An interview with Susan Gal and Judith T. Irvine

Cover for Signs of Difference book

Susan Gal (University of Chicago) and Judith T. Irvine (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) discuss their new book Signs of Difference: Language and Ideology in Social Life.

Firstly, tell us what motivated you to write Signs of Difference?

Our interest in collaboration began some years ago when we discovered a curious parallel in our findings from the two very different places where we had done research: small towns in Senegal and Hungary. Our collaboration started with those unexpected parallels between our separate ethnographic projects. Reading each other’s papers and listening to each other at AAA meetings, we saw amazingly similar processes in two fieldsites that were utterly worlds apart.

The happy result has been a semiotic approach to difference, an approach that is much wider . . . → Read More: An interview with Susan Gal and Judith T. Irvine

‘Word jails’, ‘slang bans’ and the punitive policing of language in schools

Blog post written by Ian Cushing based on a new article published in Language in Society

The late, great linguist and educationalist Ronald Carter wrote that teachers can be forced into acting as a kind of ‘kind of linguistic dentist, polishing here and there, straightening out, removing decay, filling gaps and occasionally undertaking a necessary extraction’. In a new article published in Language in Society, I use Carter’s metaphor as a springboard to critically examine a spate of many current language education policies and pedagogies in schools which are driven by deficit discourses about linguistic variation and change. The focus of the paper is on primary and secondary schools in England who have implemented strict, prescriptive and punitive language policies which attempt . . . → Read More: ‘Word jails’, ‘slang bans’ and the punitive policing of language in schools

Words on the loose: The power of “premium”

Blog post written by Crispin Thurlow based on a new article published in Language in Society

 

In a new paper for Language in Society, I open with the following anecdote about the disingenuous power of everyday language games. On a work trip to Stockholm several years ago, I needed to take my two sons along with me. My local colleagues had kindly accommodated us in one of Sweden’s “Elite” hotels. On arrival day, my sons and I checked in and made our way up to the room. As we stepped across the threshold my oldest son declared, with genuine disappointment, “But this isn’t elite!” After I pressed him, he explained that the room was just not big enough. Evidently, he had already learned . . . → Read More: Words on the loose: The power of “premium”

What’s the best way to teach children a second language? New research produces surprising results

Article was originally published by The Conversation, reposted with permission

Authors
1. Karen Roehr-Brackin, Reader, Department of Language and Linguistics, University of Essex
2. Angela Tellier, Associate Fellow, University of Essex

People often assume that children learn new languages easily and without effort, regardless of the situation they find themselves in. But is it really true that children soak up language like sponges?

Research has shown that children are highly successful learners if they have a lot of exposure to a new language over a long time, such as in the case of child immigrants who are surrounded by the new language all day, every day. In such a scenario, children become much more proficient in the new language over the long term than adults.

But if the amount . . . → Read More: What’s the best way to teach children a second language? New research produces surprising results

Global Ethnolinguistic Conflict, Redux

by Stanley Dubinsky (University of South Carolina)

 

In February 2018, a visit to Corsica by French President Macron refocused media attention on the issue of Corsican nationalism, a century old movement that seeks Corsican separation from France in “a centralized state with a single, national identity and only one official language.”  In the same month, a Voice of America News article reported on Korea, noting that “Sixty Years After Division, Korean Language Has Gone in Separate Directions.” Over the past 10-20 years, language and ethnolinguistic identity issues have come to play an increasingly important role in domestic internal politics across the globe: in Israel, between Hebrew and Arabic speaking populations; in Spain, where Catalan speakers are newly vocal about autonomy; with the . . . → Read More: Global Ethnolinguistic Conflict, Redux

Figures of Speech Competition Winners

We are delighted to announce the winner of the Figures of Speech linguistics cartoon competition.

Congratulations to Jonas B. Wittke (a graduate student at Rice University, USA) and Jonathan Maki (an art teacher in Minneapolis) for winning the iPad Pro, Apple Pen and £100 of CUP vouchers with their cartoon series Minimal Peers.

The judges, including linguists, cartoonists and the CUP editorial team, thought the presentation of Minimal Peers was extremely professional and the cartoons funny with approachable and intelligent linguistic points.

We will be publishing the full cartoon series on our Twitter and Facebook pages over the next six weeks beginning on Friday 19 October.

Congratulations, too, to the three runners up who will each receive £100 of CUP books.

Selina Sutton, Northumbria University
Belinda Krottendorfer, . . . → Read More: Figures of Speech Competition Winners

The grammar of engagement

This blog post is written by Nicholas Evans, inspired by the Language and Cognition article “The grammar of engagement I: framework and initial exemplification” by Nicholas Evans, Henrik Bergqvist, and Lila San Roque. Read it online now.

‘Philosophy must plough over the whole of language’, as Wittgenstein famously stated. But which language? Singularising the noun allows a deceptive slippage between some language whose premises we take for granted (‘The limits of my language are the limits of my world’ was another great, and corrective, line of his) and ‘language’ in some dangerously, presumptively general sense. One of the great what-if questions for linguistics, philosophy and cognitive science is how different the last two millennia of western thought would be if we had built our . . . → Read More: The grammar of engagement

Q & A: Registered Reports from Journal of Child Language

Beginning in summer 2018, Journal of Child Language will publish a new article format: Registered Reports. We asked two of the journal’s associate editors, Melanie Soderstrom and Elizabeth Wonnacott, a few questions about the introduction of this format.

 

What inspired the introduction of the Registered Reports?

MELANIE: Registered reports are a relatively new phenomenon in our research community, although to my understanding they come from a similar approach in the medical research community that has been around for many years for clinical trials. They are one part of the research community’s broad-based response to the so-called “Replication Crisis”. In early 2016, we were approached by the Center for Open Science requesting that we consider bringing this format to Journal of Child Language, and the . . . → Read More: Q & A: Registered Reports from Journal of Child Language

What is offside in German or Icelandic? Football English in European languages

Football

Based on an article in Nordic Journal of Linguistics, written by Gunnar Bergh and Sölve Ohlander.

“Football and English are the only truly global languages.” This statement, attributed to the legendary English footballer Sir Bobby Charlton, of 1966 World Cup fame and still to be seen at Old Trafford during Manchester United’s home games, neatly hints at the dual point of departure for this article. The present status of English as the most global language of all is not in doubt, nor is that of football (soccer) as the most widespread sport – or, rather, pop cultural phenomenon – on the planet, with a media presence bordering on obsession. Consequently, football language, i.e. the language used in communication about the game (on and off the pitch, . . . → Read More: What is offside in German or Icelandic? Football English in European languages

Language, cats and extra-terrestrials

Monolith

Cambridge Professor Ian Roberts discusses Language, cats and extra-terrestrials…. . . . → Read More: Language, cats and extra-terrestrials