Tag Archives: planning documents

Independent Practice: Latitude and Longitude

Here for all you social studies teachers, if you can use it, is anindependent practice worksheet on latitude and longitude that I assign early on in the freshman global studies cycle.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Grammar (n)

Any systematic account of the structure of the language; the patterns that it describes; the branch of linguistics concerned with such patterns.

Often restricted to the study of units that can be assigned a meaning. Distinguished in that light from phonology, e.g. singing is a grammatical unit as are sing and –ing, while s or the syllable si are phonological. Also opposed, thought not always, to a dictionary or the lexicon. E.g. the meanings of sing belong to its entry in the lexicon; the functions of -ing to grammar, where they are described for verbs in general. When limited in both of those ways, the study of grammar reduces to that of morphology and syntax.

Chomsky’s term in the 1960s for the knowledge of a language developed by a child who learns to speak it. A grammar in the widest sense was thus at once a set of rules (32) said to be internalized by members of a speech community, and account, by a linguist, of such a grammar. This internalized grammar is effectively what was later called I-language.”

Excerpted from: Matthews, P.H. The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Argument

“To argue is to produce considerations designed to support a conclusion. An argument is either the process of doing this (in which sense an argument may be heated or protracted) or the product, i.e., the set of propositions adduced (the premises), the pattern of inference, and the conclusion reached. An argument may be deductively valid, in which case the conclusion follows from the premises, or it may be persuasive in other ways. Logic is the study of valid and invalid forms of argument.”

Excerpted from: Blackburn, Simon. The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

A Learning Support on Writers’ Manuals

If you teach writing and want to supply your students with the tools for creating good prose, you might find this short bibliography of writers’ manuals a helpful handout.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Book of Answers: The Riddle of the Sphinx

“What is the riddle of the Sphinx? What animal walks on four legs in the morning, two at noon, and three at night?” the sphinx asks Oedipus, the hero of Sophocles’ play Oedipus Rex (426 B.C.). Oedipus answers that it is man (crawling as an infant, walking erect as an adult, and walking with a staff or cane in old age).”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

The Speech Accent Archive at George Mason University

Last spring, George Mason University (GMU) showed up in the current events column for its record of accepting large contributions from Charles and David Koch.  The Kochs’ money bought them, apparently, some latitude in the hiring of faculty, particularly in the economics department, at GMU. Transparent GMU, an activist group dedicated to exposing the relations between donors and GMU and their effect on disinterested inquiry at this institution went to court over the Koch’s relationship with GMU, which literally put the University on the defensive. GMU is not the only post-secondary institution which has accepted money from the Kochs; indeed, another activist organization, Unkoch My Campus, serves as something of a clearinghouse on the Kochs’ largesse and how it is used to influence inquiry and scholarship in colleges and universities.

Charles and David Koch have long sought scholarly support and credibility for their libertarianism which, by some measures, is a fringe ideology. By way of such organizations as the Cato Institute, Americans for Prosperity, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), they have also sought to shape the political landscape of the United States through “scholarly” writing and political activism–particularly aggressive lobbying. All of this has been extensively documented just about everywhere someone has taken up pen or word processor to report on the David and Charles Koch’s political activities. That said, I particularly recommend Jane Mayer’s thoroughly documented and in every way excellent book Dark Money, which covers the political effects of corporate spending in elections in the United States by the Kochs and other members of their funding network.

Mark’s Text Terminal is not a political blog, but if this blog and its author stand for anything, it is for learning by way of intellectual independence and scholarly disinterest. If wealthy, self-interested Americans seek to create scholarly and/or institutional legitimacy for themselves at the expense of scholarly freedom, then I must speak. This is one of those moments, and one of those situations.

All the news from GMU is not bad, however. The above excursus is simply a long way around to calling teachers’ attention to the interesting and potentially quite useful Speech Accent Archive at George Mason University. This appears to be one of the intellectual bright spots at GMU. For the classroom teacher at the elementary and secondary level, particularly those working with English language learners, I think this is a valuable resource. If nothing else, though, it is a pretty cool piece of scholarship, for which George Mason University, in spite of whatever compromises it made with unscrupulous, self-interested donors, should be commended.

Conceptualism

The theory of universals that sees them as shadows of our grasp of concepts. Conceptualism lies midway between out-and-out nominalism, holding that nothing is common to objects except our applying the same words to them, and any realism which sees universals as existing independently of us and our abilities.”

Excerpted from: Blackburn, Simon. The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.