Linguistics reading group

In November 2021, Seumas raised the topic of me running a course on linguistics. You can read the original Twitter conversation here: “if @michaelgaubrey could just run a course on linguistics, that would be great. kthxbai.” The prospect of a full course is beyond my time capacity right now. Still, this is an idea that I have thought about a number of times over the years. This is a space where there is a legitimate need. I have heard desire for something like this from a variety of people over the years. Many of you readers have gotten impressively well-versed in the theoretical topics, concepts and insights that make the field of linguistics relevant to biblical studies. But perhaps you find that knowledge difficult to transfer to in practice. This is natural. Grammatical analysis is a skill that requires practice, just like anything else.

For that reason, I want to attempt hosting/leading a grammatical analysis reading group using Emma Pavey’s book, The structure of language: An introduction to grammatical analysis (Amazon US affiliated link) on Zoom in 2022. The book is nine chapters, including the introduction, so eight weeks seems like a plausible timeline for reading through it without feeling rushed.

Both Rachel and I had the book as a textbook in draft form and Rachel taught Syntax and Semantics at CanIL with it for two years (2012 and 2013), during one of which I was her TA.

The main questions would be:

  • How many people would be interested in participating?
  • When on the calendar would be most practical?
  • What time of day would be most practical, given people’s locations across the globe?

These are not small issues. Depending on the number of people, locations, and schedules, I might need to do two groups over the course of the year. On the other hand, if the group goes quite well, I would be open to continuing the group with other linguistics books, maybe even on some kind of regular basis.

If you would be interested in participating and are willing to commit to eight weeks of reading a textbook, send a message in the contact form below and include the following information:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Location in the world and time zone.
  • Experience/background in linguistics (i.e. none, some self-motivated reading, some classes, etc.)

Finally, if this works out and we make this happen, please buy the book. I know that there are places to find a pdf online. But the author is a good friend, she’s written a quality textbook, and she deserves whatever royalty check we can give her.