Useful Web Links Colour Paintings: Unit 1 Children's Language Acquisition Language & Educational Linguistics
Discussion Topics Conversation Analysis Pragmatics Gricean Implicature Interpreting Utterances Sociolinguistics Grammar Language Change Multilingualism Semantics Words
What is a sentence? Apostrophes Matter Lost Consonants Old Words, New Meanings Punctuation Matters Startings and Finishings
Introduction Contents List Sample Reading Reader Sample Bookmap Strands Bookmap Cross-referencing

About the Authors

Patrick Griffiths

Patrick Griffiths

On a baffling introduction to English literature that I underwent a long time ago, one of the lecturers used up class hours by strutting as he proclaimed that “poetry is an athletic art performed with the vocal limb”. No hints were given as to what that meant, but his example persuaded me that being baffling is a waste of students' and the teachers' time; so I have aimed since then to be clear (even if it takes more words). The reward has been students who talk back, raise problems and ask lots of questions, which has pushed me into trying harder to understand my own subject: the workings of language.

Linguistics and psychology were my bachelor degree majors. I wrote an honours dissertation on second language learners' implicit knowledge of English grammar as revealed by their comprehension errors and successes. One branch of my mind got a start in educational linguistics from me taking a part-time job as a writer of exercises for students of English as a second language. I learnt statistics on another job.

For my doctoral degree at Edinburgh University, the focus was on word meanings and how young children begin to attach meanings to words. I had part-time teaching jobs in the university and also worked on two child language research projects.

My first full-time university teaching post was at the University of York (the one in the UK), where I taught courses in semantics, child language, psycholinguistics and the structure of English. I also learnt a great deal about language in education from being the anchor person for a course that put students in schools for a whole year, in the UK and elsewhere in the world, to discover through practical involvement how English is learnt and used.

After that I spent six years in Fiji, teaching applied linguistics, semantics, psycholinguistics and the structure of English at the international University of the South Pacific (which serves twelve Pacific island countries that, between them, have 200 different languages).

For 18 months back in the UK , at York St John University, I taught on TESOL (Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages), psycholinguistics and history of linguistics courses. Then I spent five years at Beppu University, in a beautiful part of Japan, where I ran English language and linguistics courses, including a TEFL certificate programme. Since then I have taught semantics and pragmatics at York St John, and have worked hard on trying to learn to read Japanese.

Selected publications