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On the passing of Dr. Michael Halliday

Dr. Michael Alexander Kirkwood Halliday passed away peacefully in his sleep last night. His work was very influential for me, and I thought I might share a few words on what he meant.

In 2016, Halliday moved to a care facility and letters were requested for him via an SFL listserv I follow. Because of the great impact he made on my life, I decided to write him a letter. Below is the text. It sums up what he meant to me.

Dear Dr. Halliday,

My name is Michael Maune, and I recently completed my doctorate in English Education at Purdue University in the U.S.A. under the tutelage of Dr. Luciana de Oliveira and Dr. Christian Knoeller. I read recently on the sys-fling listserv about your recent move to this facility. An address was provided to which correspondence could be sent. As I used Systemic Functional Linguistics in my dissertation, I thought I might write you to express my gratitude and best wishes.

In 2010, I came upon your research and theory through the work of Dr. Frances Christie, who was recommended to me by an anthropological linguist at Purdue. I dove into the SFL rabbit hole full speed and have not looked back. In the U.S., as I’m sure you know, most of us graduate students were trained in Chomsky’s work, to whom I also owe a debt. But it was your work that inspired me as a way to unlock the ways language worked to create cultures.

I am the son of a factory worker, the grandson of a farmer. My time learning to write in college was challenging, and as I pursued my career in writing instruction, I became dissatisfied with the ways I could talk about language with my students. Traditional grammar did not seem to help the students I taught from the outskirts of Indianapolis, nor the college freshmen I taught at Purdue. Your theories not only helped me understand how my own writing worked, but also how to explain to my students how to make linguistic choices to make their own writing more powerful.

Through my studies of Dr. Jim Martin’s work on genre and the mentorship of Dr. de Oliveira, I’ve developed as a teacher of writing, now serving students, many poor and disadvantaged, in the Southern United States. They are improving their writing and gaining access to language that can empower them because of you and your research. I cannot thank you enough for you and your late wife’s work, for your service to educational linguistics, and for your challenging writings that I continue to wrestle with and learn from.

I want to extend my best wishes to you on your recent move. I hope your time there is restful but nonetheless productive.

Cheers,

Michael Maune, Ph.D.

Magnolia, Arkansas, U.S.A.

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Why @derekwebb Should Come Back To Twitter

It started with this:

And then this:

And that was it. Derek Webb was done with Twitter. (more…)

Traditional Academic Feuds in Literacy Studies Part 6: Power and Weak Grammar

Note: This is the sixth part of a multi-part series which (eventually) will become a term paper for a class seminar on literacy.

After my last post, I started discussing the issue of Integration with some colleagues in linguistics via Twitter (in case you haven’t heard, we’re trying to start #lingchat). There are three Tweets I would like to respond to because they raise problems and objections to my analysis that are productive. Thankfully, Purdue’s OWL has already provided a resource on how to cite Tweets. Unfortunately, they’ve only done it for MLA, so I’m extrapolating an APA citation below.

Aside: I want to personally thank my Twitter colleagues @grvsmth, @NemaVeze, and @wgi_pr31ea for raising questions on this matter. Our discussions have been both productive and instructive for me. And while I argue against some of their claims here, I have great respect for their views and scholarship.

(more…)

Blog

I am planning on revamping my main page into an academic blog of sorts, sharing ideas about research I’m interested in, its implications, and things I’ve found on Twitter and other venues that need more than 140 characters to explicate. My goals for this enterprise are to engage more in the academic blogosphere and Twittersphere, hone my research program, and, as I discovered via my first encounter on Twitter, learn more about my strengths and weaknesses as a research and emergent scholar in the field of English Education and Educational Linguistics. Hopefully this will not be as short-lived as the poetry project of last year. Looking forward to make connections.

30 Day Poetry Challenge #1

In honor of National Poetry Month, I will posting a poem a day. Check out the 30 Day Poetry Challenge at 30dpc. Below is the first prompt and my poem.

Day 1: Write a poem where each line starts with a letter from your first name (an Acrostic). It can be about anything, but it should not be about you or your name.

Mild
Is what I
Call the short, quiet days that
Have no deadlines. I would call them
A breather–
Except Monday is always
Laying on my chest.