Academic Voice: Using English's Biases For You

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After having listened to Seth Lehrer's audio recordings discussing the history of English and Indo-European, I'd like to show you a couple of tricks you can now use to make your own writing voice …

After having listened to Seth Lehrer's audio recordings discussing the history of English and Indo-European, I'd like to show you a couple of tricks you can now use to make your own writing voice sound more academic.

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Transcript

  • 1. LANGUAGE-AWARENESS EXERCISES: Using the Quirks of English to Your Own Advantage
  • 2. THE THREE “PARENTS” OF MODERN ENGLISH: • Old English: Germanic. Used in personal, working-class, and casual conversation. Language of the “folks”. • Norman French: Romance. Used in legal, regal, and upper-class situations. Language of the “gentry”. • Latin/Greek: Languages of antiquity. Used in the church and in the sciences. Language of the academy.
  • 3. “FOLKSY” VERBS: • Formed like this: verb + preposition. Examples: •Get over •Think back • Most common slang •Get through •Think through verbs in English. •Get by •Think over • Severaldefinitions, and •Get into •Think about new ones are constantly •Get at •Think up formed. •Get away
  • 4. MAKE SOME MORE: CHOOSE A VERB FROM BOX “A” AND ONE OR MORE PREPOSITIONS FROM BOX “B”. SEE HOW MANY PHRASAL VERBS YOU CAN MAKE FROM EACH MAIN VERB. • Do • Lose • Out • Kick • Drop • In • Over • Go • Pick • At • Into • Make • Work • Back • Under • Find • Fly • Away • Off • Hit • Slip • To • Through • Take • Break • From • Up • Give • Turn
  • 5. NOTICE: • Verbs here might have • It’squite easy to form slangy, different meanings, even for idiomatic, and even vulgar the same combination—for verbs this way—most example, “make up” can English slang verbs are in fact mean “invent,” “reconcile/ formed this way. apologize,” or “decorate (as in, a face). • It’s possible to replace almost any of these verbs • Theytend to be extremely with more specific, more casual. academic words.
  • 6. WHAT WAS THAT LAST BIT? • Indeed, youcan replace almost any phrasal verb with a more specific, more • Take off academic single-word verb. • Take over • Take back • Takea look at the following • Take in and see if you can replace • Take up them with more specific verbs:
  • 7. HOW’D YOU DO? For “take off ”: remove, • Take off depart, withdraw, etc. • Take over For “take over”: assume • Take back (power), usurp, arrogate, • Take in etc. • Take up (as in, For “take up”: occupy (as “take up tennis”) in: space), embrace, adopt, etc.
  • 8. SPEAKING OF “ACADEMIC WORDS...” • You probably already knew most of the “academic” words listed on the last slide (except, maybe, “arrogate,” the verb form of “arrogant”: to claim w/o justification) • Rareand extremely multisyllabic words are great, but aren’t always necessary for a convincing academic voice. • Words originating from French, Latin, and Greek (the language of the “gentry” and the Academy) naturally sound more formal in Modern English, because of old biases.
  • 9. ONE LAST THING: HOW DO WE FORM LATIN VERBS? as- -tion pre- -er -sum- con- -tuous -sump- sub- -tive re- -e
  • 10. WHAT DO THESE TWO WORD PARTS DO? The prefixes: The suffixes: re- -er/-or con- -tion pre- -ed sub- -tuous etc. etc.
  • 11. PREFIXES: SUFFIXES: • Are often Latin or Greek • Change the form of the prepositions root verb—to an abstract • Change the quality, noun (-tion, -ism, -ness), and direction, or other adjective (-ive, -ous), and to meaning-aspect of the root different verb tenses (-ed, - verb ing). • Can sometimes be • Are often combined for combined for new more complex forms (- meanings ousness), (-tionism), (- iveness)
  • 12. TO REVIEW: • Englishhas roots in many • Tosound more academic, languages—especially Old you can simply shift Old English (Germanic), Norman English words over to Latin French, Latin, and Greek and French forms. • Each historical language has • Changing two-word verbs— its own associations—even verb+preposition—into today. Latin verbs—prefix/root/ suffix—is a good place to • Youprobably already know start. multiple forms of English words.