3 Links about Linguistics Teaching Resource Compilations - Introducing Mutual Intelligibility

You're doing great. You don't have to do it alone.

Linguistics instructors are currently scrambling to move their courses online and there are resources online that can help, but it’s a lot of work to sort through what exists and figure out what makes sense for you to use. Do you really have time to watch a dozen youtube videos introducing the IPA just to decide which one to have your students watch? Probably not.

We’ve created this project to help. It’s called Mutual Intelligibility, because we’re trying to make resources and instructors more intelligible to each other.

Today’s 3 links are existing resource aggregations:

  1. A very long list of linguistics YouTube channels and other free online videos about linguistics (All Things Linguistic)

    This is an extensive list of YouTube channels and other free online videos, grouped by style and with a few notes on content/format, periodically updated

  2. Linguistics and Language Podcasts (Superlinguo)

    This is a comprehensive and regularly-updated list of linguistics and language podcasts with descriptions. Availability of transcripts is noted. 

  3. Online Linguistics Teaching: Questions, Tips & Tricks (Facebook Group)

    This Facebook Group has become a place for people to share tips, tricks and resources for moving to teaching linguistics online. The group is publically-visible for those without Facebook.

We know these lists are almost too exhaustive to dig through, so we’ll be breaking down topics in more granular detail in future newsletters, but for now you might as well start knowing about the firehoses!

We’ll be producing two kinds of Mutual Intelligibility newsletters, both of which you can sign up for in the same place:

  • Mondays and Wednesdays: 3 Links about a specific topic, with a short description for each so you can easily figure out which ones are useful to assign to your students (this week: 2nd year syntax)

  • Fridays: longer Resource Guides for a specific topic, a comprehensive lesson plan like a textbook’s supplementary material but entirely online, including videos and other specific multimedia as applicable (this week: intro to IPA consonants)

Upcoming topics we’re already planning include: IPA vowels, IPA vowels, morphemes, constituency, world Englishes, world languages, 2nd year phonology, articulatory phonetics, field methods, gesture studies, psycholinguistics, and Natural Language Processing (NLP). We’d love to take further requests! See below for how to suggest topics or contribute resources.

We’ve been making linguistics resources online for almost two decades combined through Lingthusiasm, Superlinguo, All Things Linguistic, and more, and we know a lot about what online resources are capable of. This also means that we know where their limitations are, and we want you to know that your value for your students isn’t as a simple deliverer of lecture content. Instead, it’s through being a real human person that they can interact with, ask questions of, and get feedback from. People sign up for classes because they value the specific scaffolding of content and assignments, and because they feel motivated by having an instructor and peer group who care about them. You wouldn’t feel like you were neglecting your course responsibilities by using a textbook someone else wrote, and you don’t need to worry about using existing online resources either.

(That said, if you’re a linguistics enthusiast who doesn’t have access to a class right now, you may also enjoy following along with these bite-sized resources!)

If you want to get an email (including pdf and google doc versions, for the longer Resource Guides), when each Mutual Intelligibility newsletter comes out, you can sign up for that here:

Mutual Intelligibility, Mutual Support

The Mutual Intelligibility resource guides are produced by Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch. However, as we both already had full-time jobs keeping us busy, we're also paying linguists whose employment situations have been negatively affected by COVID-19 to help us create these guides faster. Stay tuned for further announcements about our team.

The newsletter and guides are free and will always remain free, but if you have a stable income and find that they’re reducing your stress and saving you time, we're able to fund these because of the Lingthusiasm Patreon and your contributions enable us to fund more guides, more quickly.

Support Mutual Intelligibility

Here are some more ideas for how we can help each other:

  • Ask for help. Here’s where you can tell us which topics would be useful for you. This isn’t selfish — unless you’re teaching Special Topics In An Incredibly Niche Subfield Of A Subfield, other people are probably also teaching the same course right now and the more requests we get, the more it helps us prioritize resources that will help the most people.

  • If you can, you could consider hiring an under-employed local person (e.g. recent graduate or person laid off by recent shutdowns) to help you move your course online, especially if you have grant funds that are no longer being allocated to travel.

  • Share your own resources. If you are making something from scratch, especially videos, maybe someone else can use it, if you post it online. Here’s where you can send us links (of either things you’ve made or have found useful) for potential inclusion in future newsletters.

  • Swap guest lectures. Using videochat, swap a few guest lectures with other instructors, so you can each prepare one lecture and deliver it two or more times. To set this up, talk with the instructors in the Online Linguistics Teaching Facebook group or in your regular social media channels.

  • Do less. Tell your students to do less. We were both inspired by Wikimedia’s move to a 20-hour workweek and reassessment of their annual goals. It’s not a normal time for any of us: both you and your students probably have unexpected responsibilities (such as children at home or neighbours to buy groceries for), you both lack access to your typical productivity tools like working from a library/coffeeshop/office, and we’re all stressed by the news cycle.

Online courses typically take 6-18 months to produce at the best of times. This is not the best of times. We will all look back at this period as a unique moment in history when nothing was normal, and you do not have to produce a “normal” course under the circumstances. We know that you and your students are all trying your best, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

If you have other comments, suggestions, or ideas of ways to help, please email mutual.intellig@gmail.com

You’re doing great. You don’t have to do it alone.

See you on Wednesday,

Lauren Gawne, Gretchen McCulloch, and the currently-expanding Mutual Intelligibility team