Discussion Questions – Charity Hudley 2013

  1. Charity Hudley discusses the tendency for sociolinguists, etc, to “study down,” examining “people in statues lower than their own.” Then, in the next section, funding is discussed, but only briefly and only in regards to funding from the NSF, while private funding is barely mentioned. Do funding sources not contribute to the practice of “studying down”? What must be considered in regards to funding for the research to benefit the community as well as the researcher / funder? 
  2. Charity Hudley briefly discusses Wolfram’s notion of of linguistic gratuity: linguistics ‘giving back’ to the communities that they study. She later quotes Rickford (1997) in saying that the relationship is still unequal. Charity Hudley mentions access to education or equitable funding for the community as ways to partner with communities. In what other ways can linguists give back to the people they study? 
  3. Charity Hudley quotes some of the LSA ethics statement, which states linguists should share their work with the community in a way that is comprehensible, and attempt to prevent misunderstandings of their work. Several times in class we’ve mentioned problems with the dense nature of academic writing and difficulties with jargon. We’ve also discussed the problematic nature of requiring our own students to use academic standards when writing. In what ways can we vary our use of written language in order to connect with differing communities: colleagues, students, and the public?