EU-Speak Event 20-21 July: New ideas on adult language learning

EU-Speak July 2018

We are very much looking forward to hosting an important event at Northumbria on the 20th and 21st of July, in collaboration with colleagues at Newcastle University and a number of international partners.

The event, organised by the Eu-Speak Project, presents and explores new ideas for teaching adults to learn to read in a new language for the first time.

The EU-Speak Project is an eight-year project working to make a difference in the educational outcomes for immigrants with little or no education. It involves a number of international partners, including colleagues here at Northumbria and at Newcastle University. The project has already been very successful, developing a range of important findings and useful materials, and it continues to grow and to make significant progress, You can read about the project here

The event will include a wide range of workshops and hands-on activities.

Here are links where you can find out more and book a place:

EU-Speak event website

EU-Speak event flyer and programme

Registration form

There is a fee to attend but bursaries are available (see registration form for details)

If you have any queries about the event, please contact Rola Naeb

 

 

 

 

 

Separated By A Common Language?

lynnemurphygallery

We are delighted to announce that Professor Lynne Murphy, from the University of Sussex  will be delivering the Northumbria Annual Linguistics Lecture on our city campus at 6pm on Wednesday the 20th of June.

Lynne is a very engaging speaker and this will be a fun and fascinating talk.

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

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/northumbria-annual-linguistics-lecture-2018-tickets-45985097665

Time and date: 6pm, 20 June 2018

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: Separated by a Common Language? the complicated relationship between American & British English

Summary:

When faced with British English, Americans are apt to be impressed and are often made a bit insecure about their own linguistic abilities. When thinking about American English, Britons often express dismissiveness or fear. This has been going on for nearly 300 years, developing into a complex mythology of British–American linguistic relations.

This talk looks into the current state of the “special relationship” between the two national standards. How did we get to the point that the BBC publishes headlines like “How Americanisms are killing the English language” while Americans tweet “Everything sounds better in a British accent”? The answer is in a broad set of problematic beliefs. We’ll look at how different the two national Englishes are (and why they’re not more different), why neither has claim to being older than the other, and why technology isn’t making us all speak or write the same English.

About Lynne:

Lynne Murphy is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England. Since 2006, her alter ego Lynneguist has written the Separated by a Common Language blog. There, she reflects on UK–US linguistic differences from the perspective of an American linguist in England, while fighting the good fight against linguistic myths and prejudice. She continues that fight in The Prodigal Tongue: The Love–Hate Relationship between British and American English (Oneworld, 2018).

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

English Colleagues in The Conversation

We’ve had several pieces by colleagues in English in The Conversation over the years. Here are three recent examples.

Sarah Duffy’s piece on how our minds construct time appeared in January

Katy Shaw argued against Will Self’s views on the future of the novel in March

Most recently, Billy Clark, Sarah Duffy and Graham Hall wrote a piece on how to talk about politics with your family

Billy appeared on CJAD 800 in Montreal yesterday to talk about the ideas in the piece he wrote with Sarah and Graham.

All of these pieces relate to ideas we discuss in classroom work and in our own research.

We’d be happy to join in further conversations on these here or elsewhere!

 

 

 

Pragmatics, Literature and ‘half-formed things’

agirlisahalfformedcover       Billy Trondheim wee

Our next English Language research seminar will be given by me (Billy Clark). I’ll be talking about Eimear McBride’s novel A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing and how recent developments in pragmatics can help to account for varying responses to it. There’s an abstract below.

The talk will take place at 2-3.30pm on Tuesday 20th March in Room 303 of the Lipman Building on our City Campus.

You can find directions to the campus here:

Directions to Northumbria University

And a City Campus map here:

Northumbria University City Campus map

All welcome.

Contact me if you have any queries: billy.clark@northumbria.ac.uk

Abstract:

This talk explores some of the ways in which ideas from pragmatics can help us to understand the production, interpretation and evaluation of literary texts. It presents some recent developments in work on (relevance-theoretic) pragmatics and considers some ways in which these can contribute to fuller accounts of literary texts. focusing in particular on Eimear McBride’s novel A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing.

 The recent developments discussed here aim to take fuller account of the extensiveness, complexity, open-endedness and indeterminacy of interpretation processes. They also take fuller account of the role of nonverbal phenomena in communication. For example, a one-word utterance ‘yeah’ is often unlikely to be taken to indicate agreement if uttered with falling intonation and if the speaker does not also nod her head. The paper argues that these ideas help us to understand varying responses to Eimear McBride’s novel.

Some responses to McBride’s novel have been very positive. Some have been quite negative. Many readers report an initial negative response being replaced by a positive one. Caitlin Moran, one of the judges who awarded the book the 2014 Bailey’s prize, and the novelist Elizabeth McCracken have both reported that a negative response as they began reading the book was replaced by a more positive one. Moran said, ‘ten pages in and all the bells start ringing’. McCracken said, ‘. . . about halfway down the second page, my brain figured it out and the book had me.’ This talk considers how the minds of readers with positive and negative evaluations differ as they read the book. It argues that positive responses typically involve readers failing to carry out pragmatic processes which they would usually make when reading. The processes of these readers are simultaneously more complex than and simpler than those of readers who give up on the book and decide the effects they derive from reading it will not justify the effort involved.