Teaching Linguistics in High School—Sven Slater and Ollie Bickford SpecGram Vol CLXXX, No 1 Contents Rosetta Stein—German Language Delivery System—Advertisement

Teacher, Teacher On The Wall...

Mead D’’Cruft

Many linguistics teachers have a habit of splashing their IDs across laboriously crafted plaques hanging on/outside their office doors. The purpose seems to be to help students and other incidental passers-by navigate the proverbial dull uniformity of academic corridors, on three assumptions:

  1. That students can read.
  2. That students will read.
  3. That students can and will retain what they read.

That these assumptions are manifestly unfounded emerges from data gleaned from one particular door identifying its bouncer as

Dr Madalena Cruz-Ferreira

The exact same text was found in countless printed/printable documents diligently circulated among each student cohort, at regular intervals in each semester, on- and off-line, in- and out-campus. Below, however, is a random corpus of printed/printable student renditions (SRs) of the above underlying representation (UR), taken from a random cohort in random order of appearance:

The research question then inevitably arises of what to make of/do with sets of intriguing SRs such as this one. As inevitably, any averagely gifted linguistics teacher with a keen sense of improvisation, pedagogic flexibility, and carpe verbum, will answer that similarly generated corpora can be used to introduce linguistics itself. Examples follow, with one suggested class project per topic.


Assess the extent of tongue- and larynx-twisting phenomena arising from spontaneous reading out loud the above data, taking into particular consideration consonant clusters, geminated consonants, rhoticity, vowel harmony/dissonance, and the prosodic effect of hyphenation.


Account for the allomorphomy of alternations such as Mdm./Mrs, Magdalagne/Magdelina, De- Cruz/Crux, Cruise/MCF, or Fer/Perira.


Discuss the minimalist projection of {Madalena} {Cruz} {-} {Ferreira} collocations, in their fixed superficial order, against the maximalist significance of postulating maverick blank { }s to license freely-moveable profound constituency.


Provide a truth-conditional network reflecting the impact of the given corpus on the call-to-action encapsulated in the meaning of the sememe Cry.


What cognito-braino-executive control functions can be uniquely blamed for assumed corrections such as Fraser and uncorrected SRs such as everything else in this corpus? Explain your answer.


Give an ethnographic and anthropocentric account of the presence vs. absence of honorifics in the data, supported by mixed qualitative and quantitative methods based on equally mixed/code-switched multilingual/multicultural theorisation.

Child Language Acquisition.

Describe phonetic, phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic, psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic (c)overt (dis)similarities between underlying and surface forms in this corpus and any corpus of your choice from typically developing children aged 0;9 to 1;6.

Computational Linguistics (aka The Challenge Supremo).

Write a set of ordered and foolproof rules deriving all the SRs in this corpus from their UR.

...Who’s The Nearest One Of All?

Teaching Linguistics in High SchoolSven Slater and Ollie Bickford
Rosetta SteinGerman Language Delivery SystemAdvertisement
SpecGram Vol CLXXX, No 1 Contents