Monday, April 18, 2011

Help, Linguistics, Questions, and This Blog

I have already posted a couple of requests for help on my fledgling blog. I intend to do more of that in coming months, both through direct requests and at times through more oblique questions on the heels of a linguistic discussion. I will try to make all such posts at least tangentially language-related.

The following are the types of questions I hope to explore in a meandering, drawn-out way, for as long as I keep blogging. Some come from personal experience (practical) while others come from academic study and reflection (theoretical):
  • What is the best way to teach my children three languages from infancy?
  • How can "best practice" in the field of language pedagogy be identified?
  • What are helpful ways of categorizing linguistics with all of its subfields?
  • What should be the relationship between linguistics and translation studies?
  • Do humans have a language instinct?
  • Does language affect every area of human life? In what ways?
  • What are the true nature and role of mentalese?
  • What are the most promising avenues of research for linguistic breakthrough?*
One final, slightly more urgent question I have is how to categorize my blog labels in Blogger. I figure on having 100 or so by the time I have introduced all the topics I want to blog about, but many of them could be sorted under categories, cleaning up and organizing my labels list. French and Japanese, for example, could be labels under a category called "Languages." That way, any time I add a new language it goes under that label category and keeps things tidy.

*I tend to think they lie in neuroscience and psycholinguistics. The amazing advances that have been made in the science of the human brain could offer breathtaking observations about language and the brain, language acquisition, and language pedagogy. This is not to say that historical and descriptive linguistics won't constantly have new and important research coming out. They will. But I would distinguish between necessary "documentary" research and breakthrough research that presents or even demands new ways of discussing a subject. It is this type of research that I think we can hope to see coming especially from certain fields of applied linguistics.

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