The Ngrams web viewer has been updated. This amazing tool allows you to search for word frequencies in Google Books' huge archive of digitised text. You can choose British or American English, choose what period of English you're interested in, and search for several terms which will appear as different coloured frequency lines on the same graph.
New to the search engine is the ability to search by part of speech (word class), as well as other special functions as explained in the link below. They've updated the data to 2012 as well — but you can still find the old 2009 data. Choose your preferred data set from the drop down menu.
There's lots more advice and tips in the blog post:
When we do language change at A2, we'll come across some letters that used to be in the alphabet but aren't any more. We met one in our discussion of consonants at AS – the 'eth' symbol used for phonemic voiced 'th'. Here are some more, and the comments discussion is informative too. (Unusually for comments discussions...)
iTunes has a number of podcasts about a range of subjects. I'm sure you'll be able to find one at least for each of your A Levels. This one is about linguistics, which means it covers much of what we do in English Language, and a few topics of interest which we don't.
Have a look around here; you'll find useful links on the right, so click through and see what's there. Of special interest for those with a Facebook account is the English@Park Facebook Page - LIKE it immediately and receive updates, useful messages, and a handy way to contact me in off-hours.
You'll also notice a Twitter feed for @parkenglish lower down the page, and the tags for post topics to help you navigate the blog articles. You can use the Search box if you know what you're looking for.
And before you leave, put your EMAIL ADDRESS in the subscribe box at the top! Then you'll get updates hot and fresh to your inbox.
Systemic Functional Grammar is a nicely coherent approach to linguistics which has occupied much of my summer. I'm going to be trialling it as an way of helping to structure the course this year.
This page, from an Australian website, has lots of materials to help you get a grip on SFL. Try the introductory booklet – most of the terms and ideas there will be familiar to A2s, but with some new ways of looking at things, and fitted into an overarching framework that might help make things click.
The second of our student magazines is now up and available on Wordpress - the puntastically-title, Olympic-themed 'Jog On' magazine, which accompanies hard-hitting Olympiskeptical 'Stop:Watch'. Linkage below.
Oh my goodness. More accent material than you can shake a schwa at. This site collects pronunciations and full phonetic transcriptions of a range of words from accents around the UK and the world, in hyperlinekd and clickable charts. /ɔ:səm/.
As with the Facebook page and the blog, some things will turn up everywhere, some things will be just on one channel. I’ll figure out a working practice as we go. Comments, retweets, @mentions of stuff you find are all welcome.
This page from the CHILDES database has a section with the wug test paper and the set of pics, which we used in class. Also here are the audio samples of language development we listened to, and some other interesting resources for studying langauge development.
This speech therapy site has a nice list and explanation of some of the ways in which words can be altered by young children. A follow-up to today's work on Stilwell Peccei's account of child phonology.
A fun quiz that aims to predict your age based on the slang you use. Slang isn't solely for young people - it's changed over the years, some of it has stuck, and some of it has travelled from region to region. You might be surpried how British slang charts on this American-based test! For Language Change and Language Variation, as well as Presenting Self and the creation of voice in monologues.
I got some feedback for my first written piece for Sussex University's online journal Excursions. Two reviewers had read the piece, and the editor wrote to me with their comments and required revisions before publication. This led me to reflect on how feedback feels; I've been doing a lot of marking over the last few years – how do I like being on the receiving end?
One of the reviewers was very positive about the piece, and had only a minor typo to fix. This made me feel good. It was a nice pat on the back.
The other had submitted a detailed version of my work with changes tracked and comments appended – close corrections/suggestions on style and general suggestions for trimming and expanding. In other words: a load of work. Meh, I thought initially. Mission. Do I have to?
But actually, when I got stuck in and read the comments and suggestions, I could see that this reviewer had really engaged with the work. I didn't always agree, but I felt that most changes were reasonable and helpful, and the suggestions were honest responses that deserved consideration. So I did the trimming, dug through my notes to address the suggestions, and put in the time to revise the piece accordingly.
And that actually felt better, once I'd got through the pain barrier. It was a drag initially; it felt like someone was saying: your stuff's not good enough, and there's work to do. But actually it meant: here are some thoughts on how your work can be the best it can be. And that's worth building on.
18th Century journalism; 1990s website. The styling is horrendous, but the content is handily collected. Try not to miss the links off to the side here, even though they are scattered in an ad hoc fashion and poorly highlighted.
Here you'll find extracts from, and discussions of, Cawdrey and Johnson, amongst other lexicographers from English history. You'll see here how I've simplified the story in class somewhat; have a look at others' variants of what a dictionary can be.
Website celebrating the 400th anniversary of the publication of this extremely important historical English text. This 'Authorised Version' was the main thing people read for hundreds of years. The site has videos, a facsimile of the original text, transcripts, and lots of background info. Have a browse and get a sense of the significance of this text.
Melinda Menzer's very handy GVS site from Furman University - with sound files and widgets as well as diagrams and explanations of the GVS. You don't need to memorise every detail for A Level study - but an awareness of its existence can help explain orthographic changes in texts over time, especially Middle and Early Modern texts.
This is a gem of an extract about the transition from Old to Middle English, with lots of excellent examples, practice exercises, explanations and more. Summarises much of the first part of our Language Variation section at A2. CSUN's other resources for their English 400 course are good and readable too.
One often reads the opposite article – science-savvy writers complaining about the corruption of their discoveries by the brute carvery of journalism – but here is a canny response, defending and justifying the demands of journalistic prose.
In a so-far-rare turn of events, this post will represent a few of my own thoughts on language and writing, rather than linking elsewhere. Of course I'm doing so as a way of procrastinating on writing which I should be doing: a conference review for the Sussex University online journal Excursions.
I'm finding it tricky work, and a useful insight into the challenges presented by my own students, especially in the coursework they're required to do. Perhaps it's because I've had a full weekend of other commitments; but then we all have those. Perhaps it's because this one is to be published, so there's pressure to get it right: it'll be on display, with my name attached, so it matters. Well: so far, so like coursework; there's no taking that back once it's submitted either.
Writing for a journal is perhaps an especially tricky ask. The writing needs to be academic – so, cut those clichés – but nonetheless, to some degree journalistic and readable. Also, you have a word count to consider; so there's pressure to be concise. Again: just like with coursework. Finally, you feel you owe it, in a conference review, to accurately and adequately represent those whose work you are discussing – especially where you spent time talking to them about it in the pub afterwards.
A blog post is, perhaps, not so much of a worry. You can go on as long as you want, within reasonable bounds. A stylistic slip isn't the end of the world; you can always edit the post later. And the readership is smaller too. (Unless you're John Gruber, for example.)
So writing for my supper helps me to feel my students' pain. But it also reminds me of some core things which I've posted articles about earlier today: getting every piece of punctuation right is important. Proofreading your work is non-negotiable. Planning ahead is the only way you'll get the material covered. And, finally, you can't beat practice.
What a convenient archive! REAL advertisement messages from THE PAST to YOUR computation device! Be the envy of other linguists with this ECLECTIC collection. Just click the link below and be transported to a world of VINTAGE ADS. http://vintage-ads.livejournal.com/