Thursday, December 29, 2005

8 years ago today...

Back in 1997, I wrote about the first Chinese New Year that I spent with my then-future in-laws, but the only version left of that story is archived here...

Monday, December 19, 2005

In response to this:*

'Are you guilty?' said Winston.

'Of course I'm guilty!' cried Parsons with a servile glance at the telescreen. 'You don't think the Party would arrest an innocent man, do you?' His frog-like face grew calmer, and even took on a slightly sanctimonious expression. 'Thoughtcrime is a dreadful thing, old man,' he said sententiously. 'It's insidious. It can get hold of you without your even knowing it. Do you know how it got hold of me? In my sleep! Yes, that's a fact. There I was, working away, trying to do my bit -- never knew I had any bad stuff in my mind at all. And then I started talking in my sleep. Do you know what they heard me saying?'

He sank his voice, like someone who is obliged for medical reasons to utter an obscenity.

"Down with Big Brother!" Yes, I said that! Said it over and over again, it seems. Between you and me, old man, I'm glad they got me before it went any further. Do you know what I'm going to say to them when I go up before the tribunal? "Thank you," I'm going to say, "thank you for saving me before it was too late."
--from 1984

[Update, 12/27/05: Well, now that (as everyone probably knows), the student in question has admitted to lying, I guess we should all let down our guards and realize that the wiretapping and other domestic spying activities the U.S. government is conducting couldn't possibly endanger the freedoms of patriotic Americans. After all, Colin Powell says it's OK...]

Friday, December 16, 2005

A must-read from the latest Written Communication

At the top of my list of articles to read:

Lillis, Theresa, and Mary Jane Curry. "Professional Academic Writing by Multilingual Scholars: Interactions With Literacy Brokers in the Production of English-Medium Texts." Written Communication 23.1 (2006): 3-35.

Authors' Abstract:
Scholars around the world are under increasing pressure to publish their research in the medium of English. However, little empirical research has explored how the global premium of English influences the academic text production of scholars working outside of English-speaking countries. This article draws on a longitudinal text-oriented ethnographic study of psychology scholars in Hungary, Slovakia, Spain, and Portugal to follow the trajectories of texts from local research and writing contexts to English-medium publications. Our findings indicate that a significant number of mediators, "literacy brokers," who are involved in the production of such texts, influence the texts in different and important ways. We illustrate in broad terms the nature and extent of literacy brokering in English-medium publications and characterize and exemplify brokers’ different orientations. We explore what kind of brokering is evident in the production of a specific group of English-medium publications—articles written and published in English-medium international journals—by focusing on three text histories. We conclude by discussing what a focus on brokering can tell us about practices surrounding academic knowledge production.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Update; upcoming vacation

A few items:
  • The writing workshop with Charles Bazerman on Dec. 3 went really well. There were over 100 people attending. Dr. Bazerman's talks on the history of literacy and of social organization and on assessment were well-received, as were the panels on text-type in teaching and assessment. I hope that we'll be able to do something like this again in the future. (And as Dr. Bazerman himself said, we don't necessarily need to have a big scholar from the U.S. to come in order to have such a conference. Though it was nice to have him here!)
  • Saturday the 10th I went to Tainan to give a talk to Dr. Clyde Warden's IMBA class on using secondary sources in research. The IMBA program at National Cheng Kung University has students from many countries (I met some from Taiwan, New Zealand, the U.S., and Cambodia) and conducts its classes in English. Some students seemed to have done quite a bit of research before and some hadn't, so I tried to aim my talk to those with less experience. I was happily surprised to see Robert, a former student from Tunghai who's now in the IMBA program. Quite a coincidence to run into him!
  • Both Chuck and Clyde talked to me about my dissertation, encouraging me to "finish it!" So I'm going to try to work harder on it, cutting out some of the less necessary distractions in life. (Though there seem to be more and more necessary distractions...) One of the LNDs for me is blogging, so I'm going to be taking what I hope is an extended vacation from the blogging life (contingent upon my ability to control myself!). I hope to be back at some point in the next few months with some good news about my dissertation...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

House of flying kitchen tiles, or The former native speaker's kitchen self-destructs! 2

In this episode of the continuing story of the slow demise of the former native speaker's kitchen, we see the former native Chinese speaker making lunch, oblivious to the kitchen's murderous intent...

Suddenly, she hears creaking sounds. Before she can do anything, pieces of tile fly toward her, pointing their sharp edges at her...

Fortunately, her slow-moving but loyal companion Bing Xiang (冰箱) blocks the ceramic shards of death, saving her life.

The gruesome aftermath (caution: not for those with weak stomachs!):

To view the first episode in this series, click here. Note that this sequel has come out less than a year after the first episode. Take that, Sam Raimi!

Actually, the real story is the FNCS heard the noises and quickly got the camera to take shots as the tiles flew off the wall. (Unfortunately, the battery was dead, so she had to wait until it recharged to take pics of the aftermath...) But why ruin a good story with the truth?

Plagiarism and the Chinese news media

ESWN has helpfully translated an article from on the prevalence of plagiarism in news organizations in China.