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  • If you are at university or school, you know how important writing is to your academic

  • progress. Once you graduate youll learn that the

  • workplace requires Standard English, the language of prestige and power in much

  • of the world. We acknowledge the tremendous pressure that

  • many of the students enrolled in this MOOC are under to write as well as those whose

  • first language is English.

  • It is clear that English is the world’s lingua franca. It is used all over the planet.

  • You need to use Standard English in academic, corporate, and government communication.

  • Many employers react strongly against non-standard English because they believe that errors inspire

  • undesirable reactions in readers and erode the credibility of the organisation.

  • Youll exponentially enhance your employment prospects if you write well.

  • English has no protector of language such as the 400-year-old body of revered experts

  • who protect the French language.

  • Standard English is the set of standards that professional experts have agreed upon,

  • while acknowledging how language constantly changes.

  • The rules for Standard English are defined by how educated people use it.

  • There are two tribes of grammarians.

  • That are known as descriptivists and prescriptivists. Descriptivists describe how language is used

  • and how it changes. Prescriptivists prescribe how language ought

  • to be used.

  • Professor Geoffrey Pullum, a world authority on grammar as the co-author of The Cambridge

  • Grammar of the English Language, who blogs regularly on Lingua Franca on The

  • Chronicle of Higher Education site, resists this dichotomy. He says that grammarians

  • who study the language are not allbow-tie-wearing martinets’,

  • nor are theyflaming liberalswho think that everything should be allowed, thatanything

  • goes’.

  • He stands on the sensible middle ground, where the rules of Standard English are based on

  • the way that expert native speakers use the language.

  • And so do we. In this MOOC, we aim to give you good grammatical guidance because,

  • in any formal written context, only standard English is regarded as acceptable and correct.

  • Language scholars have argued that humans find meaning in the world by exploring it

  • through their own language. When people write about something, they understand

  • and learn it better; it’s called the writing-thinking-learning connection and you should exploit it.

  • Many creative writers testify that they don’t know what theyre thinking until they start

  • writing about it. This is what the novelist E. M. Forster had

  • to say: ‘How do I know what I think until I’ve seen what I’ve said?’

  • Many professionals keep a writing journal. In her Christmas Day message in 2013, even

  • Queen Elizabeth of England advocated keeping a journal.

  • Keeping a journal is valuable for you as student writers, because it will enhance your writing-thinking-learning

  • processes. We’d like you to create and maintain a writing

  • journal that will allow you to practise writing, to experiment with different styles,

  • and to develop a sourcebook of materials from which you can extract material to share with

  • others as blog posts for your writing assignments.

  • A double-entry journal, that is, a journal in which you reflect upon what you have written

  • previously, is particularly valuable.

  • We’d like you to keep a journal as you progress through this MOOC and you may well keep it

  • going after the MOOC has finished.

  • For week 2, we want you to think about your writing process and prepare a 300-word blog

  • post to submit for your first writing assignment. In what ways is writing like running or cooking

  • or dancing or boxing or painting or any other activity that you can think of?

  • Jot down some points, then write a few sentences describing your process.

  • Haruki Murakami has written about writing and running. Neil Gaiman has written about

  • how writing is like cooking. You might like to Google them to see what

  • they have to say. Ferris Jarbr has a wonderful essay in the

  • New Yorker about why walking helps us think.

  • In an essayCooking Dumb, Eating Dumb’, Nahum Waxman, who has a fabulous cookbook

  • shop on the Upper East side of Manhattan called Kitchen Arts and Letters,

  • says that he dreads being asked by his customers if the recipes in a bookwork’.

  • He tells them that it is they who must work. He says that his customers

  • must think, must apply their intelligence and judgment to ideas and to the materials

  • that will be turned into a dish’. He could well be talking about writing when

  • he goes on to say thatthey need to bring their own good sense

  • to cooking - their ability to understand variability in ingredients,

  • to recognise error in a written text, to acknowledge their own tastes and preferences,

  • to not let themselves be intimidated by the food arbiters into dreary cooking-by-numbers’.

  • An alternative blog post could describe your response to something that you learn in week

  • 1 of this MOOC that made you change your way of thinking-writing-learning.

  • If you watch Professor D’Agostino’s video presentation,

  • you might like to comment on what you have learnt from his powerfully evocative talk.

  • Fans of Bob Dylan will particularly love it.

  • Well also ask you to contribute a blog post in weeks 4, 6, & 8.

  • The final one in week 8 will reflect on your earlier posts, and this is where your double-entry

  • journal could come in handy.

  • Here are the criteria to aim for when writing blog posts and for judging the quality of

  • other studentsblog posts: Content that’s interesting, engaging, and

  • appropriate for readers. Be aware of cultural differences.

  • Be careful about using humour because it may offend readers who don’t share your sense

  • of humour. Content that speculates, poses problems, raises questions,

  • challenges, informs, and that’s based on research that’s authentic, credible,

  • and authoritative. Structure that’s logical, coherent, cohesive,

  • and focused. Style that’s energetic, compelling, and

  • concise. And of course, correct grammar and punctuation.

  • As guidance, we have posted in our course

  • resources a couple of exemplars of blog posts written by students in the on-campus Grammar

  • class here at The University of Queensland. Well also choose a few early posts that

  • students in this MOOC write and post. Well comment on and grade them as guidance

  • for self and peer assessing and post these mark-ups on the discussion board as soon as

  • possible after the posts are due.

  • Youll find all of the assessment details, including details of the rubric, in your course

  • assessment folder.

  • So far, we have discussed the importance of standard English and introduced you to your

  • first writing assignment. Now well move on to show you how to create

  • credibility for your writing at the word level.

If you are at university or school, you know how important writing is to your academic

Subtitles and keywords

B1 INT US writing language journal english blog standard

UQx WRITE101x 1.3.1.1 Writing standard English

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    lily   posted on 2016/03/06
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