Language, identity and why we shouldn’t be so quick to judge

We are delighted to announce that this year’s Annual Linguistics Lecture will be delivered by Rob Drummond, from Manchester Metropolitan University, on our city campus at 6pm on Thursday the 20th of June.

Rob is an excellent and very engaging speaker. This is guaranteed to be a fun and fascinating talk for anyone interested is language and how the way we speak affects how we understand each other.

The event is free and open to all. Places are limited so book here to make sure you reserve a place:

Eventbrite event page

Time and date: 6pm, 20 June 2019

Location: Lipman Lecture Theatre (Lipman 031), Lipman Building, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST

Directions and campus map: https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/about-us/our-campuses/newcastle-city-campus/

Title: Language, identity and why we shouldn’t be so quick to judge

Summary:

Language plays a vital role in making us who we are, certainly in terms of how we are perceived by others. The way we speak provides insights into our social background, proudly announcing some characteristics, and subtly hinting at others. But how much control do we have over the way our speech portrays us? Does our spoken language simply reflect our identities, or does it somehow create them?

This talk explores these questions by drawing on examples from research and from everyday life. It demonstrates the strength of the relationship between language and identity, and highlights how our judgements of others are often led by language. It then asks how fair these judgements are, and whether they say more about us than they do about the person being judged.

RobDrummond_ManchesterVoices

About Rob:

Rob Drummond is Senior Lecturer in Linguistics, and Head of Youth Language at the Manchester Centre for Youth Studies, both at Manchester Metropolitan University. He teaches, researches, and writes about issues to do with language and identity, specialising in the language of young people. His current research project, Manchester Voices, explores the accents, dialects and identities of people across Greater Manchester. Prior to that he worked with young people who had been excluded from mainstream school, and investigated their use of Multicultural Urban British English. Rob regularly appears on television and radio talking about language-related issues, from linguistic pedantry, to politicians’ accents, to language discrimination.

He has published widely, including the books Researching Urban Youth Language and Identity (Palgrave Macmillan 2018) and (with Dan Clayton) Language Diversity and World Englishes (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Find out more at his personal and university websites:

https://www.robdrummond.co.uk

https://www2.mmu.ac.uk/languages/staff/profile/index.php?id=176

Queries and further information: If you have any questions about the event, please contact Billy Clark: billy.clark@northumbria.ac.uk

The language of the lake

alexbellosUrosimage

Today’s puzzle from Alex Bellos in The Guardian requires a range of skills which can be developed in English Language programmes (and in other subjects, including maths).

As Alex says, today’s puzzle is ‘hard, but not impossible’. He also suggests that working on puzzles like this can help you develop the skills needed to find a job with technology firms such as google. That suggestions is based on this article by Sam Gibbs in which he reports thoughts from google’s head of search, Ben Gomes.

Alex’s puzzle is one that has been used in the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad, one of several linguistics olympiads held around the world which then select teams to enter the International Linguistics Olympiad. The UK Linguistics Olympiad has been  very successful with lots of school students taking part each year.

You have until 5pm UK time today to solve it before Alex reveals the answer . . .

 

Writers and intellectuals on Britain and Europe, 1918–2018

Here again is the call for papers for a major conference coming up in November.  The deadline for abstracts is 30 July 2018.

. . .

CALL FOR PAPERS

Writers and intellectuals on Britain and Europe, 1918–2018: 

An international conference 

Northumbria University | Newcastle upon Tyne | 1-2 November 2018

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Prof. Jason Harding (University of Durham)

Prof. Bob Eaglestone (Royal Holloway, University of London)

(For additional confirmed speakers, please see https://europeanconversations.com/programme/)

The British EU Referendum on 23 June 2016 once more threw into relief Britain’s conflicted relationship to and with the rest of Europe. While newspaper discourse and political rhetoric have been the focus of much popular and critical attention, debates around the referendum and its likely consequences have not been limited to journalists and politicians. Writers and academics were among those publicly commenting on Britain’s position in Europe, from J.K. Rowling, whose vocal tweets courted controversy among her fans, to EU law expert Professor Michael Dougan (University of Liverpool), whose videos on the subject of the Brexit campaign and its impact have been viewed by millions of people in Britain and abroad. 2017 also saw the emergence of what was quickly dubbed ‘BrexLit’, including high-profile titles such as Ali Smith’s Autumnor Adam Thorpe’s Missing Fay.

This conference seeks to connect the diverse literary and scholarly interventions in current and recent Brexit debates with earlier interventions by British writers and intellectuals into the relationship between Britain and Europe. It aims to bring together creative writers and researchers in literary and cultural studies with an interest in Britain and Europe to facilitate an exchange of ideas and encourage cross-period and cross-disciplinary exchange. The central questions and concerns to be addressed by the conference – Britain’s relationship to Europe and the place of writers and intellectuals in the process of defining this relationship – are likely to remain topical for some time to come, as Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union progresses through the negotiating stages.

The conference sessions will cover three main strands: (1) European debates of the inter-war years and the 1940s, (2) literary interventions in the wake of the 1975 United Kingdom European Communities membership referendum, and (3) present-day writers and intellectuals and the Brexit debate. The conference will offer a space to address any kinds of interventions, both for and against closer ties between Britain and Europe.

Three central questions will be addressed by the conference: 

(1) What contributions did/do writers and intellectuals make to debates about Britain’s integration into Europe in the public sphere? 

(2) How did/do writers and intellectuals reflect privately and in correspondence with each other on matters relating to Britain’s integration into Europe?

(3) What motivations drove/drive writers and intellectuals’ involvement in these debates, and how are these articulated? 

The conference looks at writers’ and intellectuals’ contributions to Anglo-European debates over the past century, seeking to draw out parallels and to establish challenges and opportunities. A public round table event will serve to articulate some of the lessons to be drawn from such a comparison, and will look at the experience of writers and academics who have themselves intervened in debates around Brexit.

We invite proposals for papers from researchers and writers that speak to any one of the conference strands and/or questions. Please send abstracts of up to 300 words, accompanied by a short biographical statement and contact details, to Dr Ann-Marie Einhaus at ann-marie.einhaus@northumbria.ac.ukEXTENDED deadline for submitting abstracts: 30 July 2018.

Thanks to generous support from UACES, there will be some support available for postgraduate speakers without institutional travel funds. Please indicate on your proposal whether you wish to be considered.

The conference website is www.europeanconversations.com

Bridges and Oceans (well, one ocean)

building bridges

It’s a busy week for Humanities colleagues at Northumbria.  With assessment boards over, we’ve been reviewing the delivery of modules and programmes this academic year and preparing for next.  There are lots of good things to celebrate, including lots of great achievements by students and staff, and we have lots of good ideas for next year.

Tomorrow, we have two important events happening on campus.

First, we are being visited by school subject leaders and teachers of English and History for our Building Bridges day.  We will spend the day discussing some of of our teaching and other activities and exploring ways we can work together to develop resources and activities to support teaching and project work.

One focus of the day will, of course, be how things have changed recently, including the effects of GCSE and A Level reforms.

lynnemurphygallery

After that, Lynne Murphy will be giving the Northumbria Annual Linguistics Lecture, exploring differences between British and American English.  Bookings for this quickly got close to our initial capacity so we adapted things so we can accommodate a bigger audience. It’s not too late to book a place:

Separated by a Common Language? Northumbria Annual Linguistics Lecture

We’ll tell you more about how things go after tomorrow