Sunday, June 19, 2016

Butler - Gender Trouble

Not really what I expected from such an influential writer. As a book intended to promote gender rights I found it very excluding as a non-LGBTQ reader. "But we are excluded from all straight theory" would be a response that endorses the exclusion. With, imho, an over-emphasis on (post-)psychoanalytic theory, the message is lost in the minutae. An anticlimax.
Not much of a Goodreads review, but there you  go.

IVACS 2016

Sincere thanks go to the organiser(s) of IVACS2016, at Bath Spa University, UK with the theme of 'Corpora and Context' (also see here for IVACS). The conference was well attended and ran very smoothly. Both plenary speakers were able to contribute clear and original perspective to the field of the study of language varieties using corpus methods, and the conference featured a wide range of high quality presentations. I was delighted to offer a session called 'The co-text and context of research into identity in applied linguistics' (see the Prezi below).

Two projects in particular were well represented at the conference. The first was the English Profile project, supported by Cambridge Examinations, which uses examination scripts to map grammatical errors and thus specify which structures students should show mastery over at which CEFR stage. The methodology for this corpus investigation was both  rigorous and original. A clear conclusion from this project was that this progression is only very roughly correlated with the sequence of structures presented in the majority of language teaching coursebooks. The project team has given feedback to CUP, so we wait to see if the publishing industry can respond to these important findings. (Don't hold your breath!!).
The second project that was described over a number of sessions was the CorCenCC (Corpws Cenedlaethol Cymraeg Cyfoes - The National Corpus of Contemporary Welsh, a largely spoken Welsh corpus), based at Cardiff University. This is clearly meant to move on from the current corpus of Welsh currently available. Using modern technology to build up the corpus through an innovative smartphone app, the team is struggling with ethical issues relating not to the consent of the data gatherers but their interlocutors. The aim also appears to be to make the corpus relevant and useful to the welsh-speaking community and involve the community as much as possible in the collection, design and exploitation of the corpus.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

What's the Point?

"What’s the point? The role of punctuation in realising information structure in written English" has been published online here in Functional Linguistics.
I would like to reproduce the acknowledgements section here:
This article is dedicated to the memory of Geoff Thompson who supervised the PhD thesis from which this paper is derived. Needless to say, the ideas in this paper would not have been realised without his support and encouragement. Sincere thanks are also due to Professors Michael Hoey, David Vernon and Cathy Burnett for further inspiration, discussion and comment, to colleagues past and present at Khalifa and Sheffield Hallam universities, and to the reviewers for Functional Linguistics, although any remaining errors in the paper are entirely my responsibility.