Radio programs have recently celebrated a “new understanding” of the importance of preschool for success later in life. Related knowledge has been part of academic discussion for decades, but has had relatively little effect on how education is organized. To contribute to public understanding, I summarize Shirley Brice Heath’s “What no bedtime story means” (1982).
A preliminary schedule for the American Anthropological Association’s 2012 Annual Meeting has been released. This schedule includes more that 50 linguistic and language-related panel sessions.
Applications for AAA Committee on Ethics small grants for ethics curricular materials are due 2 November 2012. A grant of between $200 and $1,000 is available.
In this guest post Martha Sif Karrebæk relates how her Journal of Linguistic Anthropology paper, “What’s in your lunchbox today?”, became a topic of discussion in Danish mass media.
The AAA Nominations Committee is seeking nominations for open positions on the 2013 AAA ballot. The deadline for nominations in Monday 1 October 2012.
Recently I have been re-reading James Thurber’s “Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Guide to English Usage”, a parody of Henry Watson Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage. The parody is built around a central conceit: that a language usage guide is equivalent to lifestyle or relationship advice. This is not merely a conceit around which to build a parody; it is also a fair assessment of what usage guides are used for.
“Variable or non-standard realizations of inflectional morphology in English” sounds rather dry and academic, but the placement of suffixes within compound words or phrases can sound surprising and even amusing. Arnold Zwicky and Mark Liberman recently noted unusual verb conjugation. Non-standard pronouns can be equally interesting.
The phrase, “women and children” to mean non-combatants killed by war strikes me as somewhat outdated. Non-combatants are not necessarily women or children, and women and children are not necessarily non-combatant. The phrase might risk a mis-recognition of the nature of political violence and its victims.
The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer says conservative Evangelical Christians view President Obama as “the avatar of godless socialism”. Do American Christian conservatives use ‘socialist’ to mean ‘insufficiently religious’? If so, their usage parallels that of Osama bin Laden.
Record fans insist that the plural of ‘vinyl’ to mean “a vinyl record” is the zero-plural ‘vinyl’. This irregular form serves as a shibboleth for audiophiles. Since the form was regular (‘vinyls’) during the 1960s, I conjecture that the irregular form must have arisen relatively recently.
Chad Nilep reflects on work with Akiyo Cantrell to analyze reports from the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 and its aftermath. Evacuees from Fukushima face discrimination based on vague fears of radioactivity or other danger. Nilep expresses hope that academic work can make a positive contribution to recovery.
Lauren Collister, a Ph.D. candidate in sociolinguistics at the University of Pittsburgh, describes how digital ethnography deepened her understanding of multimodal communication within a team of World of Warcraft game players. Players use text, voice-over-IP talk, and face-to-face talk to accomplish distinct functions.
NPR’s Morning Edition and the Sunlight Foundation suggest that congressional speech-making is becoming less sophisticated. The presentation appears to validate conventional wisdom that American politics has taken an anti-intellectual turn of late, but the story shows flawed methods coupled with confirmation bias.
The 2013 LSA Linguistic Institute is currently soliciting proposals for workshops and conferences. If you’ve been thinking about a workshop you’d like to create, this would be a great opportunity.
In “Lesbian bar talk in Shinjuku, Tokyo” Hideko Abe shows how identity positions are constructed and claimed through language use. One passage, which shows how use of the word futsuu (ordinary) includes homosexual and heterosexual subjects in the same category, bears additional analysis.
Elections for AAA, Society for Linguistic Anthropology, and other sections are open from 15 April until 31 May, 2012. Log in at www.aaanet.org with your username and password and click “Vote Now”.
The candidates for AAA and SLA positions, as listed in Anthropology News
Recent news events highlight relationships between fact and story telling. Ethan Zuckerman’s recent ruminations on activism and journalism provide a summary and synthesis of one set of ideas, and a piece Michael Wilson contributed to the New York Times’ City Room at about the same time provides another.
With abstracts for the 2012 American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting coming due soon, various SLA members have sent out calls for papers. Here is a list of recent calls sent out via LINGANTH.
Barbara Johnstone (2011) “Making Pittsburghese” and Timothy Messer-Kruse (2012) “The ‘undue weight’ of truth on Wikipedia” present very different views of scholar’s experiences with Wikipedia. Johnstone’s evaluation is mostly positive, while Messer-Kruse’s is quite negative.