JoongAngIlbo | Korea Times | Internat.Herald Tribune | Asia Times | Sydney Morning Herald | Washington Post | Guardian UK | CS Monitor | Yomiuri Shimbun | Google | Yahoo | Web Crawler |Amazon | Dictionaries| PusanWeb | Jazz | The Korean Blog List | Galbijim | Links to Korean Universities | YouTube.com |
Publications - Thor May
publications & writings by Thorold (Thor) MAY, PhD
thormay AT yahoo.com
. Mobile tel. (+61) 0479 154 831 Brisbane, Australia
Writer, lecturer, researcher, teacher, teacher trainer (English language & linguistics)
Linkedin.com - http://au.linkedin.com/in/
Academia.edu - http://independent.academia.edu/ThorMay
Mendeley.com - http://www.mendeley.com/profiles/thorold-may/
Google Scholar - http://scholar.google.com.au/citations?user=CwWx1-kAAAAJ
aphorisms / e.s.l. / linguistics / teaching methodology / technical writing / china (old) / china (new) / korea / australia / travel notes / photos / unwise ideas / poetry / stories (fiction) / odds & ends / about thor /
34. Teaching Productivity and Its Enemies, published Plain & Fancy Press 2011. 371pp. ISBN 978-0-9871390-0-9. This is a re-titled commercial eBook version (pdf format) of Thor May's doctoral dissertation.
33. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2010, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Thesis topic : "Language Tangle : Predicting and Facilitating Outcomes in Language Education". Through examining a series of twenty case studies, this thesis deals with issues of knowledge worker productivity. An abstract of the dissertation can be seen here. The thesis itself (pdf) may be viewed here. The testamur (diploma document) is here. The letter of completion (pdf file) from the University of Newcastle, formally announcing the award may be viewed here. A current reference (2010) from Dr Christo Moskovsky, Thor May's doctoral supervisor, may be viewed here. The thesis is also online in the University of Newcastle research depository at http://hdl.handle.net/1959.13/804346 . A further link is the Australian Research Directory.(also available at academia.edu)
32. Corruption and Other Distortions as Variables in Language Education ; 9315 words; TESOL Law Journal, Vol.2 March 2008; ( also on thormay.net and academia.edu)
Abstract : This paper examines some of the ways in which foreign language education has been affected by corrupt practices and various other distortions of best teaching practice. Particular attention is paid to South Korea. The nature of corruption and its social origins are identified. Pressures affecting students, teachers and institutions are all seen to play a part. It is noted that mass education is a simulation which leaves space for fraud, whereas actual live language performance is its own test. Perhaps as a consequence, the gradual insertion of a new language code like English into a speech community might succeed over the long term even where immediate educational practices suggest failure.
31. Fractional Language Learning; 5218 words; published at Asian EFL Journal Quarterly Vol. 9, No.4, December 2007; presentation : Global Congress English International Language Conference, Korea University, Seoul, May 26, 2007 (also on this website and on academia.edu )
Abstract : Many users of a second language, especially English, have little productive mastery of the language. Rather, some requirement in their life forces them to use limited subroutines (maybe quite small and formulaic) which are effectively encapsulated as special elements within L1. This paper proposes that fractional language learning is a valid objective for large numbers of users, and briefly examines some of the contexts in which it has a pragmatic application. It notes that much fractional language learning occurs outside of formal educational environments, and then goes on to consider how both the classroom teaching and evaluation can be adapted to give proper recognition to student achievements on a fractional scale. The paper suggests that this kind of graduated recognition is in fact likely to enhance outcomes across the full spectrum of language teaching, and can be consciously incorporated into curriculum design. A paradigm shift to teacher acceptance (and community acceptance) of fractional language learning has strong implications for assessment practices. Most current measures of language assessment offer little or no recognition to the achievements of learners in the pre-production phase of acquisition. Attempts at language use in this phase are routinely punished by existing assessment tools. Partly as a result of this discouragement, large numbers of students never progress to independent language production. Fractional language objectives are one remedy for this deep flaw in language teaching outcomes.
30."North Korea - Pick Your Godfather" THE ASIAN TIMES ONLINE on October 12, 2006; also available at http://thormay.net/koreadiary/nkorea_godfatherl.html
29. When Grammar Doesn't Help (an analysis of the role of grammar in language teaching), [ on this site and also on academia.com]
Abstract : This paper questions the role of grammar in language teaching and learning. Firstly it identifies the constituencies in academic language teaching, and their often conflicting notions of language programs. Several kinds of learners are discussed, with particular attention to the large group who are uncomfortable with any technical analysis, including formal grammars. Some conventional ideas about what a natural language grammar actually is are challenged. The consequences of a connectionist view of language processing are briefly explored. The power of collocation sets is identified as a key to language acquisition. Language is set in the broader cognitive context of memory processes and patterns of generalization. Pedagogical grammars are viewed as forced external generalizations with little organic presence in memory, but some suggestions are made about how to make use of them. Actual student language memory, as well as teacher self-insight into L1 are both contrasted with the idealized patterns assumed by academic language programs. Finally, the stubborn problem of average teacher behaviour is set against the real ways in which people appear to use grammars and learn languages.
28. Standing Room Only - Posture, Space and the Learning Process in ESL Classes, [ on this site and also on academia.edu]
Abstract : This article explores the role of posture in the language learning process, and concludes that it is sometimes critical for learning success. Principles of learning and moving are outlined. The history of physical movement in study is briefly traced. A Korean case study is presented of “failed” tertiary students who learn to learn on their feet. The paper is a practical guide for teachers who wish to experiment with physical movement and location in their own ESL/EFL classrooms.
27. "Today has lasted for 4 billion and 2 years, 6 hours, 12 minutes and 13.5 seconds" poem published as part of an article in THE HINDU (Indian national newspaper), February 1, 2006. Also available on this website
26. "Rude Thoughts About IT In Language Education" a) on this site, 2005 (full version); b) An earlier, less referenced version of this paper was published in the ASIAN EFL JOURNAL, vol.1, 2005 at http://asian-efl-journal.com/pta_jan_04_tm.html. c) A slightly shorter (6,637 words) but up to date version has also been published as "Brief Thoughts About IT in Language Education" in TEACHING ENGLISH WITH TECHNOLOGY, vol.5/2 May 2005 (IATEFL Poland) at http://www.iatefl.org.pl/call/j_article21.htm . (Also on academia.edu )
Abstract : Information Technology in language teaching probably began with papyrus. It has attracted admirers and detractors ever since. This paper takes a slightly irreverent look at current IT, as well as its actual and potential uses in foreign and second language education. The power of commerce in IT development has always been a prime motivator, so the analysis here recognizes the essential economic context, with the resulting effects on language learning.
25. "On Her Majestey's Australian Service", a short story; 3000 words; September 1996. Published in RETORT MAGAZINE (Australia), July 2005 at http://www.retort.brentley.com/05/id_07.05_thor_may.htm
24. Submission to the Australian Parliamentary Senate Inquiry on the Status of Australian Expatriates , 2004; this has been tabled in the Australian Parliament andt can be viewed on the website of that parliament at http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/legcon_ctte/expats03/submissions/sub437.pdf2
23. "North Korea - The Japanese Card" (commentary) in THE ASIAN TIMES ONLINE, 20 February 2003; also available at http://www.thormay.net/koreadiary/japansnkoreacard.htm
21. "Apprentice Literacy - Designs for a Bonfire of the Vanities", in FINE PRINT (Journal of the Victorian Adult Literacy & Basic Education Council Inc.), Vol. 20, No.4, December 1997; pp3-7. Also on academia.edu
Abstract: This is a study of the levels of literacy amongst apprentices in Victoria, Australia. Its context was the pending introduction of the New Apprenticeship Scheme by Australian state governments at the time of writing. This reform was essentially politically driven, and designed to redistribute much apprentice training away from purpose built institutions (TAFEs) into workplaces. Since the scheme would inevitably place a greater burden on apprentices' personal learning resources, especially their literacy, it was important to analyze the existing situation. It was noted that apprenticeship was a diverse category of skills studies that required varying levels of literacy. In heavily male dominated apprenticeship fields, the majority, there had always been severe weaknesses in general literacy. These weaknesses had been compensated by various stratagems, especially direct demonstration, which might not be easily available on many work sites. The newly favoured pedagogical approaches of CBT (competency based training) and "self paced learning", had translated in many TAFEs into tick-box answer booklets, rampant copying from classmates, and a severe degradation of integrated skills learning. These trends were likely to accelerate as students moved away from an environment where remedial assistance with literacy or trade skills was no longer easily available.
20. "Is There a Star to Steer By? - Fourteen Points on the TAFE Mission", in CAMPUS REVIEW (a weekly newspaper for academics with Australian nationwide circulation) April 16-22 1997, p.13 (2000 words); also tabled in the Australian Federal Parliament, December 1996 as part of the Senate committee hearings on The Status of Teachers; [online Senate reference http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/eet_ctte/teachers/report/e03.htm ]
19. ENGLISH FOR MECHANICS; 95 units of teaching text with questions for oral response. A 1st edition of this e-book is for sale commercially in PDF format for US$15.00, and a hard copy version is available from www.lulu.com for $21. It has been used on industrial sites in Australia, Indonesia, Hungary, Poland and South Korea. .
18. CONSULTANT'S PROJECT REPORT: J.B.I. TECHNICAL ENGLISH PROGRAM at P.T. Koba Tin, Pulau Bangka, Indonesia, 22 April 1996; pp.1-26
17. CONSULTANT'S INTERIM REPORT: J.B.I. TECHNICAL ENGLISH PROGRAM at P.T. Koba Tin, Pulau Bangka, Indonesia, 15 April 1996; pp.1-20
16. "The National Reporting System: A Critique", in FINE PRINT (Journal of the Victorian Adult Literacy & Basic Education Council Inc.), Vol. 18, No.1, March 1996; pp21-24.
15. "Postsupposition to Pastiche Talk: Mediating Chaos and Order in Language"; WORKING PAPERS IN LINGUISTICS, Vol. 14, 1994: 22pp. University of Melbourne. Developed from a paper delivered at University of Melbourne Postgraduate Linguistics Conference, May 1994. [online abstract at http://www.linguistics.unimelb.edu.au/research/mplal/wpling14.html ] Also available on academia.edu
Abstract : Natural languages are examined as members of the class of complex dynamic systems in nature. The mathematical models of Complexity Theory have shown that complex dynamic systems as diverse as cyclones, the stock market and the human genome have the properties of a) being self-organising, b) existing in a precarious state of cyclical activity which alters slightly on each cycle, and c) containing an inherent indeterminacy. This last property, indeterminacy, is taken as a cue to develop an argument that language cannot be entirely representational, or altogether functional. It is proposed that in the generation of language there is a constant oscillation where thought sometimes gives rise to language, and alternatively, where unmotivated fragments of language force the development of post-rationalised ideas. Evidence is sought from the behaviour of formulaic phrases and apparent presuppositions
14. "Aspects of Repetition", WORKING PAPERS IN LINGUISTICS, Vol. 13, 1993: pp.79-90, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. [abstract online at http://www.linguistics.unimelb.edu.au/research/mplal/wpling13.html ]
13. "Purposive Constructions in English"; THE AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF LINGUISTICS, Vol.10, No.1, 1990: pp.1-40 (online Journal listing at http://members.ozemail.com.au/~tjcurnow/AJLcont/Vol101.htm ). A journal copy of the article is available for sale from Routledge at http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a901643112. Also available on academia.edu
Abstract : This thesis explores some of the syntactic & semantic properties of Purposive Constructions in English. The term "purposive" is recognized as a semantic concept which finds regular expression in a small range of syntactic configurations. Purpose Clauses (PCs) and Rationale Clauses (Rat.Cs) are examined in some detail. Briefer reference is made to several other configurations, notably Because Clauses, So-That Clauses and Infinitival Relatives. In general Purposive Constructions comprise rather fuzzy semantic categories. Nevertheless, the main syntactic features are fairly clear. Interpretation of the constructions requires a systematic account of the control of empty slots (ellipted NPs) by thematic elements in the matrix clause. General conditions of Government and Binding appear adequate to predict the distribution of gaps in most Purposive Clauses. However, the relationship between propositions predicated of a common argument in these constructions is found to sometimes require matching conditions too subtle for syntax alone to predict. A concept of Thematic Coextensiveness is introduced to account for such matching.
12. "Verbs of Result in the Complements of Raising Constructions"; AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF LINGUISTICS, Vol.7, No.1, June 1987: pp.25-42 [ online Journal listing at http://members.ozemail.com.au/~tjcurnow/AJLcont/Vol071.htm ] A journal copy of the article is available for sale from Routledge at http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a901640896~db=all . Also available on academia.edu
Abstract : The analysis considers the manner in which a class of matrix verbs, the so-called raising verbs, have been fitted into some generative linguistic models. Taking as a cue the difficulty posed for these models by sentences of the kind, *Linda believes Gary to murder David, the analysis proceeds beyond existing criteria for "raising" to the notion of Relative Tense. It is found that Relative Tense has a direct bearing on the infinitival complements permitted by raising-to-object verbs and some raising-to-subject verbs. The relevant constraints are formulated for incorporation into Bresnan's Lexical Functional Grammar as the Independent XCOMP Singularity Condition. The IXCSC may be recorded for convenience in the functional structure of LFG as a complex feature. When IXCSC carries a positive marking the functional structure of a sentence, that sentence may only be interpreted if ASPECT (AUX) is also marked as positive.
11. 10. Review of Newman, J (1985) WORKBOOK IN SOUTHEAST ASIAN LINGUISTICS, pub. SEAMEO; AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF LINGUISTICS, Vol.6, No.2, December 1986: pp.297-298 [online listing at http://members.ozemail.com.au/~tjcurnow/AJLcont/Vol062.htm ]
10. "Plain Speaking: Judgine an Oratory Contest"; FIJI ENGLISH TEACHERS' NEWSLETTER, August 1989; 9pp. (Pitched at teachers. I was a judge in the contest).
Abstract: This paper attempts to explain the criteria which judges are likely to apply in the Fiji National Oratory Contest. It comments upon some features of the 1989 contest, and suggests factors which may have underlain the performance of contestants. However, the analysis is not merely local to an historical time or place. Oratory contests are a special case of the “speaking competitions” which are widespread in countries where English is learned as a second language. The cultural beliefs and traditions which come into play in public speaking are especially important in cross-cultural situations. The solutions discussed here have universal relevance for speakers and judges.
9. "Evaluating Linguistic Difficulty"; TESOL NEWS, Vol.8, No.3,1987: pp.24-33 (Advice for teachers).
Abstract: While ESL teachers cannot eliminate linguistic difficulties, with an awareness of the factors involved it is possible to minimise the confusion of their students. This article systematically analyses some important problem areas in language learning. It itemizes a range of syntactic and semantic phenomena, considering in each cas how the rule or pattern might pose a difficulty for some learners. This paper has been published for a number of years now, and the writer has become aware that many teachers themselves have found it a useful aid in preparing and presenting course material. Table of Contents: INTRODUCTION // orders of complexity // LEXICAL DIFFICULTY // Syllabic length:// Clusters // Irregular spelling // Irregular stress // Affixes // Multiple denotation // Range of connotation // Specialized application // Frequency of lexical items // Selectional restrictions // Subcategorical restrictions // MEASURES OF STRUCTURAL COMPLEXITY IN SENTENCES // Sentence length // Qualifying words // Adverbial and prepositional phrases // Conjunctive sentences // Equi-deletion // Deletion by convention // Permutation // Transposition // Embedding // Sentential complements // Topicalization // Presupposition // Tense // Aspect // Agreement (concord) rules // Anaphoric, cataphoric and exophoric references // DISCOURSE COHESION // CUEING // IDIOM // CONCEPTUAL DIFFICULTY // More accessible reference // Less accessible reference // Types of Inference // REFERENCES
8. "This is Your Problem, Friend, Not Mine: Towards a Solution for Formal Language Errors in Papua New Guinea (& Elsewhere)"; published by RELC in ADVICE FOR TEACHERS, July 1986: pp.1-10; (Regional English Language Centre, Singapore; originally delivered at the TESLA Conference, Goroka, PNG, in July 1985. Pitched at teachers). Also on academia.edu
Abstract: this paper proposes that teacher correction often has very little transfer effect on a student's later language behaviour. It examines reasons for this, and the motivational paradigm within which students operate. The paper argues that student self-correction is more likely to have a measurable long term effect. A mechanism to motivate directed self-correction is therefore proposed. This mechanism involves subtracting marks from assessed essays, and indicating line locations where there is a problem, without however explaining the problem. The procedure gives students the option to recover the lost marks through re-editing and re-submission within a time frame. The system has been tested empirically and found to yield promising results. The method of error evaluation also results in a lower burden of pointless correction for teachers. The material in this article is as relevant now as it ever was. Some things don't change.
7. WORKING PAPERS, SOLOMON ISLANDS LANGUAGE PROJECT; (Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education (now Southern Cross University), 1983. 180 copies x 61pages of English teaching resource materials distributed through primary school teachers in the Solomon Islands).
6. TRANSCRIPT FOR A LANGUAGE COURSE IN BANJALUNG*, 1983; 31pp.; commissioned by Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education** for Aboriginal teacher trainees. [4Mb pdf file]
Also on academia.edu
Middle Clarence dialect, NSW; This is a rudimentary phrase book for the Australian Aboriginal language, Banjalung (*aka Bundjalung, Bunjalung, Badjalang, Banjalung & Bandjalang), constructed in co-operation with a surviving speaker and designed to encourage Banjalung language revival. It was untertaken at the request of Southern Cross University (then Northern Rivers CAE) and local community members.
5. "Language and Communications: A Linguist's Reply to Dr. Koji Kobayashi"; ELECTRONICS TODAY INTERNATIONAL, July 1984: pp.52-53
4. "English Language Teaching: a licence to poach resources", published in TESLA Newsletter of Papua New Guinea, 1985: 2pp.; ed. Angie Philip, Southern Regional Teachers College, P.O. Box 1216 Boroko, PNG
3. "The Price of Freedom"; AUSTRALIAN SOCIETY, October 1984; (factual account of a Vietnamese military officer's escape from Vietnam by boat, and its aftermath).
1. "When is a presupposition not a presupposition?" in WORKING PAPERS IN LINGUISTICS, 1979: 4pp.; University of Newcastle Linguistics Student's Association;
PRIVATELY PUBLISHED MATERIAL
Thor May last update: 2012
- mostly available online at http://thormay.net
Published papers and a profile can be seen at these two repositories:
Abstract: At the top of the assessment pyramid are multinational testing corporations, best known by the names of their standardized tests, such as IELTS, TOEIC, TOEFL, BULATS, TKT, Cambridge ESOL main suite, or G-TELP (there are many other aspirants). In some ways these testing companies can be thought of as the Big Pharma corporations (i.e. drug companies) of the educational world. Like Big Pharma they are subject to constant challenges to their ethics and reliability from within and without, and like Big Pharma they are rather prone to corrupt the issues which they were designed to assist with. The possible corruption of language learning by the requirements of testing is known as wash-back. Wash-back is not always malignant. The analysis in this paper is a tentative attempt to manipulate the wash-back from an international test in a manner which actually assists genuine language acquisition.
Abstract: The reason that North Korea exists is that America, the superpower, exists. This was true during the 1950-53 Korean War, and it is true today. After World War II, American ignorance of the Korean peninsular was matched only by its disinterest. In 2013, oddly perhaps, the best friend of the North Korean regime is the American military-industrial complex. They need each other. That part of the American polity which persists in playing the games of empire absolutely craves a North Korean demon. Yet China in 2013 would happily erase North Korea into a dusty footnote, if it were politically possible. Kim Jong-eun and his coterie are not only bad for Chinese business, they are downright embarrassing for Chinese respectability.
Abstract: The argument I will develop in this essay is that the foreign students are a latent human resource who can assist with overcoming English monolingualism in the Australian population. Foreign students, properly rewarded, can be a major source of skills transfer. Every one of those students is a walking compendium of language and cultural skills that Australians need to know
Abstract: The outline which follows analyses the two halves of a language teacher's profession: a) The first half is daily classroom practice : what is taught and how is it evaluated? b) The second half of a teacher's profession is to know or at least estimate what is going on in the brains of her students : what is learned and how is it learned? Teaching is a simulation machine. Learning is for life. The implicit professional challenge is in making the simulation useful for living.
Note: The discussion here reflects a teacher’s interest in actual language learning, rather than that special game which sets out to manufacture “the IELTS/TOEFL performing clone”. Also, I have termed these notes an “outline”. It would be an abuse of language to call them an academic paper in any finished sense, and the absence of referencing reinforces that. There are, after all, whole academic faculties devoted to the study of testing, though unfortunately most teachers have never heard of them. Still, for those in a hurry, these reflections of my own may crystallize some of the questions which, sooner or later, will trouble any thoughtful teacher.
Abstract: This review is a post-mortem of an education joint-venture between an Australian college and a Chinese college in central China at the three year mark*. It has lessons for policy, management, teaching and learning. The focus is on foreign language teaching, but most of the elements also apply to other fields of study.
Abstract: This is a collection of things to do in a classroom, plus a little explanation for teachers. The collection is not a syllabus, it is not graded and it is certainly not “complete” (what would “complete” mean here?). However bits of it should be useful for almost anyone teaching English.
35. Stress, Rhythm and Intonation this piece is also on my blog, Thor's Language Teaching Notes . Over the last decade this has consistently been the most popular file in this website, to my astonishment).
Abstract: Abstract: These are notes on English stress, rhythm and intonation. Part A is for students and Part B is for teachers. The treatment here is “technical”, as by a linguist, but in very plain language. Even with poor formal English, L2 speakers who “sound right” will gain social acceptance, and this in turn will greatly accelerate their learning. Firstly the concept of “the music of a language” is introduced. It is noted that languages are on a scale of “syllable timed” to “stress timed” (though this is not a simple matter). English is a stress-times language. Both word stress and sentence stress are essential in English. However, proper word liaison and elision marks native speakers from non-native speakers. Some advice is given on how to practice privately and in a classroom. The importance of teacher talk as a model is noted.
34. PLEASE TELL ME SOME IDIOMS TO LEARN (2012) (also available on academia.edu)
Abstract : What is an idiom? The answer is both complex and fuzzy. This short paper is a colloquial discussion that begins with a student inquiry about learning idioms and progresses to the realization that idioms are an indeterminate category which raise deep questions about the nature of collocation and cognitive language processing.
33. Fluency Vs Accuracy OR Fluency and Accuracy for Language Learners? (2009) (also availble on academia.edu)
Abstract : This seminar paper indicates a fundamental difference in objectives between language learning for certification and learning for live use. Whereas accuracy is an absolute goal within schooling contexts, its value on the street is highly variable. This difference is reflected in teaching perspectives. // This is the outline of a seminar on teaching methodology given as a teacher inservice for Chinese English teachers in Zhengzhou, Henan, China, in November 2009.
32. BASIC TIPS FOR LANGUAGE TEACHERS (2008) (also available on academia.edu)
Abstract : These notes consist of three parts : 1. Some short backround notes on the profession of teaching languages; 2. A few useful links for teaching tips and content; 3. A collection of ten activities which the seminar presenter has invented or borrowed, and found to be popular with students.// This is an outline from one of a monthly series of seminars by Thor May on teaching skills. The seminars were given as a teacher inservice for Chinese English teachers in Zhengzhou, Henan, China. This seminar was conducted on 10 June 2008
31. GRAMMAR FOR LANGUAGE TEACHERS (also available on academia.edu)
Abstract : 1. What are we doing when we do grammar ? / 2. So what is grammar?/ 3. Where do the rules in book grammars come from ? / 4. So is grammar just about the links between words ? / 5.Language grammar always happens at the same time as lots of other things in your brain / 6. What should grammar teachers teach ? / 7. Do students learn useful language control from studying grammar books? / 8. Can teachers teach grammar? / 9. How can language teachers be most useful? / 10. Do grammar mistakes matter? / 11. Is accuracy more important than fluency? //==// This is the outline of a seminar on grammar teaching given as a teacher inservice for Chinese English teachers in Zhengzhou, Henan, China, on 13 May 2008. Thor May has been teaching language and linguistics since 1976.
30. Language Shift and Language Maintenance - A Contrarian Viewpoint from Thor May (also available on academia.edu and on http://nativenet.uthscsa.edu/archive/ng/94/0315.html
Abstract: This short informal paper stems from reflection on an address by Ken Hale, doyen of minority languages (and now sadly deceased). It looks at the role of linguists themselves in the dynamic of language maintenance and the twin phenomena of language loss and language birth. The uniqueness of each language is weighed against the costs and benefits of language homogenization. It is recognized that the majority of speakers are ultimately pragmatists about language choice, yet an argument remains for offering some minority language support to groups struggling with their ethnic identity. Finally, it is asked whether language maintenance or revival can actually pose other risks under certain conditions. Note 1: These are observations which grew out of an Australian Linguistics Institute workshop on Language Shift & Maintenance in the Asia Pacific Region. It was held at Latrobe University, Victoria, Australia on 9 July 1994. At the time I was doing doctoral research at the University of Melbourne, and put this material aside. However, a decade later it still seems relevant.
29. Generative Oscillation -- A Cognitive Model for the Emergence of Language - discontinued PhD thesis from the University of Melbourne, 1994. (also available on academia.edu)
Abstract: The GO model proposes a co-generative view of the emergence of language. Most conventional linguistics models conceive of language as a representational system of symbols which refer to events, either mental or external to the organism. This representational function is said to motivate the linguistic system and (depending upon the linguistic model) largely control its form. The GO (Generative Oscillation) model proposed here recognizes the representational role of language. However it notes that as the mental linguistic system itself becomes efficiently organized, it creates an internal logic and drive of its own. To some extent this internally motivated linguistic system is conceived to override the external motivation to represent another reality. Since the internal linguistic system is dynamic and generative, it may give rise to linguistic output which seems strange in an inter-human communicative context (or even within the reflective mind of the creator). Thus while the external communicative context can become a constraint on unmotivated non-representational "internal language", it might not eliminate it. The Generative Oscillation model proposes that actual language production is an oscillating compromise between the representational function of language and the mental "language bot" itself (i.e. an internal self-organizing system) which is generating language strings just because that is what language language bots do. As far as I know, the Generative Oscillation Model, or anything like it, had not been suggested before in linguistics at the time of writing. Some conventional linguists may find it a bit "off the wall"
28. "Generative Oscillation: from phrase structure to discourse"; a model of cognitive processing, delivered at University of Melbourne Postgraduate Linguistics Conference, May 1993; 30pp.
27. Unclever Talk: Mnemonic Resonance and God Knows What (also available on academia.edu)
Abstract: This paper questions the sources of linguistic creativity by considering the corpus of an idiolect (that is, one individual's grammar). The objective analysis of this corpus led the researcher to speculate that the use of mental constructs, specifically language, in real time had a kind of immediate "resonance" in the brain which increased the likelihood of their repetition, either exactly or with simple grammatical modifications. The phenomenon is defined in this paper as "mnemonic resonance". If this resonance patterning were general then it would have profound consequences for listener decoding strategies which depend heavily upon collocational predictability. At a theoretical level, mnemonic resonance would also have consequences for many existing linguistic models.
26. When Is It Rude To Be Rude ? - Politeness Across Cultures and Subcultures (언제 무례하여 무례해지는가 ? translated by Professor Kang Uk-Ky) 2001 (also available on academia.edu)
Abstract: Includes a Korean translation from English. This paper deals with politeness phenomena which are general to all human societies, but draws many examples from Korea as understood by the writer (who is Australian). The emphasis in this analysis is on the problem of decoding politeness. It is noted that even within a culture, politeness signals can be manipulated, and that interlocutors calibrate their meaning according to knowledge of individual personalities. In Korean society, the requirement for formal politeness signals is very strong, both in body language and in fixed linguistic markers (such as verb endings). However, the pragmatic meaning of these signals is calibrated in ways that are difficult for foreigners to decode. The paper also considers the dilemma of that minority of Koreans who attempt to interact within the linguistic and social codes of English. It is noted that these attempts often go astray, both because the speaker misunderstands English politeness coding conventions and because listeners in English, almost by definition, come from radically different cultural backgrounds to the Korean.
25. "Language in Suva : A Sociolinguistic Survey of an Urban Pacific Population" (also incorportated as an appendix in my PhD dissertation, and further available at academia.edu)
Abstract : This paper is a preliminary report on a sociolinguistic field survey. It records the beliefs which 834 permanent residents of Suva, Fiji had about their own language and literacy skills in 1988-89. The interview subjects were selected from five census enumeration districts with populations ranging from 430 to 1200, and chosen for having a roughly equal ethnic composition of Fijians and Indo-Fijians. Bilingual interviewers (linguistics students) invited and assisted subjects to complete an extensive questionnaire, and offer unstructured comments. The collated and analysed outcome gives a complex and sometimes surprising picture of urban language change.
24. PUSAN UNIVERSITY OF FOREIGN STUDIES GRADUATE TESOL PROGRAM ... Lectures, notes and resources for a graduate program I have taught for aspiring TESOL teachers in Busan, South Korea, from 2003.
22. POPUP ENGLISH ... ESL materials and ideas developed in South Korea for 2-year college students
21. THOR'S APHORISMS ... quips and brief observations on life accumulating since 1988
20. THOR'S UNWISE IDEAS ... short essays on a wide range of topics
19. THOR'S KOREA DIARY (September 2000 - June 2007) An account of life in Pusan, then Chungju, South Korea
18. a) THOR'S OLD CHINA DIARY (August 1998-July 2000) An account of life in Wuhan, China (70,000 words +; book projected)
b) THOR'S NEW CHINA DIARY - blog - (July 2007 to current). Mostly sourced from Zhengzhou, Henan Province, central China
17. SHORT TEXTS FROM OZ; sixty-nine short texts for teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language, plus questions and an introduction to the methodology of using short texts. Contains an index of all English words used (2850 vocabulary items); 133 pages. Ready for publication, excepting for glossaries and a table of idioms. Copyrighted to Thor May under the imprint of the Plain & Fancy Language Company, Australia, 1998.
16. STUMPY AND THE DECISION TREE; daggy Internet-serialized blank verse + cartoons in Australian argot; continuing
15. TOM WILEY'S AUSTRALIA; serialized story (fictional) about an Australian man, designed to give advanced learners of English some insight into life in Australia from at least one point of view. Fifteen thousand words (34 episodes) written to date (February 1999). The final document should be double this. The intention is to publish this material with glossaries and idiom lists in a bilingual English-Chinese edition.
14. WHAT NEXT: ONE HUNDRED THINGS FOR A LANGUAGE TEACHER TO DO WITH TECHNICAL STUDENTS, volume in active preparation, 1997
13. THE AGNOSTIC'S SURVIVAL MANUAL , 2007, 2013[ .. a 20,000 word e-book, also available in PDF, with a third copy (PDF) at my Academia.edu repository. . Dear reader, are you really hoping for a book of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’? Do you want gentle ideas and a comfortable corner in which to rest your half-formed prejudices? Alas, you have come to the wrong place. … The truly employable in this world are harmless blobs of not-quite-anything, or heroic knights of flaming conviction (best employed by others after safe removal to a site of sacrifice), or good old fashioned hypocrites with opinions for hire. This particular writer is entirely unsafe to hire or to know, being addicted to a deadly combination of moderation and candour. Luckily few people ever understand what he is talking about.
12. TIME PASSING: A MISCELLANY OF POEMS (1970- 2005), privately published by The Plain & Fancy Language Company, 1996-2005
11. "The Sale of Tabu Soro - A Post-Colonial Parable"; August 1996
10. "Learning Our Lines: A Lesson For The Second Millennium?" a review of , David Hare's play 1. Skylight, Melbourne Theatre Company at the Fairfax Studio until 31 August, 1996.
9. THE WRONG ADDRESS - FRAGMENTS FROM AN AUSTRALASIAN LIFE,1995 : Twenty prose-poems: a snapshot of one wandering life in Australasia, 1956-1985. The real story begins earlier and ends later, but a storyteller's time is always short ...
8. "Double-Cross"; (a 16,000 word radio play in twenty-six, three minute episodes for advanced learners of English. Written under contract to TAFE, Newcastle, 1983).
7. "Script Theory", University of Newcastle, NSW, 1979: 39pp.; early exploration of discourse analysis; subsequently taken up in second Ph.D. study at the University of Melbourne in 1990.
6. "The Lexical Nature of Thematic Features", University of Newcastle NSW, 1984:20pp; extract from unfinished first Ph.D. thesis; further editing required.
5. "Inherent Features as Constituents of Grammatical Agency", University of Newcastle NSW, 1984: 18pp.; extract from unfinished first Ph.D. thesis; further editing required.
4. "The State of State", University of Newcastle NSW, 1984: 13pp.; extract from unfinished first Ph.D. thesis; further editing required.
3. "Experiments in Linguistics for Teachers", University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji, 1988: 8pp.; paper on experimental method; in preparation.
2. A number of privately circulated commentaries up to 10pp. each on a range of topics, from international relations, to conflict resolution, to ESL curriculums.
1. A miscellany of materials published on several Internet sites, including some of the above, but much else in addition. Equivalent to many hundreds of A4 pages overall.
return to index page