Monday, January 30, 2012

Advice on Texts for Teaching World Englishes

(especially if your university has a stentorian copyright policy):

Use David Graddol's stuff from the British Council. They give his books away for free in PDF form!

The Future of English

English Next

English Next India

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"Hegemony Takes No Prisoners"

Probably the most genius thing about the concept of hegemony is how you're not allowed to think it's not a thing...because that's what it wants you to think!!

"We disagree about the choices people make about their language use. For
RP such choices are typically imposed externally. For me they are typically
decisions made by individuals. I prefer to view people as independent
beings, capable of acting in their own best interests with regard to language
use. RP sees that as hegemonic, to which, of course, I have no reply since
hegemony takes no prisoners." - Alan Davies

Monday, January 23, 2012

Theory, Sexuality, Politics, etc (a much shorter post than you'd expect)

This is the only place I can think of engaging this issue, and I'll try to be brief in outlining what I see as a tension/dilemma which is rooted in theory/philosophy but which plays out in academic and popular debates. Super brief.

Cynthia Nelson, in a 2010 TESOL Quarterly article on gay students in language classrooms, writes: "The widespread collective ignorance about gay students may have many reasons, including...[a] tendency to view (homo)sexualities as a private matter involving physical sex, rather than a public matter involving community, identity, knowledge, and discourse..."

Aside from totally co-signing on her implication (sexuality as social -- that's some Wendell Berry stuff if ever I saw some), the other issue I thought of was "can this kind of theory 'go both ways,' as it were?" Not to crudely oppose gayness and straightness, or 'conservative' and 'liberal' ideology -- because I don't think that's necessary -- but I just wonder whether people on traditionally "opposing sides" whose political convictions demand of them (again, no intent to be simplistic here) certain orthodoxies  are both able to deploy the above bit of critical theory sincerely without pushback from the other. One rarely hears, for example, proponents of "traditional" sexuality using the language Nelson uses, yet it seems to me eminently usable by those who, like Gabriel Torretta, argue that "marriage is a mode of being." In fact, I suspect it might meet resistance from those who most often use critical theory. Am I wrong? This is relatively uncharted territory for me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012 Planner

Notes from meeting with advisor.

1. Do final stage of data collection (Canadian participants)
2. Establish coding system (involve second coder; she suggests doing a kind of 'work-swap' with another grad student, wherein we work on each other's projects) for AJT data.
3. Transcribe and begin coding interview data. (Note: may not need to be transcribed per se -- can work with audio files in NVivo. Will eventually need to transcribe relevant bits, at least.)

Goal: be ready by the end of the term (April) to meet w committee about what direction I plan to go with data analysis. (This means having all of the above done, basically. Which is a very tall order, really. It would be nice to do a committee meeting before the baby is born, though. I guess mid-April is a good goal to put something together.)

Writing projects:
1. Rejected "English for real use" paper: abandon for now. It was really just a haphazard thing I did on a whim and time would be better used focusing on dissertation.

2. Methodology comp as a journal article: submit to World Englishes ASAP. The hope is to get some good feedback on it (never really thought about this, but yeah). If it gets a revise and resubmit, perhaps add in some data analysis from what I'll be working on (above). Needs: continue to trim parts and revise. Not sure how long the MS can be. For some reason can't find it on their website. Goal: submit this by the end of January.

3. English Today special issue: really want to do something good for this. She says I need data. Deadline is March 30. Limit is 4,000 words, though they also accept 1500 word short pieces. Thinking of framing it as a 'post-variety' sociolx approach?


Not planning to attend or present at any this year, with the exception of a submission to the CSLD conference held at UBC in mid-May. No word on that yet. 

For 2013, it would be nice to try for SSLW (in China, date TBA) and possibly TESOL/AAAL, despite their being in Texas. ACLA (the big Canadian applied linguistics conference) will be in Victoria in Spring 2013, so that is a goal, too.

Again stressed that I shouldn't work too much. I think I can find a balance this year. I taught 3 classes (4 sections) in 2010 -- too much. I taught zero classes in 2011 -- not enough. So far this year I am doing 2 sections of one class at Rits and I'm doing a copyediting project (that I really need to get moving on) for another professor. Beyond this I should probably only do one course this summer (either LLED 301, LLED 489, or Sociolx at TWU) and maybe one in the fall. There needs to be a period where I'm only doing data analysis. In fact, it might be best not to teach in the fall, and to teach next spring or summer instead.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Idea for a Corpus-Like Assignment investigating variations in English(es)

1. Start with Paul Brians' classic website "Common Errors in English."

2. Identify some potential "semantic minimal pairs"(a term I thought I just invented but apparently did not) that seem interesting, like "good-by / good-bye" or "gray/grey" or some more obscure and/or clearly "errory" ones like "easedrop" vs "eavesdrop".

(Note: this is pretty subjective and you have to already know a lot about English to really choose interesting ones.)

3. Find a corpus courtesy of Brian Lee's list of "Freely Accessible Online Corpora of English"

4. Learn how to search it, use it, etc.

5. search for the stuff you found in #2.

6. Somehow do some kind of cool analysis of what you find.

(#6 needs some work.)