Sounds like Greek to me

Lynn Goldstein lgoldstein at
Sat Dec 13 00:27:51 UTC 2008

There is very little out there that I have been able to locate. As part of
the project I'm working on now, I'm looking for sources and when I'm done
next Spring I'll post what I've found. In the meantime, if anyone knows of
any sources,  and can post them that would be great.


lgpolicy-list at writes:
>Do you have a bibliography on folk linguistics that you can share?
>Lynn Goldstein wrote:
>> lgpolicy-list at writes:
>>> On 12/12/08 12:05 PM, "Ann Anderson Evans" <[
>>> fcp://,%236701280/Mailbox/
>>> ]annevans123 at> wrote:
>>> In Israel the Arabic I heard on the streets was not attractive to my
>>> to say the least, rough and guttural. Then one night I heard Arabic
>>> poetry being read on the radio.  Talk about rich!
>>> How do we operationalize value judgements like “rough, guttural, rich?”
>>> These kinds of statements are totally subjective, and have no
>>> (i.e., scientific) merit whatsoever. I suspect, though, that maybe what
>>> was happening here was that the poetic reading style was probably very
>>> different from the typical on the street interaction. I suspect that we
>>> might make the same contrasting judgements about street vs. poetic
>>> English. Think for example about taxi drivers arguing over a parking
>>> space, versus someone reading from Whitman.
>>> By the way, when I was in high school, I thought Spanish was the gods’
>>> gift to humankind. Beautiful! So much so, that I majored in it as an
>>> undergrad. Then, in grad school, I took Aymara and began learning about
>>> how the Spanish had oppressed, exploited, and otherwise abused the
>>> and other indigenous peoples in the Andes and elsewhere. Somehow,
>>> didn’t sound so beautiful anymore...
>>> Ron
>> I am quite interested in folk linguistics and  I strongly believe that
>> these types of statements and beliefs , while subjective, have great
>> linguistic/scientific merit. Understanding and describing people's folk
>> views  should be an essential part of linguistics.  
>> I've been doing work in this area for while, and although I have not had
>> the time to write much of it  up ( During the discussion of the Ebonics
>> Resolution I examined 10 newspapers across the United States ,over a
>> period of time, looking at how the "folk", journalists, and  linguistics
>> talked about the resolution; did poling of Californians as to how they
>> voted for proposition 227, what they knew about the proposition, what
>> thought it would "do" and what the sources of knowledge and information
>> were that informed their vote; and I have a published article  about 
>> English Only as discussed in The New York Times, The Monterey Herald,
>> the San Francisco Chronicle). The results have been eye opening in terms
>> of folk knowledge and views and the impact they have  on real life
>> decisions such as the passing of prop 227 in California and in terms of
>> how we (linguists) need to  learn how to talk to and with the folk if we
>> want our own voices to be heard in crucial policy decisions.    I'm
>> currently working on a project where I collected my sociolinguists
>> students' ( in their first semester of our MA program) folk views
>across a
>> wide variety of topics about language at the beginning of the course and
>> at the end of the course. I'm examining what these views were, how they
>> did or did not change,where these views came from, and what impact what
>> read and discuss in sociolinguistics have had on these views. 
>> Folk Linguistics is an integral part of the graduate sociolinguistic
>> course I teach , as I want my students to understand  the "folk" and
>> views  they will be working with as language teachers, language program
>> administrators, language assessment specialists, policy makers,
>> sociolinguists and so forth. As part of their work in this course they
>> undertake a folk linguistic study ( they've looked at folk  views of
>> bilingual education, AAVE, prescription/description in language use,
>> treatments of language topics, how attitudes towards language varieties
>> are strategically  portrayed in movies and in novels and so forth).
>> They've come away with an appreciation for how folk views may differ
>> those held by linguists and importantly how they cannot be dismissed if
>> are to understand language and how it is used and the roles it plays in
>> people's lives. 
>> Lynn Goldstein
>> Professor, TESOL and Applied Linguistics
>> The Monterey Institute of International Studies 
>> 460 Pierce Street
>> Monterey, CA 93940
>> (831) 647-4184
>> lgoldstein at

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