Tools of the trade: Software for exploring linguistic and communicative patternings.
Ben Clarke, Portsmouth University
The following workshop will be held Wednesday, November 13, 2013.
4pm-6pm. Room 3.58 John Percival Building, Cardiff University.
Tools of the trade: Software for exploring linguistic and communicative patternings
In this workshop, I demonstrate ‘live’ the use of several computational software packages for conducting the analysis of patterned linguistic and communicative behaviour in natural data. The tools considered are ELAN, UAM CorpusTool, SketchEngine and AntConc. As well as offering some brief but summative impressions of the potential of the software packages in general, I illustrate the tools’ principles with reference to data and analysis from an on-going project of my own (Clarke, 2012). Here, I explore whether ellipsis of the situationally-recoverable type is coordinated with recurrent and patterned behaviour in embodied semiotic systems.
Clarke, B.P. (2012) ‘A multi-modal analysis of situationally recoverable types of ellipsis: Which of the embodied modalities are implicated?’. 6th International Conference on Multimodality, University of London, August 2012.
The Centre for Language and Communication Research (CLCR) is delighted to announce that the HIV/AIDS education comic stories produced in South Africa as a result of Dr Lisa El Refaie‘s research into metaphor and autobiographical comics can now be viewed at http://bit.ly/19HSuyD.
Whizzkids United (WKU) teamed up with CLCR and ENCAP at Cardiff Universityfor a youth development workshop at the WKU Health Academy. 29 boys and girls attended the workshop and participated in the activities, which included ‘Tree-of-Life’ sessions, team building games and a comic strip workshop, which helped the youth to express their feelings and communicate about challenges in their lives.
At the end of the workshop all participants had gained confidence, made new friends, received a certificate, and produced a great piece of comic work. ENCAPtook the comics and had them produced professionally so they could be shared with our global supporters.
Please visit the page to see what fabulous work was done in Kwa-zulu Natal by teenagers with or at risk of HIV, using Lisa‘s research.
If you know anyone who is involved in world health work, HIV education, or in telling stories through comics, please tell them about this project and ask them to pass the word around.
This has been a wonderful team effort and many thanks are due to:
- Lisa El Refaie for the original research and for designing the training materials
- Upside Comics and Ian Williams for expert input on materials
- Marcus McGilvray, Ben Edwards and many members of the Whizzkids United (WKU) Health Academy team in Edendale, South Africa for delivering the materials there (Marcus has also delivered the workshops in Ghana)
- The teenagers who produced the cartoons
- Steve Marchant for making the booklet so professional and colourful
- Nathan Heslop in ENCAP for creating the booklet and pdfs for us
- Stefan Kunze of WKU for putting the website together
- Sponsors of the WKU and the workshops including Meal a Day, Liverpool FC Foundation and Bic
- Stephen Rouse and the Cardiff Impact team and for practical and financial support.
- The ENCAP Impact team, esp Frances Rock for lots of advice, Julie Alford and Rebecca Galimberti for scanning and saving images, and Nathan Heslop and Dean Burnett for ensuring they were readable.
A workshop on Word Grammar with Prof Dick Hudson
On Thursday May 23 2013, Prof Dick Hudson visited us at Cardiff University to explain a bit more about Word Grammar generally and to tackle a few issues that we’ve been working on in our own research. The slides from parts of this are available on Dick’s website here.
It was very interesting and I learned a lot – I love sessions like this that really make you think and make you challenge your own ideas about theory, representation and practice. I found Word Grammar quite compatible with my own interests in systemic functional linguistics and in cognitive linguistics. I first heard about Word Grammar years ago when I was living in France. I was interested in dependency approaches to grammatical theory. Word Grammar strikes me as the most accessible.
As explained in the workshop, Word Grammar makes the following claims:
- Language is just ordinary knowledge applied to words
- This means that language is a mental network
- The nodes in this network are conceptual; i.e. they are concepts and can been seen as atoms
- The concepts are defined by their links to other concepts
- The organisation of the network (concepts) is by ISA hierarchies.
Word Grammar is a usage based account of language, where the network is built out of episodic memories. It makes a distinction between tokens, which are ad hoc creations, and types, which are stored. Since tokens have distinct properties, they are treated as distinct concepts. In this sense, tokens are affected by context.
There is much more to be said about all of this of course! If you are interested, then have a look at Dick’s website where you will find many resources including papers and links to his books.
In terms of my own interests, I have been working on the problem of what I’ve been calling ‘p-items’ (prepositions, particles etc.) and the workshop was particularly helpful in developing my thinking on this. As Dick pointed out in the workshop, different syntax tends to express different meaning. However, he also added a very important point and this is that synchronic properties reflect diachonry. We discussed the case of AROUND, which etymologically is rooted in a PREP + NOUN construction (ON + ROUND). There are quite a few modern ‘words’ like this that seem to maintain their preposition function in some instances/uses and their noun function in others. So AROUND seems to be a kind of flexible word (type) that can be used in a PREPOSITION slot (e.g. around the pole) and in a NOUN slot (e.g. He is around cf He is home or He is here). So I’ll be looking to see if Word Grammar can help me finish off my paper on p-items that is long overdue!
The How Does Language Work? Conference will be held at Aston University, Thursday 27th June and/or Friday 28th June, 2013.
I’ll be teaching there on Friday June 28th, where I will be giving a session on the noun phrase (nominal group) and focussing specifically on the role of nominalisation.
My collegues Tom Bartlett and Gerard O’Grady will also be taking part. Tom will examine the clause as a pattern of wording built around a verb and how they can be combined to expand meaning potential. Gerard will explore Halliday’s notion of “theme”.
We’re really exciting about taking part in this – it looks like a great event and a great opportunity to really engage with teachers who have such an important impact on students’ understanding of how language works. The aim of this conference is to help “move learners from everyday language to the academic language needed to succeed”.
Here is he full list of speakers:
Professor J R Martin, University of Sydney (Australia)
Associate Professor Sue Hood, University of Technology (Australia)
Tom Bartlett, Cardiff University (UK)
Lise Fontaine, Cardiff University (UK)
Gerard O’Grady, Cardiff University (UK)
Geoff Thompson, University of Liverpool (UK)
Brian Dare, Director of Lexis Education and international consultant for language and literacy
For more information see the conference website: <a href=”http://www1.aston.ac.uk/lss/research/centres-institutes/language-education-research/news-and-events/how-does-language-work-conference/”http://www1.aston.ac.uk/lss/research/centres-institutes/language-education-research/news-and-events/how-does-language-work-conference/
The 3rd LinC Summer School will be held September 8-10 2014 at Cardiff University. Details will follow soon!
FuzzyLaw a resource for interpreters, legal professionals and others who encounter or study the law, created by my colleague Dr Frances Rock in the Centre for Language and Communication Research at Cardiff University.
Click here to learn more about it.
If you are interested in sharing what you think you understand about the meanings of legal terms, then maybe you’d like to take part in the research into this area. Have a look at the study page: http://flaw.cardiff.ac.uk/.
To take part, you will have to be able to confirm the following:
- English is my ‘first language’ or ‘mother tongue’; I speak English as a ‘native speaker’
- I have lived in England or Wales for at least 10 years
- I do not and never have worked directly in the criminal legal system (for example, as a police officer, solicitor or barrister)
- I do not and have never worked as an interpreter or translator
- I am not studying and have never studied language and communication nor law
3rd LinC Summer School, 2014
We’re starting to plan for the next summer school, to be held in September 2014 in Cardiff. Watch this space!
I have just realised I haven’t posted anything since the summer school in September. The past semester was really busy and of course before you know it, the December holidays hit and time just flies by.
The big news is that we submitted the final manuscript for our edited volume on Choice. This project has been in development for quite some time now and so it is really very satisfying to see it all come together. I’ll post details below but do keep an eye out for the following publication later this year (not likely before autumn 2013):
Systemic Functional Linguistics: Exploring Choice. Fontaine, L, Bartlett, T. and O’Grady, G. (eds.) Cambridge: CUP.
This volume has been motivated by the need for theoretical consistency and comprehensiveness in using the notion of choice in language. Consideration of what is perhaps the key concept in SFL has to date been piecemeal and generally implicit, concealing diverse and often incompatible assumptions. Systemic Functional Linguistics: Exploring Choice brings together a variety of linguistic perspectives, informed by evolutionary theory, psychology, sociology and neuroscience, to produce a complex but unifying account of how the different senses of choice as process and as product are interdependent and how they operate at all levels of language.
Table of Contents
- Choice in contemporary systemic functional theory, Lise Fontaine
- Meaning as choice, MAK Halliday
- The teleological illusion in linguistic ‘drift’: choice and purpose in semantic evolution, David Butt, Kathryn Tuckwell, Alison Moore
- Choice and language variation: some theoretical reflections, Maria Freddi
- Grammatical choice and communicative motivation: A radical systemic approach , Carl Bache
Semantic options and complex functions: a recursive view of choice, Lise Fontaine
- Choice and choosing in Systemic Functional Grammar: What is it and how is it done?, Robin Fawcett
- Systemic Networks, Relational Networks, and Choice, Sydney Lamb
- The twin paradoxes of unconscious choices and unintentional agents: what neurosciences say about choice and agency in action and language , Elissa Asp
- A Neurocognitive Interpretation of Systemic-Functional Choice, Jose Maria Gil
- There-constructions as a choice for coherence in the recent history of English, Ana Martínez Insua
- Picking an argument: politicians’ choice of persuasive strategies, Geoff Thompson
- A dynamic view of choice in writing: composition as text evolution, Michael O’Donnell
- Choice, System, Realization: describing language as meaning potential, Ruqaiya Hasan
- ‘Choice’ in relation to context: A diachronic perspective on cultural valeur, Claire Urbach
- Material Action as Choice in Field, Wendy Bowcher
- “I’ll Manage the Context”: Context, Environment and the Potential for Institutional Change, Tom Bartlett
- Towards a Study of the Differences between Formal Written English and Informal Spoken English, Margaret Berry
- Genre-driven constraints on semantic choice, Victor Castel
- Choices in analyzing choice: Methods and techniques for register analysis, Elke Teich
- ‘Register-idiosyncratic’ evaluative choice in Congressional debate: a corpus-assisted comparative study, Donna Miller and Jane Johnson
- Not exactly black letter law: emergent choices and textual symbolic design in Athenian legal-political oratory, Astika Kappagoda
- Interlanguage lexicogrammatical fossilization or not? That’s an SFL-related question from the viewpoint of choice, Pedro Henrique Lima Praxedes Filho
The 2nd LinC Summer School and Workshop 2012
It’s the final day of the summer school and although we are all tired, it’s been great!
The introductory course has covered the three main strands of meaning in the SFL framework. We have had people come from all over the world and it’s been a great opportunity for us all to learn from each other. The introductory course was taught by our resident SFLers: me (Lise Fontaine), Tom Bartlett and Gerard O’Grady. In addition to the basics of functional grammar, we also offered an introductory workshop on using the UAM CorpusTool.
The applied course focussed on education, including classroom discourse and literacy.
On Monday morning, Sheena Gardner gave a lecture and workshop on exploring university student writing through the BAWE corpus. Participants were given an opportunity to explore the BAWE corpus. Then on Monday afternoon, Geoff Thompson explored how interpersonal choices contribute to the construction of the reader-in-the-text in UK newspaper editorials. The workshop looked at how some of the interpersonal resources are deployed in specific text types, showing how they are used to engage readers and encourage affiliation with the opinions expressed.
Izaskun Elorza and Blanca García-Riaza from Salamanca looked at teaching ‘reported speech’ on Tuesday morning. Their emphasis was on how a systemic approach may help overcome the still existing bridge between a purely formal approach and the well-established communicative approach to the teaching of languages. Claire Acevedo introduced the Reading to Learn literacy acceleration program, which uses Systemic Functional Linguistics in education to dramatically accelerate literacy and learning.
this morning, Mick O’Donnell showed how to use the UAM CorpusTool to analyse classroom discourse, covering the basics of how to use the software and showing us how to get more out of it with some of the advanced features. This afternoon Margaret Berry will lead discussions of practical applications of SFL in education.
I’d like to give huge thanks to our volunteer helpers: Rowan Campbell, Katy Jones and Jaspal Singh. We’d have been completely lost without their contributions.
Watch this space to find out more about our next summer school!
As part of the research seminar series presented by the Centre for Language and Communication Research at Cardiff University, Dr Paul Tench will be presenting his work on developing alphabets for unwritten languages.
The talk will take place on 25th April 2012 at 2.15pm in room 3.58 of the Humanities Building at Cardiff University.
Dr Paul Tench will explain the technique used by the charity “The Seed Company” to facilitate the development of an alphabet by the speakers of unwritten languages, with special reference to recent experience in Zambia’s remote Western Province. The linguist facilitates, but the community decides.
For more information about Paul’s work, please his video account on his work on the new Zambian alphabet: Cardiff linguist Paul Tench helps new Zambian alphabet (BBC Wales).