Sunday, March 29, 2009

ENGA1 Language Development data response part 2

OK, thanks for the responses last time. The Haribo will be with the winners on Tuesday (after I've been paid).

Here's a new one for your revising pleasure. The ages of the speakers are in brackets (years, months). The question is the same as last time: comment linguistically on 5 features of child language that you find interesting. Remember that it's not just a question of picking out things that the children say "wrong", but also looking at what they are saying and what they are achieving, and how this might place them at a certain stage of development.

(2,9)
Liam: Did you hid it in my castle?
Stan: Yes, I hid it in the dungeons.

Liam: They shotted their arrows at the baddy

(2,9)
Dad: It’ll be better watching it at the cinema than on DVD
Liam: Yeah, it’s better dan dat

(3,6)
Liam: The goodies are going on their ship cos they’ve caught a baddie

Liam: The cavemans are laughing

Liam: I’m going to build a whole army of goodies//
Stan: // yeah, cos the baddies are coming

(4,6)
Stan: Don’t do that because you’ll hit the men and they’ll fall over.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Blaefummery anywhen

Today's Guardian has a good feature on regional dialects and how they're being recorded. The focus is mostly on lexical variation - dialect words - and gives a good run through of some weird and wonderful local phrases, but Stuart Jeffries also provides a bigger picture with a few interesting snippets from Susie Dent and Jonnie Robinson. The etymology of some of these dialect terms is explained too:

"Some words just seem born for their task," says Dent, "and the echoic blaefummery is one of them. It is an extension of blaflum (or bleflum/blaeflum), meaning a deception, a hoax, nonsense, or illusion; as a verb it means to cajole or impose upon. There seems to be no indisputable origin: blae means blue or livid - in colour, that is - but perhaps one can see some relation to flummery, flattery, empty talk or humbug, and which word has the charm of having started off its life meaning food, whether made of oatmeal or flour, milk and eggs."

Friday, March 13, 2009

ENGA1 Language Development data response

Here's the first Haribo prize competition for AS students. It's based on the 2a question you get for Language Development, so all you need to do is pick out 5 linguistic features from the data below and label them accurately, putting your answer as a comment to this post. For example, if you think "I falled over" is an example of overextension, you would write "1. I falled over = overextension".

Obviously, the more alert among you would realise that's not the right answer. That's because I'm not giving you the answers for nothing and I'm not parting with my Haribo that easily. Oh no. And remember, what you're looking for should be phonological, lexical, semantic, grammatical and pragmatic features, as well as how the interaction does or doesn't illustrate particular theories at work, or a child being at a particular stage or demonstrating a particular function of language. It's also worth thinking not just about what the child says but how the child and parent interact. But that's enough bold font...

So, to win the Haribo pick out your five features and add them as comments. The best 2 responses by next Friday lunchtime will win this coveted prize.

Data:
Girl (age 4,4) in conversation with Dad (age 39..I mean 21)

Girl: Did you eat all your dinner up at work?
Dad: Yes, I did
G: What did you hab?
D: Err, I had a cheese and tomato roll
G: I said to mummy are you gonna hab your dinner at office at work and her said yes
D: What did you do at nursery?
G: I did find the Dora book and I hided it under the table. Daddy, who done dis card? Did you draw it? Look what I drawed. I writed this well didn't I?
D: Yes, you wrote that really well
G: I wrote it well, yes.


OK, ready steady Haribooooooooooooo!!!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Apostrophe bullies

This is probably very old, but if you look at this link from You Tube you'll find a heartfelt attack on Lynne Truss and her prescriptivism from comedian Marcus Brigstocke.

Net slang

Confused by the nerdy slang your geeky friends use? Can't understand what your teacher is on about when he mumbles about his Level 58 Captain of Gondor pwning the creeps in the Etten raids? Just want to know more words? Then go to this site which has lots of help about such stuff. BRB LOL.

ENA6 - Investigating Use of Language in Online Communication

Here's this week's Haribo competition, which is based on an ENA6 1b question. The best 2 answers to this by next Thursday get the prizes.

Explain the methodology you would use for investigating how language is used in different forms of computer-mediated communication (email, texting, MSN, social networking sites etc.)

Question 1b requires a 5 point approach. You have to have some sort of aim, a method of collecting data, a framework to analyse that data, an awareness of extra linguistic variables and issues of ethics and validity, and an idea of what you will find and what it means. There is more detail on this available on the AQA site here (aimed at teachers but useful for students if you know what you're doing).

Remember to follow the 5 point plan as laid out below:
  • AIM/ANGLE
  • METHOD of DATA COLLECTION
  • FRAMEWORK for ANALYSING YOUR DATA
  • CONSIDERATION of EXTRA LINGUISTIC VARIABLES/ VALIDITY/ ETHICS
  • WHAT YOU EXPECT to FIND
On your marks...get set...Haribooooooooooooooooo

Friday, March 06, 2009

KMT @ TXTspk*

A report in today's Sun and a longer one in The Scotsman carry findings from a survey by a company which claims that while 76% of us admit to using "text slang" in our SMS messages, 71% dislike receiving it and would prefer a "properly written" message. Like any survey carried out by a company that's promoting its own services (in this case the "text question and answer service AQA 63336" - no relation to our exam board, I hope) the survey should probably be treated with caution, but in the Scotsman they quote a proper linguist, Dr Christian Kay from Glasgow University who has a look at the limitations of texting:

"I think that when texting first appeared young people took it as a new way of conversing which could exclude people who weren't in on the scene," Prof Kay said.

"At the time this was quite interesting, because we were being told that the written language was going to disappear.

"But after an initial burst of enthusiasm we are at the stage where texting either has to develop or fade away."

She added: "It has reduced everything to a very basic language, which doesn't leave room to convey the nuance of a word.

"In many ways it has run out of interesting things to say, which limits interpretation, which leads to misunderstandings," Prof Kay said.


Hmm, I'm not so sure. I doubt that text abbreviations originally sprung up as a means of keeping others out - after all, what goes on between two phones is relatively private - but rather as a means of saving time and money. Yes, texting can be a crude and unsubtle form of communication open to misinterpretation as most distant modes are, but its got a kind of dialogic structure to it that allows a texter to reply and seek further clarification if the first message doesn't make sense.

And of course, given that the company advertising the survey is in the business of making money from sending answers to a range of questions from the general public, they don't have a personal relationship with the other texter, or any knowledge of what that person's text idiolect is like, so will probably use a more standard form.

So is texting dying out and are we getting sick of its abbreviations? Probably not. The numbers speak for themselves: we sent a total of 78.9 billion texts last year, 216 million a day, according to the Mobile Data Association.

* KMT = Kiss/ing My Teeth (Caribbean expression of distaste/ disapproval)
KMFT = Kiss/ing My F***ing Teeth
KMBCT = Kiss/ing My Bloodclart Teeth (Caribbean expression of extreme distaste/ disapproval)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

ENA6 question 1a - technology and language change

Here's the new Haribo prize question, based on a 1a ENA6 question focused on technology and language change.

Comment linguistically on three processes used to create or write the following examples of computer-mediated communication:

FYI (For your information)
Dat (That)
i dont no what yr doin (I don’t know what you’re doing)
cya (See you - signing off at end of online chat)
L8er (Later - signing off at end of email message)

Remember, you just need to accurately identify and label 3 processes going on with these words or how they've been written/typed. The best 2 answers get that lovely Haribo.