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  • in reply to: Unit 1 Reflections #5582

    I will be teaching an Introduction to Language and Linguistics course to teacher trainees in a few weeks, and I found some good stuff to incorporate in here! I had been using the idea of “English is a bouquet, not a single flower”, but I like the visual impact of the planet – galaxy distinction (especially given the roots of the words ‘monolithic’ and ‘plurilithic’!).

    Also, the explanation of the ambiguity of the word rule was really helpful. As you say, this is a key point to understand if we want our teachers to understand the distinction between monolithic and plurilithic views. I was reminded here about Austin’s (?? I think…) distinction between constituative and regulative rules. I had been thinking about doing some sort of activity with card games (something most students here know like Uno). There are a lot of different variations in the way these games are played, and sometimes you have to discuss ahead of starting which rules you will follow. (Can you stack draw 2 cards? If you do, does the next person have to draw 4 or just 2? Can you play a draw 4 card if you have the current color of play in your hand or only if you don’t?) Yet there must be some basic rules that let us recognize that the game is Uno and not something else. Which rules are constitutive and which are regulatory? It’s not always as straightforward to tease those out, and uses of English as a lingua franca, for example, may even challenge what we thought or were led to believe were constituent rules. We might demonstrate this by asking, for example, can you play Uno with regular playing cards? I think if we could find a game that everyone was familiar with, this might be a good tool for uncovering these complex ideas as well.

    in reply to: Reflection 1.1 – Standard English #5581

    I also see some value in this analogy, but not only in a positive sense. Yes, it helps to illustrate the potential for different registers and styles for different occasions, as well as the influence of different cultural norms. But even things like dress code and table manners can be used as (sometimes quite subtle) gate keepers, helping to establish who is “in” and who is “out”. And that also reflects how language is sometimes used to disqualify people.

    in reply to: Discussion 1.1 – The word “Language” #5577

    I was not aware that there were different words for language in Spanish (or many of the other languages that have been introduced in this chat so far). I speak English and German and in both (as has already been pointed out above) there is just one word for language (Eng: language, Ger: Sprache).

    I’m familiar with the verbal use of ‘language’ and I find that concept neat because it implies that we are not just using a system but are contributing to it, interacting with it, being influenced by it. I think learners sometimes feel helpless, like it’s me against this system of language (this monolith) I’m trying to learn, and when we talk about languaging, then we legitimize agency and creativity. I guess in some ways languaging also implies that we are putting less emphasis on the language system and more on what we are using it to do – transactionally, communicatively, interpersonally.

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