This week I realized how much power language carries. I have never thought that language shapes our life so much . For example, it can make us being regarded as impressive, attractive or on the contrary, poor. What I am trying to say is that you are you, as long as you express yourself with your own way of language use. You can make everything to people with your language. You can bring news to them, teach something, lie, read a poem and affect them etc. That is what acts you out to ypur environment. I liked the passage in the readings which says ‘Language....does things: it constructs social categories, it gives orders, it persuades us,it justifies, explains,gives reasons,excuses. It constructs reality. It moves poeple against other people.(TRC,1998:7,124,294) (p.45). Language is really powerful because it constructs reality, the world.
It is good that language is powerful because we think we all know languages. But what about the disadvantages of it? Have you ever thought that language is dangerous? Dou you think it brings you trouble somehow? To be honest, I thought language is bad when you swear or say something breaking a friend’s heart. This is what lots of people do as me. However, after the lesson this week, I realized that it is so powerful that a word which is positive can also be negative for us in the long-term. It can create trouble and make us to make wrong choices and so on. The issue is other people can use the language more effectively than us. They can affect and dominate us with their language. This is the time where language is dangerous. But I know the solution; actually I have learnt it today. While you are reading ‘Critical Literacy’ must always be there. This is to read something with questioning and reasoning. You should always ask yourself questions such as Is this the reality? Is this true? Is this what the writer is trying to convey? Is there an implication? These questions will help you criticize the text and in the end you will end up with a consciously-read text which will make you get the real idea of it.  If you have critical literacy, you can protect yourself from being deceived. I decided to read with such critical approach from now on because I think I lost so much time. I hope I will be a reader who understands everything in and behind the texts. 


            As a future candidate English teacher, I know very well that in order to be successful in language, just learning the language with all the rules is not enough. For a language learner, being fluent in the language is really what makes him/her successful. In English, this aspect is known as ‘Discourse’. Therefore; I strongly agree with Gee, a researcher.  ‘Gee argues that teaching and learning English language and literacy is not just about teaching and learning English but also about teaching and learning specific social languages. He maintains that what students need to get right is not just the language but what he calls Discourse that is ‘multiple ways of acting-interacting-speaking-writing-listening-reading-thinking-believeing-valuing-feeling with others at the ‘’right’’ times and in the ‘’right’’ places so as to be recognized as enacting an ‘appropriate socially-situated identity’ ‘’. (p.100). Here, what he explains that you must learn the language in a way that you know how to interact with people appropriately. You should know what to say where and when and to whom. This is really important because if you cannot answer to a bank account or a taxi driver properly, you cannot said to be a speaker of that language. I remember one of my lecturers said to me that language finds meaning as long as it is used in a social environment. This is being competent in that language. Also, this is the main problems of English language learners which are Turkish. As we ignore communicating in English when we learn it. I think teachers should create a learning environment which supports interacting in all the ways; listening, speaking, answering, writing response etc.  This is the core of teaching English, actually a language, in my opinion.


As we know, there are five main key areas of sociolinguistics, namely, personal characteristics, linguistic styles, social characteristics, socio cultural factors and sociological factors. I personally believe that because of these, there are linguistic variations. However, I am a little bit uncertain about how linguists make decisions about the causes and results of these variables. Chambers, J.K (2009) states that ‘A speaker who is fluent but vague will seem to us to be evasive, perhaps deceitful, and one who is articulate but hesitant will seem pensive and thoughtful’. In my opinion, this is not very realistic. Therefore; I don’t agree with this idea. I have a friend who speaks fast and vaguely because speaking always creates panic to him. He is not a self-confident person and he does not seem to overcome this but this does not have anything with his personal character but his problems with communicating people. I mean, if a person speaks vaguely and fluently, that does not mean this person is deceitful. There may be psychological reasons or different experience behind it and linguists should make more research about it. They should not make decisions about personal characteristics and their effects on linguistic variables quickly.
I also want to say that there is another important aspect in determining language variants: Hawthorne effect. Murray says ‘the behaviour of any given experiment‘s subjects is changed just because the subjects perceive themselves as participants in the experiment’ This is the fact that when somebody observes you, you become a different person and speak accordingly. You go away from your behaviours and modify your speech. This is absolutely valid for me. I cannot even write something when my teacher is near me because this irritates me. I write and erase, I try to form different sentences and try to explain what I want to write differently even though I know that the teacher does not read what I am writing, but I cannot change my mind. This is also very clear in my speech. When I realize that I am observed, I unconsciously start to speak differently (actually I try not to form wrong sentences and speak without hesitation). At that point, I wonder why linguists do not try to find ways to avoid Hawthorne effect on people interviewed? It is a necessity because linguists make decisions after they interview with them and try to find in what situations they vary their speech. Therefore, in order to make the research more natural, they should try to avoid Hawthorne effect as much as possible first. I think they should work with psychologists.


                                  MODERN TIMES
Modern Times written and directed by Charlie Chaplin is a film which is about how the work organizations and society go on in ‘Great Depression’ time in 1930s. The film mostly indicates unemployment, poverty and how it is difficult to survive in those times. To start with, the film starts with our character’s working in the factory. In terms of material side, machinery is used. There is also electricity to run the machines. The manager uses cameras to monitor the workers. All of this power seems to be enough to have efficient production at that time. In terms of organization, we see that there is a factory system with automation of labor process. Each of the workers has his own part of work and this work goes on whole day continuously. This is division of labor. Our character tightens the screws and the two men near him hit the screws with hummer. Furthermore, there is an assembly-line which makes workers’ work more difficult because of the fact that the manager, who is always watching them with the help of cameras, is trying to get them work faster and faster. He calls the responsible worker who makes machine adjustments and wants him to make the pace of the assembly-line faster. When he does this, our character works so fast that after a certain time, he does it unconsciously. He tightens the screws, nothing else. However, he does it without having the conception of what he is doing, why he is doing it and what he will get in the end. He is just doing it. It is funny that when he stops tightening the screws he tries to tighten whatever seems him like screws. He tries to tighten the woman’s buttons. Actually, it is already mentioned while the film starts. We see lots of pigs walking fast.  They are animals and they do it without reasoning and thinking. Then we see workers coming to the factory. They are like those animals now. Their memorization of the day starts with going into the factory. It is obvious that they are controlled by standard management system which is very traditional. There is one manager and one foreman. The manager monitors them and warns them when the things are not going on as he wants them to go on. He warns them directly. There is a despotic authority. There is also a hierarchical system. It stars with the workers, and then foreman comes, then the manager and then the boss. There is not only factory as a work organization. There are restaurant and the shopping centre. There is not anything different in regards with organization. The restaurant has the same management system with the factory. Here, the boss even wants more; he tries to exploit the waiters. He wants them to serve to the customers and sing and dance as well. He emphasizes that I pay you; you have to do whatever I want you to do. Even in the jail, there is a despotic management. The guilty men start to eat with the whistle and start to walk again with it. They are just doing which is memorized and unconscious.When it comes to social aspect, we see that people are unhappy. They are not used to factory system, which makes them far from being humans. They resist it. They strike. However, they are powerless and want to work. They are really hungry. They do not have money even to feed themselves properly. Our character and the girl imagine a dinner-table and they imagine that one day they will have a small house and good food. Like in the factory, we see a hierarchy in society because some people have enough money to survive. This is the result of the capitalist system.  Our characters want to be happy, live in luxury as we see the scene in the shopping centre: the girl is wearing new clothes and  sleeping on a huge new bed.
            To sum up, the film demonstrates the working conditions, how the material is used and how these working conditions affect people. We see that the capitalist system which tries to get more but give less to workers is really bad. It goes with modernism, but this does not bring happiness to people. Lastly, I realized that it had already created a kind of American Dream in the people. In the last scene, our character says that ‘Do not give up, we will succeed’ which is the first motto of American Dream which tries to motivate people to work more and more. It is concluded that ‘Modern Times’ are not the happy times.    

ALICE/ Artificial Intelligence and Language Learning

Firstly I should say that I did not like jabberwacky because I could not chat with it. It is really slow. Therefore, I chose to speak with Alice. It is good in that the pace is not slow and sometimes it is faster than you. Then, I like that it asks you wuestions becaıuse it  does not just give you answers but makes you think on what it asks about.

I did not chat with Alice much but what I discovered was that it had the quality of giving complete sentences.

judge: hi alice
ALICE: Hi there!
judge: are u happy tıday?
ALICE: Yes judge I can say I am very happy.

judge: is there a reason?
ALICE: I believe there is one, yes.
judge: hmm tell me
ALICE: Uh.. I thought I told you already.
judge: dont remember
ALICE: Ok I'll try not to do it too much.
judge: how old r u?
ALICE: I was activated in 1995.
judge: do you like living like that?
ALICE: Well I have never known anything else.

judge: hmm
ALICE: How can I help you?
judge: I want to know you
ALICE: " How can I help you?"? Me, judge ?
judge: yes
ALICE: I suppose I am. ( I would say keay I am alice... I would introduce myself)
judge: what is your gender?
ALICE: My gender is female
judge: are you happy with that?
ALICE: Yes judge I can say I am very happy.
 I underlined some of the sentences that I really liked. These show that we can learn what is the concept of ' discourse' from Alice. It does not just say yes, no, okey but it has the capacity of answering and so making a meaningful conversation. I think this is really important for new English language learners because it creates and authentic speaking envrionment where you are more likely to create natural sentences : answers and replies.  

Of course the tool has some disadvantages. I mean we cannot do everything wtih that tool because it was not created to teach English. It was just designed to make conversations with people. Sometimes it makes mistakes, sometimes it gives irrelevant answers. My opinion about the tool in language learning is that, as teachers we can make our students use it in writing activities. It is really beneficial in that you can select a topic, give each student one and then ask them to have a chat with Alice about that topic. Students would appreciate these kind of writing activities. It would not seem to them that they are 'practising a new language item' but it would seem to them that they are speaking with a friend.