Thursday, January 29, 2015

Academic Writer, Heal Thyself!

Academic writing takes time and can prove challenging. With its rigorous demands, it is seldom smooth sailing, but the problem may not be writer's block or any of the trendy syndromes with which writers may tag it. It could simply be a case of sorting out what you want to say and how to say it. You may need to talk over the writing with a colleague, read further, or revisit the data, advises Pat Thomson, Professor of Education at the University of Nottingham. To her helpful insights on the pitfalls of hasty self-diagnosis, I'd simply add: feel free to talk with the editor who will help hone your draft, one who shares and supports your mission to disseminate knowledge in the most effective manner possible.   

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Simple Truths Mask Complex Losses

The days that English shares our planet with thousands of other languages are numbered. A century from now, a time traveler from our age would be apt to notice two things about the 22nd-century language landscape, predicts Columbia University's Dr. John McWhorter. There are vastly fewer languages, and they are far simpler, in particular, as they are spoken. While some may lament the reduction of 6,000 different languages to just 600, the process is already underway, as the world witnesses the birth of optimized versions of old languages, McWhorter concludes in "What the World Will Speak in 2115." 

Saturday, January 03, 2015

How To Get Published: Editors' Advice

A pressing challenge facing journal editors is the badly written papers sent by authors eager for publication. As Brian Lucey, editor of the International  Review of Financial Analysis, notes, an initial hurdle may be that English isn't the writer's first tongue. This can be overcome or compounded, as when writers fail to have their work edited by a competent editor, preferably one whose English is native. Lucey and fellow editors offer sound advice on getting published in their pages. As the race begins with the starting gun, don't neglect the link to tips on how to write for academic journals.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Language Instinct or Language Myth?

Our brains and bodies are language ready, Dr. Vyvyan EvansProfessor of Linguistics at Wales' Bangor University, acknowledges, but do we have a language instinct as Dr. Noam Chomsky, "the father of modern linguistics," and the received wisdom maintains? 

The evidence is compelling declares Prof. Evans, whose research focuses on cognitive linguistics. The title of his latest book, published by Cambridge University Press, conveys his verdict: The Language Myth: Why Language Is Not an Instinct. He delineates his case in a recent issue of Aeon.