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Subject: Language and Linguistics

Usage-Based Instruction: Teaching students to orally communicate in a foreign language

1st edition / ISBN: 978-1-62273-061-2
August 2018
Availability: Forthcoming

This book is about Usage-Based Instruction, an innovative approach to teaching students to orally communicate in foreign languages. The approach was inspired by Usage-Based Model of language and language acquisition which differs radically from the traditional view of language underlying today’s dominant teaching paradigm. Usage-Based view of language is largely unknown to language educators: its main tenets are still tucked away in scholarly books and articles. The main goal of the book was to connect this refreshingly novel perspective on how language is learned with L2 pedagogy. The result is Usage-Based Instruction (UBI), a highly structured and carefully conceived sequence that has been successfully applied in teaching beginning students to speak in a foreign language. Students taught by the UBI demonstrate higher language gain, better pronunciation and grammatical accuracy, as well as more ease in expressing their ideas in the foreign language than those taught by more traditional, usually textbook-driven, methods. The first part of the book describes the main tenets of Usage-Based theory, such as intimate relation between language experience and the development of the linguistic system, the role of frequency, entrenchment, associative learning, constructions, and chunking, and discusses their relevance to L2 pedagogy. The main feature of the UBI which distinguishes it from more conventional approaches is that it uses constructions as units of learning. In the UBI course, constructions are learned through use: students begin to use linguistic units without necessarily being exposed to metalinguistic knowledge but rather through memory-based automatization in meaningful semi-communicative and communicative activities. Based on the premises discussed in the first part of the book, the second part of the book presents detailed step-by-step description of the UBI instructional sequence which includes Modeling, Focused Input, Forced-Choice Output, Scaffolded Practice, and Recycling, with each step considered in separate chapters, each containing a wealth of ready-to-use classroom activities.

Making Strangers

Outsiders, Aliens and Foreigners
1st edition / ISBN: 978-1-62273-324-8
April 2018
Availability: Forthcoming

Studies on foreignness have increased substantially over the last two decades in response to what has been dubbed the ‘refugee crisis.’ Yet, their focus has been generally on specific areas such as region, period, ethnic group or author. Predicated on the belief that this so-called ‘twenty-first century problem’ is timeless, and as old as humanity itself, the proposed collection of essays shows cases based on both long-term historic perspectives and individual occurrences from around the world. Bringing together an international group of scholars from Australia, Asia, Europe and North America, it examines a variety of examples and strategies, mostly from world literatures, ranging from Spain’s failed experience with consolidation as a nation-state-type entity during the Golden Age of Castile, to Shakespeare’s rhetorical subversion of the language of fear and hate, to Mario Rigoni Stern’s random status at the unpredictable Italian-Austrian borders, to Lawrence Durrell’s complacent reluctance to notice the unmistakable reality of the other, to the French government’s ongoing criminalization of hospitality, to Sandra Cisneros’s attempt at straddling two countries and cultures while belonging to neither one, to experimentations with intercultural transfers by Gisèle Pineau. We are not born foreigners; we are made. The purpose of the book is to assert, as denoted by its title, this fundamental premise, and contend that the making of strangers is a deliberate and purposeful process, even though it may be born out of an uncontrollable and primal urge to survive. The ultimate expression of this phenomenon is the compulsive labeling of people along artificial categories such as race, gender, religion, birthplace, or nationality. A corollary purpose of the book is to help shed light worldwide on the current plight of immigrants, refugees and all those excluded within because of race, gender, national origin, religion and ethnicity. As illustrated by the examples examined in this book, humans have certainly evolved in many areas; dealing with the “other” might not have been one of those.

The Playbook of Persuasive Reasoning

Everyday Empowerment and Likeability
1st edition / ISBN: 978-1-62273-274-6
March 2018
Availability: Forthcoming

The Playbook of Persuasive Reasoning: Everyday Empowerment and Likeability provides an inclusive and accessible guide to the strategies of persuasive reasoning, which I argue is the lynchpin to all effective communication, including professional communication. The “playbook” explains numerous eye opening communicative maneuvers that readers of all levels and professions can apply to their lives, empowering their messaging and increasing their social magnetism. The Playbook of Persuasive Reasoning uniquely resists the typical approach to argumentation and persuasion that is often technical (e.g. formal logic handbooks), complex (e.g. handbooks on legal argumentation principles), formally business centered (e.g. Harvard Business Review essays) or science oriented (e.g Cialdini’s Influence: Science and Practice). In sum, The Playbook of Persuasive Reasoning is a down-to-Earth guidebook about effective rhetorical strategizing. It is framed around everyday application, using everyday examples, and embedded in everyday language. Since effective communication is highly sought after trait by international employers, clients, and customers, The Playbook of Persuasive Reasoning is a useful book for professionals. Moreover, academics and students—as public intellectuals—can benefit from learning how to deliver more abstract material in an effective manner: verbally and written. Therefore, my goal is to help professionals and students become better and more likeable communicators. In doing so, the books will help them succeed professionally, socially, and cerebrally. Strategies of cooperative argumentation can facilitate this power—and guide individuals toward more empowered lives.


Explorations in Language
1st edition / ISBN: 978-1-62273-193-0
September 2017
Availability: Forthcoming

Wordscapes: Explorations in Language conveys readers on a comprehensive and entertaining linguistic gambol through the diverse components of our evolving language. Wordscapes prisms words to reveal their spectral facets, investigating such sundry elements as their curious origins, their semantic changes, and their baffling quirks. In addition, Wordscapes explores how we use words—from the like awesome realm of fadspeak and the pretentious embellishments of buzzwords, to the smoke-screen domain of bafflegab and the sugarcoated world of euphemism. This survey of our word panorama is presented in an unconventional, engaging, and visually appealing format; each page is a montage, enticing the eyes to land on islands of information—linguistic probes which serve to explain, juxtapose, complement, and reinforce. Every page serves a linguistic ragout of ingredients that will fascinate, amuse, and educate. Wordscapes investigates the biology of words. Whether used as tools or weapons, words are humankind’s most significant and most potent invention. We have given words a morality, a sociology, and a psychology. Words induce laughter, incite anger, instill hope, inflict pain, and inspire love. We use words to heal, motivate, manipulate, and deceive. They haunt and taunt; amuse and bemuse. Because of their power, words and the uses to which we put them, warrant the scrutiny they are given in Wordscapes. Not one of the books currently on the market encompasses the variety of content contained in Wordscapes. Other books focus on a specific aspect of words, a single ingredient in the linguistic salmagundi. There are books about euphemisms, slang, etymologies, or clichés; there are books that focus on eggcorns, snowclones, or mondegreens; there are books exploring eponyms, contronyms, retronyms, or bacronyms; and there are books about fadspeak, sportspeak, buzzspeak, or doublespeak. Wordscapes has all of these. And much more.

Elizabeth Craven: Writer, Feminist and European

1st edition / ISBN: 978-1-62273-275-3
June 2017
Availability: In stock

Elizabeth Craven’s fascinating life was full of travel, love-affairs and scandals but this biography, the first to appear for a century, is the only one to focus on her as a writer and draw attention to the full range of her output, which raises her stature as an author considerably. Born into the upper class of Georgian England, she was pushed into marriage at sixteen to Lord Craven and became a celebrated society hostess and beauty, as well as mother to seven children. Though acutely conscious of her relative lack of education, as a woman, she ventured into writing poetry, stories and plays. Incompatibility and infidelities on both sides ended her marriage and she had to move to France where, living in seclusion, she wrote the little-known feminist work Letters to Her Son. In the years that followed, she travelled extensively all over Europe and turned her letters into a travelogue which is one of her best-known works. On her return she went to live in Germany as the companion and eventually second wife of the Margrave of Ansbach. At his court she organised and appeared in theatricals, and wrote several more plays of great interest, including The Modern Philosopher. In 1792 she and the Margrave settled in England, where they were never fully accepted by the more strait-laced pillars of society but mixed with all the musicians and actors and the more rakish of the Regency set. Craven continued to put on her own theatricals and write for the theatre. In her old age, she moved to Naples where she passed her time sailing, gardening and writing her Memoirs. Even in her final years, scandal dogged her, and Craven made her feminist principles and criticisms of the laws of marriage apparent through her involvement in the notorious divorce case of Queen Caroline.