Archive for the ‘Linguistics’ Category

Monsters, playboys, virgins and whores: Rape myths in the news media’s coverage of sexual violence

August 16, 2012

From Language and Literature

Much of the news media’s coverage of sexual violence perpetuates myths and stereotypes about rape, rapists and rape victims. It is common for the media in such cases to portray rapists as monsters, beasts or perverts and women as promiscuous. This study textually analyses newspaper accounts of three rape cases, two from the USA and one from the UK, each of which represents a different type of sexual violence, to ascertain whether or not they disseminate rape myths. In these cases the majority perpetuated rape myths: through victim blaming or the myth of the sociopathic rapist. In all three cases analysed, the impact of the attacks on the victims was largely overlooked, which had the effect of trivialising the crime. Media coverage can shape public opinion and reinforce stereotypes. The study recognizes the consequences of offering a misleading representation of sexual violence, it may influence the definition and understanding of rape by the public, police, and members of the court. This study concludes that in order to combat the problem of sexual violence, the news media must provide accurate examples of rape that do not fit preconceived notions or conform to myths. Only through doing so can the media begin to address the wider societal issues that contribute to this crime.


Children’s language and communication needs: Evaluating intervention and service provision in schools

December 8, 2011

Special issue Children’s language and communication needs: Evaluating intervention and service provision in schools

From Child Language Teaching and Therapy

This special issue brings together practitioners and researchers involved in training staff and supporting children with SLCN in mainstream schools. The collection of articles was put together following a conference held at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, which was jointly organized by the University of Sheffield and De Montfort University to explore how a variety of interventions carried out in schools could be evaluated. The papers from that conference in this issue illustrate examples of how the authors have tried to deal with the ‘real life’ challenges of car­rying out evaluation studies.  The conference and special issue tie into the purpose and themes of this year dedicated to and recognized as the National Year Of Speech, Language And Communication initiated by The Communication Trust with the aim of dedicating a year to help all children communicate’ aims to raise awareness and support parents and the workforce with information and materials so they are better equipped to assist children.

In the free podcast Joy Stackhouse and Jannet Wright discuss their special issue


Are you too old to learn a second language?

November 29, 2011

The effect of age on the acquisition of second language prosody

From Language and Speech

This study tackles the controversial topic of age-related decline in second language attainment. It tested and surveyed three groups of Mandarin-speaking immigrants with varying Age on Arrival to the USA. A group of native speakers was also analyzed. The study provides evidence for an overall advantage in the early learning of a second language. This research found that group differences were statistically significant for speech rate, degree of foreign prosody, the frequency of pitch accents, and the frequency of high boundary tones. The results also suggest the prominent roles of media exposure and motivation in the ultimate outcomes of certain prosodic features.


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