10 March 2009


In a couple of my recent blogs, I have written things that I would strongly criticise if I saw them written by one of my students.

In my blog of 8 March (Code-Mixing), I wrote "Modern linguistic analysis suggests that code-mixing is the norm in language usage around the world". Well, which linguistic analysis? Where can people find out more about it? You should always try to avoid such vague, woolly claims.

A good source for more information on code-mixing in global Englishes is the book shown on the right, by Alastair Pennycook (Routledge, 2007), who discusses manifestations of hip-hop from around the world and argues that the regular code-mixing and switching found in the lyrics of rap music in places such as Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Brazil and Tanzania is actually the norm for the way that English is used nowadays.

Another claim that I made which is crying out for more information is in my blog from 8 March (Pronunciation in Vietnam), where I made all sorts of observations about the structure of Vietnamese syllables.

So, am I suggesting that I mastered the language sufficiently well in just one week to enable me to analyse its syllable structure? No, of course not. Actually, I read about the syllable structure of Vietnamese, as well as the pronunciation of English by people from Vietnam, in the book shown on the right, by Jette Hansen (Continuum, 2005), who analyses the pronunciation of two Vietnamese immigrants to the United States.

The problem is that I hope my blog can be light and reasonably easy to read, so I don't want it to be all clogged up with formal referencing and stuff like that. I haven't worked out how to achieve this and still show proper acknowledgement of sources. For the time being, I am using pictures of books as a kind of referencing ‒ at least that cheers up the blog a bit! But I admit that this is not a particularly good solution.

One way or another, it is vitally important to ensure you always acknowledge sources properly, and never pretend that some piece of analysis is yours when it is not. Furthermore, giving a good reference or two enhances the value of your work immensely.