What a line-up! I am most excited about our free conference for secondary English teachers taking place on our Hendon campus at Middlesex University next week.
We have a fantastic group of speakers who will be offering interactive sessions discussing and exploring current research ideas on language, literature and writing, presenting ideas for classroom work, and helping to develop teaching resources.
What more could a teacher want to help them work on AS and A Level English specifications?
Our speakers are all leading researchers with a wide range of teaching experience, interests in pedagogy, and a keen interest in encouraging 'joined-up thinking' about English at all levels in all educational contexts.
Marcello's research focuses on cognitive stylistics and applied cognitive linguistics. He also has experience as a school teacher and examiner, and has been involved in a range of projects helping to explore links between school and HE, as well as developing resources to support teachers.
Jeremy is a writer with research interests in literary stylistics, narrative and narratology, critical linguistic, literary and cultural theory. He has particular interests in fictional technique, literary representations of dialect, and connections between stylistics and teaching creative writing.
Jo is a leading researcher in cognitive poetics and in text world theory, which models discourse processing, including in responses to literary texts. She has particular interests in experimental literature and the absurd. She worked with Simon Armitage to organise the Lyric festival from 2011 to 2014 and was Project manager for the catalytic poetry project which you can find out about at the catalytic poetry website
Teaching is coming to an end so there might not be time to discuss this in class. It's a great example for lots of reasons, as an example of a public apology, raising issues about intentions, implications, implicature and, of course, irony, as well as questions about public statements, nonverbal communication, scripted and spontaneous communication, multiple voicing, etc. etc. etc.
And, of course, its status here as 'Johnny Depp's apology' while it seems to be as much Amber's as Johnny's.
We're delighted to announce the next speaker in our Language and Communication research seminar series.
Robert Lawson, from Birmingham City University, will be giving a talk called:
'Haven't We Been Here Before? Revitalising Applied Sociolinguistics'
Given how well-placed sociolinguists are to address issues of linguistic inequality and injustice, it is perhaps no surprise that sociolinguistics has a long history of applying research findings for the improvement of human well-being. What is surprising, though, is how this body of work has very rarely been articulated under the umbrella of Applied Sociolinguistics, a term introduced in the 1960s but one which has made very little headway within the broader discipline. In this talk, I present an overview of the revitalisation of Applied Sociolinguistics and consider some of the key opportunities and challenges faced by the field. I also discuss how Applied Sociolinguistics can contribute to widening the scope of the 'impact agenda' and how we can productively embed this growing priority into our research.
Robert Lawson is Senior Lecturer in Sociolinguistics at Birmingham City University and former Fulbright Scottish Studies Scholar. His ESRC-funded PhD at the University of Glasgow focused on the relationship between language, masculinity and identity in Glasgow, while his more recent work has examined language in the media and the role of traditional and social media in reporting language issues. He has publications in a number of major journals, including the Journal of Sociolinguistics, Gender and Language and English World-Wide, and is editor of Sociolinguistics in Scotland (Palgrave, 2014) and Sociolinguistic Research: Application and Impact (with Dave Sayers, Routledge, 2016).
Time and place:
2pm, Tuesday 19 April 2016, C127, Hendon campus, Middlesex University
The recent talk by Sylvia Shaw was a big success. We only just managed to squeeze everybody in. We didn't plan it this way, but the book the talk was based on was published on the same day:
It's co-authored with Deborah Cameron. Of course, Sylvia could only present some highlights but what she told us about was fascinating and suggested lots of directions for further research. There were lots of interesting questions afterwards.
Meanwhile, another book co-authored by a Middlesex colleague, Alan Durant, has just come out:
Both books will be very useful for students on our programme and anyone interested in language in real-world situations.
We're planning to host discussions of books more regularly and to invite authors to join in the discussion. So we're planning to start with these two.
We are most excited that Sylvia Shaw will be the speaker in our next Language and Communication research seminar at Middlesex next Tuesday, 15th March 2016. The talk is open to all. There's more info here:
Sylvia has carried out lots of research on language, gender and politics, including an ESRC-funded project on gender, language and participation in the devolved parliaments of the UK, a contribution to this pamphlet on the 2015 election, contributions to a student book for AQA AS/A Level English Language, and a soon to be published book co-authored with Deborah Cameron on party leaders' performances in the televised 2015 election debates. She is working right now on a book called "Women, Language and Politics' for Cambridge University Press.
There is a lot of interest in linguistics and related areas these days on how things other than words contribute to meanings and on how users who don't have much more than words (in twitter, email, etc.) try to achieve the kinds of effects they can get from prosody (pitch movement, etc.), gesture, facial expressions, and so on. This has usually focused on things like the use of font sizes, emoticons, hashtags, and abbreviations like lol. Alongside this, of course, there have been technologies which make use of images as well as words (snapchat, instagram, etc.)
The new app which Biz Stone is launching sounds like another interesting example. I love the idea that you can only start a post with a superlative. This is surely to do with encouraging positivity, which I think is an excellent idea. Of course, humans will no doubt use it for negative as well as positive messages . . .