Sunday, April 29, 2007

Current Academic Haps

Draft is holding steady at 77 pages, with a penultimate draft being due on 5/2 (this Tuesday), and the final draft due 5/10 (next Thursday). After talking to both my readers, the constructive criticism is: a lot of problems with organization, some problems with analysis -- i.e., there doesn't seem to be any specifically described theoretical analysis, which maybe there really isn't, even though I write about how I interpret the data for about 20 pages, the paper may be too long all together, the introduction lacks clarity and purpose, and the overall tone is not academic enough. All together, it's not a great place to be, even though my adviser is satisfied with my progress (she's sympathetic to the fact that I am taking 4 other classes and trying to "get it done").

I've written over 4,000 words (roughly 14 pages) of notes on this, all of which you can read if you're weird like that.

Working on developing assignments and hoping I'll be able to turn them into my final project. Due 5/4 at 10 AM.

Wrote 11 pages of a 12-20 page paper. Tonight and tomorrow: write my presentation for Tuesday 5/1.

Just a test next week, thank goodness.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

L1 Comp as Hegemonic Utopia

L1 composition lives in a magical world where the United States is the moral and spiritual center of the universe and everyone speaks English as a first language. Discuss.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Current Thesis page count

ESL Writing and the Concept of Culture: Listening to Student Voices

1. Introduction - 4 pages
2. Review of Literature - 26 pages
3. Method and Findings - 40 pages (still needs some revision and additions, but getting there)
4. Implications - 1 page (goal is 8-10)
5. Works Cited (doesn't count - 4 pages)
6. Appendix (student essays, doesn't count - 6 pages)

CURRENT TOTAL = 70 pages

Saturday, April 21, 2007

teachin', rockin'

I haven't mentioned it much here, but it looks like I have a job for the fall. In addition to teaching various English classes there, I've been asked if I can teach an Applied Linguistics class at Yuan Pei College of Shaoxing University. I said "yes please!" Hard to say if it'll really happen, but I'd be thrilled to do it

Notes on English 560 paper....
title ideas:

Rock Aesthetics: the problem of evaluating process-driven music as product
How Rock Criticism Constructs Rock Music & something about Adorno and Danto.
Disinterest is Impossible: The Social Construction of Rock Music by Critics?

stuff in the paper maybe:
-change from rock mags to blogs as setting trends, deciding what is rock, etc
-rock as process -- the problem of evaluating recordings (static) when rock gets what it is from emergent creativity?
-vocab probs: rock vs pop vs other?
-impossibility of disinterest in rock
-rock - negative or positive?

i gotta long way to go with this one.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

notes on ong

Ong + techonology. (note the 'puter behind him!!)

Why Ong's technological focus is helpful to today's writing teachers: understanding the rhetorical situations our students find themselves in, and teaching to those.
-Secondary orality - how our Ss are afloat in a sea of audio/visual media (it's all multimodal of course), tv, radio, music, movies, internet, etc. --understanding the oral basis of this stuff, mediated through literacy...ok, but so what?
-New ways literacy is being transformed by electronic communication -- 3rd round of technologizing of the word?
oral lg --> writing system --> print --> print via computers --> computer-based writing read on computers which is also interactive. The resurrection of audience? The writer's audience is no longer a fiction?

just some thoughts...

PS: This dude is totally rad. He's like a Catholic Derrida or something.

Monday, April 16, 2007

When Linguists are Heroes (and Villians)


A few months ago, I went to see a fundraising pitch disguised as a play. The play is called
Sunong, and is put on by a group called Wycliffe Dinner Theater. It tells the story of a Southeast Asian dude who encounters some missionaries. (His country and language are fictionalized, which I think was a huge weakness of the piece -- oh, and also the fact that two of the Asian characters were played by White women speaking "broken" English.) At first, this sounded way ho-hum to me.

But within a few minutes of the beginning of the play, I saw had this revelation:
Holy crap, the heroes of this story are applied linguists. And also this one: This is probably the only play I will ever see in which the heroes are applied linguists. They're Bible translators, and we see them struggle with phonemes, culturally appropriate translation, getting funding for PhD programs -- I was kind of in heaven. In the end, the play was almost as much about the necessity of training skilled linguists as it was about evangelism.


But it is the influence of evangelism (or simply Evangelicalism) that is beginning to be noticed, and consequently critiqued, by another branch of linguistics -- the applied variety, and specifically English Language Teaching. From Pennycook's 
"Teaching English as a Missionary Language" to Varghese and Johnston's recent "Evangelical Christians and English language teaching" in TESOL Quarterly, people are starting to take notice of the fact that Christians are (still) using English teaching as a missionary endeavor, whether the teaching is a "front" or a genuine form of service. Questions of cultural and linguistic imperialism (not to mention professional and personal ethics) abound, of course, but it's encouraging to see that a civil discussion is beginning. One hopes that the Christian organizations who use ELT will see that it's in their interest to take part in this dialogue.


Given all this, it's interesting that the man at the center of one of the most talked-about controversies in the cultural anthropology/applied linguistics/language orbit is an ex-Christian, former missionary who was once affiliated with the
Summer Institute of Linguistics (an organization afilliated with the abovementioned Wycliffe). His recent work on the Piraha, an isolated tribe in the Amazon, makes some pretty serious claims about their culture and language that seem to fly in the face of Chomskian linguistics (e.g., Universal Grammar)and the general assumption that all languages are 'created equal,' to use a loaded term.

I was intrigued by the brief bit in the New Yorker piece that mentioned Everett's ex-wife, who is still a missionary: she seemed less interested in explaining the Piraha's language, and more in learning about their songs. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Nearing Full Scale Freakout

I've totally hit a wall at 32 pgs.
Nothing makes sense any more...I have 3 important sections that are totally underdeveloped.
I NEED to turn whatever I have in tomorrow by 1 pm, so I figure if I can turn these sections into something coherent in about 3 more pages, that'll be fine for now. If I have to flesh things out later I can and will.

I really didn't analyze the data enough before I started writing.

I'm learning - I hope.

Maybe this isn't the best time to mention that I've decided to apply for an 08-09 Fullbright. Anyway, that's after the End of the World (aka May 10).

Sunday, April 08, 2007

62% done with 50% of the project

"Main Chunk" count: 25 pgs.
Tomorrow I have about 7-8 hours to write 15 pages. No problem.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


the (mostly finished) lit review is 26 pages.

what i've been calling the 'main chunk' of the project currently stands at 20 pages. by Tuesday morning it needs to be 40.

after i turn that in i want to do another 10 for 'discussion/implications'

i have a 4 page intro i wrote ages ago sitting here waiting to be revised in the next few weeks, too.

if you're counting along at home, that puts the final page count at somewhere around 80. Not 3 figures. that is OK.

less may not be more but it is BETTER in many ways.

happy easter, jh

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"I am not really American people."

J= me, S = a student, ____ = reference to student's home country and/or nationality.

J: when (Teacher) gives an assignment when she says write about your culture, your country…when she says write about your culture, do you think of _____?
S: Yeah.

J: let’s say it’s 5 years from now and you’ve lived in the US for 7 years. Do you think when someone says my culture you would say the US is my culture?
S: maybe not.

J: why not?
S: I think because I am not really American people. And I was born in _____ and my parents is ____ people so I am ____. And in ____, the teacher give us information is different from here. It’s more like how to …uh…how to be good, be nice with another people. Something like that, like with your family, with old people. But in America it’s like free, free mind. So it’s very different.

J: So is that one reason why you would say US is not my country, because you don’t like that?
S: No, I like the United States but, I feel I am ____, so maybe never change.

J: Just to keep going…let’s say it’s thirty years from now. You’ve been in the US for thirty years, now are you an American?
S: I’m not sure, but I think I would say the same thing.