Monday, February 27, 2012

Talk Gender Linguistics to Me

Thank you, Dr. Murphy, for talking with us today about gender and language.
The phonetics website Dr. Murphy mentioned may be found by clicking on "phonetics" in the right hand column of this website.
And for those who want to revisit the clip we watched in class . . . voilĂ :

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Sarcasm (Literal statement is positive; intended meaning is negative)


Grice's Maxims

Say no less than the conversation requires (Click here for a negative example).
Say no more than the conversation requires

Don't say what you believe to be false
Don't say things for which you lack evidence

Don't be obscure
Don't be ambiguous
Be brief
Be orderly

Stick to the topic.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Twenty-five percent of your grade in this class . . .

As stipulated in the syllabus, "25% of your grade in this class will be based on an academic paper plus an in-class presentation (5-6 pages on an assigned text plus a 10-15 minute in-class presentation to be given on an assigned day some time after Spring Break)."  Both of these assignments should use your assigned essay as a launching pad or springboard.

Each presenter is responsible for setting up a meeting with the instructor at least one week before his or her presentation date.  At that meeting the presenter will do a "dress rehearsal" of the in-class presentation.

Academic Paper Assignment Description
Value:  15% of Final Grade

1. Your primary objective is to inform your readers about your assigned essay.  Your account of the essay should, of course, by full and fair.
2.  Your second objective (equally important) is to give your readers something more than is what is provided by the essay.  You may either provide more information, provoke thought, argue that one controversial view or another (relevant to the essay) is wrong (or incomplete or simplistic).  If you have other ideas, let me know in advance.

Due date:
Your paper is due by the beginning of class exactly one week after your assigned presentation date.

Miami's Comeback Plans

Click here to see the video about the Miami language revitalization project that we watched in class on Wednesday, February 8th.

Monday, February 6, 2012


In the chapter titled "Mentalese" in his textbook The Language Instinct, Steven Pinker criticizes the notion (attributed to George Orwell) that governments can manipulate our minds through the use of euphemisms ("Newspeak" in Orwell's novel, 1984). In his effort to discredit this notion, Pinker mentions the following Monty Python sketch, which is full of euphemisms for "dead"--that fool no one (though that's not really the point of using them here ...)

The Official English Debate

Most linguists agree that English should not be designated as the official language of the United States.
Explore these links and look for the best arguments made both for and against such a designation:

Pidgin becomes Creole

Hawaiian Pidgin English is actually a creole language that developed from a simplified version of English that combines elements of various languages spoken by traders in the Hawaiian islands.  Click here to learn more.

Hawaiian pidgin English.

The Bible translated into Pidgin English.