Sam Hellmuth

Sam Hellmuth

I am a Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of York. I teach phonetics and phonology, and my research explores variation in intonation patterns across English dialects.

Location UK

Activity

  • Hi @HollyJadeFleming - sorry I missed your question about this practical issue. You can use your MOOC participation without paying to take the quizzes; information is here: https://www.york.ac.uk/language/undergraduate/offers/

  • Thanks @RaquelReis !

  • Thanks for these suggestions @ZainabYounes - we're really glad the course has been useful. Good luck with our ongoing studies!

  • Thanks @LucyFrear !!

  • PS @Margaretstewart We would love to use your comment to promote the course in future (e.g. on our website or on social media) and as part of our evidence that the course has been effective (e.g. in reports and talks). We won't use your name, only the text of your comment. May we have your permission to do this? Thanks, Sam

  • PS @AshleighGrant
    We would love to use your comment to promote the course in future (e.g. on our website or on social media) and as part of our evidence that the course has been useful (e.g. in reports and talks about course use). We won't use your name, only the text of your comment. May we have your permission to do this? Thanks, Sam

  • Hi @AshleighGrant - that's good to hear. We're glad the course has been useful for your studies as well as 'in real life'. It will be great if you can follow up with us next year!

  • Hi @LauraBunnett - we're glad it has been useful! Good luck with your ongoing and future studies.

  • Hi @Margaretstewart - thanks for this thoughtful comment. There is a lot of hidden bias that we can be unaware of - we're glad that the course is making a contribution to bringing this into the open, in the area of language at least.

  • Thanks @RichardY - we're really glad it has been useful. Good luck with your studies!

  • Hi @RaquelReis, thanks for your comment on our course!

    We would love to use your comment to promote the course in future (e.g. on our website or on social media) and as part of our evidence that the course has been useful (e.g. in reports and talks about course use). We won't use your name, only the text of your comment.

    May we have your permission to...

  • Hi @TamaraRudenko, thanks again for your comment on our course!

    We would love to use your comment to promote the course in future (e.g. on our website or on social media) and as part of our evidence that the course has been useful (e.g. in reports and talks about course use). We won't use your name, only the text of your comment.

    May we have your...

  • Hi @EmilyWainwright, thanks again for your comment on our course!

    We would love to use your comment to promote the course in future (e.g. on our website or on social media) and as part of our evidence that the course has been useful (e.g. in reports and talks about course use). We won't use your name, only the text of your comment.

    May we have your...

  • Hi @HollyC, thanks again for your comment on our course!

    We would love to use your comment to promote the course in future (e.g. on our website or on social media) and as part of our evidence that the course has been useful (e.g. in reports and talks about course use). We won't use your name, only the text of your comment.

    May we have your permission...

  • Hi @HarryHolman, thanks again for your comment on our course!

    We would love to use your comment to promote the course in future (e.g. on our website or on social media) and as part of our evidence that the course has been useful (e.g. in reports and talks about course use). We won't use your name, only the text of your comment.

    May we have your...

  • Hi @LucyFrear, thanks again for your comment on our course!

    We would love to use your comment to promote the course in future (e.g. on our website or on social media) and as part of our evidence that the course has been useful (e.g. in reports and talks about course use). We won't use your name, only the text of your comment.

    May we have your...

  • Hi @EmmaFowler, thanks for your comment on our course!

    We would love to use your comment to promote the course in future (e.g. on our website or on social media) and as part of our evidence that the course has been useful (e.g. in reports and talks about course use). We won't use your name, only the text of your comment.

    May we have your permission to...

  • Hi @VerityIrvine thanks for that suggestion. We'll pull together a bibliography and add to the course for next time. If you'd like a copy in the meantime drop us an email on englishlanguagetoolkit@york.ac.uk.

  • Hi @AngelaBrown that's really good to hear. If we can follow up on anything please do get in touch! You can reach us on englishlanguagetoolkit@york.ac.uk. We'd love to hear how you use the case studies etc in future.

  • Thanks for your thoughtful comments @SandraAtkinson - we've really appreciated the quality (and liveliness!) of debate and discussion among course participants. Thanks for your contribution to that!

  • Hi @HollyC - fantastic! We hoped that the course would indeed inspired more folks to think of studying linguistics. Get in touch with us at englishlanguagetoolkit@york.ac.uk if you have any specific questions we can help with.

  • Thanks for this suggestion @JosianeBoutonnet - we've had such a positive response that we're definitely planning to run the course again in future, and we'll review what worked best and what can be improved!

  • Hi @HarryHolman - we're glad you want to study language more in future! Mission accomplished :)

  • Hi @LucyFrear - it's great to hear how much you've enjoyed the course. Yes please do get in touch with us and we'll be glad to answer any specific questions you have. A good email address to use would be englishlanguagetoolkit@york.ac.uk and we can then forward it to the tutor who can best answer your particular question! We're also all very easy to find on...

  • Good spot @AljawharahIbrahimAlzamil and @TamaraRudenko - this was a typo, and I've corrected it now in the table!

  • Yes thanks @WilliamDoyle and @ShuliB for this discussion. That 'Speak American' poster is a great example of language attitudes. It relates also to language policy. I think we as linguists would argue that one reason it is important to be able to objectively measure and articulate language attitudes is to ensure that language policy isn't based solely on...

  • Thanks for this link @JimHill!

  • These are great points @LeilaW - there will always be lexical innovation (new words) as language is constantly changing!

  • Spot on @GillianWatson - it's all about perception, and categorisation. You'll hear in week 2 about methods sociolinguists use to measure these perceptions and categorisations, to see how much they are shared within a speech community.

  • Great point @HollyC - yes it's about connotations (or 'associations' as we'll see next week) - and they vary from person to person.

  • Great example @AnnieSchwartz - we'll be looking at exactly this example of different variants of 't' in week 2, so stay tuned!

  • Hi @ClareCarr - yes, that's on the right track, as you'll see in the next steps. Sociolinguists are interested in the associations between accents and attitudes, and between accents and identity.

  • We'll learn about accommodation - which is the technical term for "purposefully (if unwittingly) aligning their accents" - in week 3; and in week 2 we'll see some of the methods we use in sociolinguistics to try to measure both 'witting' and 'unwitting' variation. Do stay tuned for the whole course!!

  • Great point @shaziaGulzar - our relationship with the person we're talking to can influence how we speak. @clairechilds has a great paper on this https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0378216618304624

  • Hi Benjamin - welcome to the course! We hope it gives you lots of food for thought to reflect on in your UCAS personal statement!

  • @HoiYatPun good point! Yes, education and other factors such size of social network, or degree of mobility, can be important predictors of variation (as well as things like age, gender and social class). Next week we'll see that we have to take the language structure into account as well when we measure variation!

  • Welcome Richard, we hope you enjoy the course.

  • Hi Laura, welcome - and let us know if your students have any questions!

  • How you enjoy the course Dawn!

  • Hi Naomi and welcome. You'll see some examples in the course from research on accent and identity across the Scottish-English border!

  • Hi Izzy, welcome to the course!

  • Welcome to you both! Let us know if your groups have any questions!

  • Hi Miriam, thanks for sharing your experience. It is interesting that someone would assume it is a 'good thing' to lose your accent. This is a great (if sad) example of the power of the 'standard'.

  • Hi Joan, that sounds like a really interesting research project. It would be fascinating to analyse those interactions from a sociolinguistic perspective. In week 2 we'll learn the basic techniques used in such an analysis.

  • Hi Anna, thanks for sharing your personal experience. We'll touch on the idea of 'accent reduction' in week 4.

  • Hi Harriet, we hope you find the course enjoyable as well as useful!

  • Good point Holly. In week 2 we will look at methods used to measure to what extent all the members of a community (who represent 'society' in your answer?) all share the same perceptions of particular linguistic features, such as how certain sounds are pronounced.

  • That's a revealing quote, Joan, and true that we are always performing some identity or other in all our linguistic interactions.

  • Thanks Raquel, this is fascinating.

  • Welcome to the course Jacky, we'll be interested to know how it relates to the content of English Language A level.

  • Hi Aysha and welcome on board - yes, we should have an interesting few weeks together!

  • Yes, 'mom' [mɒm] ('rhymes with 'pot') in Brum and 'mam' [mæm] (rhymes with 'ham') in Newcastle - though both of these are probably a case of lexical variation (i.e. it's a property of the word, which is just different in Brum or Newcastle; it's not because people in Brum don't have the same vowel). If we compare for the word 'bus', you get [bʌs] in the South...

  • Thanks for the feedback @RaquelReis - see you next week!

  • Thanks @SallyChapman and @RichárdZádori - these are really important points. I hope that you can use some of the information in this course @RichárdZádori to help your students understand why they feel 'Standard English' is what they want to learn.

  • This is a great thread; if you look back at the discussion in Step 1.8 (about which accents Abbie and Catherine in the Step 1.7 recording have) you'll see that people from the UK found it easier to distinguish the two accents than people from outside the UK did. Our perception of accents is tied to our own language experience.

  • These are good points @stephenmarshall - we'll see next week that when we investigate attitudes to language we have to find a way to 'control for' a range of different factors, such as the individual voice quality of a speaker, and the context in which they are speaking.

  • Great point @TabithaHay - we are all constantly adjusting for context in the way we speak.

  • Hi @PeterCaughey - definitely not Pip I'm afraid! But Pip Archer (who is a character in BBC Radio 4 series 'The Archers') also has a 'not very strong regional accent', I agree.

  • Yes, that's a similar point to the one Milashni made - this is a great example of how our perception of accents depends on which accents we've been exposed to. I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between accents spoken in e.g. different parts of Hong Kong.

  • Yes, it's much harder to distinguish small differences in local accents if we're not from the same place. I'm from the UK and I know I can't tell all of the local regional US accents apart. As a trained linguist I would probably spot a difference (e.g. in their vowel or consonant sounds) but I wouldn't know where they were from!

  • Good to spot the choice of vowel in the word <mum> @DanielAntonPacheco , which would be [mʌm] in the South (of the UK) but [mʊm] in the North (rhymes with 'foot'). This is one of the most salient North-South accent differences in the UK.

  • Welcome @LesAllen and @CassandraP - we hope the course gives you lots of insights into how accents and identity are intertwined.

  • Hi Milashni, this is a great point - the accent and dialect variation in the UK is amazingly rich for such a small island! Later in the course we'll look at differences across the Scottish-English border, in particular.

  • Welcome Alison - the course content should be very useful for Language Change, Diversity and Discourses - let us know how you get on as the course proceeds!

  • Thanks Jenni - that's a very important issue. We'll be covering this in week 4, after we've set out the key concepts and methods that need to be used if we are to investigate things objectively. We hope you enjoy the course.

  • Hi @elainedale and @SallyChapman - what a wonderful example of how small geographical distances can be reflected in apparently small accent differences, which are nevertheless quickly picked up on by members of different communities. The course should give you a handle on how and why some differences are more noticeable than others!

  • It definitely won't be demoralising - and great to have a fellow Yorkshire accent holder on board! Let us know what you think as the course proceeds.

  • Hi Peter, thanks for highlighting this from your perspective - even small changes in attitudes to accents can have big consequences. I hope that you'll find it revealing to see the type of methods used in sociolinguistics in an effort to accurately understand what's really going on.

  • Hi Tabitha and welcome to the course! We hope you find it useful revision/review, and that it also gives you lots of things to include in your UCAS application.

  • Those are both great quotes S!

  • Welcome Holly - the course should give you a good idea of what linguistics is about. We'll be showing you some of the methods and concepts that sociolinguists use to understand and investigate accents, attitudes and identity. The process of breaking a complex pattern of language use into it's component concepts is part of every area of linguistics, so this...

  • Hi Karen, fantastic! We've heard of at least one college who are running a 'MOOC club' for students to compare notes in person while they work through the course - let us know if that's something you decide to try also. We hope you find the course useful.