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Writing about Literature and Linguistics Writing about Literature: –Use MLA Format Writing about Language and Linguistics: –Confer with your advisor about.

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Presentation on theme: "Writing about Literature and Linguistics Writing about Literature: –Use MLA Format Writing about Language and Linguistics: –Confer with your advisor about."— Presentation transcript:

1 Writing about Literature and Linguistics Writing about Literature: –Use MLA Format Writing about Language and Linguistics: –Confer with your advisor about to which style to use: MLA or APA –APA is more commonly used in Linguistics

2 Style First and foremost the text has to be easy to read No best style that works for all but, Certain things help to make a good style of writing !

3 Characteristics of good writing are? Good organization –English expository writing Logical presentation of arguments Clear language Anticipating readers´ train of thought

4 Characteristics of poor writing are? Poor organization Overuse of highly specific academic and obscure terminology Overuse of a few sources Shifting of style according to sources Leaving the reader to do too much of the work of clarifying your thoughts

5 A Few Pointers: Be conscise and to the point Avoid wordiness Avoid repetition: –As I have said before... –As mentioned above... –As I will explain later... One topic per paragraph 3-4 paragraphs per page Each paragraph has: a topic sentence – discussion – conclusion

6 Writing the Literary Analysis Brought to you by the Purdue University Writing Lab Author: Brian Yothers

7 What is Literary Analysis? It’s literary It’s an analysis It’s-- An Argument! It may also involve research on and analysis of secondary sources

8 How is it “literary”? Usually, a literary analysis will involve a discussion of a text as writing, thus the term literary, which means “having to do with letters” This will involve the use of certain concepts that are very specifically associated with literature

9 Important literary concepts The Basics –Plot –Setting –Narration/point of view –Characterization –Symbol –Metaphor –Genre –Irony/ambiguity Other key concepts –Historical context –Social, political, economic contexts –Ideology –Multiple voices –Various critical orientations –Literary theory

10 How Can I Learn More? There are various handbooks of literary terms available in most libraries. There are numerous introductions to literary criticism and theory that are widely available. Example: A Handbook to Literature. Harmon/Holman

11 What is an Analysis? An analysis of a literary work may discuss –How the various components of an individual work relate to each other –How two separate literary works deal with similar concepts or forms –How concepts and forms in literary works relate to larger aesthetic, political, social, economic, or religious contexts

12 How is a literary analysis an argument? When writing a literary analysis, you will focus on specific attribute(s) of the text(s). When discussing these attributes, you will want to make sure that you are making a specific, arguable point (thesis) about these attributes. You will defend this point with reasons and evidence drawn from the text. (Much like a lawyer!)

13 Which is the best thesis statement? Moby-Dick is about the problem of evil. Moby-Dick is boring and pointless. Moby-Dick is about a big, white whale. The use of “whiteness” in Moby-Dick illustrates the uncertainty about the meaning of life that Ishmael expresses throughout the novel.

14 How do I support a thesis statement? Examples from the text: –Direct quotations –Summaries of scenes –Paraphrase Other critics’ opinions Historical and social context Always remember to read carefully and highlight useful passages and quotes!

15 What is a secondary source? A book or article that discusses the text you are discussing A book or article that discusses a theory related to the argument you are making A book or article that discusses the social and historical context of the text you are discussing

16 How do I find secondary sources? MLA International Bibliography Dictionary of Literary Biography Discipline-specific sources Other search engines A bibliography that is part of your text Ask someone who knows

17 Integrating secondary sources When you use secondary sources, be sure to show how they relate to your thesis Don’t overuse any one secondary source, or for that matter, secondary sources in general Remember that this is your paper, your argument—the secondary sources are just helping you out Never, never, never plagiarize! See the OWL handout on plagiarism for more information.

18 Overview of Literary Analysis When writing a literary analysis: –Be familiar with literary terms –Analyze specific items –Make an a argument –Make appropriate use of secondary sources –Consult instructors and tutors for help when needed

19 More info about writing about literature: /618/01/ /618/01/

20 Writing about Language Abstract Introduction (with a research question) Review of the Literature The Study –Methodology –Subjects –Analysis Conclusions

21 Choosing and Using Sources Finding and choosing the appropriate sources: –Advisor –Google – 04_s9.html 04_s9.html Evaluating sources: – ml

22 Choosing ans Using Sources Integrating sources into the text: 0312450257/preview.aspx 0312450257/preview.aspx (VIEW) MLA Bibliography See: 08_s2.html

23 Avoiding Plagiarism According to Hacker three different acts are considered plagiarism: (1)failing to cite quotations and borrowed ideas (2)failing to enclose borrowed language in quotation marks (3)failing to put summaries and paraphrases in your own words.

24 Finally: Starting the process... “Don’t get it right, get it written” James Thurber Plan your writing –Avoid last minute writing Divide the work into parts: –Get your ideas down –Write the preliminary text –Edit for organization, clarity and mechanics Meet with your advisor or study pals and discuss your ideas and the writing process!

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