The Karen Stereotype

written by Karen Stollznow, Griffith University, Queensland

Karen is a first name, in fact, it’s my first name, but online, “Karen” has evolved to mean so much more than just a name. In recent years, “Karen” has also become a negative stereotype, a meme, and an insulting epithet. The colloquial meaning of “Karen” is multi-faceted and complicated. The term typically refers to a middle-class, middle-aged white woman who is obnoxious and entitled in her behavior, and she is often racist. She is angry, aggressive, and a bully. Her catch-cry is demanding to “Speak to the manager” of an establishment over the slightest inconvenience. In some versions she even wears a stereotypical hairstyle. Her complaints are selfish and petty. For example, Cathy Hill, a patron . . . → Read More: The Karen Stereotype

SSLA introduces a new Methods Forum

Shortly to be announced in an editorial in the Fall issue of Studies in Second Language Acquisition

Why methods?

SLA has always been and remains a dynamic discipline that employs an increasingly wide range of methodological techniques. More recently, however, large numbers of scholars in the field began to take on research methodology as an explicit and even empirical focus of their work (see overview by Gass, Loewen, & Plonsky, 2020).

What’s new?

SSLA is now taking another step to further the field’s methodological literacy by inviting authors to submit manuscripts to the Methods Forum.

Articles of this type can take a number of different forms as long as the focus is on research methods as applied to SLA. Manuscripts submitted to the Methods Forum can . . . → Read More: SSLA introduces a new Methods Forum

German Intensifiers: The Emergence of German Variationist Sociolinguistics

Written by James Stratton ([email protected])
Purdue University, Department of Linguistics, School of Languages and Cultures

Everything in the universe has to evolve to survive, and language is no exception. As well as constantly changing, language is also rich in variability, that is, there are several ways of expressing the same thing. The fundamental idea of variationist or Labovian sociolinguistics is that variation is not random, but instead is conditioned by various linguistic and social factors. Intensification is a part of language which is constantly evolving because, as intensifiers become overused, they start to lose their intensifying or persuasive effect. Since intensifiers provide speakers with the opportunity to make their speech more persuasive, credible, and emotional, at any given point in time there are various . . . → Read More: German Intensifiers: The Emergence of German Variationist Sociolinguistics

Virtual Exchange and its Role in Internationalising University Education

Written by Robert O’Dowd, University of León, Spain ([email protected])

In universities around the world, more and more teachers are engaging their students in intercultural collaborative projects with partners from other countries using digital technologies. This is commonly known as Virtual Exchange (VE) or Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL). VE has great potential to foster a range of 21st century employability skills which include media and digital literacy, communication skills, global awareness, empathy, critical and analytical thinking, foreign language skills and intercultural competences.

Nobody is suggesting that VE should ever replace physical mobility programmes. But many institutions are now considering how to use VE to prepare students for physical mobility or how it can function as an alternative to physical mobility for those students who . . . → Read More: Virtual Exchange and its Role in Internationalising University Education

The Cambridge Studies of Language Practices and Social Development

World network with outline of people

The Cambridge Studies of Language Practices and Social Development series provides a needed platform for scholarly discussions around the relationship between diverse language practices and social development and environmental conservation around the world. This series publishes research of the highest quality in socially oriented and problem driven applied linguistics integrating qualitative and quantitative methodologies from humanities, social sciences, public health, education and computer science.

Cambridge Extra spoke to the series editor Meng Ji (The University of Sydney, Australia) about the series.

What has motivated the development of the series?

Our series promotes innovative focused research to address practical social problems such as global environmental, health and legal issues which represent new research challenges, as well as opportunities for socially oriented language practice research.

This . . . → Read More: The Cambridge Studies of Language Practices and Social Development

Black Lives Matter

Written by Karen Stollznow, author of ‘On the Offensive‘

What do people mean when they say, “Black Lives Matter?”

“Black Lives Matter” is a slogan and a social movement in response to the historical and current social and systemic racism and violence perpetuated against Black people.

Where did the phrase come from?

In 2012, 17-year-old African-American Trayvon Martin was walking home in Sanford, Florida, having just purchased a packet of Skittles from a convenience store. He was spotted by local resident George Zimmerman who reported Martin to local police as “suspicious.” Martin was innocent of any crime, although Zimmerman confronted the young man and fatally shot him, claiming the act was in self-defense. He was acquitted of his crime. Following this incident the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter . . . → Read More: Black Lives Matter

Introducing Cambridge Elements in Pragmatics

Cambridge Elements in Pragmatics

Cambridge Elements combine the best features of journals and books.

With a word count between 20,000-30,000 words they lend themselves to the digital and ever changing research environment.

A series coming soon to linguistics is Elements in Pragmatics edited by Jonathan Culpeper, Lancaster University and Michael Haugh, University of Queensland.

Cambridge Extra asked them more about the series.

What motivated you to collate this Elements series?

The format itself is really appealing.

It is longer than typical journal articles but shorter than a monograph, so is ideal for both graduate students and established researchers in the field. It also allows authors to publish their work at its natural length, if an article is too constraining yet a full book is over the horizon.

Its digital format means the . . . → Read More: Introducing Cambridge Elements in Pragmatics

Cambridge Reflections: Covid-19

Reflections of a tree in a puddle

Written by Alex Wright, Senior Executive Publisher and Head of Humanities at Cambridge University Press

The coronavirus and its challenges of immediacy have thrown into sharp relief the apparent disjuncture between intellectual endeavour and what a society goes through in the grip of a pestilence. When the difference between life and death is measured in terms of having enough ventilators in hospitals, or adequate PPE, should we even be talking about characterisation in Shakespeare? It is right to ask such a question, and proper too to give priority to what people need to do to survive the present emergency. But a moment of crisis helps us to see that we live out our lives perpetually threatened by loss; and gives us space . . . → Read More: Cambridge Reflections: Covid-19

ELT and me: A story with no history?

Glasses on top of a pile of books

Written by Michael McCarthy

I was recently invited to contribute an article to the CUP journal Language Teaching, looking back over my career as an English language teacher, applied linguist and academic. In a strange sort of way, I discovered my own history by writing about it, a truly pleasurable experience. But in doing so, I realised how much I had lacked a proper historical perspective during most of my fifty-odd years in the profession. Great changes have happened during that half-century, and they happened all around me as I soldiered on, blissfully ignorant of the ideas that were pushing the profession forward.

My career started in the mid-1960s, when structuralism was popular in language teaching, alongside traditional Latin-modelled grammar-translation approaches, and most . . . → Read More: ELT and me: A story with no history?

Adventures in English Syntax – an author’s perspective

Book cover of Adventures in English Syntax

Blog written by Robert Freidin, and was originally posted on The Cambridge Core blog

The seed for this book was planted almost 60 years ago when my 10th grade English teacher, taught us the elements of English sentence structure: prepositional phrases and relative clauses; finite vs. infinitival and gerundive clauses; compound vs. complex sentences (and thus the difference between coordination and subordination). For me, this was a revelation – leading to a 50-year career in linguistics as a syntactician. My high school understanding of English sentence structure allowed me to engage with my own writing at a fundamental level where I could view my sentences as syntactic structures that connected to other syntactic structures, and thus to different sentences for expressing the . . . → Read More: Adventures in English Syntax – an author’s perspective