No laughing matter

May 27, 2020

A new study involving a scientific analysis of the prevalence of "LOL" in students' text messages demonstrates important potential applications for classroom learning. The study, "Linguistics in General Education: Expanding Linguistics Course Offerings through Core Competency Alignment," will be published in the June 2020 issue of the scholarly journal Language. An advance version of the article may be found at https://www.linguisticsociety.org/sites/default/files/LSA962101_0.pdf.

The study's authors, Katie Welch and Marco Shappeck, highlight how their work with students conducting linguistics research at the University of North Texas at Dallas aligns with an emerging trend in higher education--one that is altering the ways in which universities determine what courses are part of the traditional canon sometimes referred to as the core curriculum." Welch and Shappeck detail how their course, The Language of Now, became adopted by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board as a qualifying course for the state's core curriculum. The study provides a practical framework for how linguistic research can be effectively incorporated into courses that satisfy basic educational requirements for students to graduate.

After surveying the list of approved core courses at the 170 institutions in Texas during Fall 2018, Welch and Shappeck report that linguistics comprised less than 0.1% of the offerings, eve in categories where linguistics clearly fit the criteria. While these numbers are quite low, they indicate that opportunities do exist for linguistics concepts and courses to become more mainstream in higher education.

The authors' work builds on the current trend for reform of the core curriculum: while students still select their courses from broad discipline-based categories, the key difference is that now every course within a category must have the same learning objectives. Regardless of which course a student may select to fulfill the requirements of a given area, they will develop the same skillset. The common learning objectives are selected with career readiness in mind, as they are aligned with skills that employers list as desirable in job candidates--competencies like critical thinking, teamwork, data analysis and interpersonal communication.

The authors demonstrate how a key assignment from their The Language of Now course met the common learning objectives for the "Language, Philosophy, and Culture" component area of the Texas core curriculum. This research assignment asked students to evaluate their own usage of the popular texting phrase LOL, using it as a data set that they can then analyze. After going through a series of research activities designed to help them deepen their understanding of the history and current meaning of LOL, students then made predictions about the future of this word. While this assignment content is decidedly linguistic in nature, Welch and Shappeck argue that by working through the assigned project, students also gain the highly transferrable competencies of critical thinking, inquiry, analysis, and information literacy.
-end-
The Linguistic Society of America (LSA) publishes the peer-reviewed journal, Language, four times per year. The LSA is the largest national professional society representing the field of linguistics. Its mission is to advance the scientific study of language.

Linguistic Society of America

Related Science Articles from Brightsurf:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.

Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.

Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.

World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.

PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.

Read More: Science News and Science Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.