Studies in Honour of Giuseppina Cortese
The sections in the volume are designed as main threads of a new investigation into ‘languaging’. The first, entitled Languaging Awareness, deals with recent findings in applied linguistics, exploring key topics in language acquisition, language learning and teaching and the changing role of the media. The second section, Languaging Identity, prioritizes the theme of the construction of identity in text and talk within a linguistic and languaging framework. The third section, Languaging Community, explores the notion of community, of the lifeworld and the textworld emanating from a variety of domains, closely inspecting contemporary events and showing, on a continuum with Cortese’s approach, how memory of the past gives depth of meaning to a discourse analysis that is geared to linguistic and textual awareness.
Women Doing Things with Words to Women without Words
The following chapter is analytical and reflexive but essentially personal. It deals with a health visitor’s home visit to a young mother which I recorded in the early eighties as part of my PhD data; but the main topic concerns the emotional impact this recording has had on me since then, as well as a number of epistemological and ethical questions which its analysis raised. I was working on the ‘Foreigner Talk’ phenomenon and wanted to record examples of speech simplification in institutional settings (but not educational ones). After several lengthy and unsuccessful attempts at making recordings in settings where I had personally witnessed the use of Foreigner Talk, namely Maternity Hospitals, police Aliens Departments etc. both in France and in England, I contacted individuals involved in issues of staff training in the social services. Eventually, I obtained blanket permission from several health visitors whose professional life was at the time becoming increasingly problematic because they could not communicate with the – mainly Asian – mothers on their caseloads. The situation was dire: I discovered that a number of health visitors in that area had had severe bouts of depression because of their professional inability to do what they were expected to do and were on long term sick leave. The health visitor recorded in the transcribed visit did not have any English speaking mother on her case load and had to ‘borrow’ an English mother from another health visitor to organize a kind of ‘mock...
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