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LRDG meetings held in 2012
17 January 2012
24 January 2012
The Unseen Editor: the role of the public in dictionary making
Maggie Scott, School of English, Sociology, Politics and Contemporary History, University of Salford
Dictionaries are often viewed as providing authoritative and definitive accounts of language, with lexicographers characterised as ‘guardians’ of the variety in which they specialise. This point of view raises a number of ontological questions, particularly because it obscures the active and passive influence of everyday people in the creation of these resources. Many large-scale dictionaries could not have been undertaken without the help of the general public as readers and contributors, and dictionary archives are filled with correspondence from readers regarding all manner of lexicographical data. While, traditionally, the name of one or two editors will appear on the cover of a published dictionary, such works are perhaps more accurately described as collective products of entire cultures and nations. With the advent of online dictionaries that invite comments from the public, and collaborative ventures such as the Urban Dictionary and Wordnik, aspects of this wider relationship between language ‘authorities’ and language users are becoming more transparent. This talk will examine the role of the general public in the lexicography of Scots and English, with particular reference to the Dictionary of the Scots Language and the Oxford English Dictionary.
31 January 2012
The contextualisation of linguistic and textual analysis
Henna Makkonen-Craig, University of Helsinki
This talk will address the issue of the contextualization of linguistic and textual analysis. It will ask how we can do plausible linguistic analysis, and yet pay attention to genre, literacy event, and literacy practices in a useful way. Examples will be drawn from two projects.
The first, my current post-doctoral research, has to do with the matriculation essay and the assignment questions in the mother tongue exam taken at the end of upper secondary school in Finland, as a mandatory part of our national matriculation examination. Presently I am carrying out work on the diversity in the essay genre. The linguistic focus is on the marked, sentence-initial use of connectors, such as AND, BUT, BECAUSE. I am looking at their contexts in highly and lowly graded essays. Furthermore, I am investigating the textual, socio-cultural norms of this particular institutional genre which requires the use of multiple data sources and methods.
The second, my doctoral thesis, focused on the Finnish dialogical passive (best translated as Let's do or Let me do) and its metadiscursive, participant-oriented uses in newspaper texts. I also explored the writers' conceptualizations of such metadiscourse and the constraints involved in writing columns, "reportage" (large feature articles) and cultural reviews for the Helsingin Sanomat, a high-quality national daily published in Finland. (See Makkonen-Craig 2011.)
Makkonen-Craig, H. (2011), Connecting with the reader: participant-oriented metadiscourse in newspaper texts, Text and Talk 31(6), 683-704.
7 February 2012
Reading and Discussion Session – Critical discourse analysis and ethnography: A Good Match?
Led by Uta Papen, Lancaster University
In this session, we will discuss David Johnson’s paper ‘Critical Discourse Analysis and the Ethnography of Language Policy’, published in the journal ‘Critical Discourse Studies’ (Vol. 8, No. 4, 2011). As Johnson explains in the introduction to his paper, with his study of bilingual language and education policies in the US, he sought to find out how policy research can bring together an understanding of the macro context (policies to establish bilingual education in schools) with how such generic policies are put into practice in specific local contexts (i.e., individual schools). For the latter, he draws on ethnography, while the former is studied using critical discourse analysis. I became interested in Johnson’s paper because within literacy studies many of us have tried, with greater or lesser success, to bring together a discourse analysis of specific texts with an ethnography of situations in which these texts are used or drawn upon. Accordingly, I suggest the following questions for discussion in the session:
The article is available among the list of access free journal articles by Taylor & Francis at: http://bit.ly/mla2012. Scroll down to about the middle to Critical Discourse Analysis and the Ethnography of Language Policy. If you encounter any problems, contact k.kaufhold[at]lancaster.ac.uk
14 February 2012
A Genre Analysis of Representational Wall Space in a Microbiology Laboratory
Dr. David I. Hanauer, English Department, Indiana University of Pennsylvania & Department of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh
The current study explores the linguistic landscape of a professional microbiology laboratory and can be seen as continuing previous research within the context of multimodal semiotics in the science classroom (Hanauer, 2006; Kress et al, 2001; Lemke, 1998). This specific study was part of a broader research project that dealt with the role of multiliteracies in biological scientific inquiry and aimed to explicate the interrelationship of representational resources and scientific activity (Hanauer, 2006; Hanauer, et al, 2006; Hanauer, Hatfull, Jacobs-Sera, 2009). The aim of this study is to explore from a multi-genre perspective the functional, procedural and structural components of wall space within a professional microbiology laboratory. The following specific research question was asked:
What are the functions of representational wall space within a professional microbiological laboratory?
The overall research design consisted of a multimodal, qualitative genre approach (Hanauer, 2006). Over a three month period extensive and comprehensive digital photography and field notes were collected of all the visual and verbal representations functional within the laboratory wall space. In addition laboratory members were interviewed concerning their understandings and usages of wall space representations. Following data collection all wall space representations were analysed as forms of genres and the unique form-function relations that were part of a consistent usage of the literacy artifact by different members of the laboratory were defined. A consideration of the different genres found within the wall space of the different laboratory areas suggests that wall space is used for two specific functions: 1) Facilitating a flow of knowledge throughout the laboratory; 2) Enhancing the procedural aspects of conducting scientific inquiry. During the lecture, each of the genres found and their roles within a functioning microbiological laboratory will be discussed.
21 February 2012
Heteroglossia as Practice and Pedagogy
Adrian Blackledge and Angela Creese, University of Birmingham
In this paper we elaborate on research which has found that multilingual speakers use verbal repertoires which draw on a wide range of signs from diverse sources, as they ‘translanguage’, using linguistic resources flexibly to make meaning. Recently a number of terms have emerged, as scholars in our field seek to describe and analyse linguistic practices in which meaning is made using signs flexibly. In this presentation we adopt Bakhtin’s notion of ‘heteroglossia’ to understand linguistic diversity not merely as the co-existence of discrete linguistic systems, but as participation in ‘an historical flow of social relationships, struggles, and meanings’ (Bailey, in press, 2012). That is, linguistic signs come with social and historical associations, and gain new ones in their situated use. We further understand linguistic practice through the related notion of ‘indexicality’ (Peirce 1955; Silverstein 1976), in which meanings of linguistic forms rely on past and present usages and associations. Heteroglossia is a key approach to interrogating linguistic practice because it goes beyond analysis of the co-occurrence of languages and varieties, to focus on the co-existence of competing ideological points of view that are indexed by language in certain communicative situations (Androutsopoulos 2011). We offer an account of linguistic practices in the multilingual settings of complementary schools by explicitly connecting linguistic signs with their historical and social relationships.
28 February 2012
Literacy Practices in Everyday Life and in Second Language Education
Annika Norlund Shaswar, Umeå University, Sweden
This presentation introduces an ongoing study on literacy practices in everyday life and in the domain of second language education. The participants are five Kurdish adults who are learning Swedish as a second language on a basic level in the school form SFI, Swedish for immigrants. The study starts out from earlier research where literacy is studied in its social context(Heath 1983, Barton & Hamilton 1998, Purcell-Gates 2007, Ivanič et al 2009). The aim of this study is to research connections, overlappings and dividing lines between the participants’ literacy practices within the domain of second language education and literacy practices in other domains of their everyday life. The connections between literacy practices, values and identities are a central part of the study.
In the presentation findings will be presented. These include the complexities and contradictions of the participants’ identities in connection to literacy practices in the domains of their everyday lives inside and outside of the classroom.
6 March 2012
“We Use Facebook to Chat in Lectures, of Course!” Exploring a Facebook Group as a New Space Transforming Higher Education
Eve Stirling, University of Sheffield
This paper explores what a Facebook “Group” offers a new undergraduate student in their first year at university. It examines the transition period when the students are, becoming a “fully fledged member of university life” (Palmera et al., 2009).
My research is currently at the analytical stage and this paper develops a theoretical model that draws on the work of Doreen Massey (1995, 2005) & Lemke (2000) to situate the empirical findings. I present the argument that Facebook is geographically grounded in the students’ lived experiences and that the group has a culture that is both digital and based on “face-to-face” dynamics.
The paper draws on some of the empirical findings from my PhD. The study was a mixed method, multi-sited, connective ethnography (Fields & Kafai, 2009). The year-long ethnography, explored first-year transition to university and followed six participants, through both digital (Facebook) and concrete (meeting face-to-face on campus) environments. The participants were all first year undergraduate students, aged 18-21 at a single UK institution.
I aim to discuss some of the transformational affordances and values a student-led Facebook Group offers student members, such as student autonomy, a backchannel to lectures, a place to learn, peer mentoring, social support and a place for academic procrastination.
13 March 2012
Looking at Picturebook Covers Multimodally: The case of Two-Mum and Two-Dad Picturebooks
Jane Sunderland and Mark McGlasha, Lancaster University
Picturebooks featuring gay parents, although growing in number, remain underexplored. In this workshop we look at the covers of four such picturebooks, in particular at the representation of the co-parents and the multimodal workings of image and text. This exploration is timely in that the image-text relationship is a contested one. Drawing on the notions of 'modal affordance' and 'epistemological commitment', and the Hallidayan functional grammar category of 'enhancement', we use Theo van Leeuwen’s Social Actors frameworks (2008, 1996, 1995), in particular the Visual Representation frameworks, to show that image and text are not commensurate in the meanings they communicate. Further, rather than one mode being merely supportive of the other, we hope to test the idea with you that image and text, here, are mutually enhancing and that in these picturebook covers, gay identities can – and indeed need to - be read through an appreciation of this mutual enhancement, rather than through image or text (title) alone or in parallel.
Click here for presentation slides.
20 March 2012
Crossing borders: an exploration of transnational ‘readability’ and ‘comparability’ of university qualifications through a study of the literacy practices of MA thesis writing in two different European locations
Carole Sedgwick, University of Roehampton
This paper will report on some of the findings from my recently completed PhD thesis at Lancaster. The thesis was prompted by the aims of the Bologna Process to create a higher education space in Europe with a common system of ‘readable’ and ‘comparable’ degrees. Through an examination of literacy practices of MA thesis writing at the end of a postgraduate English studies programme in two different national locations, Hungary and Italy, the thesis interrogates notions of transnational ‘readability’ and ‘comparability’ of university qualifications. For this study an ‘ethnographic-style’ approach was adopted to collect rich data concerning the literacy practices of thesis making on six theses in each location.
This presentation will focus on the analytical methods I used to attempt to close the gap between text and context and how the findings highlight the limitations and ideological bias of a top-down approach to ‘soft regulation’ adopted in the Bologna Process, which fails to acknowledge a more powerful standardising force, that of Anglophone publication.
24 April 2012
Writer’s stance and the interaction of practices
Kathrin Kaufhold, Lancaster University
Affect and desire are important motivations in academic writing (Ivanič 1998, Lillis 2001). The related concept of writer’s stance has mainly been applied to writers’ interactional and evaluative positions in scientific texts. This presentation will focus on affect/stance expressed in talk-around-text. I will look at how affect/stance can be conceptualised within a social practice perspective on academic writing and what such a linguistic analysis might add to an understanding of these practices.
1 May 2012
Researching practices of recontextualization: Issues of register and voice
Diane Potts, Lancaster University
Whose knowledge counts? At a time when an individual’s ability to reconfigure personal understanding for new contexts, new purposes and/or new communities confers significant social and economic benefits, the question is more urgent than ever. Directly or indirectly, researchers drawing on systemic functional linguistics (SFL) have long engaged with this question, often but not only in relation to disciplinary, classroom and mass media texts. But identifying the privileged text is not the same as identifying “the principles of the principles” (Bernstein, 1990, p.34) – that is, the principles which accord privilege. And understanding how these larger principles impact the distribution and realization of knowledge is increasingly critical within globalized knowledge societies. How might those with an interest in appliable linguistics address both the privilege and privileging of pedagogic texts in ways that open up such processes for discussion?
4 May (Friday) Special event supported by the Linguistics and English Language Department, Lancaster University
NB: different day: Friday, different venue: FASS MR1, time: 1-3 pm
Researcher identity, narrative inquiry, and language teaching research
Bonny Norton, University of British Columbia, Canada, Visiting Senior Research Fellow at King’s College, University of London & Honorary Professor, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
While there has been much research on language and identity with respect to learners, teachers, and teacher educators, there has been little focus on the identity of the researcher, an important stakeholder in language education. My presentation therefore addresses the following question: To what extent can narrative inquiry illuminate the ways in which researcher identity is negotiated in language teaching research? In the presentation, I draw on a digital literacy study in multilingual Uganda to narrate how my co-researcher and I engaged in our own storytelling, and the process by which we invited teachers to share their experiences of teaching through the medium of English as a Second Language in a poorly resourced rural school. Central themes were our attempts to reduce power differentials between researchers and teachers, and our desire to increase teacher investment in our collaborative research project.
Bonny Norton talk:
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8 May 2012
Learning at the ends of life: multimodality and identity in an intergenerational art program
Rachel Heydon, University of Western Ontario, Canada
This presentation introduces the book, Learning at the Ends of Life: Children, Elders, Literacy and Intergenerational Curricula, which chronicles over seven years of research on the multimodal literacy learning opportunities, practices, and identity options afforded by shared site intergenerational programs (i.e., where young children and elders share physical space and curricula). The introduction highlights one piece of the research, a case study of multimodal pedagogies within an intergenerational art class, which interrogated the learning opportunities that were created therein and what the fixing of participants’ ideas within a semiotic chain said about their facility with communicative modes and media, interests, and identity options. Key findings include: when compared to the adults’ practices, the children’s use of media was more elaborate, experimental, and less inhibited and their designs more complex; the content of the children’s communication was multifaceted, and future-looking while some of the adults’ were constrained by limited identity options related to their position in the life course; and the class’s multimodal pedagogies provided occasion for the exploration of modes and media with support for working through key communicational decisions. Through the findings in this unique pedagogical situation, the presentation hopes to raise questions about education and literacy more broadly, such as: What does education (and society) in general take to be a child, an elder, a teacher, literacy, and its purpose(s)?
15 May 2012
Joint LRDG, LIP and CeMoRe event
NB different venue: Bowland North SR 6
Tourism discourse: languages and banal globalization
Adam Jaworski, Cardiff University
Described as “one of the greatest population movements of all time,” tourism is firmly established as one of the world’s largest international trades. And it is not just people who are on tour; language too is on the move. In this paper I examine some of the ways that my research with Crispin Thurlow has shown language commonly being taken up in tourism’s search for exoticity and authenticity. Specifically, I will present a series of different touristic genres (broadcast media, postcards, guidebook glossaries, guided tours) where local languages are stylized, recontextualized and commodified in the service of tourist identities and of tourism’s cosmopolitan mythology. It is in this way that the globalizing habitus of tourism privileges or elevates those who choose to travel, containing linguistic/cultural difference under a guise of celebration and respect. These playful, seemingly innocuous “textualizations” of language/s are also exemplary enactments of banal globalization, the everyday, micro-level ways in which the social meanings and material effects of globalization are realized.
Adam Jaworski talk:
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22 May 2012
Online activism practices: a critical approach
Jonny Unger, Lancaster University
The internet comprises a constantly changing communicative space in the public (and semi-public) sphere. ‘Online activism’, i.e. the use of the internet by activists to raise awareness about social issues, to organise campaigns, or to exert pressure on institutions, has seen a vast increase in recent years, which has accompanied the exponential increase in the use of the internet in general, and social media such as Facebook in particular. However, the media and to a certain extent scholars have created a false dichotomy between ‘online’ and ‘offline’ resistance. Protesters in recent movements such as the Arab Springs and Occupy have engaged in practices involving a variety of technologies (which I define broadly to include not just computers and social media but also ‘lo-tech’ phenomena such as banners and voices) simultaneously.
29 May 2012
Desert Deviants: ethnography, camels, fast food, ANT, and Item Response Theory in the Mongolian Gobi
Bryan Maddox, University of East Anglia
What happens when standardised literacy assessments travel globally? There is considerable debate about globalised projects of assessment and how they frame and produce statistically derived knowledge about literacy and about the efficacy of cross-cultural comparison. Hamilton (2001) called for ethnographic research on the politics and practices of literacy measurement regimes. This paper responds to that call, and is the result of an innovative collaboration between ethnographers and psychometric researchers in the UNESCO Literacy Assessment and Monitoring Programme (LAMP). This paper presents ethnographic transcripts of literacy assessment events in rural Mongolia. The theory of literacy assessment events described in this paper is informed by Goodwin's 'participation framework' on language as embodied and situated interactive phenomena (Goodwin 2000, 2007) and Actor Network Theory (Callon 1986, Latour 2005). These draw our attention to the way in which literacy assessment events are shaped by an 'assemblage' of human and non-human actors (including assessment texts). The transcripts demonstrate how ethnography can inform the design and analysis of standardised test items, and help to identify sources of test item bias.
12 June 2012
Harry Potter and boys' literacies
Jane Sunderland and Stephen Dempster, Lancaster University
Against a backdrop of a 'moral panic' about boys' achievements at school, informal claims are often made about the Harry Potter series to the effect that it has markedly improved boys' literacy. Such claims, however, tend to have the status of folklore or anecdote. Now that the book (and film) series has come to an end, the time seems right to explore the question empirically. At issue is (some) boys' enthusiasm for reading and its relationship with the Harry Potter series, and whether the 'Harry Potter effect', if it exists, extends beyond the seven books. More generally: what motivates boys to read? Our focus is threefold: boys' literacy practices, achievements, and specific responses to the Harry Potter series (likely to be relevant to literacy practices and achievements). Supported by a British Academy small grant for a two-year project, we will explore these through (a) an initial questionnaire survey of boys (and, incidentally, girls) from local Primary and Secondary schools, (b) focus group interviews with boys (and again, possibly, girls) from the same schools, and (c) case studies of individual boys contextualised within family, school, and other Communities of practice, such as friendship groups. The project falls within at least four fields of research: masculinities, literacies, classroom research, and gender and language.
We start this presentation by looking at the background to this project: masculinities in school and boys literacies. We will then describe where we are at, at the very start of this project. We will present and explain our Research Questions and our plans for data collection, including our initial successful negotiations with a local Primary school, which necessarily raised questions of ethics and access. We hope to present an early draft of the questionnaire which is to be piloted in September. We welcome feedback on any or all of the above.
19 June 2012
The Academic Writing Zone in LUMS: our experience of introducing a faculty-based peer writing mentor scheme
Gill Burgess and Katie Barnes, Lancaster University
The Academic Writing Zone, a peer writing mentoring scheme, was introduced in October 2011 in LUMS as a result of a review of faculty-based academic support provision.
The aim was to provide opportunities for LUMS undergraduates to discuss academic writing issues on a one-to-one basis with trained student writing mentors– in other words, to set up a small-scale version of a writing centre. We hoped that mentees would benefit from interaction with more experienced academic writers, while mentors would benefit from reflecting more explicitly on the writing process and by developing valuable personal and employability skills.
Gill Burgess, student learning advisor for LUMS, and Katie Barnes, student writing mentor, will talk about their experience on this pilot scheme: the background to the scheme, the way it has operated, the benefits and challenges it has brought, and our hopes for its future development.
26 June 2012
An auto-ethnographic account of social and cultural practices around cookery books: critical and transformative learning over time
Awena Carter, Lancaster University
An examination of cookery books published over only the last four decades reveals the ways in which cooking, as a culturally embedded practice, changes and develops over time to reveal and reflect social and cultural change. In this paper I use the materiality of some of my cookery books to reveal my literacy practices around the texts and use an autoethnographic approach as an heuristic ‘seek[ing] to describe and systematically analyze…[my] personal experience… in order to understand cultural experience’ (Ellis, Adams and Buchner, 2011). In looking at my use of these books at three different phases of my life, I also reflect on cooking as critical learning, taking Gee’s (2003) view that ‘[all]…active critical learning- is inextricably caught up with identity in a variety of different ways.’
LRDG Meeting Record
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