Monday, 9 December 2013

xkcd: File Extensions

Shared from Zite
 Note that .html isn't on there. I suppose it'd be near .jpg. Also: the image itself is a .png....

Friday, 22 November 2013

Friday, 27 September 2013

10 Techniques for More Precise Writing

'Concise' is the better word for the headline. 10 useful techniques for cutting your word count -- this will come in handy when editing your research project.

10 Techniques for More Precise Writing

Saturday, 7 September 2013

A Brief History of the Hashtag, and Other Unusual Punctuation Marks

Doesn't include all the interesting ones, for example the virgule (/), but an interesting collection illustrating transformations in form and naming.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Butterick’s Practical Typography

Outside our linguistic remit. But related, full of sound advice, and everything you'd need to know as a writer.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Grimm Scholarship: The First Sound Shift

Grimm's Law illustrated here: cognates in earlier languages show pretty consistent kinds of shift into Germanic languages, including English.

Friday, 16 August 2013

English Cognates in French

This comes up in discussion about etymology, and language change in the A2 year. Of course, it works the other way round.

English Cognates

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Friday, 19 July 2013

How Forensic Linguistics Outed J.K. Rowling

Interesting and topical insight into statistical forensic linguistics.

How Forensic Linguistics Outed J.K. Rowling (Not to Mention James Madison, Barack Obama, and the Rest of Us)

Friday, 28 June 2013

Peer Magazine takes shape

Students are posting their articles to the freshly-inaugurated 'Peer' website. Looking pretty sweet!

SQ guest editing this year's magazine activity

Corey and Lewis from SQ are back again kindly hosting and designing for our magazine-in-a-day activity. Students hard at work journalisting in the background.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Grammar May Be Hidden in Toddler Babble

In this study, very young children appear to be making little proto-word noises in the right places where closed-class grammar words should be. Interesting.

Grammar May Be Hidden in Toddler Babble

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Cohesion in essays from uni of Sydney

This little section of UofS's site has a nice, friendly account of theme-rheme structures and other features of cohesion, as well as useful guides about how to write and structure a general academic essay. I've linked to the section on cohesion, but look also at the tabs on grammar, and how to cite sources.

(Be aware that your writing for A Level may not follow exactly this style -- check the requirements of each module. But it's good general advice!)

2. Strategies for creating cohesion - Page 1

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Mode characteristics flashcards | Quizlet

Site for creating your owns flash cards. Cool. This example links to a set about mode characteristics of texts or speech, but there are loads of others from all subjects on the site, and you can build your own as well as search by term, subject, or creator. There's a phone app too.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

The word detective

Marking the retirement of the editor of the OED, this BBC articles shows some of the detective work that goes into tracing etymologies for dictionaries.

The word detective

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Appraisal and Systemic Functional Grammar

Alongside Alvin Leong's interesting and detailed set of systemic functional grammar pages, here is a useful-looking framework for analysing and assessing texts called 'appraisal'. The focus is on interpersonal meanings and speaker attitudes.

Friday, 19 April 2013

How to do CDA

One of many good pages on CDA from Strathclyde, giving some details and discussion of elements of language you can focus on when looking for the way texts wield power and seek to influence readers.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Critical Discourse Analysis: A Primer

Good summary of CDA approaches, designed to use language tools to identify the power relationships in a text.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

How Many Spaces After a Period? Ending the Debate

More detail than you would ever need about the typographical history of the number of times you should hit the spacebar after you've finished typing a sentence. 

How Many Spaces After a Period? Ending the Debate

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Those Irritating Verbs-as-Nouns

Good article on 'nominalisation', which doesn't just complain about conversion, but distinguishes it from affixations and explores the motivation for using a noun instead of a verb.

Those Irritating Verbs-as-Nouns

Friday, 29 March 2013

AAVE, Creoles and double negatives

Interesting article exploring the status and nature of African American Vernacular English.

A mother tongue spoken by millions of Americans still gets no respect.

By Lex Friedman.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Twitter Users Can Be Grouped Into Tribes Based on Word Choice

Larger-scale version of a project idea similar to those a couple of A2 students are pursuing...

Twitter Users Can Be Grouped Into Tribes Based on Word Choice

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Johnson's Dictionary Online

Great resource. Searchable, with facsimiles as well as transcripts (though not, apparently, complete yet) and with a Twitter feed of definitions to sign up for too. A great way to explore Johnson's seminal dictionary of 1755 -- and remember, he drops in some gems into his definitions.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Dialects and Grammar in the UK

A readable account of some key grammatical features in English. Useful both for A2s studying Language Variation, and for AS students writing their monologues.

Lessons from a survey of British dialect grammar* - RACO

Script Formats from the BBC

Hugely interesting and useful page from the BBC offering a range of standard script formats. You aren't expected to follow these styling formats when you submit coursework -- please don't, keep formatting very simple -- but you should be aware of the elements that a director, producer and performers will need to know about in order to make sense of your script.

When you submit a script for consideration later in your professional life, you will need to follow the formatting standards -- so you may well be interested in becoming familiar with them now!

Monologue Archive

Great resource of monologues organised by gender and age. These are extracted from plays rather than standalone monologues, so use with some caution as style models -- some are from poems and from considerably older texts too. Still, you can get a good sense of the range of what's possible.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Style guide: The Guardian

I might have linked to this before. I should have. You should read it, bookmark it, refer to it whenever you're unsure about usage.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Journalism glossary wiki |

Deck, subhead, lede, standfirst? This glossary of journalism terms attempts to disentangle the knotty web of conflicting in-house jargon used in US and UK periodical publishing. It's probably safe to assume that whatever we use at A Level, you'll find yourself working at a place where they'll scoff and tell you the real word (that they happen to use).

Monday, 11 February 2013

Exercises in Pronouns

Excellent find from A2 student Rachel: a series of exercises to explore your personal pronoun usage and beliefs. Part of an Internet-based research project stemming from a book, The Secret Life of Pronouns.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

The cyberpragmatics of bounding asterisks

Don't let 'cyberpragmatics' panic you, they're just playing around. Interesting article researching the roots of Internet asterisk use in comic strips. *chuckles*

The cyberpragmatics of bounding asterisks

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Reed-Kellogg Diagrammer

This is fun to play with. It only handles short, and complete, sentences. Try it out with these.

I suspect it'll have difficulty with this one, because there's a hidden 'that'.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Park Language Lesson Blog

Experimental: I'm going to keep a blog of this term's work on A2 Language Change lessons, to see if this offers useful support for learners. Let me know how you find it.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Aimed at students of English as a foreign language, this website has lots of clear and simple discussion of core elements of English grammar. The practice exercises are mostly about remembering the words (so native speakers will find it easy) but they're still good practice and should help you remember what words are what class and which tenses are which.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

English Letter Frequency Counts: Mayzner Revisited or ETAOIN SRHLDCU

A good source of core statistics on English language letter, word and sequence frequencies. Shame not to have overall two-, three- and four-word phrase frequencies too.