How Language Works in the Real World
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How Language Works in the Real World
Discourse , culture and communication in real world contexts
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What makes foreigners weird? A quick guide to orientalism

What makes foreigners weird? A quick guide to orientalism | How Language Works in the Real World | Scoop.it
During the ages of European exploration and colonial expansion, the west delighted in viewing the wonders of the “new” world by collecting specimens of exotic animals, plants and cultural artefacts for display in zoos, botanical gardens and museums. The desire to collect and display “the exotic” did not stop at humans, either. For instance, in the 1830s a French merchant snatched the body of a young African man and stuffed it in the way animals are sometimes stuffed and prepared for display.
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Great blog post from Ingrid Piller.
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10 ways to be a monolingual English-speaking jerk - The Rogue Linguist

10 ways to be a monolingual English-speaking jerk - The Rogue Linguist | How Language Works in the Real World | Scoop.it
Anglosplaining: that awkward moment when you 'correct’ your colleague Deepa’s English, and she points out it’s her first language too
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Very entertaining digest based on @msaraceni's book.
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Donald Trump: His words and body language

"Many US Presidents throughout history are still remembered today for their way with words"

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Still Trump -  some insights into rhetoric, but more interesting is the analysis of his non-verbal cues
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How just one little metaphor can fire up our emotions

How just one little metaphor can fire up our emotions | How Language Works in the Real World | Scoop.it
Why is figurative language more powerful – and what feelings exactly does it stir in an audience?
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wow, I have never seen research on metaphors from a neuroscience perspective - but this is very convincing. 
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Trump interrupted Clinton 51 times at the debate. She interrupted him just 17 times.

Trump interrupted Clinton 51 times at the debate. She interrupted him just 17 times. | How Language Works in the Real World | Scoop.it
Men are more likely to interrupt other people in general, and they interrupt women more often than they interrupt other men. And women, when they make interruptions, are also much more likely to interrupt other women than they are to interrupt men.

This pattern harms women in many ways, particularly when it comes to career advancement. For most women in the workplace, the phenomenon is exhaustingly familiar: A woman offers an idea in a meeting, but nobody notices or acknowledges it until a man later says the same thing. When women are interrupted more often, they are heard less. And sometimes they are interrupted more often because they are already heard less.
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A sociolinguistic take on the presidential debate. Guess what. No surprises. 
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Language is a window into the human mind

Language is a window into the human mind | How Language Works in the Real World | Scoop.it

As most linguists only too ruefully admit, upon confessing their profession at cocktail parties they tend to be told: “Oops, better watch my grammar around you.” Just as many psychologists moan that outsiders think the discipline is mainly about abnormal psychology, linguists haven’t sufficiently spread the word that they are not out to ban split infinitives or correct the misuse of “whom”. They consider themselves scientists (in a discipline that overlaps with psychology, cognitive science and others) in trying to learn how the human mind works.

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Donald Trump’s Exploitation of Orlando - The New Yorker

Donald Trump’s Exploitation of Orlando - The New Yorker | How Language Works in the Real World | Scoop.it
In the rhetoric of Donald Trump, mendacity and cynicism compete for equal time. It is hard to say which prevailed today as the Republican Party standard-bearer, a man who pretends to the most powerful political office in the land, tweeted this at his followers: “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.”

This came in the wake of the most horrific mass shooting in the history of the United States—a slaughter of fifty men and women in an L.G.B.T. night club called Pulse, in Orlando, early Sunday morning.
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Raising the issue of stereotypes in school – case study

Raising the issue of stereotypes in school – case study | How Language Works in the Real World | Scoop.it
It can be daunting to raise a question with your child’s school. Will the teacher be angry or offended? Might you get labelled as a nuisance? Megan explains how she went about querying the la…
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What's kind of assumptions hide  under everyday language use
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The Largest Analysis of Film Dialogue by Gender, Ever

The Largest Analysis of Film Dialogue by Gender, Ever | How Language Works in the Real World | Scoop.it
Lately, Hollywood has been taking so much shit for rampant sexism and racism. The prevailing theme: white men dominate movie roles.
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cool analysis and visualisation!
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How a TV Sitcom Triggered the Downfall of Western Civilization

How a TV Sitcom Triggered the Downfall of Western Civilization | How Language Works in the Real World | Scoop.it

Maybe intellectuals have always been persecuted and shoved in lockers, but something in my gut tells me we’re at a low point — where social media interaction has replaced genuine debate and political discourse, where politicians are judged by whether we’d want to have a beer with them, where scientific consensus is rejected, where scientific research is underfunded, where journalism is drowning in celebrity gossip.

Lingua Digitalis's insight:
As an avid Friends fan and would-be academic at the time, I have been telling  this for ages! Why Ross, the best educated and most original thinker of them all, was depicted as the dumbest character? How does that portray the attitude of today's society to academics?
The answer is disheartening... and so are the links made by the author or the blog: the link between the media portrayal of clever/stupid people and the popularisation of stupidity, the encouragement of the lack of critical thinking and pseudoscience. 
What is the way out, I wonder, in an age when it is OK for a much lesser educated non-expert to send me "back to the kitchen"?
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BAAL Corpus Symposium 2016

BAAL Corpus Symposium 2016 | How Language Works in the Real World | Scoop.it

Does a corpus linguist need to be a computer programmer? What are the current range of options for the ‘non-scripting’ corpus linguist? How can the corpus linguistics community best support those with little or no programming skills? The BAAL Corpus Linguistics SIG is holding a one-day conference on Friday May 6th at Aston University, Birmingham, inhonour of Adam Kilgarriff. The programme will be comprised of a series of invited talks on the theme of software and programming in Corpus Linguistics, and is intended to provoke a lively and informative discussion around thesetopics. We welcome attendees at all levels of practice though it is anticipated that the day will be of most use to those actively engaged with corpus methods in their own work.

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If anyone is  - or would like to be - into corpus linguistics, this mights just be the right event!

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Ban on parents in pyjamas is a shameful power game

Ban on parents in pyjamas is a shameful power game | How Language Works in the Real World | Scoop.it
A headteacher asked parents not to do the school run in pyjamas – but it says more about those in power than parental morals.
Lingua Digitalis's insight:

This is an interesting one on the power struggles and discourses of shaming and conventionalisation.
 

I have my reservations about the whole wearing-PJs-and-fluffy-pink-socks on the street thing. I don't think it's about power. More like standards, people, standards.

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A linguistic anthropologist explains why, um, “filler words” are OK to use

A linguistic anthropologist explains why, um, “filler words” are OK to use | How Language Works in the Real World | Scoop.it
A few days ago, The New York Times published an article by Christopher Mele about so-called “filler words”, telling people to stop using them. Reporting on language often frustrates me, and this was no exception. In fact, thirty-odd linguists—including me—sent them a letter detailing our many concerns with this article. In particular, the article make
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Applauding Dr Barchas-Lichtenstein for a) clarifying the situation about discourse markers; b) standing up against prescriptivism; c) Calling out "experts" whose expertise doesn't come from real schoalrship. Bravo and more of these please
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The truth and ‘alternative facts’: Language is always subject to change

The truth and ‘alternative facts’: Language is always subject to change | How Language Works in the Real World | Scoop.it
Sales of George Orwell’s 1984 have apparently surged since Kellyanne Conway introduced the phrase “alternative facts” into public discourse.
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This is a good one on the ambiguity of langauge
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New Approaches to Discourse Across Disciplines

New Approaches to Discourse Across Disciplines | How Language Works in the Real World | Scoop.it
One day colloquium, which explores the different ways in which disciplines – such as linguistics and sociology - use discourse analysis in analysing research data.
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Four great speakers and "bring-and-share" on discourse. 
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Make slogans great again

Make slogans great again | How Language Works in the Real World | Scoop.it
As well as being ubiquitous, the key point about the slogan is that it is snappy, clear and dynamic. It reeks of empowerment and action, rather like the “Take Back Control” slogan adopted by the Brexit campaign before the momentous UK referendum vote in June. This is a phrase with verve — and a verb.
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Recent politics in the UK and US have shown us how much in in the language we are bombarded with. We have to be much more conscious to acknowledge this power.
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How to make small talk

How to make small talk | How Language Works in the Real World | Scoop.it
Some people thrive on small talk, while others loathe and dismiss it as a waste of time. But according to Professor of Applied Linguistics at Macquarie University Ingrid Piller, a bit of shallow conversation here and there does serve an important purpose. Speaking to news.com.au, she said small talk is less about what you discuss — the weather, your weekend, a topical news event — and more what it symbolises.
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The Many “Maybes” of Donald Trump

The Many “Maybes” of Donald Trump | How Language Works in the Real World | Scoop.it
Donald Trump is not a master of oratory. Within speeches, he meanders. From speech to speech, he repeats himself. Nobody cares. The point of his perfo
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What grammar pedants and fashion victims have in common

What grammar pedants and fashion victims have in common | How Language Works in the Real World | Scoop.it
Language pedants who take pleasure in policing other people’s use of grammar often have an air of respectability about them, but it’s usually a sheen hiding something more pernicious. Rather than actual rules of language, pedantry deals in half-truths, conventions and arbitrary shibboleths which are too often used to embarrass or undermine.

Remember this if you get pounced upon by a pedant on National Grammar Day.
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In reflection on the threat of spreading prescriptivism in primary schools...
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Intrigued by the weird rhetorical style of Trump? Here is what experts think.

Negative reviews of Donald Trump's rhetorical style are all over the place. A small sample might start with Gary Schmidgall, "What would Shakespeare make of Trump?", The Chronicle Review 2/7/2016:
The current campaign’s race to the bottom of the rhetorical barrel, of course, has been
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Why There's No 'Right' Way To Speak English

Why There's No 'Right' Way To Speak English | How Language Works in the Real World | Scoop.it
The English language is the ultimate code-switcher, gaining multiple personalities when it travels.
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7 Valentine’s Day Fails That Show Why Language Matters

7 Valentine’s Day Fails That Show Why Language Matters | How Language Works in the Real World | Scoop.it

If there’s one time of year when we all fumble around to find just the right words, it’s on Valentine’s Day. That’s because it’s the one day when we all go out of our way to express how we feel about the person we love. While it’s the sentiment behind our words that …...

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Refugee vs. Immigrant: language on immigration negatively affects public opinion

Refugee vs. Immigrant: language on immigration negatively affects public opinion | How Language Works in the Real World | Scoop.it
Students from the Department of Politics and International Relations have carried out a survey which found people are more sympathetic to Syrians settling in the UK when they are referred to as 'refugees' rather than 'migrants'.
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This might come as a surprise to the bloke who confronted me in a debate not so long ago saying that  I was delusional to claim that media never reports the truth... that they are only reporting an interpretation of reality...

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