Musings

This category contains 46 posts

An Ode to Grammar Translation

I admit it—as a language learner I really love certain aspects of the grammar-translation method. I like to learn words, phrases and structures and compare them to those in the languages I already know. Seeing where the gaps are in how the target language maps onto the others, and looking for systematicity in the way … Continue reading

Pleasant Surprises from Dept. of Transpo

The CBC story Too rude for the road — government yanks man’s last name from licence plate may have been the most hilarious new story I’ve heard this week, for many reasons, including the quotes from the guy at the centre of the story, as well as the  partial list of vanity license plates rejected in … Continue reading

Canadian Spelling up in Smoke?

By now, my friends and family have become used to my regular raging as we drive past The Center on Windsor Street. I have nothing against the mission of this “hub of openness fostering community and collective growth”, but regarding their name…COULDN’T THEY HAVE SPELLED IT THE CANADIAN WAY? The other industry in Canada that … Continue reading

Glass Houses and Stones

I’m a total CBC fangirl, but nonetheless, on a regular basis you can find me raging out at my radio,  verbalizing my disagreement with some host or guest, much to the entertainment/chagrin of my partner. Saturday’s episode of Day Six was one such occasion. Host Brent Bambury interviewed Ross and Kathy Petras on their new book You’re … Continue reading

Does Morality Change in a Foreign Language?

I just came across this interesting article in Scientific American: How Morality Changes in a Foreign Language. I admit when I saw the title, I was expecting it to be another re-hash of linguistic relativity, aka. the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.  However, the focus of this article is not on comparisons of how speakers of different language … Continue reading

An Illustrated Style Guide?

I heard about The Elements of Style Illustrated on the radio this past weekend. Illustrator Maira Kalman  had worked her magic on the ol’ Strunk and White chestnut and I was intrigued. An illustrated style guide? I pictured jazzy artistic renderings of the syntactic sentence trees I had to do in my undergrad. However, a bit … Continue reading

Corpus-based Grammars and Style Guides

I gave the keynote address at the AWELL Conference a few months ago, and one of the practical suggestions I included in my talk for writing teachers working with English language learners was to try to draw on corpus-based grammars and style guides based on real language use vs. those that try to pass off personal … Continue reading

EAP Reading: Defining the Relationship

Here’s an interesting article that could make for a great reading for a class of EAP students about to enter their degree programs. As summarized by academica.ca: Students need to better understand the role of a professor, writes CHE contributor “I wonder if college students today truly understand the nature of their relationship to professors,” … Continue reading

Chatbots and Academic Writing?

Today I came across this article on a university teaching assistant who was actually a computer. “Ms. Watson” managed to fool students and fellow TAs alike, as “she” quickly and accurately answered the barrage of questions on the online forum for a computer science course in Georgia. Many of the questions this robot, and most of us teaching … Continue reading

AWELL 2016: Keynote Address

I’m giving the keynote address on the opening day of the Academic Writing and English Language Learners (AWELL) conference being held at Saint Mary’s University tomorrow. It’s a really neat conference which brings together a range of people who deal with writing in the university environment: ESL/EAP instructors, writing support centre tutors and administrators, and … Continue reading

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