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Linguistics at School


  • Page extent: 328 pages
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521887014)

Linguistics at School
Cambridge University Press
9780521887014 - Linguistics at School - Language Awareness in Primary and Secondary Education - Edited by Kristin Denham and Anne Lobeck

Linguistics at School

Linguistics is a subject that has remained largely confined to the academy, rather than being integrated into school curricula. This is unfortunate but not surprising as, although some teacher education programs include courses on linguistics, it is not comprehensively integrated into teacher education, so it is largely absent from the curriculum.

This volume brings together a team of leaders in the field of linguistics and education, to provide an overview of the current state of research and practice. It demonstrates changes which can be made to teaching, such as revising teachers’ preparation, developing and implementing practical applications of linguistics in both primary and secondary classrooms, partnering linguists with classroom teachers, and working to improve state and national education standards. The contributors emphasize the importance of collaboration between professional linguists and educators in order to meet a common goal: to raise awareness of the workings of language.

The editors Kristin Denham is Associate Professor of English and Linguistics at Western Washington University. Her work includes articles on theoretical syntax and linguistics in education and she is co-editor with Anne Lobeck of Language in Schools: Integrating Linguistic Knowledge into K-12 Education (2005). Denham and Lobeck are also co-authors of Linguistics for Everyone: An Introduction (2009).

Anne Lobeck is Professor of English and Linguistics at Western Washington University. Her work includes articles on theoretical syntax and linguistics in education, and in addition to her two books with Kristin Denham she is author of Ellipsis: Functional Heads, Licensing and Identification (1995) and Discovering Grammar: An Introduction to English Sentence Structure (2000).

Linguistics at School

Language Awareness in Primary and Secondary Education

Edited by

Kristin Denham and Anne Lobeck

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo, Delhi, Dubai, Tokyo

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title:

© Cambridge University Press 2010

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2010

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge

A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library

ISBN 978-0-521-88701-4 Hardback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party Internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.


Notes on contributors
Foreword: The challenge for education
Ray Jackendoff
Kristin Denham and Anne Lobeck
Part I    Linguistics from the top down: encouraging institutional change
1         Ideologies of language, art, and science
Edwin Battistella
2         Bringing linguistics into the school curriculum: not one less
Wayne O’Neil
3         How linguistics has influenced schools in England
Richard Hudson
4         Supporting the teaching of knowledge about language in Scottish schools
Graeme Trousdale
5         Envisioning linguistics in secondary education: an Australian exemplar
Jean Mulder
6         Linguistics and educational standards: the California experience
Carol Lord and Sharon Klein
7         Developing sociolinguistic curricula that help teachers meet standards
Jeffrey Reaser
8         Linguistic development in children’s writing: changing classroom pedagogies
Debra Myhill
Part II   Linguistics from the bottom up: encouraging classroom change
9         From cold shoulder to funded welcome: lessons from the trenches of dialectally diverse classrooms
Rebecca S. Wheeler
10        Positioning linguists as learners in K-12 schools
Long Peng and Jean Ann
11        Fostering teacher change: effective professional development for sociolinguistic diversity
Julie Sweetland
12        On promoting linguistics literacy: bringing language science to the English classroom
Maya Honda, Wayne O’Neil, and David Pippin
13        Linguistics in a primary school
Kristin Denham
14        Educating linguists: how partner teaching enriches linguistics
Anne Lobeck
15        The Linguistic Olympiads: academic competitions in linguistics for secondary school students
Ivan Derzhanski and Thomas Payne
Part III  Vignettes: voices from the classroom
16        And you can all say haboo: enriching the standard language arts curriculum with linguistic analysis
Angela Roh
17        Code switching: connecting written and spoken language patterns
Karren Mayer and Kirstin New
18        A primary teacher’s linguistic journey
Deidre Carlson
19        Why do VCE English Language?
Caroline Thomas and Sara Wawer
20        Language lessons in an American middle school
Athena McNulty
21        The diary of Opal Whiteley: a literary and linguistic mystery
David Pippin
22        Using the Voices of North Carolina curriculum
Leatha Fields-Carey and Suzanne Sweat
23        A-level English Language teaching in London
Dan Clayton

Notes on contributors

Jean Ann is an associate professor of Linguistics at the State University of New York, Oswego. Her research concerns the relationship between linguistics and K-12 teaching, L2 sound systems, TESOL in urban schools, and the structure and use of sign languages. She conducts professional development with ESL/bilingual teachers. Her recent publications include a book about Taiwan Sign Language handshapes and an article about urban education.

Edwin Battistella is Professor of English and Writing at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, where he served as Dean of the School of Arts and Letters and as Interim Provost. His publications include four books: Markedness: The Evaluative Superstructure of Language (1990), The Logic of Markedness (1996), Bad Language: Are Some Words Better Than Others? (2005), and Do You Make These Mistakes in English? The Story of Sherwin Cody’s Famous Language School (2008). Battistella’s work has also appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Academe, and the Vocabula Review, and he is currently the co-editor-in-chief of Wiley-Blackwell’s Language and Linguistic Compass.

Deidre Carlson taught in a public elementary school setting for eighteen years before becoming a private school teacher. She holds degrees in English and Education. She is currently working on the curriculum for Fairhaven Girls’ School in Bellingham, Washington, and is excited about developing a strong linguistics program within that curriculum.

Dan Clayton teaches English Language A-level to 16–18-year-olds at St. Francis Xavier Sixth Form College in south London and is an A-level examiner. He runs a Language blog aimed at students and teachers of English Language ( and has been involved in forging links between university linguists and A-level teachers with a series of conferences and workshops.

Kristin Denham is Associate Professor of Linguistics in the English Department at Western Washington University. Her current research focus is

on the integration of linguistics into K-12 education. She and Anne Lobeck received a National Science Foundation grant for the integration of linguistics in education, and they are also co-editors of Language in the Schools: Integrating Linguistic Knowledge into K-12 Teaching (2005). They are co-authors of Linguistics for Everyone (2009), an introductory linguistics textbook, as well as other textbooks for teachers.

Ivan Derzhanski has been the principal person in charge of the extracurricular activities in linguistics for secondary school students in Bulgaria since 1998. He is one of the founders of the International Olympiad in Linguistics and a key member of its organizing committee, problem committee, and jury. He has authored over fifty linguistic problems.

Leatha Fields-Carey teaches English at Johnston County Middle College High School in Smithfield, North Carolina. She has taught for sixteen years with the Johnston County school system and is certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Maya Honda is an associate professor of Human Development at Wheelock College in Boston. Her work in linguistics education focuses on making linguistic inquiry conceptually accessible to all students. She is co-author with Wayne O’Neil of Understanding First and Second Language Acquisition (2004) and Thinking Linguistically: A Scientific Approach to Language (2008).

Richard Hudson’s interest in educational linguistics started in the 1960s while working with Michael Halliday and continued as a sideline through a career at University College London in descriptive and theoretical linguistics. He continues to build bridges between linguistics and schools, such as downloadable material on grammar for teachers at

Ray Jackendoff is Seth Merrin Professor of Philosophy and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. His primary research is on the semantics of human languages and its connections to the conceptual system and to linguistic expression. He was 2003 President of the Linguistic Society of America and also the 2003 recipient of the Jean Nicod Prize in Cognitive Philosophy. His books include Foundations of Language and Language, Consciousness, Culture.

Sharon Klein is a professor of Linguistics in the English Department and Linguistics/TESL Program at California State University, Northridge. She has worked and taught in several areas of educational linguistics, with a commitment to raising preparing teachers’ awareness both of aspects of language itself and of the nature of linguistics as a critical field of inquiry.

Anne Lobeck is Professor of English at Western Washington University. Her publications include Discovering Grammar: An Introduction to English Sentence Structure (2000), and as co-editor with Kristin Denham, of Language in the Schools: Integrating Linguistic Knowledge into K-12 Teaching (2005). Lobeck and Denham are also co-principal investigators on a National Science Foundation grant to improve linguistics education in elementary and secondary schools.

Carol Lord has a joint appointment at California State University Long Beach as Associate Professor in the Department of Teacher Education and the Department of Linguistics. Her research interests include literacy development, language issues in content area assessment, grammaticalization, and African languages. A former public school teacher, she is currently investigating the efficacy of electronic books in after-school programs for struggling readers.

Karren Mayer has worked twenty-six years as a kindergarten, 1st-, and 2nd-grade teacher, and currently serves as a communication skills specialist for Norfolk Public Schools, working with K-5 students. She also does ongoing staff development with teachers. She is currently working at Larchmont Elementary in Norfolk, Virginia. She received a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a master of science degree in Education, specializing in reading.

ATHENA MCNULTY is an 8th-grade English teacher at Cascade Middle School in Sedro-Woolley, Washington. She has a BA in English, and an MA in Teaching, both from Western Washington University, where, as part of her BA degree, Athena took linguistics courses from Anne Lobeck. McNulty and Lobeck worked together as partner teachers at Cascade Middle School in 2007.

Jean Mulder is a senior lecturer in the School of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Melbourne. Her research ranges over educational linguistics, language documentation, and grammatical and discourse analysis, covering a variety of languages including Australian English, Sm’algyax (Canada), Ganalbingu (Australia), siSwati (Swaziland), Cree (Canada), and the Philippine languages.

Debra Myhill is Professor of Education at the University of Exeter, and Head of the School of Education. Her research interests focus principally on aspects of language and literacy teaching, including underachievement, equality issues, children’s writing, and talk in the classroom. She is the author of Better Writers (2001), Talking, Listening, Learning: Effective Talk in the Primary Classroom (2006), and the Handbook of Writing Development (forthcoming).

Kirstin New has worked as a 1st- and 2nd-grade teacher and as a communication skills specialist for Norfolk Public Schools. She is currently working as a literacy teacher at Larchmont Elementary School in Norfolk, Virginia. She received a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a master of science degree in Education, specializing in reading.

Wayne O’Neil is Professor of Linguistics at MIT and an instructor in human development at Wheelock College, working on linguistics in the school curriculum and second-language acquisition. With Maya Honda, he is co-author of Understanding First and Second Language Acquisition (2004) and Thinking Linguistically (2007). O’Neil has long been connected with educational practice: at Oregon Curriculum Study Project (1962–1966), at Harvard University (1965–1973; 1977–1986), and at Wheelock College (1991–).

Thomas Payne is a linguistics consultant with SIL International, and general co-chair of the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad. He has done major linguistic fieldwork on North American, South American, and Austronesian languages. He is the founder of the US Linguistics Olympiad and an advisory board member of the International Linguistics Olympiad.

Long Peng is an associate professor of Linguistics at the State University of New York, Oswego. His research focuses on phonology and education. The phenomena he has studied span languages from Kikuyu, Warao, and Taiwan Sign Language to Hong Kong and Singapore English, Nigerian English, and English of Spanish speakers. His work in education concentrates on linguistics in K-12 schools, urban education, and education research.

David Pippin teaches English and boatbuilding at Billings Middle School in Seattle,Washington and has taught for eighteen years in both public and private schools at the elementary and middle school levels. It was a need to bring a constructivist pedagogy to the English curriculum that led him to the field nine years ago. Formal training came at the 2005 Linguistics Society of America’s summer institute.

Jeffrey Reaser is an assistant professor in the teacher education and linguistics programs at NC State University. His primary research involves developing, implementing, and measuring the effects of dialect awareness programs in the public schools. He is co-author of the Do You Speak American? and Voices of North Carolina curricula.

Angela Roh has been an educator in the public school system for the past eight years, and currently teaches language arts at Oliver M. Hazen High School in Renton, Washington. She holds bachelor’s degrees in Linguistics and Secondary English Education, both earned at Western Washington University. She has also earned a master’s degree from Lesley University in Educational Curriculum and Instruction.

Suzanne Sweat currently teaches Freshmen English at Clayton High School. She received her undergraduate degree in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her teaching certificate from East Carolina University.

Julie Sweetland is a senior research associate at the Center for Inspired Teaching, where her current research projects focus on the nature of teaching and learning in District of Columbia public schools and the process of teacher change. Julie has several years of experience as a classroom teacher in a variety of urban contexts and a background in curriculum design. She is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she first got interested in educational linguistics, and holds an MS and Ph.D. in Linguistics from Stanford University.

Caroline Thomas has been teaching English and ESL for over thirty years. A keen interest and studies in Linguistics at the University of Melbourne inspired her involvement in English Language. She has participated in its development as a teacher, examiner, co-author of a textbook, and provider of professional development and tutor.

Graeme Trousdale is a senior lecturer in English Language at the University of Edinburgh. In addition to research interests in grammaticalization, Construction Grammar, and non-standard varieties of English, he is committed to work in educational linguistics, particularly that which involves collaboration with high school teachers and students across the United Kingdom.

Sara Wawer has been a teacher of English, French, and Hebrew in Government and Private Schools in Victoria for over thirty years. She majored in Linguistics in her Arts degree at Monash University and has gained a Masters of Educational Studies. Sara currently teaches English Language and mentors beginning teachers in this subject.

Rebecca Wheeler works with K-14 urban schools to bring linguistic insights and strategies to the dialectally diverse classroom. She is an associate professor of English Language and Literacy at Christopher Newport University in Virginia. Recent publications include Code-switching: Teaching Standard English in Urban Classrooms (2006) and “Becoming Adept at Code-switching,” in Educational Leadership: The Journal of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) (2008).

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