TV)Freedom’s Curse Sample Assignment: Post a brief excerpt from any contemporary literary text (you may conceive of “literature” widely: books, blogs, lyrics, etc.) that uses language in an interesting way. Consider especially unusual words that might emerge from language contact or various subcultures, but also keep an eye for nonstandard syntax, grammar, spelling, and so forth.

11 SYNTAX AND SEMANTICS TAPPING ONLINE PROJECTS AND PODCASTS ON LANGUAGE Syntax: Diachronic change: “The House Is Building”: from Slate’s Lexicon Valley, discussion of the passive progressive tense and its challenge to the “passival”The House Is BuildingLexicon Valley Synchronic change: Yale Grammatical Diversity Project: map of “syntactic diversity found in varieties of English spoken in North America.” “Phenomena” lead to interesting discussions of synchronic change based on places where students have livedYale Grammatical Diversity Project Semantics: “The Other F-Word”: also from Lexicon Valley, discussion of semantic shift in faggot from sexist to homophobic to more generalized slur; reflections on connection between semantic change and cultural values/phobias.The Other F-Word

12 GRAPHICS WRITING SYSTEMS AND THEIR IMPACT UPON THE SURVIVAL OF LANGUAGES “Why Should We Care When a Language Dies?”: Lexicon Valley podcast (21 mins.)Why Should We Care When a Language Dies?” “What the World Will Speak in 2115”: John McWhorter (WSJ Jan. 2, 2015)What the World Will Speak in 2115

13 LINGUISTIC RHYTHM RHYME AS FORECAST FOR LANGUAGE CHANGE? Lengthening of unstressed syllables in rap; non-reduction of vowels. Influence of syllable timing? K*NAAN, native Somali speaker, so primary language background is syllable timed “With a gun held to his head. It’s stupid. He used to play ball instead. Let’s check it out.” -- “I Was Stabbed by Satan” “Bombs are falling on me since you been gone. Shook my world feels like it’s armageddon.” -- “The Sound of My Breaking Heart”


15 LEXICOGRAPHY AND LANGUAGE POLITICS, THEN AND NOW Traditional Readings: 1. Seth Lerer, “A Harmless Drudge: Samuel Johnson and the Making of the Dictionary” (Inventing English) 2. Allan Metcalf, “Death of a Dictionary? Or an Abduction?” (The Chronicle March 21, 2012) 3. Gleick, “Cyber-Neologoliferation” (NYT, Nov, 5, 2006) Podcasts: “Truthiness,” Original “The W Ø rd” sequence on The Colbert ReportTruthiness “The Story of Ain’t,” Lexicon Valley podcast on Webster’s Third ed.The Story of Ain’t “Redefining the Dictionary,” TEDtalk with Erin McKeanRedefining the Dictionary

16 LEXICOGRAPHY AND LANGUAGE POLITICS, THEN AND NOW Projects: 1. Look up truthiness in the OED, AHD, and Urban Dictionary, plus one other source. Copy entries exactly as they appear (screenshots are fine); then analyze the differences and comment on what you might conclude about how each dictionary is compiled and vetted and by whom. 2. Use the print holdings of our dictionary to compare entries discussed in Metcalf’s article and in the Lexicon Valley podcast. Use not only the 2 nd and 3 rd ed. of Webster’s from our library’s print holdings, but also select at least two other dictionaries (online or print). Note differences in definition, source and kind of quotation, and usage notes. Then write a 500-word essay reflecting upon how this project changes your notion of dictionaries’ objectivity as well as your thoughts about dictionaries as the language police. 3. Google Word of the Year and check out choices from at least two sites with different stances. Consider the relationship suggested between a language’s most popular words and the external history of its speakers. How long do you think these words will last and what factors will influence their longevity? 4. Respond to McKean’s vision of future dictionaries/lexicographers. Create at least two entries, thinking carefully not only about standard components of a dictionary entry but also medium, sourcing, etc.

17 PROJECT #1: TRUTHINESS ACCORDING TO… THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY Truthiness, per OED (“ This entry has not yet been fully updated [first published 1915]. ”)Truthiness truthy, adj. Etymology: < truth n. + -y suffix 1.(Show More)truth n.-y suffix 1(Show More) rare or dial. Characterized by truth; truthful, true. c1800 J. H. Colls Theodore i, You..are afraid Theodore your sweetheart shouldn't prove truthy. 1848 Fraser's Mag. 37 404 Descriptions of country life and truthy touches of native manners. 1851 F. Palgrave Hist. Normandy & Eng. I. 601 Regino was truthy and honest. c1800—1851 Derivatives ˈ truthiness n. truthfulness, faithfulness. 1824 J. J. Gurney in Braithwaite Mem. (1854) I. 242 Everyone who knows her is aware of her truthiness.

18 TRUTHINESS ACCORDING TO… URBAN DICTIONARY.COM truthiness The quality of stating concepts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than the facts. Origin: Stephen Colbert, "The Colbert Report," 2005 "And that brings us to tonight's word: truthiness. "Now I'm sure some of the Word Police, the wordanistas over at Webster's, are gonna say, 'Hey, that's not a word.' Well, anybody who knows me knows that I'm no fan of dictionaries or reference books. They're elitist. Constantly telling us what is or isn't true, or what did or didn't happen. Who's Britannica to tell me the Panama Canal was finished in 1914? If I wanna say it happened in 1941, that's my right. I don't trust books. They're all fact, no heart." That Fox News report didn't have all of the facts, but it had a certain truthiness to it. by Tony Johns January 09, 2006Tony Johns


20 THE RISE OF STANDARD ENGLISH: ORTHOGRAPHERS, ORTHEOPISTS, AND GRAMMARIANS ENGAGING “STANDARDS” THROUGH CONTEMPORARY PRACTICE Traditional materials: 1. Assigned section from Naomi Baron, “Setting Standards” (From Alphabet to Email) 2. David Crystal, “Standard rules”(The Stories of English) 3. Seth Lerer, “Visible Speech: The Orthoepists and the Origins of Standard English” (Inventing English) 4. Francis Katamba, “Should English be spelt as she is spoke?” (English Words) 5. Stephen Fry, “Kinetic Language” (cf. Youtube; length: 6:34)“Kinetic Language” Assignment: Summarize readings pertinent to your area (orthography, orthoepy, grammar): express what the standards were, why they were put into place, and by whom or how they were enforced. Then, look through email, social media, contemporary blogs on language, and other sources, for examples that do and don’t comply with these standards. Consider how the shift from institutional-driven “publishing” to individual-driven “publishing” may eventually change individual entries or entire rules within any of the five language systems.

21 MINI-PROJECT: COMPARING SO-CALLED DIALECTS AND “STANDARD” LANGUAGES Materials: 1. Lerer, “Ready for the Funk: African American English and Its Impact” (Inventing English) 2. Lexicon Valley podcast: “Is Black English a Dialect or a Language?”Is Black English a Dialect or a Language? Assignment: Google statements on African American English (also AAVE; ebonics) and their tone. Note who says them. Come to class ready to debate the relative complexity of AAE vs. so-called standard English. What is your take on the ethics of when to use one dialect versus another (in institutional settings? in community settings, etc.)?

22 MINI-PROJECT: RESEARCHING ATTITUDES ABOUT ENGLISH AS AN OFFICIAL LANGUAGE Materials: 1. Mahoney, MacSwann, Haladyna, García,“Castañeda’s Third Prong: Evaluating the Achievement of Arizona’s English Learners Under Restrictive Language Policy”; and “Educating English Language Learners” (NEA 2005) (ANGEL). Come to class ready to discuss impact of language policy on L2 and L3 speakers. Use the statistics from Mahoney et al. 2. Using credible (and, for comparison, non-credible)Web-based resources, research the history of the official language movement in the United States. Be ready to tell us what an official language is, whether the federal government has any official language policy, and which states, if any, have such policies. What tend to be the arguments for and against having an official language? 3. Google print- and Web-based media discussing Rick Santorum’s assertions that English should be made an official language as a precondition of Puerto Rico’s bid for statehood (see especially CNN's coverage of this issue). How was his position received by different groups? Come to class ready both to report on the practical ramifications of making English an official language in the U.S. or elsewhere and to debate why English should or should not be made an official language.

23 FORUM ON THE FUTURE OF ENGLISH: GLOBAL ENGLISHES Materials: David Crystal, English as a Global Language, Ch.3-4 (72-122); Evan Osnos, “Crazy English” (New Yorker, Apr. 28, 2008); articles by Braj Kachru, David Graddol, John McWhorter, etc. Assignment: Bring in evidence related to any factor Crystal says affect the future of world Englishes. You’ll speculate as to the future of the language and which factors may play the greatest role and why (e.g., if you believe economic opportunity is most significant, perhaps you bring in an article regarding English-language jobs in India or China as a global economic power).

24 BEST STUDENT EXAMPLE The Times of Malta…reported this past summer that the island nation had begun putting up new road signs—but only in Maltese. Malta has two official languages, English and Maltese, but Maltese is considered the “national” language. The Malta Hotels and Restaurant Association (MHRA) objected to the change. They said that tourists--their clients—were having trouble finding their way around the island; the GPS systems and the maps were all in English and were incompatible with the new signage…. --Lisa Carlson (course blog post, Dec. 4, 2012)

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