Linguistic Stereotypes in Academic Discourse

This month we published a new edition of Understanding Language Use in the Classroom by Susan J. Behrens, which now includes teaching materials for college educators. In this post Susan reveals what we can expect from the new edition.

My latest project with the wonderful team at Multilingual Matters is an updated and expanded edition of my 2014 book Understanding Language Use in the Classroom: A Linguistic Guide for College Educators. The original text was my way of offering teachers in higher education accessible lessons in the ways language works, a kind of Linguistics 101 in question and answer format about all aspects of language, especially academic discourse. I think a lot about the intersection of linguistics and pedagogy because I am a linguist, and I direct the teaching and learning center at Marymount Manhattan College. Long ago I saw how linguistics and pedagogy fit together, and most of my work involves making connections between the two.

Feedback I received from many readers of the original text asked me how they could use the material directly with their students, as lessons and assignments. With this new edition, Understanding Language Use in the Classroom: Including Teaching Materials for College Educators, I take on linguistic stereotypes often found in the media. We are all rather susceptible to the many ubiquitous but unchallenged images about language and language users in the media and popular culture (for a taste of language snarkiness and snobbery, check out “Word Crimes” by Weird Al Yankovic). In 2016, I worked with students to examine how Instagram, Facebook, and other social media sites depict accents and dialects. We also found in popular culture plenty of statements that men and women “speak different languages.” My students found numerous examples of young women being criticized for using vocal fry and up talk. We considered what goes into the perception of a “gay voice.” And we tackled the assumptions that our very hometown, New York City, is the center of linguistic rudeness.

Why study stereotypes? Public perception and popular impressions of language – whether or not accurate, and often magnified by media – can set into motion, as well as reinforce, bias against groups of people. Nuances and complexities, not a stereotype’s strengths, are lost when we make grand claims about language use and language users, their grammar, accents, and dialects.

The additional material in this book – which takes it into the digital realm with PowerPoint slides, images, and URL links – offers lesson plans and instructor guidance material. Each lesson is connected to a chapter in the original book and extends that chapter, encouraging more exploration, more hands-on linguistic investigation. The pedagogical material is not just for linguistics classes. I wanted to make it adaptable to various audiences and class schedules, and I have included suggestions for customizing the lessons, including assignments that can be both in-class activities and research projects.

The original material is still there: a discussion of academic discourse and its role in higher education, the “conversations” about all levels of language, as well as sample worksheets, references and other resources. Since my work on linguistics for educators is ongoing, I have also updated the book with discussions about research conducted since 2014.

Every step of the process (for both editions) has been made exciting and smooth thanks to the Multilingual Matters team: Tommi, Anna, Sarah, Laura, Elinor, and Flo. Since the first book came out, I also got to meet some of these folks when they traveled to the US for conferences. Thanks for all the good chats, especially about Moomins.

Susan J. Behrens, Marymount Manhattan College

sbehrens@mmm.edu

http://susanjbehrens.wordpress.com

For more information about this book please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like Developing Intercultural Perspectives on Language Use by Troy McConachy.

What is “The Tornado Effect”? Successful Language Learning and Strategy Use and Development

We recently published the second edition of The Strategy Factor in Successful Language Learning by Carol Griffiths. In this post Carol explains how the new edition builds on the first and introduces us to the new concept of “The Tornado Effect”.

The book begins with the author explaining why, from personal experience, she believes learning strategies to be important, and a number of other personal narratives from well-known people in the learning strategy field are also quoted. This second edition builds on the material in the first edition, but with a number of important additions. In particular:

  • The existing literature has been updated, since quite a lot has been written in the five years since the first edition was published.
  • The conceptual perspectives have been refined and extended. The issue of strategy definition has been tackled again, and some adjustment made in light of the ongoing debate. The underlying theory has also been re-examined and extended, along with issues of strategy classification. Issues of strategy effectiveness have been considered, especially in light of contextual, target and individual differences. And research methodology, which has attracted criticism in the past, has also been addressed, with suggestions added for data collection and analysis.
  • In the section dealing with quantitative perspectives, new studies have been added and the old studies have been re-analysed.
  • The qualitative section, which examines interview data obtained from students of different levels of proficiency, ages and genders, and varying learning strategy use has been updated and extended
  • The section on pedagogical perspectives has also been considerably extended, with further consideration of issues of strategy instruction. Most notably, strategies appropriate to different knowledge areas (vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and function/pragmatics) and skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking) have been added and/or extended
  • In addition, the glossary, which received much positive appraisal in the first edition for its helpful definitions of key concepts, has been updated and extended.

So, why the Tornado Effect? The Tornado Effect hypothesises that learning is not a linear process: it is spiral, with one piece of knowledge or skill helping to support the next, and so on, in an ever-increasing spiral, much the way a tornado expands into a powerful force. As the section on pedagogical perspectives concludes: “If we could only discover how to harness the power of this Tornado Effect, what a wonderful teaching/learning tool we would have!”

For more information about this book please see our website.  

Tales from a Sport Tourist

Next month we will be publishing the third edition of Sport Tourism Development by James Higham and Tom Hinch. Sarah is our resident sports enthusiast and often manages to catch a game of something when travelling (whether that be for work or leisure!) In this post we chat to Sarah about her own experiences of sport tourism.

Which different sports have you seen when travelling?

Sarah at the cricket in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Cricket, football, baseball, basketball, American football, ice hockey, lacrosse

What was your favourite/least favourite experience of sports tourism?

Any game with an exciting finish stands out – I managed to get to the Big Bash semi-final this year in Adelaide pre-CAUTHE conference where the Strikers won in the last over. Other memorable occasions are England holding on to draw with South Africa in a Test in Cape Town and the Red Sox winning at Fenway with a grand slam in the 8th innings!

I think I need to stop watching England in Australia as they’ve lost every time (apologies to England fans!) – never an enjoyable experience to lose to the Aussies.

Do you notice a difference in the experience of watching sports depending on the country or is there a universal atmosphere?

I think sport fans worldwide are pretty similar, though there are always traditions or superstitions specific to an area/team/sport.
An NFL game was the only live experience that took me by surprise – and seemed quite different from other sport I have watched. Every single thing that happened in the game seemed like a fanfare event. Though I have been reliably informed that if I want to experience real American football then I need to go and watch a college game.

What would be your dream destination/sports experience combination?

Melbourne is pretty much a sport fan’s dream city so I’d have to say being there for the whole duration of the Big Bash, in an Ashes year, and a ticket to the Australian Open. If it could somehow be arranged for some Premier League games to be played there as well that would be perfect! 🙂

For more information about Sport Tourism Development please see our website.

Judging a Book by its Cover…

We’ve been working with book cover designers Latte and Melanie Goldstein at River Design for over a year now, and we thought our readers might like to find out a little more from them about the book design process. In this post Latte answers some questions about book design and gives us an insight into his work.

Latte and Melanie Goldstein

How did you get into book cover design?

When I started up my own graphic design studio in Edinburgh, I was commissioned by a few local publishers to design some book covers and it really just grew from there. I now pretty much solely concentrate on book cover design work.

What kinds of books do you design covers for?

Some of the covers Latte and Melanie have designed for us

I design mainly academic and educational non-fiction book covers for subjects including history, politics, film, literature, philosophy, social science and business.

What does the design process entail?

The design process starts with the client’s brief. This usually provides information such as dimensions, format (eg. paperback, jacket, printed paper case) and information about the content of the book. The image is variable – sometimes clients supply images, sometimes we are asked to source them and sometimes a typographic cover is requested. The exciting bit is next! I usually work up a number of front cover roughs but then will select the 2 to 3 that I feel are the strongest. I use Photoshop but once I reach the stage of laying out the full cover, I transfer all the files to InDesign. I love designing and I love fonts so can quite happily spend hours experimenting with typography and creating artwork.

What’s the most challenging part of book design?

The most challenging part of book cover design is perhaps making sure that the tone of the cover design is right – appropriate for the book’s target market, conveying the correct message but at the same time visually dynamic. I do try to push the boundaries, but without getting carried away!

What’s your favourite aspect of the job?

Every book is different so every cover design is a unique challenge, requiring a completely new set of ideas and a new approach. This is what I enjoy the most…there’s nothing more exciting than getting stuck into a new brief!

If you want to see more of River Design’s work, check out their website and Instagram.

Challenging Current Practices in ELT Materials Design

This month we published Creativity and Innovations in ELT Materials Development edited by Dat Bao. In this post Dat introduces his book and explains what inspired him to put it together.

I am lucky to have been involved in many materials projects with scholars who have taught me a great deal about this field: Brian Tomlinson, Alan Maley, Hitomi Masuhara, Rani Rubdy, Martin Cortazzi, to name a few. From 2000, as a student at Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK, until the present day, as a lecturer at Monash University in Australia, I have worked together with these scholars in evaluating course materials, writing textbooks, conducting research and publishing the outcomes.

Knowledge, however, does not come only from the expert. Sometimes those with less experience but with a passion for materials development, such as teachers, students and colleagues, can also have a say. These practitioners sometimes make insightful comments about things that I have never thought of. By interacting together, they exchange views, question practices, reject routine, and support or challenge one another.

Having worked closely with both experts and practitioners, I can’t help thinking that these two groups could learn from one another, and help reduce the sense of hierarchy between them. For example, sometimes studying an updated theory can help teachers improve classroom tasks; at other times, observing teaching practice or listening to a teacher’s perspective can make theorists rethink their ideas.

It was this thinking that inspired my new book, Creativity and Innovations in ELT Materials Development, which began to take shape three years ago. In my own experience, this is a rare occasion on which I have managed to bring together well-known theorists and new researchers; experienced textbook writers and teachers who are users of those textbooks; and lecturers in materials development and their students.

The unusual combination of contributors has produced a range of fresh ideas about how to make English textbooks less boring and mundane. It must be said that a certain degree of negotiation among co-authors was needed to ensure that messages were clearly articulated. But in the end, the book is full of good ideas presented in a neat package with an array of helpful suggestions that are worth trying. Some examples include: what makes technology work best in a textbook, how to choose online resources with an effective learning impact, and in what ways can students be guided to become more creative.

Dat Bao (far left) teaching in the classroom at Monash University

I would encourage teachers, when going through chapters in the book, to visualise how ideas can be adapted to suit their tastes. I would also encourage readers to take notes and challenge what we say with your insights and questions. As they say, sometimes rules are made to be broken. Sometimes recommendations are made to be argued with. In this way, there should no end to what we can do to bring about optimal teaching and learning impact. I would very much like to see more debate around the topics that we raise, so that the field never settles, but remains active, in the same way that riding a bicycle requires the rider to be constantly moving forward to keep their balance.

For more information about this book please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like Preparing Teachers to Teach English as an International Language edited by Aya Matsuda.

Welcome Back Elinor!

This week we were very excited to welcome Elinor back to the office after a year away on maternity leave. In this post we catch up with her and find out how she’s feeling about her return to work!

Elinor with Rowan on his birthday

How have you found your maternity leave?

I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to take a year off work to spend time at home with Rowan while he’s so little. It’s been a lot of fun but also a lot of hard work! I don’t think anything can fully prepare you for having a baby but it’s definitely worth it!

How does it feel coming back to work after a year away?

Although I’ve been off for over a year, it feels like I’ve never been away. We have all worked together for such a long time (in my case over 12 years!) that it feels like I’m just rejoining my Channel View ‘family’!

What have you missed and what are you looking forward to most about being back at work?

I have definitely missed my lovely colleagues and hearing the day-to-day gossip about what everyone is up to. I’m glad that I will be working on Fridays so that I can enjoy lunch out with everyone to keep up-to-date on everybody’s news. It will be nice to have a few days a week where I get to think about something other than nappies, mealtimes and naptimes.

What will you miss about maternity leave?

At the moment it takes a lot of effort to get out of the house every morning at 7:30 to catch the bus to work but I’m sure that I’ll get used to it! I will obviously miss Rowan but as I’m only working 2.5 days a week I will still be able to enjoy plenty of time with him.

Elinor is now working part time and her working hours are Wednesday mornings, and all day Thursday and Friday.

World Book Day 2018

Today is World Book Day – “a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) reading”. To mark the occasion, the CVP/MM team have been thinking about books that have made an impact on us. Read on to find out more…

Tommi

My favourite book is Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson. It is the first book that I remember reading on my own, in both Finnish and English. The story is structured in such a way as to keep the reader wanting to read “just one more chapter” and is accompanied by beautiful illustrations. The shopkeeper’s mathematical solution to ensure that Moomintroll was able to buy the Snork Maiden a gift, and that she was able to buy Moomintroll a “medal”, has always guided me in business.

Sarah

There are way too many good books to choose from but the Anne of Green Gables series is still my favourite. I don’t know whether it’s because the lessons you learn from your childhood reading somehow seem steeped in some kind of greater importance or whether you sometimes feel more jaded in later life/reading. These books really cultivated my imagination, gave me a better appreciation of the beauty of the natural world and an innate belief that you’re never too old to believe in fairies! 🙂 There’s also some great poetry quoted – these lines from Keats seem to capture the above and crop up in a few of L.M. Montgomery’s books:

  The same that ofttimes hath   
 Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam   
   Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

I try to reread the books every few years so as not to forget to look around and wonder once in a while! 🙂

Flo

Sticking with the childhood theme, I’ve always had a real soft spot for Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian. It was the book we read as a class when I was 10 years old and, impatient with round-the-class reading, I raced ahead on my own at home. The author created a very cosy world for a child to step into (I’m sure the reality for an evacuee during the second world war wasn’t anywhere near as idyllic!) with just the right amount of peril and tragedy to make it a good story. And of course, the all-important happy ending 🙂

Anna

My favourite book is The King’s General by Daphne du Maurier. I adore Daphne du Maurier, so inevitably my favourite book would be one of hers. I’m not quite sure why it’s this one, as it’s not her best book by some distance. I must have read it for the first time at precisely the right moment in my life (I’d guess around 10 or 11) as it’s left a lasting impression on me, and is always the book I comfort read when I have the flu. The heroine, Honor, is refreshingly undrippy and Gartred, her appalling sister-in-law, is the anti-heroine to end all anti-heroines. It’s Gothic and quite ridiculous, but I love it.

Laura

I tend not to reread books and haven’t done so since my childhood, so singling out a book as a favourite, having read it just once, doesn’t seem quite right. Instead, I’ll opt to throw a spotlight on my favourite book of the year so far, which is The Muse by Jessie Burton. It’s set in two different time periods: Spain during the civil war and London in the 1960s, with a mystery of a painting connecting the two. I tend to like books set in a different era or context to my life today, so it certainly ticked that box, as well as having a good storyline that kept me guessing right up to the end.

Sarah and Tommi engrossed in their favourite books

Goodbye and Bon Voyage to Alice!

Today we said a sad goodbye to Alice, who has been at CVP/MM for a year since starting as an intern last February. In this post Alice reflects on her year with us and reveals what the future has in store for her…

So, sadly my time at Channel View has come to an end. It’s been a great year, having continued working here for seven months after my initial six month internship. This has therefore been my first ‘proper’ job since university and has set the bar high for anything to come!

When I started, Flo guided me through a number of jobs that I could take on – dealing with incoming emails to the info box, keeping our online database up to date, setting up 6 month P&Ls and various other tasks. Since then I’ve been handed other jobs here and there and taken on more responsibility with things like putting books into production and drawing up contracts.

Being in such a small office means I’ve also been able to see how things work and undertaken tasks in most areas of publishing: production, marketing, permissions, editorial and other bits and pieces in between.

There have definitely been a few highlights outside of ‘normal’ work too. Some things that have stood out are: going on days out to two of our printers, Short Run Press and CPI, as well as to the massive Gardners Books wholesaler; eating lots of delicious biscuits and cake; experiencing a ‘Channel View Christmas’; and being introduced to the local Pippins doughnuts at the Friday food market. Most importantly it’s been great working with a group of people that get on so well and have fun while working hard.

Now I am flying off for five months for a bit of an adventure, starting in Colombia and working my way up to Central America before heading to Southeast Asia. Who knows what will come after that, but I want to thank Channel View for having me for the last year – it’s been a great experience!

Thanks Alice for all your hard work and good luck on your travels!

Job Changes at CVP/MM: What’s in a Job Title Anyway?

With the welcome return of Elinor Robertson to our office next month after spending a year on maternity leave, we have taken the time to have a reshuffle of some of the main responsibilities within the business, and have a look at our job titles to make sure they truly reflect the work of each team member here at Channel View Publications/Multilingual Matters. With a small business it is natural that we all wear many hats, and so it is nearly impossible to get a single job title to accurately cover all aspects of each person’s work. What is more important is that when we present ourselves to our contacts outside the company, our job titles reflect the level of responsibility that we carry, so that our contacts know who to talk to about any given issue.

Elinor Robertson will be returning to her job in charge of all matters relating to marketing. As the most senior person for marketing, her new job title will be Head of Marketing. Because she will be coming back part-time, she will be passing on her role as Commissioning Editor for our series Aspects of TourismAspects of Tourism Texts and Tourism Essentials to Sarah Williams so that she is better able to dedicate her time to marketing all of our books globally.

 

Laura Longworth will be taking on the newly-created role of Head of Sales, which will involve her taking over the sales related responsibilities that have previously been split between Tommi Grover and Elinor Robertson. Laura will be liaising with distributors, sales representatives, bookshops and wholesalers to ensure that our books get the widest possible distribution, while continuing to manage rights permissions. Laura will also continue to commission for the Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Communication Disorders across Languages, Early Language Learning in School Contexts, Psychology of Language Learning and Teaching, Second Language Acquisition and Translation, Interpreting and Social Justice in a Globalised World book series.

 

Sarah Williams will take on all commissioning for the Channel View Publications imprint, and with her job as the most senior contact for all production-related issues, her job title will be changed to Head of Production. Sarah manages our freelance production contacts and liaises with all of our suppliers, as well as setting our production strategy and quality values, so carries the responsibility for ensuring that our books are always of high quality, whether they are print books or ebook resources.

 

Flo McClelland, Anna Roderick and Tommi Grover will keep their current job titles as their jobs are not changing so dramatically:

Flo McClelland is our Marketing and Publishing Coordinator and runs all our social media accounts. She also works with our designers and authors on book covers and with Elinor in the marketing department on all matters relating to marketing and publicity. Flo will be coordinating the work of our incoming Publishing Intern (more to follow later) and you will also come across Flo more often at conferences in the future, so please make sure you say hello if you see her!

 

Anna Roderick is our Editorial Director and is in charge of editorial strategy for the business. The subject areas we publish in, and the editorial tone of the business, are a constantly-evolving work; although we naturally stay true to our core beliefs, it is important for us to branch out into new fields and it is Anna who searches out these areas and discovers the inspiration for our future publications. She also commissions everything that isn’t commissioned by someone else, and attempts to make the rest of the editorial department do their admin. Together with Tommi she is half of our board of directors, and shares the legal responsibility for the business.

 

Tommi Grover is Managing Director, and has day-to-day responsibility for all matters relating to finance and the legal side of running the business. He oversees the running of all departments to make sure where possible that each of the heads of departments have adequate resources and skills. Tommi will continue to attend major conferences and book fairs and has commissioning responsibility for our Linguistic Diversity and Language Rights, and CAL Series on Language Education book series.

How Does Gender Shape Fieldwork Experiences?

We recently published Femininities in the Field edited by Brooke A. Porter and Heike A. Schänzel. In this post the editors explain why the book is necessary and what they hope will be achieved from its publication.

Gendered actions have been receiving quite a bit of press lately, and rightly so. While much of the press has been focused on power inequalities, some attention has been given towards gender equalities. With the academy far from being viewed as gender equal, our motivation for the book is to explore how femininities shape fieldwork experiences in the social sciences, specifically in tourism. Research in the field has long been considered as a masculine act in a masculine space, with the idea of the lone-researcher at the forefront tracing back to anthropological endeavours. For many researchers, this narrow construction can be intimidating. Yet, for any researcher in the field, we argue the undeniable influence, both positive and negative, of gender on fieldwork.

A main aim of this book is to describe gender as a variable worthy of attention, in the field, in the analysis, and in the reporting of any piece of research. Through fifteen self-reflexive analyses (including two by men), our contributors reflect on past fieldwork experiences through a gendered lens. Tourism research was the common thread for all contributors, but the experiences are diverse and without doubt, transdisciplinary. From tales from marine mammal research in the high seas to the party-filled streets of Mallorca, each contributor provides an explicit account of how gender affected their fieldwork. The diversity of the contributions became most apparent to us when it came time to choose a cover. We simply could not find an image that could effectively convey the book’s contents. After nearly twenty correspondences, we ditched the idea of an image and decided on a multifaceted illustration. The colourful graphics depict the diversities, and the expressions convey many of the heartfelt emotions revealed in the book.

This book is meant to be a tool for researchers at any stage in their career, for supervisors and mentors, and for committees involved in the fieldwork process. It is both a tool of reference and a path forward.

For more information about this book please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like Ethnographic Fieldwork by Jan Blommaert and Dong Jie.