Picking The Finest Words

I’m feeling a cold coming up! So happy that I managed to return my 2nd edition of the essay as required, the deadline is tomorrow. I’ve been reading and writing my learning journal for our independent distant course in English linguistics but today it felt too heavy to read the remaining articles with the cold coming up and a slight headache. I left the more complicated articles for last. I think I need to get better before I will be able to focus on 30 pages of psycholinguistics; I plan to read Stiver’s and Mossano’s Mobilizing response article next. It’s something I find interesting but I definitely need to be able to concentrate. (A headache and a sore throat is not the best medicine for concentration!)

I’ve really been digging into the course material and read several articles on the reading list. I’ve for instance learnt more about how ecological educators see language learning as relationships among and between learners (Leo van Lier’s From input to affordance),  how linguistic relativity does not constrain our thoughts or perceptions but that it tends to influence what we as humans routinely think (Kramsch, The relationship of language and culture) and how being a good language learner and student requires not only demonstrating linguistic competence, but also understanding of the specific instructional setting and learning to develop communication skills and being interactive and interpreting a situation and how to act in that situation (LORENZA MONDADA, SIMONA PEKAREK DOEHLER, Second Language Acquisition as Situated Practice: Task Accomplishment in the French Second Language Classroom). I won’t go into the details of the above and some other articles here in my blog, but language IS truly complex and as an academic research field it is very wide – if that can begin to describe the art and science of language.

I also read a couple of essays today, as I prepare to make the peer reviews of essays. To be able to review the academic essays, we have been given the task to read also The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need by Susan Thurman ; Edited By Larry Shea. I’m not sure if we were to read the whole thing, but it’s almost 200 pages and for me that is so much reading that it requires some sinking in. I can’t do it in one or two session’s. The book is well written and not at all a what-you-would-expect, it’s not a typical, dare I say, boring grammar book! I already wrote a few lines in my previous post about the book and that I ordered it for myself. It seems to take some time to arrive with the mail so I haven’t yet had a chance to turn the pages of the actual book. Luckily we can use the online editions for free through the university. I read the first chapter in a breeze! It was an easy read and I surprised myself, because I enjoyed the read. I wouldn’t expect a grammar book to be enjoyable. Silly me, but I’m a linguist so maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised.

The first chapter was about finding the right words when writing. We all know how hard it can be to find the right words! If you want your words to have influence, it helps if you check common errors, misspellings or possible misuse of words. The book promises it will give your reader more confidence in what you are trying to say, so I recommend checking whenever you are in doubt. Finding the right words means also knowing the exact meaning of the words you are using. The better you are at knowing the meaning of words, the better you will be at conveying your thoughts when writing.

The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need has excellent lists of rules and exceptions and uses examples for clarifying them. There are plenty of words that often get people mixed up, but of course the book is only for those who need the advice. I’m not going to continue this post any further and advise you on how to pick the finest words. That you need to try on your own.

See the difference between advice = noun and advise=verb there? The example is from the book.