Blogs for Discussion

I have found course blogs very useful, particularly in sociolinguistics which requires students to evaluate subconscious assumptions about language versus what linguistic theory may posulates about language. Blogs are also a good way for students to share information about their experiences in context of a particular concept.

Some assignments I have found useful include

  • Report a linguistic observation over Thanksgiving or Spring Break. Depending on the course, it could be a pronunciation observation or a pattern of language usage.
  • Describe which disource strategies you might use to determine who ate your fudge stored in a communal fridge.
  • Comments on various readings.

I also sometimes ask assignments which require students to link to videos, Web sites or images as examples of a particular assignments and I have found this useful for both adding to my repertoire of linguistic examples and for learning more about student life.


I have always tried to include active activities in all linguistic class meetings, but in Spring 2013, I added an element in which I began the lecture with a "puzzle". Here’s a common puzzle I use below:

The puzzles can be a good way to help students work through linguistic reasononing techniques, often without formal instruction. Having it be a puzzle also makes it low-stakes which can encourage students to participate without fear of being penalized in terms of grades.

Archaic -th Nouns

For each –th noun, identify the base adjective.
Note: The use of –th to turn adjectives to nouns is an archaic rule, but all adjectives exist in Modern English.


  • Width (from wide)
  • Warmth, truth, depth
  • Strength, length, breadth
  • Height (or "heighth")


  • Sloth
  • Wealth
  • Filth
  • Sleight