Customized pronouns: A good idea that makes no sense (Globe and Mail)

Originally published as O’Donnell, Daniel Paul. 2016. “Customized Pronouns: A Good Idea That Makes No Sense.” The Globe and Mail, October 15. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/customized-pronouns-a-good-idea-that-makes-no-sense/article32373933/.


The latest thing on campus is to introduce yourself by name and “preferred pronoun.” “Hello, my name is Dan and I prefer he/him. Read the rest of this entry »


Four National and International talks by University of Lethbridge Digital Humanities students

A quick catchup post: this semester is shaping up to be a blockbuster in terms of University of Lethbridge Digital Humanities students’ success in national and international refereed conferences.

The semester began strongly with Kayla Ueland’s presentation “Reconciling between novel and traditional ways to publish in the Social Sciences” at the Force 2015 conference in Oxford this past January. Ueland is a graduate student in Sociology and a Research Assistant in the Lethbridge Journal Incubator.

We have also just heard that four students and recent graduates of the University of Lethbridge’s Department of English have had papers accepted at the joint meeting of the Canadian Society for the Digital Humanities/Société canadienne des humanités numériques and the Association for Computers and the Humanities.

The students and their papers are:


Four National and International talks by University of Lethbridge Digital Humanities students

A quick catchup post: this semester is shaping up to be a blockbuster in terms of University of Lethbridge Digital Humanities students’ success in national and international refereed conferences.

The semester began strongly with Kayla Ueland’s presentation “Reconciling between novel and traditional ways to publish in the Social Sciences” at the Force 2015 conference in Oxford this past January. Ueland is a graduate student in Sociology and a Research Assistant in the Lethbridge Journal Incubator.

We have also just heard that four students and recent graduates of the University of Lethbridge’s Department of English have had papers accepted at the joint meeting of the Canadian Society for the Digital Humanities/Société canadienne des humanités numériques and the Association for Computers and the Humanities.

The students and their papers are:


Blogs, Wikis, and LMSs. Some notes on my practice

Ryan Cordell and I had been exchanging tweets on the use of blogs, wikis, and the like in class. Since 140 characters is good for many things, but not this, I promised him I’d write up a quick description of the practice I’ve developed over the last few years.

The context for this is the Moodle Learning Management System (LMS), which I’ve been using in its 1.x and 2.x versions. There’s no reason why you couldn’t do this with loose wiki, blogging, and microblogging systems. But I’m still reluctant to require students to release their school work publicly.

Read the rest of this entry »


Going LoC(o) with Zotero: Scratching the inner librarian

Photo of my home office in 2005 (used for my Pseudo Society talk at Kalamazoo, “Using Computers to Improve Efficiency in Research and Teaching”)

I have always been a very messy person, especially in my work area. Here for example, is a not unrepresentative photo of my home office in 2005 (since one normally doesn’t take pictures of messy rooms, this is the only one I have: I took it to use as a slide in my 2005 Pseudo Society talk at the Kalamazoo Congress on Medieval Studies, “Using computers to improve efficiency in research and teaching”).

Perhaps oddly, however, this same messiness has never extended to my bibliography. Ever since I began university as an undergraduate in 1985, I have kept very careful bibliographic records. Read the rest of this entry »


Bibles for students of literature

Many contemporary students do not know the bible particularly well. This can be because they come from non-religious families, or families whose religious background is not Judeo-Christian. But even many students from quite religious, Christian or Jewish backgrounds find their knowledge of the bible to be less good than they might wish for literary study. A student once gave me a great tip for those who feel you don’t know the bible well enough to recognise allusions to the major stories from the Old and New Testaments: buy a children’s bible. Read the rest of this entry »

Grammar Essentials 2: Parts of Speech (Word Classes) Exercise Answers

Here are possible answers to the exercises in Grammar Essentials 2: Parts of speech. In some cases more than one right answer might be possible. Read the rest of this entry »

Digital Plagiarism

I have recently started using plagiarism detection software. Not so much for the ability to detect plagiarism as for the essay submission- and grading- management capabilities it offered. But the system was, of course, originally designed to detect plagiarism—which means that I too can use it to check my students’ originality. To the extent that one semesters’ data is a sufficient sample, my preliminary conclusions are that the problem of plagiarism, at least in my classes, seems to be more-or-less as insignificant as I thought it was when I graded by hand, and that my old method of discovering plagiarism (looking into things when a paper didn’t seem quite “right”) seemed to work.1 This past semester, I caught two people plagiarising. But neither of them had particularly high unoriginality scores: in both cases, I discovered the plagiarism after something in their essays seemed strange to me and caused me to go through originality reports turnitin provides on each essay more carefully. I then went through the reports for every essay submitted by that class (a total of almost 200), to see if I had missed any essays that turnitin’s reports suggested might be plagiarised. None of the others showed the same kind of suspicious content that had led me to suspect the two I caught. So for me, at least, the “sniff test” remains apparently reliable. Read the rest of this entry »

The Old English Alphabet

Old English texts were copied in manuscripts by scribes. These scribes used an alphabet based on the Latin alphabet, but with some native additions and occasionally runes… Read the rest of this entry »

Basic Old English Grammar

Old English and Modern English can be deceptively similar from a syntactic point of view. In particular, word order frequently is the same in the two languages (though Old English is actually probably closer in some aspects of its word order to other Low German languages such as Dutch). This means that it is often possible to translate simple declarative sentences from Old English by simply looking up the meaning of each word in a dictionary… Read the rest of this entry »

The Pronunciation of Old English

The sounds of Old English should not prove difficult, with a few exceptions, for speakers of Modern English. It can be hard at first to get used to some of the spelling conventions, such as the fact that all letters—including final e—are pronounced; but on the whole Old English does not have many sounds that are not the same as in Modern English, and, in most cases, indicated by the same letters… Read the rest of this entry »

An Anglo-Saxon Timeline

This contains a link to an experiment in constructing a timeline of the Anglo-Saxon period using XML. It is very much a work in progress at the moment. The ultimate goal will be to have a synoptic oversight and index that will allow students to click on major events, persons, or cultural artefacts and then see how they fit in with other milestones. At the moment, the chart only includes Kings. And even then still in fairly rough fashion. Read the rest of this entry »

Transcription Guidelines

The following is a list of typographical conventions to use when transcribing medieval manuscripts in my classes. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Study Old English (or Latin or any other dead language) for a Test or an Exam

So how should you study in Old English class? Here are some tips I’ve compiled from personal experience and asking other scholars of my generation who have studied ancient or medieval languages (e.g. Latin, Greek, Old English, Old Frisian, etc.). Read the rest of this entry »

Insular Script

Here is a basic listing of letters in an insular script. The letters are from a manuscript of the early eleventh century. Read the rest of this entry »
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: