Required journal entries for Language and Culture class at Baker
Fourteen journal entries that are requred for grade for Language and Culture (ENG 231) tought by Professor Rebecca Marshall at Baker College during the summer quarter of 2011.|
Oops. I have an extra journal entry.
|If you lost your freedom of speech, including the right to write, how would you express your feelings?
I could not imagine having to live in other countries where I could not say what I was feeling about life, about my husband, or about the government. Women especially have had their rights of speech silenced throughout history.
I did not speak when I was younger. I knew how, but I chose not to say anything. That is until I read a poem that is posted somewhere in my journal. I do not know who wrote it, and have been unsuccessful in finding the author, but it showed me the importance of speaking. The poem is as follows:
If an eagle be entrapped on the back of a coin
and the coin be tossed into the sky
the coin would flip
the coin would flutter
but the eagle would never fly.
I applied that my speech. I was trapped inside myself and I needed wings to fly. That poem gave me the strength to start to find my own wings. I cannot imagine having to stop writing my thoughts and feelings, which are not always good and proper, and go back to being the obedient silent girl that I was back then. So to answer the question on how I would express my feelings if I could not say them aloud or write them down, I couldn't. I have to write them down. It is the only way I fly.
There are still people in the world struggling to fight for their freedom to speak. Women especially. To those people I would have to say to find how you feel in someone else's print. Sometimes only you can say how you feel, but sometimes other's words can be exactly what your heart is screaming.
I am thankful to live in a country where I have this essential freedom.
Word Count 317
|What are the roles of language in the way men and women communicate? How is gender perceived in language?
This question is not as easy to answer as it may seem. The answer depends on what the man or woman wants to communicate in the first place. There are brain studies that I read about in my Educational Psychology class that talk about the need to communicate and the differences between men and women or boys and girls. It is true that girls do need to say more words in one day than boys do. The problem with this is that when boys are together they never stop talking. This may mean that girls are not alone all the time and require someone else to be with them, where as boys are happy to get their talk time over with and then be alone. I do not agree with many of the stereotypes that were talked about in class. I do not think that men only look at women as sex objects and that every word that comes out of their mouth has a double meaning about how he wants to have sex with the girl he is talking to. Though I do agree that men are less sensative in their speech and lives than women. Though that may not always be the case.
Gender is clearly defined in language now, but that was not always the case. I remember as a child I was taught to put everything as he or his. That was considered normal and was supposed to include the female gender as "understood." I never did understand. Honestly, I never gave it thought until I started reading the bible more. With all the "he" in there, I wondered if there was anything in there that pertained to me. A woman. I never cared that "she" was understood in the male "he" before. But when future generations look back on writing, the distinction between "he" and "she" cannot be "understood" but rather must be clearly defined. I am not a lover of the feminist movement, but as a lover of literature, I would rather know what is meant for me as a female, or meant for only males. I think we owe that much to future generations as well.
Word count 363 not including the questions
|What are the effects of technology on language? How has the internet affected modes of communication? How does this affect our language and use of language?
Technology has had a large effect on language. There is language that is specific to speak to computers. I work with a guy that had to write a poem. He is a computer junkie. He wrote the entire poem in computer code. I thought that was very creative, and honestly I was quite jealous that I have never written a poem as creative and original as that. 01001001 00100000 01101100 01101111 01110110 01100101 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01110111 01110010 01101001 01110100 01100101 00100000 01110000 01101111 01100101 01110100 01110010 01111001 All these zeros and ones say is I love to write poetry. I think numbers are just as awesome as words, but that comes from a Math and English major.
The internet has had a significant impact on the mode of communication for me. I can Facebook my Mom and ask her when she will be home so I can call her. I can talk to family while playing games with them. I can leave messages and chat with family and friends around the united states and around the world. Just today I have talked with an aunt in Florida, a brother in the same town, my mom, high school friends, and a famous author all on the internet.
If all this extra communication has an effect on our language, I would see it as a positive effect. I never talked as much as I do now. I never would have shared my writing if it weren't for the anonymity of the pen name and the internet. The ability to write. I definitely see this as a positive affect.
Word count not including the question 268
|Is technology dumbing down the English language?
I remember when I was younger we wrote notes and ended the notes with ttyl. The shorthand we learned then is part of the new text talk. Did that talk dumb down English then? No it did not. It is not doing it now either. There were classes in school that taught how to write shorthand for secretaries needing to take down dictation during meetings. What more is text talk than that? It is a shorter way to say words because those tiny cell phones get smaller every year and fingers are only able to keep up at a certain rate!
I understand the argument that students are using cell phone talk in normal writing, but that is to be expected. What child would rather do more work when they know of a short cut? What adult would rather do more work when they know of a short cut? I love short cuts. Teachers do have quite a job with pointing out the differences between the written word formally and text talk, but it could also be a great learning tool in English class. I can just imagine an assignment that has the students write a paper using all text talk then write it again formally. That would create great discussion about the difference between the two languages in everyday life compared to business life. That must be the teacher in me thinking.
Even with the argument of punctuation and grammar, I do not see it as dumbing down the English language.
word count 252
|Does hate language in rap and other forms of media perpetuate negative stereotypes?
I remember growing up to MC Hammer, the Beastie Boys, and rappers from that time. I do not understand how rap can be corrupted by hate language. Gangster rap does not leave me with any positive feelings after I hear it. I do not understand it can do anything but perpetuate negative stereotypes. I understand the need to write about and sing about real life, and violence is real life. It seems to me thought that instead of being an outlet and form of expression about dealing with those issues in life it is more of a way to brag about what crimes were committed and what gang is going to do what to another gang. That is the type of songs that tv series make shows from. I remember watching a show about a song that sung that described the murder of a girl exactly how it happened. There was a fad going around with those who killed for gangs writing songs about how they did it and then singing them. I don't see how that is anything but negative. That is negative for rap music and media stereotyping. Music used to be about the music itself, about the craft, not about the bragging rights that it brought to a bunch of gangs and thieves, and woman abusers. Rap music is more than just a stereotype of negativity. It is offensive to anyone who is female and to anyone trying to raise children with values that are long forgotten in society. Media, including tv shows and commercials are just as degrading to women and to family values.
|There are many different languages spoken on the planet, but business is conducted around the world in English. The only problem with this is that outside of business, those who speak broken English are often looked down on as inferior and second class citizens. History has shown this through the many times that it has penalized minorities for not speaking the same dialect of English as the country at that time. Even throughout parts of the United States, it is looked down upon if you have certain dialects of English. You are considered a redneck if you speak with a southern accent, and the stereotypes do not stop there. There are so many that it affects the way that people are viewed for jobs, education, and as customers. It is wrong. I don't understand how English could not be multicultural. Everyone should have their own accent and not looked down upon for it. English is a language built upon other languages around the globe. Imagine all the different accents that went into the creation of it. Why shouldn't it be spoken with flavor and variety in culture? We did the chitlin test of intelligence that was used to discredit those people who were African-American in origin, or considered too dumb to vote. Lets just say that I did not pass. I would be considered "culturally deficient." That is quite funny to me considering my history and family origin. I am a great part American Indian belonging to a tribe here in Michigan and Canada. I am a large part also Irish. My family owns a castle in Ireland. On top of that, I have cousins that are African-American, Mexican, Cuban, and who knows what else. To me people are people. People speak the way they speak because of where and how they are brought up. I think that the differences in speech do not say negative things about a person, but rater that it says they have a different heritage or life experiences that could be interesting to know. This is one area I just don't understand. I think differences in culture and language is fantastic, because that means I get to understand something new and see the world from a different point of view.
|I couldn't imagine a life without the ability to write. How could I possibly express myself? If I didn't have the written word, I know I'd have to do what the Aztec's did and create one myself. My poetry might be bad drawings then, but I don't think I could go without it. I can't imagine not having a book to read. Sitting around a campfire listening to stories is fun, but not the same thing as cuddled undera blanket with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book. I certainly would not be the same without a writing system. I would have to speak more if I could not write things down. I'd use a tape recorder to write possibly. Audiobooks would the "in" thing. What would all my favorite author's have done without the ability to write things down? Stories would change all the time. Imagine how much different the circle series would be if Ted Dekker had to keep reciting it orally! It might never end! The impact on language would be immeasurable. I'm going to have to agree, I don't think I could truely fathom it. Or even want to. "I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free, His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me." You can hear the passion in singers voices about the ability to raise their voice in song. That is how I feel about the ability to write. I write whether or not I'm happy, I write to find some peace, I write to God or to myself, because writing is me.
|The use of language connects to personal identity. It is a way of expression. Names affect personal identity. My name, Jeanette, means God is gracious. I never really thought about it affecting me, but if my name meant something like a little minion, I doubt I would be comfortable sitting in church. I think I would have to change my name.
The gender issue in writing never bothered me. I know that the girls in class were offended by this, but I that it is an insignificant rule in writing. Writing he or she all the time is really annoying because what if the person is both. Now to be politically correct should we say he or she or heshe. In writing it really doesn't matter, because we personalize the story anyway. It doesn't matter if the story has a main male character, I can still put myself in that situation and see the character as a female. That's the magic of imagination. I guess that people have less of an imagination with the increase of technology and video games.
We express our personal identity through music also. But unlike those in my class, music doesn't have to have words. Music has its own language that speaks directly to the soul. Honestly Kevin Kern's Straw Hats stirs me as well as In the Enchanted Garden and they don't have any words. There are times when words can't express me but the language of music can.
|1. Make a list of the speech communitites of which you are currently a memeber.
2. Create a tree where you are the trunk and each speech community is a separate branch.
3. For each branch, note the following:
a. influential members
b. context of community (family, social, church, etc.)
c. description of membership (gender, race/ethnicity, origin, education, etc.)
d. language traditions (how do you communicate, how much do you communicate, who does the most of the talking, what do you talk about, do you speak "standard" english, do you use a dialect, do you speak slang (in written or oral usage), do you read often (for what purpose), etc.)
4. At the base of your tree, write a brief paragraph reflecting on your own identity through your asssociation with these speech communities.
Church familyThe Baxters
Pastor Don (most influential)
and Kim Letson
Julie and AJ
membership by religious belief
Language traditions: call everyone brother/sister/read bible often
speak to eachother usually only in church, but visit the sick and those in hospitals
Relations by bloodAudre,Dylan, Deserae, Alexia,
Mom, Dad, Many Aunts and Uncles
Jennifer (most influential), Jimmy
membership by blood
language traditions: chow for goodbye, say "I love you more because I'm bigger"
talk often about our family relations and life
speak in other languages what words are known
Workthe boss, the blond, the guy with the curly hair that shaved it off (how sad)
the guy who knows everything, the quiet girl who secretly got married,
the one who never wants to leave,
the unsure, the new guy
the girl that is always busy
the one that creeps me out
It is interesting to analyze the relationship of speech communities. I see that there are different topics of conversation with each speech community. I think if I extended my tree out further to professional communities, friends, strangers or acquaintances, that the manner I spoke would change as well. I don't see myself changing to fit into the communities, but rather I have different ways of speech association with the different communities. Saying one thing in one community will have a different impact in another community. There are more slang sayings and actions in the family relations branch than any other branch. I can see that language is also more fun in the family relations branch rather than just a form of communication. I don't see how written and oral are different for each group though. The only group that I can think of how a difference could be possible is with the work branch. I speak informally to coworkers, but write formally when needed.
|Cory asked an interesting question when he asked, "Do you think that language is influenced more by society, or is society influenced more by language? After learning how English is derived from different cultures through war, conquest, occupation, immigration, and cultural influences, I would have to argue that language is influenced by society more than society is influenced by language. There have been many events throughout history that have influenced how English is spoken and what words are proper or wrong to say.
There are words that were used to degrade people of different ethnic countries, people of different religions, people of different races. These words were changed and not spoken after people realized how degrading they really were. If there are enough people against something, then they can change it. Words change with people's point of view and education.
Society changes the meanings of words too. Sick can mean awesome or it can mean ill. Cool can mean cold or neat. I'm sure there are many more words now that I don't even know have double meaning since I'm not a kid anymore.
Society changes sentences too. Like saying the word like before every sentence. That is grammatically incorrect, but people still do it. It is also annoying and horribly catchy. I kick myself mentally anytime I do it.
I don't see how society is influenced by language. Comparing the following two sentences:
"Dude, that was totally bogus." and "What you did was inappropriate."
shows that language has variety. It is society who puts levels of education on the language, not the language that determines the level of education. My son can easily speak either way, as can many other people. This does not mean that they have split personalities, it just means that they use what language the people around him will understand and be able to relate to.
|Helen Keller write that the acquisition of language "set her free." Malcolm X expresses similar views on the freeing power of language. In your journal, record your own feelings about the different ways that language provides freedom. In addition to drawing from some of the essays in this section, you may wish to add an experience of your own. (From Exploring Language twelfth edition by Gary Goshgarian page 95)
I remember when I was younger I was so shy that I did not hardly speak. The sound of my own voice scared me. There were many times that I wanted to say something, but I was unable to speak. I felt that part of me was missing. I became discouraged because when I did speak, what came out of my mouth was not what I had been thinking in my head. I understand how Helen Keller felt when she said the acquisition of language set her free.
I began writing down things and then would read them aloud to myself. The writing of my feelings, experiences, and just things that I wanted to say and couldn't, filled the part of me that felt missing. I began to read aloud poetry to increase the fluency of my speaking voice. I was able to hold conversations with other without them knowing how frightened I was of hearing my own voice, and without them knowing how hard I worked just to be able to speak.
I still spend a lot of time writing instead of speaking aloud. It is a comfort that I will never outgrow or lose. Without the power to be able to write down what I am thinking and feeling and imagining, I would be lost.
I know there are others who have the same experiences. Some people call it selective mute-ism. That is true to an extent, but it is more than that. It is a characteristic of survival during difficult circumstances. Then it is a trap. A deep hole that a person tries to climb with the only ladder being language.
|The history of English. It began with the Celts in what is now Modern day England. They were invaded by the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. Their language mixed together to create English. It was of course influenced by Latin, Old French, and other invaders of the little island.
My teacher played a video called the history of english in ten minutes. It's available on youtube in all ten parts. Part four about the bible is part funny and part offensive but I guess they all could be considered that. http://youtu.be/r9Tfbeqyu2U The first part is available at the previous link.
I've tried hard to think of something interesting for this topic, but it has to do with history. Sorry, I cannot find anything interesting about history. I love the English language and learning that some words came from the Celts, Jutes, Angles, Saxons, Old French, and Native Americans is kind of interesting, but writing about it is not interesting at all. It's one of those "Well that's neat" kinda things and that's it.
I have to write an essay about one of the aspects of this history. I chose to write it on the influence of American Indians on the English language. I can't post it to my profile though until the class is over because I have to post it to turnitin.com and it will say that I plagerized the whole thing which won't be true because it will still be the exact same paper with the exact same author just posted on two different sites. But anyway that could look bad, so I will post it to my Baker College work folder after I finish this course. I know the anticipation will just be too much. Bad joke, sorry.
|What do you think? That word meaning should be universal or people should be able to create their own meaning?
In different settings, people already do create their own meanings and definitions of words. I think of the movie where the reporter goes back to high school as an undercover student and there is that "one special boy" that could create a word and give it meaning. Everyone in the school followed his lead because they wanted to be as cool as him. Never Been Kissed. Rachel Ray created EVOO which is extra virgin olive oil, and the Websters dictionary added it as an official word. Webster's dictionary adds words every year. Shakespeare created words in his poetry and plays. (Authenticity debate set aside).
Though I understand that everyone can't go around creating words, because then no one would know would have common understanding of what the other person is saying or writing. I do believe that people naturally create words to fill in the blank when they do not know an appropriate word that fits. That does not mean that there is not a word that exists already but rather that the person does not know that word so he or she creates one that is appropriate.
Not only are words themselves created, but phrases are used to mean something different than the original word meanings. Its raining cats and dogs and other phrases have a different meaning than what the words actually mean. It is not actually raining cats and dogs.
The only thing about making up words like Shakespeare did and with phrases like its raining cats and dogs is that other cultures learning the language will not understand the difference between the intended meaning and the original meaning without study. The creation of words and phrases allows room for creativity but creates an unstable period in language until the meaning is well known so it can be widely interpreted and integrated in society.
Word count 307 not including the question
|1. Bragg consistently uses words such as "ruthless," "obstinate," and "tenacious" to describe language. To what extent do you think that English - or any other language, for that matter - has a personality apart from the people who speak it?
Language has its own personality. It has the ability to withstand changes in culture and absorb different languages rather that change from one culture to a different culture. Though each culture brings it own flare to language, it is understood by different accents and nationalities, even though those words are spoken aloud differently, it's meaning is understood though out the different cultures.
2. In your opinion, why did the invasion of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes kill off the Celtic language, but the Roman occupation didn't?
The Angles, Saxons, and Jutes killed off the Celtic language because they killed off the people who spoke that language and took over their country. The Romans did not do that, but rather they just wanted the resources of the land to send back to Rome. The Angles, Saxons, and Jutes required the Celts to learn to their language to progress from second class citizens to first class citizens.
3. Like the Iliad, Odyssey, and many books of the Bible, Beowulf was an oral tradition before it was written down. How does the advent of writing affect a language?
The writing of language makes the language able to be shared and learned by other cultures. The stories can be translated to other languages even when the person is not in the country of origin because they have the written copy of the story. Stories could also change with the changing of culture, but when written down the story becomes a memorial to that culture at the time it was written.
4. Do you think that English's evolution from an inflected to an uninflected language made it more or less difficult for a non-native speaker to learn? More or less flexible in absorbing words?
Changing from an inflected to an uninflected language made it easier to learn because the learner did not have to worry about the little um am or em to change the meaning of words. It was enough to become confusing for English speakers. I cannot imagine trying to learn the language when you were not origionally english speaking. However, by taking away the um am and em did not influence the absorbing of words. The absorbing of words is still infuenced by culture and changes of interaction with different cultures as it was when it was created and developed.
301 words not including the questions
|Journal 1: Reflect on your own culture and complete an iceberg that reflects you. What aspects about yourself are written on the tip? What are some other things about you that are below the waterline?
/ family \
/ me \
/ thoughts \
/ feelings, truths \
/ memories, reality \
Wonderful picture of an iceberg isn't it? I am not sure what my culture is except that I believe in the value of family. There are things about me that everyone sees. They see that I wear only skirts. They can see that I have four children, a minivan, a two story home, and a GPA of 3.96. These things are all true, but these things really do nothing to tell about who I really am.
It is true that I have four children that I try to spend every moment with, but knowing that does not let anyone know that I cherish every moment with them because I know what a miracle it is to have them to begin with. It does not let anyone know that I grieve silently for the five that I lost to miscarriages. It does not explain that I do not them talk bad about each other because they should know what a miracle it is to have that brother or sister. It does nothing to tell how much we love to make each other laugh, especially when we sit at the table together. It does not show the happiness and creativity they have when tell me their dreams and stories and plans and ideas and wants and needs.
Knowing I have a minivan does not let anyone know that I drive it saying the word Mitsubishi over and over and long to drive a Mitsubishi Spider just because I love to say the name Mitsubishi. It excites me when it rolls off my tongue. Mitsubishi.
I do have a two story home with two bathrooms and four bedrooms which is quite nice, but I rent because I do not want to buy a house in this city. I long for the country where I can walk for miles without anyone around. I miss trees everywhere. I miss fresh air and people who know how to drive. It does not matter that I have a two story home because this world is not my home... this world is not my home... yes that's in a song.
My GPA is the the part of the iceberg that is deceiving. It would be what sunk the titanic. I cannot tell you how I have pulled this off. It is an act of God. He knows, and my children know, that I cannot remember anything. Remembering names seems like an impossible task, and I'm going to be a teacher? Yes that GPA is deceiving. It is definitely all God and none of me.
As far as the actual language part of me, I guess I can say that I mentally kick myself every time I say the word "like". It drives me insane. The new phrase "yeah I know right" is even worse. I don't say it because I cringe every time I hear it leave someone's lips. My husband says over yander and I make fun of him by saying where is yonder? He gets annoyed by it but I think it is funny. He also says I reckon, and my smart response to that is "is it hard to do"?