Investigating English: Translating Linguistic Research for the Secondary English Classroom


Dr Sam Hellmuth, University of York

Dr Ann Taylor, University of York

Dr Rebecca Woods, University of Huddersfield

A taster sized excerpt from recent Continuing Professional Development workshops for teachers of English Language AS/A level at the University of York: we use case studies from new peer-reviewed research to illustrate: i) key concepts in linguistics, and ii) methods for collection and analysis of language data which both teachers and students can use and adapt.

We’ll get you analysing language data for yourself, in an interactive workshop treating topics in LANGUAGE CHANGE such as: is the meaning of quotative ‘be like’ changing, was there a ‘North-South divide’ in Middle English, and does anyone say anybody anymore (and if not, why not)?

The key concept in all of these instances is that language change frequently involves competition between the new and the old way of saying something: we can track the rise of the new form, and the fall of the old, through time, and in the middle of the change both forms will be used by the same speakers. As for methods, we show how you can use the freely available Google Books ngram corpus to investigate these questions and others of your own (Bring Your Own Device to join in), with some reflection on how to design searches that overcome the limitations of the corpus.

We end with a ‘challenge the linguists’ open Q&A: tell us the topics that you want to teach, and we’ll do a live search for relevant research you can ‘reverse-engineer’ for its data, concepts and methods.

Wednesday 5th July, 12.30