https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7

Share about your recently acquired language books

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Hi folks!

Have you recently acquired a language-related book? If so, share the title and a little about what makes you excited about it. You can share a picture of the book if you want. (Though, please make sure the size of the picture isn't too big.)

My book is "Human Communication As Narration: Toward a Philosophy of Reason, Value, and Action" by Walter R. Fisher (Ph.D). In it, Fisher poses a challenge to Aristotle's theory of rationality. Fisher says that most people don't make decisions based on Aristolian rationality, but rather we use narrative rationality. The back of the book says:

How do people come to believe and to act on the basis of communicative experiences? What is the nature of reason and rationality in these experiences?...

Fisher argues that,

all forms of human communication need to be seen as stories--symbolic representations of aspects of the world occurring in time and shaped by history, culture, and character...

Ultimately, the book delves into how narrative rationality works and what is required of a story for people to believe it.

(Btw, "rationality" is not a set thing. What is "rational" is based on people's subjective values. Studying rationality means studying how people come to define something as "reasonable". Different fields have theories about this.)

When reading Walter Fisher's work alongside that of Kenneth Burke's and Erving Goffman's, one learns how our use of language asserts relationships. One could gather from the three that stories form the basis of beliefs, who we are and our social position in comparison to everything else. Those stories contain expectations, and expectations grant reason/justification for treating things and people in the ways that we do. Stories are social. When we talk to one another,we establish, reinforce, challenge, those stories and expectations. Essentially, we are using words to act on the world. Erving Goffman describes this as "negotiating the definition of the situation", Kenneth Burke calls it the "speech act". (Weiss sums up Burke's speech act theory by saying "...language is a mode of doing something in the world, rather than simply a means of representing it." (http://terpconnect.umd.edu/~jklumpp/kbworkshop08/readings/weiss.pdf)

To me, language literacy is far more than just grammar and vocabulary; it is about understanding how people use language to negotiate relationships and how that use constitutes action and how that action has impact. Once we understand the impact of using language, then we are better equipped to delve into communication ethics.

Image description: Three books side by side. The first book is "Human Communication As Narration: Toward a Philosophy of Reason, Value, and Action" by Walter R. Fisher. The second book is "On Symbols and Society" by Kenneth Burke. The third book is "The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life" by Erving Goffman.
Click to enlarge image

2 months ago

24 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/ngraner42
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I just got "On n'y voit rien" - We see nothing. It is about what do we see when we look at a painting. It is the first French book I purchased simply because I want to read it. Everything else so far has been due to the book being a conveinient way to work on my French.

P.S. Your book sounds great.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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ngraner42, how many books have you read in French so far?

As for my Fisher book, most of what I know about his work on narrative paradigm is from 2012. I didn't get to read this book then, just snippets from articles and compilation textbooks that only had portions. So, I'm really excited to read this as a complete work. I have a friend who also just bought a copy. We'll be reading through and discussing each chapter. :)

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ngraner42
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I have read L'etranger. That was my first, I hacked my way through it with the help of Lingq. Two volumes of the "Femme sans peur" it was free and not too hard, but I am not a fan. Several more old titles on Lingq, including "Tour du monde en quatre-vingt jours". I just read and listened to the "Da vinci code" which is great and am currently reading the "Fille du train" which is also very good so far.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hanspersson
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My most recent aquisition in this vein is David J. Peterson's The Art of Language Invention: From Horse-Lords to Dark Elves, the Words Behind World-Building which is exactly what is says on the tin: a guide to inventing your own language by someone who has done it numerous times, including High Valyrian featured here on Duolingo. The book is interesting, but turned out to be a bit more advanced in its discussions about phonology, phonotactics, morphology and so on than I had expected. It's not just a romp through various invented languages but an educating read about how languages work, illustrated by fictitious examples.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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I'm so jealous! One of these days I'm going to have that book. I requested it to my local library so I could at least check it out. But, I don't know how long it will take or if they'll put it on their purchase list.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew213489

Usagiboy, ask your library if they are apart of the inter-library exchange program. If they are they can put out a request on your behalf and another library will notify your library that they will be send you the book.

I recently finished a book that came from somewhere else because they didn't have in their system.

The book was Humbugs of the World by P.T. Barnum written in 1865. Sure it only took 6 weeks for my library to get it from the library system that lent me the book. But it was well worth the wait.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Addkdjndjd

My mother recently bought me ‘Estonian Textbook: Grammar, Exercises, Conversation’ by Juhan Tuldava. The book itself is around £15 and is really great. It goes in-depth with the language and explains everything one must know to read, write and speak in Estonian. Sadly Duolingo does not have an Estonian course, but this book seems to be doing a much better job than any online program)

https://i.imgur.com/a/RtXxIOS

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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JaEesti2, your image link is broken. :(

What approach does your book take to teaching Estonian?

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Addkdjndjd

Tbh it’s quite like Duolingo, gives you a set of words, tells you the grammar behind the verbs and nouns, and puts them into paragraphs for you to translate. It goes quite in-depth with everything so you get a good idea about when to use each word. I haven’t found any online courses that have don’t anything like this so in-depth, since Duolingo does not have an Estonian course. I’ll fix the link and show you)

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/carbsrule
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I recently bought 12 Esperanto books from the UEA, bringing my current collection to about 30.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
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Are any of them translations of Russian science fiction? I saw about 6-12 listed online for sale from Russia some time ago and was tempted to go through the Duolingo Esperanto course just to make buying them worthwhile (but I didn't, and I didn't buy them). Esperanto I do not know. Is UEA something like "United Esperanto Association"?

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/carbsrule
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Universal Esperanto Association.

They're mostly Esperanto classics for me, and easy learning material for my son who wants to learn Esperanto (and is doing so). No Russian literature in there.

I did see something recently about a handful of books from the author of Roadside Picnic (and his brother?) which had been translated into Esperanto. Perhaps a recent reprint? I can't remember the details.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sean405747

I recently acquired the entire "Discovering French Nouveau!" series of textbooks. I am learning French in school, but my teacher this year doesn't really teach much, so I'm reading those for fun on my own.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WinterSoldier.

I am reading "Vacaciones al pie de un volcano" yes I know its a childrens book but its easy to read. I am also reading "La Primavera"

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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WinterSoldier., no judgement from me about it. I've bought children's books to read in the past. It's a smart learning strategy. Also, what a title on that first one! O.O

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CadetheBruce
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I confess I see some irony that the same person Duolingo Inc sent to browbeat us about being too elitist towards the kiddos would post something as bougie as this. Color me amused.

I spent my grad schools doing theology and philosophy in the typical Western way, and since then, my personal interest in languages, in particular in indigenous and other minority languages, has led me down a very different path. Nowadays I am much more interested in voices that aren't given spaces in classrooms or bookstore shelves, in particular indigenous voices past and present that I am fortunate to encounter in my language studies.

When reading Walter Fisher's work alongside that of Kenneth Burke's and Erving Goffman's, one learns how our use of language asserts relationships. One could gather from the three that stories form the basis of beliefs, who we are and our social position in comparison to everything else. Those stories contain expectations, and expectations grant reason/justification for treating things and people in the ways that we do. Stories are social. When we talk to one another,we establish, reinforce, challenge, those stories and expectations. Essentially, we are using words to act on the world.

LOL. This is exactly the sort of thing that studying any indigenous language teaches you, yet you give academics crediy for this "discovery." Decolonize your mind, as the cool kids say.

One language of focus for me right now is Ojibwe and to sum up Ojibwe in my own words: it's a storyteller's language. From listening to Ojibwe speakers talk about their language, from seeing how they teach it and from studying even just its basic grammar and syntax, it is obvious how the whole language is very conscious that speaking a language is about recognizing, acknowledging and communicating relationships with others and with the world well beyond the mere perfunctory act of communicating information. It's made me more conscious of how all language is like that, but other concepts, biases and attitudes within a language's culture, particularly with a culturally dominant language like English, tends to obscure that. But for an indigenous language like Ojibwe, understanding that core purpose of the language--the soul and heart of language, if I were to be more poetic about it--is much more centered. That in turn has led to me to contemplate how we teach language and the kinds of cultural values we convey is how a language is taught.

Another example of what I've learned about language, cultural values and relationships is from indigenous languages would be how in Welsh- and (Scottish) Gaelic-speaking communities, contemporary poetry is much more easily embraced, loved and celebrated than in English communities. I found myself asking why this is. It's not like the English language has ever been short of poets, and there are plenty writing today. But culturally, English speakers typically do not see poetry as being very connected to they own use of English. Poetry is often mocked and belittled, seen as a hobby, an indulgence or a triviality for academics, pretentious college students or other "out of touch with reality" sorts.

But in the contemporary Welsh and Gaelic worlds, there is virtually no need to treat poetry like this. Poetry is seen as a regular, human endeavor done by regular humans and enjoyed by regular humans. Now I find myself often thinking on what that says about the differences between English speakers' relationship with English and Welsh and Gaelic speakers' relationships with their respective languages. Poetry is a deeply intimate act of language--it's why people hid theirs under the mattress when they were teenagers. And whether we are comfortable embracing or feel compelled to reject the poetry of our fellow humans within our own language community seems like a very obvious sign of about how we relate to our language and all its social relationships as well. (This of course gets much more complicated when you take into account who is writing English language poetry today and why, but that's another 5000 words I don't have time to write today.)

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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The university courses I took, did not offer much in the way of including indigenous voices. I agree, it's a problem. I haven't read all of the books out there on these topics. I'm referencing what I have familiarity with. You went to grad school which gave you access to more professors and peers for such discussions and discoveries. I was blocked from that opportunity. So, I'm working at a disadvantage. If you'd like to use these opportunities to attack me, clearly, you'll be able to do so, given your academic advantage. I'd be more interested if you'd reference some indigenous works that align with my topic interests. I myself am mixed race indigenous (French/Scottish/Cherokee), but was removed from contact with my father's family due to abuse. In consequence, I was raised white and educated white and suffer the scars of colonialism like many other indigenous people. I would rather people not take this as their opportunity to strike at me when I am open to instruction.

Re poetry, Fisher talks about the split between mythos and logos. They weren't always considered separate. Indeed, one of my favorite authors, Gloria Anzaldúa (Phd ABD) elevates both in her work. Especially powerful forces in my life were Anzaldua's work with "dead" and "living" metaphors. I especially identified with her work on b/Borderland identities. (woops, posted before I had the links ready. I'll add those for the dead/living metaphors and b/Borderland identities after my appointment.)

Edit: About Anzaldúa's book La Frontera: The New Mestiza, that link goes to a section by section synopsis where she talks about b/Borderland identities. The book itself is written intermittently in Spanish and English, purposely without translations. Another author, Tereza Jiroutová Kynčlová explores Anzaldúa's work on b/Borderlands in face of Chinano/a who did not immigrate to the US but rather, the borders immigrated to them, and created a displacement of identities and languages. Please be aware, this second link leads to a full article that contains a poem featuring a brutal attack and murder directly above the section linked and also some disturbing content matter throughout: Elastic, Yet Unyielding: The U.S.-Mexico Border and Anzaldúa’s Oppositional Rearticulations of the Frontier.
In terms of "dead metaphors" Google books has a passage from the Gloria Anzaldúa Reader. Dead metaphors are those metaphors in which we become stuck, resistant to change, unable to adapt to new information and new circumstances, things like that. In contrast, living metaphors can help open new doorways, new ways of understanding the world and our place and others' places in it. I learned about living and dead metaphors from the book Feminist Perspectives on Communication: Feminist Rhetorical Theories (by Cindy L. Griffin, Karen A. Foss and Sonja K. Foss (1999)).

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/juskat
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I just got The Bonjour Effect-by Julie Barlow & Jean-Benoit Nadeau The Secret Codes of French Conversation Revealed, & I have been reading Lettre a mon chien by Francois Nourissier & listening to Leo Ferre Les Poetes Volume 1 Apollinaire la chanson du mal aime

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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juskat, how advanced does one need to be to read those books?

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/juskat
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The Bonjour Effect is in English & is about “A lively and informative description of the country's cultural habits and social codes. Lettre a mon chien-is all in French-if you are able to get through DL labs/stories you are able to understand the story of this gentleman & his dog..I still refer to my notes often while reading

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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juskat, I was expecting A1, B1, etc rating. But, your answer was perhaps even more helpful for me to get a sense of it! :)

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KarenK.1

Thank you for a very thoughtful and thought-provoking post.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TheEeveeLord

I have amassed a rather large collection of manga (in Japanese, of course) in order to improve my reading comprehension. I started my collection when I was in Japan over the summer. I thought, "hey, I found the manga for some anime I've seen. Maybe I should buy it." Manga is a great way to practice since you get a lot of information from the illustrations, so even if you don't fully understand the dialogue, it won't completely hold you back. Since the manga I have is mostly manga that I've seen the anime adaptation of, I know the story well and can infer most of the dialogue if I don't understand all of it.

2 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ryanaissance

I just acquired https://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Nils-Part-Norwegian-Beginners/dp/3945174007/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1542574602&sr=8-1&keywords=the+mystery+of+nils to help with my Norwegian. My own list of words I've learned is over 1000 now so I figured its time.
So far I think its a great supplement to duolingo especially if you're still in the early stages of Norsk.

2 months ago
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