Linguistics involves, at its core, advocacy for a key part of human existence: No matter our linguistic specialty, we advocate for human language on a variety of different levels from the social and political to the scientific. Certainly, as educators, our position as advocates leaks into our pedagogy as we try to instill in our students both the rote knowledge of our discipline and also the responsibility of utilizing that knowledge in the “real world.” Many of us even create assignments that engage our students to become real-world advocates, and yet these assignments may remain within the silos of our classrooms.
Our presentation builds on this idea of advocacy as a pedagogical strategy that can work to both attract and involve students from a wide variety of academic concentrations, as well as allow linguists to share best practices of real-world advocacy that they may already be implementing within their own classrooms and as part of their own research agendas. Specifically, we discuss utilizing advocacy case studies including the uptake of flu vaccination in a rural, Southwestern Appalachian community; the linguistic processes underlying agreement and understanding in political argumentation; and the sociolinguistic effects of contact between English and indigenous languages in Alaska as strategies to reach more broadly across our campuses while at the same time maintaining a depth of linguistic study that is within the tradition of our discipline. We further describe how using such case studies in the classroom can help build bridges between linguistics and students and faculty in fields such as the health sciences, psychology, anthropology, and sociology, all of which have their own advocacy traditions that mesh well with that of linguistics, and how such bridge-building can work to strengthen the profile of linguistics at a time when restrictions on resource allocation are putting pressure on fields throughout higher education.
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Bowie, David and Dannenberg, Clare, "Linguistic Advocacy as a Bridge Between Disciplines" (2014). Taking Linguistics Beyond Linguistics Programs and Departments Symposium. 9.