“No one talks like that. Sorry”: video-recording of Jane Hodson’s presentation

A couple of weeks ago the Language and Communication Research cluster welcomed distinguished linguist and literary scholar Professor Jane Hodson (University of Sheffield) for a presentation on what people are doing when they discuss the representation of accents in film and television.

Here’s a one-minute teaser of Jane’s fascinating talk.

And here’s the entire presentation!

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The lighting is not fantastic. Sorry. But the presentation well worth watching.

Happy watching!

Dr Aleksandra Vukotić, University of Belgrade, coming to Middlesex for an Erasmus+ teaching visit: 12-16 March 2018

We are delighted to host Dr Aleksandra Vukotić, University of Belgrade (Faculty of Philology) for an Erasmus+ teaching visit between March 12th and 16th, 2018. She will give three transdisciplinary interactive seminars and an Open Lecture, in the domain of media, cultural, literary and film studies.

Metafiction in Postmodern American Literature and Popular Culture

Tuesday, 13 March, 12.00-14.00 at room BG09B (Building 9)

In this session, Aleksandra will explore the reasons why metafiction became immensely popular in the 2nd half of the 20th century, especially in the 60s in the U.S. Through numerous examples from the U.S. fiction and popular culture (from ‘Pulp Fiction’ to the latest season of ‘Twin Peaks’) she will discuss why we cannot dismiss metafiction as ‘a thing of the past’ and why metafictional strategies still have the capacity to inspire us to think critically about today’s world.

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Intertextuality in Jeanette Winterson’s ‘The Gap of Time’

Wednesday, March 14, 12.00-14.00, room CG48 (College Building)

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Whoever controls your eyeballs runs the world : A “Paranoid” Reading of Media

Friday 16th March, 10.00-12.00 at room CG09 (College building).

This seminar explores one of the most pressing issues of today’s world – the problem of ever-present violence in the media and terrorism as a new world narrative. It focuses on the feedback loop between media and violence, escalating in terrorist attacks (which would be ‘nothing without the media’ as Baudrillard explained), again as reflected in contemporary fiction and film. It also discusses the misuse and abuse of the power of media, inviting the audience to think about the possible ways out of this ‘vicious circle.’ The novelists and filmmakers who closely follow and explore media strategies in their works (only to subvert them) will surely be a fertile source of ideas and inspiration.

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Aleksandra will also give an Open Lecture on Thursday, 15th March, 15.00 -17.00, Room CG43 (College building):

Negotiating the Technological Sublime: DeLillo’s and Antonioni’s Murder Mysteries

Have we placed too much faith in reason and technology? Is technology our fantasy? As we rely more and more on technological advancements and innovations, do we move away from the factual reality towards fiction and illusion? Is our wish to explain away the mysteries of our time through science and technology ultimately a death wish? Or, as a character notes in DeLillo’s Zero K, Does technology have a death wish?

Michelangelo Antonioni, one of the most influential filmmakers of the 20th century, and Don DeLillo, one of the greatest contemporary American novelists, have repeatedly adressesed these questions in their works, examining what happens with the human need for the marvellous and the sublime in the world of technology which promises revelations of all mysteries. We will discuss this topic through examples from Antonioni’s cult film Blow-Up (1966) and DeLillo’s novels Libra (1988), Underworld (1997) and Falling Man (2007), focusing on the characters’ fascination with dead bodies caught on film and photograph.

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Aleksandra Vukotić is Assistant Professor at the English Department of the University of Belgrade. She holds a PhD in American literature, and she is currently preparing a manuscript on history and fiction in the novels of Don DeLillo. Aleksandra is also a freelance translator and member of the editorial board of the Belgrade BELLS Journal published by the University of Belgrade. Her interests include, among other, contemporary American literature, selected problems of literary theory, literary and visual studies.

You are welcome to attend any or all of Dr Vukotić’s seminars. No need to register.

For an outline of all Language & Communication events the week commencing March 12th 2018, please click here.

 “No one talks like that. Sorry”: What are people doing when they discuss accents in film and television?

The Language and Communication Research cluster is delighted to welcome the distinguished linguist and literary scholar Professor Jane Hodson (University of Sheffield) for a presentation on what people are doing when they discuss the representation of accents in film and television.

When? Wednesday 7 February 2018, 16.00 – 17.30

Where? Room C110 (College), Middlesex University, London, NW4 4BT

In an influential chapter, Rosina Lippi-Green explores the representation of different accents of English in animated Disney films. She finds a repeated pattern where “characters with strongly negative actions and motivations often speak varieties of English linked to specific geographical regions and marginalized groups” (1997: 80). This, she argues, serves to establish and disseminate stereotypes of specific linguistic groups to children. Lippi-Green herself does not attempt to investigate the uptake of these stereotypes among film viewers, but some recent work has begun to investigate the ways in which viewers respond to the representation of different language varieties in film, often using the comments thread on YouTube videos as data (see for example Androutsopoulos 2013 and Cecelia Cutler 2016).

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Jane Hodson’s 2014 monograph Dialect in Literature and Film

In this paper, I attempt to build on this work by focusing on the question of what people are doing when they discuss the representation of language varieties. To do this, I draw on three different sets of data: online discussions of film and television accents, a project where I recorded an undergraduate seminar on language variation in literature, and an experiment conducted in collaboration with a student where we manipulated the voices associated with animated characters and elicited responses from participants. I conclude that these data sets suggest that people are often performing highly complex acts when they discuss the representation of accent. At the same time, however, I think about whether or not these explicit discussions are rather different in nature from what people do when they simply watch film and television, and I ask if the findings from such studies get us any closer to understanding the effect of linguistic stereotyping in film.

Biography

HodsonJane Hodson is Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Sheffield. Her research interests lie at the interface of language and literature, and she is particularly concerned with the way in which style is contested at an ideological level. Her current area of research is the representation of dialect in English literature. In 2013 she completed the AHRC-funded project `Dialect in British Fiction 1800-1836‘. Her monograph, Dialect in Literature and Film, was published with Palgrave Macmillan in 2014. She edited a collection Dialect and Literature in the Long Nineteenth Century, which was published by Routledge in 2017.  She has an ongoing interest in the way in which Yorkshire English has been represented in film and literature over the past 200 years and has worked with a number of artists, poets, schools and archives on projects to engage the wider public with this work.

References

Androutsopoulos, Jannis. 2013 Participatory Culture and Metalinguistic Discourse: Performing and Negotiating German Dialects on YouTube. In: D. Tannen & AM Trester (eds.) Discourse 2.0. Language and New Media , 47-71. Washingtoin, DC: Georgetown University Press.

Cecelia Cutler. 2016. “ Ets jast ma booooooooooooo ” : Social meanings of Scottish accents on YouTube. In: Lauren Squires (ed.)  English in Computer-Mediated Communication : Variation, Representation, and Change, 69-98. De Gruyter. ProQuest Ebook Central.

Lippi-Green, Rosina. 1997. English with an Accent: Language, Ideology and Discrimination in the United States. London: Routledge.

 

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

For a full list of all 2018 seminars, click here.