Language Maintenance, Shift, and Death(and Aziz Ansari)

The section from our reading of Chapter 8 that boiled the most thought in my brain was section 8.3. In this section the author discusses examples of the maintenance, shifts and even deaths in languages throughout history.

When the author was explaining three major terms in language, I couldn’t help but think of our current situation in America. We are encountering currently a bit of a language shift in terms of the Spanish language. This is evident when you compare schools from the early 20th century to schools today. Spanish classes are booming and even sometimes required( as in the case of my 8 years in a Catholic grade school). Schools are seeing the need for people to know this language that is becoming a dominant one in our culture and society. Many jobs today are even requiring or wanting someone who is bi-lingual in Spanish in English. At the same time, I do not think we are experiencing a language death when it comes to English, I think many are trying to maintain our native English language but that we won’t see it die out and replaced by Spanish in our society any time soon.

The last thing that struck me in the Introducing Sociolinguistics writing was when they were talking about last surviving speakers of many languages. It is not only a common thing that has happened in the past, and even now, it is a tragedy to history and language itself. The loss of these languages can and have prevented us from learning about these cultures and their peoples history. I remembered reading an article on 10 different cases of this death of language happening and thought I would share it. It is really quite interesting feel free to take a read! 

12 Last Known Speakers Of A Language



Reflections on Composition Project

Since I covered most of the paragraph writing from the half sheet we got in class today in my authors note, I decided to reflect on the 4 bullet questions at the bottom of the sheet.

I loved using film as a medium. I hadn’t worked too much with it in the past, but was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was for me to work with. I love the element of writing, images, video and music being combined in one project. I will use film medium in my future projects I am sure now that  I am comfortable with it.

I chose the song just because I love the artist and I had been listening to it a lot at the time I was making the video. I chose images that were interesting and relevant to my point. I also tried to find a few that held a sense of humor because that is generally a direction I prefer to take when doing something creative like this.

The audio and visual effects of my project I think make it streamline. They help me tell a more interesting story than I would have just writing a Word document. I am a very visual and audio person so this project was right up my alley using things like images, movie and music.

The only thing I would do differently is maybe slow down the pace of the film? I thought it flowed better as a quick short film but maybe my audience felt it was too quick? I tend to do things in a quick manner which I have been scolded for by teachers in the past, yet it is in my nature and I cannot seem to help the pace I work at. I probably should have been more considerate that everyone does not read or comprehend at the fast rate I do. That may sound narcissistic in a way, I don’t mean it rudely, just factually, some people do things slower or quicker than others. Other than that I am very happy with my project and feel it says everything I wanted it to about my main point in a creative way.


Overall I feel very good about this project, I had a lot of fun working on it.

Here is some more Leo DiCaprio as Romeo incase there wasn’t enough in my project for your liking;)

tumblr_mxj5nlQ9Ao1qccbedo1_r2_500 tumblr_mxj5nlQ9Ao1qccbedo2_r2_500

Final Composition Project

Here it is my labor of love, final composition video project. The main point I am trying to show in this video is that politics and digital writing are always present and ever evolving in the classrooms of higher learning (High School and College). I have myself experienced this evolution and presence throughout my education.

The few things I hope you will grade me on is:
1. Did my use of props help make my video stand out and set a good stage for my main point?
2. Did my use of photos and video help make my video more interesting to the viewer?

1. Was my topic too broad or ambitious (since it’s both politics and digital writing)?
2. Did I spend enough time explaining my ideas/experiences on topics and not too much time focusing on one?

1. Did the view understand the main point I was trying to make when watching the video?
2. Was the video enjoyable to watch and a unique take on a way to display the information?
3. Does my viewer know the artist of the song I used? (just curious!)

Thanks hope you enjoyed my film! It took me about 6 hours from beginning to the final product and I’m pretty proud of it. I usually don’t work with film media but really found myself quite interested in it during and after this project. Will think more highly of using film media to present my ideas in the future!

Composition Project

I have been working really hard on this video and finally feel like I have it to where I want it! It’s my composition project in a film medium. I made a video about my personal experience with the evolution of digital writing and politics in the classroom throughout my high school and college English/Composition courses.

Pondering Politics

Politics in the classroom is a completely natural element in my educational life. This is because I’m a history major and politics makes up 85% of what we learn (please note that number is not factual in basis, but politics do come up all the time in our studies). However when it comes to politics in a English classroom where writing is the dominant factor, as our authors proved it can be treacherous waters.
The first author believes that he teaches in a political style because it “puts ideological conflicts at the center of literary works” (Graff 67). He explains using the example of race, that not everyone reads something and interprets it the same way. He claims his caucasian students would skim over the problems with race in the novel he assigned when his African American students would pick up on the race issue. I enjoyed how he ended his piece talking about how students who take different sides on topics should debate them within class discussion. This is something that happens regularly in my classes and even though you may disagree with the other students, it sometimes opens up to a new view on the subject you hadn’t thought of before.

The second author, Maxine Hairston, makes a case for the trouble with politics influencing freshman writing courses in English departments nationwide. She seems worried that students will focus too much on political issues in their writing and not enough on improving the actual craft of writing itself. While I have not experienced this problem myself in my two freshman writings courses in college, I can imagine how this could be a problem. She unlike Graff believes politics have no place in a writing focused class.

Jarratt, the third author agrees more along the lines of Graff. She believes politics in the classroom can end up helping students more than hurting them. She gives many different examples (even citing suggestions Gaff made in his writing) to help foster politics in the classroom. The most important one she proposes is making class discussion the focal point of the course. I completely agree with this idea as being of vital importance when learning in a classroom setting. You are not only going to learn more information but also other views on the subjects you are studying if you have a class discussion versus a basic one professor lecture. Discussions foster an environment for debate and questions which leads to an overall better understanding of the material.

While I think all three authors make very good points about politics and their place in a writing based classroom, Jarratt and Graff are the two I agree with most. I am comfortable with politics in a historical sense thanks to my many years of history classes but I am also comfortable with politics in a English setting because I know it is beneficial to my learning experience.
The three authors may not agree on everything (especially Hairston) but that can be the beauty of politics.

 Now for some disagreement humor…



Peer Review/ Workshop Review

I used to be one of those students who absolutely detested peer review time in English classes. I just didn’t think they were helpful because the only comments I would ever get back were ones like, “It’s really good” or “great job.” Those types of comments in no way helped me when it came to revision time on my paper.

It wasn’t until about a year ago when I took English Comp II with Dr. Mindrup where I came to love peer reviews. I had never had an English teacher be so strict on how she wanted the review sessions to go. I like the rules she set because they meant people had to actually tell me what parts of my paper needed help or correction. She was also the first English teacher who taught me the trick of reading your paper out loud to catch mistakes you normally would not catch reading silently. I kid you not, this was revolutionary to me! I couldn’t believe I had never thought to try this trick! I now read every single paper I write out loud whether it is in a group or to myself, and always catch mistakes.

I was extremely pleased to come to English 2420 the other day and find that Dr. Christensen had a very similar peer review set up to the one Dr. Mindrup uses. My peer group was extremely helpful in catching mistakes I didn’t see on my own and it was nice to get a different perspective on the way my paper was written. I am sad it took me so long to experience a conscience and helpful peer review session. However I am glad I am able to enjoy them now and get helpful feedback on my work in order to make it better.

This still from The Dead Poet’s Society reminded me of how we should always consider what the author is trying to say in their work and what we are receiving from the work as well.


Giroux’s Film Tool

Last week when I was reading Giroux’s piece on how important of a teaching tool film can be I was quite struck by what he was saying. I had a history teacher who used film as a teaching tool quite often much to my delight. At first I thought it was just an “easy day” where I didn’t have to take notes. Then after watching the movie The Last of the Mohicans in class, I realized film about history can not only be extremely interesting but helpful when learning about certain time periods.

Even now in my upper level history classes if I am having trouble understanding or am a bit bored with the information we are covering I will wonder over to YouTube and Netflix. Here I can find documentaries and dramas about almost every time period in history. They almost always lead me to a more clear and entertaining explanation of the information I need to know.

The fact that we can use other uses of media such as movies, music, and plays to learn more in depth about certain subjects is refreshing. To have other options than books and oral lectures can be especially useful for people who are more of visual learners (like myself). I love having these resources which can often lead me to learn things I may not have gotten in class or in a book.

I’ve started to enjoy ending my ideas and thoughts with a still or gif from a film so here is one I found works with my thoughts today:


Amazing Apasia

When I started to read our works on Aspasia I found myself quite excited. Being a history major and a woman, I am all about women from different time periods showing up the men. Apasia is a great example of this type of woman. She seems to have been extremely intelligent and highly regarded amongst some of the most notable academic men in history. Socrates himself sought her out for help when it came to understanding the concept of rhetoric.

This is quite remarkable because women in Athens, while having somewhat more freedom than other women during this time, were still seen as simply mothers and wives. The fact that a woman (one with a scandalous history at that,) became known for her mind is groundbreaking. It is a shame we do not have any of her surviving works and texts to truly know how wonderful of a mind she was. However since she was written about by such notable men, it is safe to say Apasia was indeed a revered scholar in her day. She helped pave the way for women to be proud of their minds and not just proud of their production abilities.

Rosie sums this up nicely.


Philosophy’s Problems with Writing

I was very confused in our previous reading with the fact that Socrates found trouble with the art of writing. Socrates one of the greatest minds of all time did not believe writing was a crucial form of knowledge. He believed mainly that it weakened ones memory. This strikes me as peculiar because not only myself but many scientists find that memory is actually improved thanks to writing. For example, one who takes proper notes on a subject is more likely to remember the contents of the notes. I take this idea very seriously in my studies, so much that I refuse to take notes on a computer and can only handwrite them. When I handwrite them I am later able to recall in my mind what page they were on and what color(if used) I highlighted them with. This would not be the case if I just tried to memorize a oral lecture without notes or if I took mundane ones on a computer that all looked the same. While there are many other cases that Socrates gives for his dispel of writing (which I also do not agree with) the idea that writing ruins a person’s memory is completely false.


 I will end my rant/ thoughts with this collection of quoted photos I found from the movie “The Book Thief.” I think it sums up the beauty and importance of writing quite well.




Historia de un Leterro

Even though this short film was entirely in Spanish, that did not stop the audience from understanding it’s message. The main message I took from this video was that the same idea can be said in completely different ways. Not only can it be said in different words, but those words can unearth different emotions within people.

 This was shown when the homeless man had his sign changed by the Matrix looking business man reworded his sign. Originally it had simply asked the public to take pity on him since he was blind. Many ignored this sign because it didn’t grab them emotionally. When the wealthier man reworded the sign to say that he could not enjoy this beautiful day like them because he was blind, it immediately had an effect on passing people. They related to what the sign said and even though it was putting out the same message about the blind man needing help, these words stirred up more emotion in people because they were enjoying the nice day themselves that the sign described.

Even though the video was not in my native language, it’s message was still clearly understood. If one way of saying something does not have the effect you desire, try changing it to make it more personable. If it is more personable to your audience, people are more likely to register with it emotionally and overall understand and relate to it better.