Linguistics as Un-Learning and Re-Learning: Exploring the Boundary between K-12 and the University
Most people encounter the field of linguistics for the first time in college—if they ever do—which can be viewed as both an opportunity and a challenge. Students’ lack of familiarity with the field is an opportunity, as they are often excited and even liberated by re-learning certain aspects of language according to a (descriptive) linguistic perspective. However, students’ naiveté with linguistics is also a challenge, as many students struggle to un-learn and accept some of the universal truths of the field. This analysis is centered on qualitative data collected in an introductory linguistics course that illustrate student viewpoints on both ends of this spectrum, revealing implications for instructors of linguistics, including how to approach topics that may be met with resistance.
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