Free USC workshops for lovers of language - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Free USC workshops for lovers of language

19 May 2016

The evolution of Australia’s distinct dialect and the language differences between boys and girls are two of the topics to be discussed at a series of public seminars at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

The first of four free workshops on different aspects of language will be held on Monday 30 May, with USC Associate Professor of Education Michael Nagel exploring how language emerges and works in the brains of children.

“The seminar will look at how the brain develops, how this shapes – and is shaped by – language development and what this means for teachers and parents alike,” Dr Nagel said.

The seminar series, an initiative of USC’s School of Education, will feature Lecturer in Education Dr Peter Grainger on Monday 6 June outlining 10 reasons for learning an additional language, from improving employment potential to increasing self-understanding and life skills.

“There is compelling research on the tremendous value to school children of learning more than one language,” said Dr Grainger, who will share academic studies and anecdotal stories from his 25 years as a high school Japanese language teacher.
 
The evolution of Australia’s use of the English language is the topic of the third workshop, to be presented by Senior Lecturer in Education (English language and literacy) Dr Michael Carey on Monday 13 June.
 
“One of the most interesting findings in recent years has resulted from comparative acoustic studies of Australian-accented speech and other dialects that have overturned many of the previous common beliefs about the Australian English accent,” Dr Carey said.

“For instance, some made jokes about our accent, saying that we don’t open our mouths when we speak, supposedly to keep out the flies!

“Acoustic analysis has revealed that we open our mouths more, or more accurately, we have a lower tongue position for certain vowels such as those in ‘had’ and ‘mate’ than other dialects of English, including the variety spoken by the Queen of England,” he said.
 
The physical language of boys is the theme for the final workshop with Associate Lecturer in Early Childhood Education Dr Jennifer Hart on Monday 20 June.
 
“The key message is that young girls and boys communicate with their peers differently and that in a female-dominated profession it is important for educators to recognise that these differences exist,” Dr Hart said.
 
The workshops, which are open to members of the community, teachers and language professionals, will be held from 6pm to 7.30pm in Lecture Theatre 7 at USC’s Sippy Downs campus.

To find out more details or register contact Dr Grainger on peter.grainger@usc.edu.au 

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