Varia

This page contains some of my less formal writings which are scattered across the web, but which I feel rather fond of. I've posted selected extracts here (sometimes slightly edited for clarity), but I hope that you might follow the links to where these comments were originally posted. The discussions in which they are embedded are often much more interesting than the excerpts themselves.

An introduction to my PhD research, originally posted at the LTE blog in April 2010:

When I was invited to contribute to this space, I was politely told that this blog is not about ‘online confessional trivia’. This was quite puzzling, I thought: surely online confessional trivia is what blogging is all about, right? But more importantly, I could not fathom what this blog is about. As I am writing these lines, I can’t honestly say I know the answer to the latter question; I suspect that this will only become clear after this and many other entries have been written, read and maybe even commented on. But I think I know the beginnings of an answer: this can become a space where you and I can help each other to make sense of what I am studying, a space where you and I might work together to refine our understanding of what my research is about and what its implications are, a space where we might collaboratively trace linkages between my study and the academe.

A nascent theory on reflexivity, originally posted at the LTE blog in August 2010:

refl-act
A debate on methods and post-method, originally posted here in August 2010:
When making my previous comment, I felt that it would not be productive to conduct a survey of 50 years of research in linguistics, sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics in the space of a blog comment. I am still not sure this is a good idea, but I am now conscious that the credibility of my statements may be at risk without corroborative evidence. So, what follows is a (by necessity) very concise outline of some salient ways in which our understanding of language has evolved in recent, and not so recent, years.

Reflections on power and the academe, originally posted at the LTE blog in September 2010:
I think that it was implicitly assumed that I must be an important academic, because by accident of birth I have fair hair, blue eyes and a red passport, because I use academic discourse relatively fluently and effortlessly (even when I have nothing worthwhile to contribute), and because the name of a rather prestigious university featured prominently on my nametag. Whereas for many others academic standing seemed to be conditional on their ability to prove themselves, in my case it was apparently awarded by default, and that felt like cheating.

Thoughts on Critical Discourse Analysis, originally posted at the MDRG in October 2010.
I have already suggested that ... linguistic action shapes the social context. From this interdependence, it follows that the social world in is one of many possible versions of what ‘might have been’. For me, the most important contribution discourse analysis can make is to highlight why this particular version of reality has emerged, and how processes of stasis and change are manifested in the linguistic domain.

Musings on Hoey's Situation-Problem-Response-Evaluation model, originally posted in response to edgeblog 16 in June 2011.
What is more interesting is the exophoric relations i.e. how the story relates to its context. My first step will be to disentangle the construct of context: depending on whose voice it is telling the story, we could either focus on the context that Tom Gaul shares with the readership of the Guardian, or the context Julian shares with the readership of edgeblog, the latter being both more restricted (our little nook in the ivory tower) and wider (a diverse international community) than the former.
 
Thoughts on experimenting with a new voice, originally posted at the LTE blog in July 2011:
In this sense my writing is not just a voice, it’s my identity. I know that I am different; I like being different; and I want to remain different. But, going back to Andrea and her dilemma, how can I do that while catering to the expectations of a world that wants ‘more matter and less art’?