Linguistics academics celebrate double book launch

2 October 2020

From left: Professor Laurie Bauer, Dr Andreea S Calude and Dr Ian Bruce

Two University of Waikato senior linguistics lecturers recently celebrated book launches.

Dr Andreea Calude's Questions About Language - What Everyone Should Know about Language in the 21st Century came about rather unexpectedly, as Dr Calude got in touch with her co-author, Victoria University of Wellington's Professor Laurie Bauer, for a different reason altogether.

Dr Calude and Professor Bauer are linguists from very different generations, but share the unique link of having both their PhDs supervised by Professor Jim Miller - Professor Bauer being the first student whose PhD Professor Miller supervised, and Dr Calude the last.

Covering core questions about language, Dr Calude and Professor Bauer's book consists of twelve short chapters of essential reading for anyone with an interest in linguistics, with no background knowledge of the subject required.  It sets out to answer a series of new and exciting questions about language in an easy to understand way.

Sixteen language experts from across the world were contacted to answer a series of challenging questions, from 'what makes a language a language?', to 'do people swear because they don’t know enough words?' As a collaborative effort, the book was written and published in less than a year.

Dr Calude has a background in mathematics and linguistics and researches (spoken) grammar, language evolution, loanwords and just about any quantitative language-related questions she can get data on. She also authored the TED ED lesson “Does Grammar Matter?”, which has received more than 1.5 million hits.

"Writing a book about language for a popular audience is a great privilege. I hope it inspires new generations of young linguistics scholars to pursue fresh questions about language themselves, because, as we write in the book, language is everyone's business", she says.

Dr Calude’s co-author is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and an Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at Victoria University of Wellington.  He says working with Dr Calude has been inspirational in terms of writing for a lay audience.

"People might not realise how much work goes into finding suitable topics for both readers and authors, and suitable people to write the material. Most of us are not used to writing for the general public - we tend to write for each other - and it is a very different challenge."

Another book launched by a University of Waikato senior linguistics lecturer at the same time, Expressing Critical Thinking through Disciplinary Texts by Dr Ian Bruce, investigates the specific linguistic elements involved in the process of exploring how critical thinking is expressed in writing.

Drawing on five studies to examine the similarities and differences in the linguistic elements deployed across different genres, Dr Bruce took a genre-based approach to comparing the textual expression of critical thinking in samples of academic, professional and journalistic writing.

His book highlights the most important contributory factors in the expression of critical thinking, looking at phenomena such as the link between propositions and words which express the writer's personal attitude, patterns of organising content, and the role of metaphor.

Providing an in-depth examination of how critical thinking is communicated through different types of specialist writing, Dr Bruce hopes the book may help to provide a more grounded approach to writing pedagogy as well as paving the way for further research.

"It represents a shift in focus on critical thinking, from being centred on general principles of logical reasoning and argumentation, to the use of genre analysis to explore how it is constructed through the texts of different disciplines."

As an applied linguist, Dr Bruce researches academic, professional and journalistic genres of writing and has a number of publications in this area. His research of academic genres aims to inform academic literacy education.

He is currently a visiting academic, working on a range of projects in collaboration with staff in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies at the University of Leeds.

Latest stories

Related stories

Tauranga academic joins prestigious taskforce of the American Psychological Association

Associate Professor Taciano Milfont from the School of Psychology - Te Kura Whatu Oho Mauri,…

Kyle Tan and Jaimie Veale

Transgender people who experience discrimination and stigma are more likely to have poor mental health outcomes

A University of Waikato study has found that transgender people who have experienced stigma, including…


New Zealand writing thrives in Covid-19 lockdown

New Zealand’s richest short story competition has thrived despite challenging circumstances for writers.

Emeritus Professors

Four leading academics awarded the title of Emeritus Professor

The University of Waikato has proudly awarded four academics, the Hon. Margaret Wilon, Peter Kamp,…

Spotlight on Inclusive Theatre for NZSL Week 2020

A University of Waikato academic’s research programme is continually adding to a body of theatre…

Waikato researchers receive $26.9m in MBIE Endeavour funding

The University of Waikato has successfully secured funding for three projects, worth a total of…

Kīngitanga Day celebrations go virtual

The University of Waikato commemorated its special relationship with the Kīngitanga in a new way…

Lowering New Zealand’s voting age to 16 would be good for young people – and good for democracy

The recent decision to delay the 2020 general election has given thousands more New Zealand…

Connection the key to teaching excellence

A University of Waikato academic says the award-winning way she shares her passion for English…

Man driving car

Backseat drivers are more helpful than you think

Having a passenger in the car can make a trip safer and more enjoyable, compared…

Sociology student creating meaningful experiences for disabled youth

Emma Dalton's new role with Recreate NZ, a provider of social and recreational services to…

Greg Ward/Shutterstock

Recession hits Māori and Pasifika harder. They must be part of planning New Zealand's COVID-19 recovery

As schools and businesses reopen and attention shifts to the longer-term repercussions of the COVID-19…