Date: Tue, 7 May 1996 12:46:55 EST From: Boyd Davis Subject: Re: Ling Bio and Ellen Johnson A variation on the linguistic autobiography which has been positive and successful lately: students use notes from a prompted session on creating linguistic autobiography. The prompts begin with a 'talking world map' for current places where conversations are crucial, and go back in time via houseplan of early (and positive) Place. On this houseplan, they scribble notes identifying reading,writing,and variation in speech. Using a time- line, they identify peaks in their own lifeline for important language- awarenesses. This set of notes is written up into a two-page informal narrative which is the background section for the second part of the autobiography -- a close look at a restricted vocabulary they use (or used), which can be keyed to occupation, status, hobby, envisioned career, and the like. Some of the ones from this semester include how language changed when promoted to different jobs on a loading dock, what happened to left- over words from canal boats in a small town along the Erie canal, and how taking different dates to different restaurants (one preferred generic but fancy and the other loved authentic and local) meant handling menu-talk in order to Look Suave The prompting eliminates the need for models, and they find themselves suddenly interested in word-formation and processes of change, etc. I've had good fortune with every variation, so I agree with Bethany and Jeutonne