Julie Blake and I are working in collaboration with Dr Nils Langer on the development of a research and public engagement project related to linguistic diversity in Bristol. This builds upon an extensive questionnaire survey of Bristolian and youth sociolect conducted by 16-19 year old students at one of the city’s colleges in the 1990s. We have recently had a sample of 365 of these questionnaires formulated in electronically searchable form and have reanalysed the data to identify what can be learned about: existing linguistic descriptions of Bristolian; community-engagement as a method and outcome of sociolinguistic research; and how methods which elicit folk-linguistic accounts of a language variety can meaningfully be used for research purposes. This will inform the design of future study of local language variation and identity which combines academic principle and community participation.
To support this ambition we have hosted two workshops, with funding from the university’s Institute of Advanced Studies, to scope the direction of the project. The first workshop brought together academics from different departments of Bristol University and from the Linguistics department at UWE, the Lead Curator of Sociolinguistics and Education at the British Library, senior staff from the city’s museums and archives department, and other interested members of the community, with papers outlining existing research and pedagogical work being done by participants which relates to the linguistic variety of the city. The second workshop focused more closely on how we might develop the educational and community participation dimensions of the project. Professor Joan Beal of Sheffield University presented the case study of work related to Geordie dialect which resulted in the community-facing Talk of the Toon website and the related web-based academic research corpus, the Diachronic Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English.
This work will build on pedagogical materials we created for All Talk, a 15 unit book and a DVD with 35 short videos exploring different dimensions of spoken language study, and a website making these and additional resources free to download. We included a unit of material about the study of local dialects and made the film content for this about Bristolian. You can watch one of these films here and download all the materials free from www.bt.com/alltalk.
Julie Blake and Tim Shortis with Nils Langer and Sini Liponen (2011) Perceptions of Bristolian: an explanation and critique of two studies focused on a south west city based on community-engagement and folk-linguistic method, (conference paper presented at Regional Varieties, Language Shift and Linguistic Identities September 2012, Aston University, Birmingham; revised paper invited for English Practice and Critique special issue on place)
SHORTIS, T. 2011 Review essay on Multimodality covering The Routledge Handbook of Multimodal analysis (2009) by Carey Jewitt, and Multimodality: a social semiotic approach to contemporary communication (2010) by Gunther Kress in, English in Education, Volume 45, Number 2, Summer 2011, 190-197, Wiley Blackwell
SHORTIS, T., BLAKE, J. And POWELL, A. 2011. All Talk, BT Learning and Skills, London. (15 unit book, DVD and website covering a variety of topics about spoken language and speaking and listening www.bt.com/alltalk)
SHORTIS, T. And BLAKE, J. 2010 Who’s prepared to teach school English?: the degree level qualifications and preparedness of initial teacher trainees in English . Research commissioned by the Committee for Linguistics in Education, with financial support from the British Association for Applied Linguistics, the Linguistics Association of Great Britain, the National Association for the Teaching of English, and the Higher Education Academy’s English Subject Centre and centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies.
SHORTIS, T, BLAKE, J and ROSS, A. 2009. Mathilda Speaking, English and Media Centre: London. (Book and DVD about spoken language acquisition)
SHORTIS, T. And BLAKE, J. 2008. Review essay on the theme of Competence covering: Improving Literacy by Teaching Morphemes (2006) edited by Terezinha Nunes and Peter Bryant with Ursula Pretzlik, Spelling and Society: The Culture and Politics of Orthography Around the World (2007) by Mark Sebba, The Spelling Patterns of English (2004) by Andrew G. Rollings, and Spellbound: The Improbable Story of English Spelling (2006) by James Essinger, in English in Education, Volume 42 Number 2 Summer 2008, Wiley Blackwell
SHORTIS, T. 2007. Revoicing TXT: Spelling, Vernacular Orthography and 'Unregimented Writing' (2007). In: POSTEGUILLO, S., ESTEVE, M. J. & GEA-VALOR, M. L. (eds.) The Texture of Internet Netlinguistics in Progress. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
SHORTIS, T. 2007. 'Gr8 Txtpectations': The Creativity of Text spelling. English Drama Media 8, NATE: Sheffield, 21-26.
SHORTIS, T. 2006. Proper Job: Voicing Bristolian (2006). Bristol Review of Books.
ROBERTSON, S., SHORTIS, T., TODMAN, N., JOHN, P. & DALE, R. 2004. ICT in the Classroom: The Pedagogic Challenge of Respatialisation and Reregulation. In: OLSSEN, M. (ed.) Culture and Learning: Access and Opportunity in the Classroom,. Information Age Publishing.
DALE, R., ROBERTSON, S. & SHORTIS, T. 2004. 'You Can't Not Go With the Technological Flow, Can You?' Constructing 'ICT' and 'Teaching and Learning'. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning v20 n6 p456-470
SHORTIS, T. 2001. The Language of ICT: information and communication technology, London, Routledge.
While waiting to start his first degree in English Language and Literature, Tim extended his understanding of German language, culture and society by working as a furniture smasher for the British Army in Osnabrück. He made up for this later by training as a carpenter before becoming an English teacher in a variety of Bristol comprehensive schools, then Head of Department at St Brendan’s Sixth Form College in Brislington and Chief Examiner for AQA B English Language A Level. Tim currently works with Julie Blake as The Full English, the artisan bakery of excellence and innovation in resources for teaching about language and literature in the digital age. Resources we have developed have been finalists for awards presented by the British Council, Nominet, the Museums & Heritage awards, and the British Educational Suppliers Association. Tim has submitted his PhD thesis, Re-voicing Txt in unregimented writing: Orthographic choice in SMS text messaging as a case signifying change in linguistic and semiotic resources, and expects to be examined in early 2013.
View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system
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