Proceedings of the 14 th Norddeutsches Linguistisches Kolloquium 2013 in Halle an der Saale
Edited By Anne Ammermann, Alexander Brock, Jana Pflaeging and Peter Schildhauer
Promoting the Visualisation of Linguistic Theories
This paper seeks to promote the idea of visualising linguistic theories in the context of teaching (English) linguistics to beginner students. Drawing on a typology of pictures of knowledge transfer commonly applied in (educational) psychology, I use a semiotic approach to refine the categorisation. Having gained a workable terminology, I investigate a small corpus of chapters on semantics extracted from contemporary introductory books to English linguistics. My analysis focusses on the quantity and quality of picture use. A suggestion concerning the question of how linguistic theories could be visualised concludes my paper.
The flood of pictures we perceive in our everyday life has encouraged a similar flood of voices agreeing on the fact that we live in a visual world (cf. e.g. Mitchell 2009; Klemm/Stöckl 2011). Current emphasis on visual learning and visual literacy indicates the re-discovery of pictures as teaching materials. From Palaeolithic cave art (Däßler 2006: 212) to mediaeval visual catechesis (Keck 1992: 57-60) to first text book illustrations for school education in the 17th century (Spevacek 2000: 32) to an omnipresent culture of the visual of post-modern times, pictures created in order to disseminate knowledge are deeply rooted in tradition. My paper seeks to promote the use of pictures in the context of teaching and learning (English) linguistics at university level – a sub-discipline of the humanities which still seems to be holding on to a relatively text-based way of knowledge...
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