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Linguistics Week 8: Final Thoughts

What did you learn?

What didn’t I learn! This class has been so helpful in firming my confidence in teaching grammar and mechanics in the future. I learned different approaches to teaching different aspects of grammar, how to remix them to my tastes, and refreshed my knowledge of the small parts of language mechanics. Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty tips also taught me a great deal about the small ways in which we bastardize the language and how to correct ourselves.

What did we miss that you want to learn?

I feel like, although we learned it isn’t too important, we should have done some time of review of every part of speech and all the small nuances. I know that some people would have despised the work/reading but I personally love just learning about all the little quirks of language.

What worked?

These weekly posts worked—even if I did forget to post that one week; I enjoyed all the responses and insight my peers were giving as well as the responses they were giving to my own posts. I also thought the Grammar in Pop Culture lesson and grammar rants worked, giving us insight into some ways we can make the teaching of grammar more interest-oriented.

What didn’t work?

Honestly, some of the videos about (verbal) linguistics felt out of sync with everything else we were learning and discussing; and I often was at a loss for words when it came to talking about them as I couldn’t glean any meaning deeper than the surface—they didn’t click with all the grammar and mechanics stuff that was central to the course.


[RB] Class Blog: Week 7


Almost there!

I still have all of my Schoolhouse Rock videos even though I no longer have a VHS player because I refused to let my parents get rid of them. So I would definitely say I was excited to see the videos as the majority of our readings for the week. These are great examples of a way to…

That’s an interesting point made about sentence fragments, which I think is a completely understandable mistake; when we speak, fragmentation isn’t much of a big deal as our speech usually has a specific context that can be followed by the listeners; however, in writing, some may make the same mistake in assuming that the reader is able to follow—which is usually true—and the writer is left wondering why readers may not have gotten a full meaning (they aren’t psychic, ya know).

What you say about the poetry lesson is true: it does offer an opportunity for great potential if given time and revision. I know that the most difficult part of writing my poem was finding constructions that would allow for multiple uses of prepositions and would allow follow my rhyme scheme. Great work.


[RB] Untitled: week 7


I really enjoyed the “Schoolhouse Prepositions” video. It was too cute—and incredibly catchy! I think songs are always a great way to engage with learning and make memorization and recitation a little less arduously monotonous. Partnering learning with music has a particularly powerful effect…

Firstly, I love your poem; it was great! Secondly, why is everyone saying that Schoolhouse Rock is outdated? Yes, maybe the animations may not be up to modern standards, but that doesn’t mean the content of the video or the rules of grammar have changed—the videos still make perfect sense and can still be used as instructional tools. I know that right now we’re all about finding tools that our students will love and trying to appeal to their interests, but I hardly think we can rule Schoolhouse Rock out just yet. And, Jennifer, you just supported the idea that cheesy educational songs are great for helping students learn.

I think with rap, electronic/dance, or not, these songs are great for helping students learn processes and rules more easily.


Linguistics Week 7

More than anything, really, the Schoolhouse Rock videos served as items to reminisce over than a source of learning for me. My favorite of three was Unpacking Your Adjectives as I thought it was catchier and more insightful than the other two. This series was a wonderful reason way back when, but I think they can still be useful with today’s classrooms and in the future; not only do the songs describe how to use the parts of speech they talk about, they also actively use what they’re teaching in the lyrics of the song so students are getting a lesson and model text all wrapped in one.

The Grammar Girl podcast I chose to listen to was “Punctuating Questions” (, and in it Grammar Girl describes the different types of questions one could ask as well as how to properly punctuate them. The biggest things I took from this lesson were information on indirect questions and polite requests. An example of an indirect question would be I wonder if Coral would let me borrow her hairdryer. In the example the speaker isn’t asking a direct questions; and although this isn’t a revelatory, I realized that I use this all the time, especially in emails, when I’d like a professor to check something, but I don’t want to feel like I’m putting them out (did that make sense?) and I always wondered if the instructor would realize that I was asking a question even if it didn’t end with a question mark. And then a polite request, she explains, is only “a demand masquerading as a question” which I thought was a clever way to put it; an example would be Would you hand me those gloves. Sounds simple enough, but you end it with a period and not a question mark. This is interesting as students may not realize that some questions don’t actually end with question marks or carry the same inflections; a fun way to teach them/mess with them would be to go through an entire lesson and only ask indirect questions and see what kind of responses—if any—that you get.

Finally, my preposition poem—Untitled

Hand-in-hand the pretty pair went skipping down the way
From what they learned they could tell the dead from a bale of hay.

The two skipped and skipped to escape their duties of work at home.
Near the pond and beyond the bend, they went and went alone.

So, on they skipped, over the bridge and into the forest deep.
Through the forest they made their play and came upon a sheep.

In hearing its painful cries, the children flinched in shock.
Among all things they did not know why this would leave its flock.

Seeing the red that pooled around and matted the sheep’s fleece,
The children knew its time had come and prayed that it’d find peace.

Wolves were said to live in these woods according to the satyr.
The pair of two didn’t know they’d come for them sooner than later.

With howls, with growls, from shadow and in light,
The wolves bounded out of the woods, signing the children’s plight.

Around the pair they stalked, instead of killing quickly.
The wolves were wary of the two; perhaps of getting sickly.

From where they held the other, a gentle light did glow.
When others would have died, the light kept at bay the foes.

Off the beasts had scattered, not sure of what they’d seen.
The children, two, they would not go into the forest again.

This pair is different from other children that you know.
Between the two of us, I’d be cautious of that peculiar glow.

So back to mother they ran, over river, past bend and pond.
In spite of the dangers they had seen, they formed a pact through song
To never tell mother about the adventure they had gone.

I wasn’t sure if the poem was supposed to be about prepositions, but I decided that would be too taxing on my brain and didn’t do that.


[RB] Untitled: Weekly Response....6?


First I want to talk about the “Development of AfricanAmerican English in “Springville” video. Now I don’t have much to say, but I found the video really intriguing because it was almost as if the entire town, its people, and its language had been stuck in a time capsule for the past century…

I agree with your sentiment, Liz, that although we might not notice it, we may probably commit more acts of comma splicing than is acceptable of us—but it happens. And I think admitting it is the first step. My thinking is that comma splices occur for two reasons. The first being that we just may not know all the rules to using commas appropriately. The second, and what I think is a more organic reason, reason is that when we convert thoughts into language into sentences there may be some translation problems and we may write straight from our thoughts; and although it makes perfect sense to the writer, it may not make sense to the reader/audience.

So, I think that this is something that we need to share with our students: writers are fallible, we make mistakes, but we need to recognize when we do. Like the image you posted says, “Only you can prevent comma splices!”


[RB] MS11AR Talib Kweli: Week Six Post


At first glance, the Prezi, “Sentence Combining,” didn’t seem like it would be very engaging for students. I thought that it was be just as effective as a PowerPoint. My opinion changed once I arrived at the practice examples though. I think the examples that were provided were really useful to…

The use of “that” in my writing is extremely prevalent as well and I actually came to the realization a while ago that I was properly using it too much. For students, words like “that”have become so used in speech or are used, at times, so abstractly [that/,] they become what is essentially word-vomit—nonsense that is there to take up space and serve no other purpose. I think [that] this is one of her podcasts that focuses more on the refinement of language and writing than on standard practices of writing and grammar; this is great in showing students that even the little things count.

[I put the that-s I thought could be omitted or replaced in brackets. That’s what those are.]


Grammar Awareness Post

The podcast of me explaining it.

English Club : Learn English : Grammar

Cool. So yeah, this is my grammar awareness post. Like I did for my Remediation project in Thayer’s class, I chose to do another podcast. This one’s much shorter—but 4 minutes. And, as you can see, I’ve provided links to the essential parts of the English Club site.

Happy grammaring.


"It’s a metaphor, see: you put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing."

Augustus Waters, on the metaphorical resonance of not actually smoking your cigarrettes (The Fault in Our Stars)

(via lae4332)


[RB] BLOG TIME: Week 5


Verb practice score: 16/25

I agree with Angela, I had more trouble with these than I thought, but I will keep working on it!! :D

The Grammar Girl post I chose was “Yo as a Pronoun”. I think this fit perfectly with our videos this week for language discrimination and profiling when it comes to…

Very interesting with “yo” being used as a neutral pronoun. When I first saw your post, I thoughtThe people Grammar Girl is talking about might be getting it confused with the interjection “yo”but then I read the podcast script and was firmly intrigued. In these changing times, the use of neutral pronouns are gaining heavy usage (or, at least in the circles I run in) and I think this is an excellent example of descriptivism.

And with the dialects, I think it is always amusing that, the more we learn from our classes, the more we use the people we interact with as miniature case studies—as with your Canadian boyfriend. It’s invading every aspect of our lives! Which is by no means a bad thing. Recently the observer/aid/grad student in my Ed Psych class gave a lecture on one of the chapters and I ended up paying more attention to the way he pronounced certain words (he’s French) than I did on the information; my page of notes was covered with more observations of his speech patterns than notes on the material. It’s a beautiful thing when we can use what you’ve learned to make sense of the world around us.


[RB] British Literature: Week 5 of Mechanically Inclined


I am not sure about anyone else but I spent a great deal of time looking up the definitions to intransitive, transitive, and auxiliary verbs. According to the appalling score I received on the Orwell handout, 15 out of 25 correct, it can be concluded I didn’t do well on comprehending the…

I understand your concerns with the verbs. I had a simple problem. But isn’t that telling? That with all the information going around the Internet and in other resources, persons still have a difficult time with absorption and comprehension? It’s something to consider when teaching students; we can’t go through the normal “comfortable” means as, from what we’ve experienced this week, it isn’t quite working.

And your anecdote about your mother rings similarly true for my father. Born black in Mississippi but raised in Sarasota, FL, my grandmother did everything in her power to raise my father, uncles, and aunts speaking proper English. And my father told me a story about a moment in which his teacher phoned their home to inquire as to where my father learned to speak so properly (because, of course, a little black boy couldn’t possibly be so proper). So the incidents with your mother and my father are interesting as they tell us that the stigma over language is extremely prevalent even in areas where “improper” dialects are acceptable. Something to consider.