AWG: Language identity – connecting our personal and professional writing, with Jane McLaughlin

Event Details

AWG:  Language identity – connecting our personal and professional writing, with Jane McLaughlin

Time: February 17, 2012 from 1:15pm to 4:30pm
Location: Roots and Shoots
Street: Walnut Tree Walk, Kennington
City/Town: London SE11 6DN
Website or Map:…
Phone: 020-7587-1131
Event Type: writers', workshop
Organized By: Bob MacKenzie
Latest Activity: Feb 4, 2012

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Event Description

Jane writes:

‘We all have a repertoire of language and styles, spoken and written.  These are an important part of our identity.  Many of us speak more than one language or one dialect.  This session will be a chance to reflect on how the language resources we use in one aspect of our lives might be of benefit to us in other areas.   

How do you use language differently in different situations?  How many languages/dialects do you know? How did you acquire them, and how do you use them now? Are you still learning a language (including your own mother tongue)?  These are some of the issues we will look at in this session. 

Being more aware of our own language identity can help us to use language more effectively and understand better our relationships with our readers, clients, colleagues, family and friends. 

At this meeting, we will practise a range of creative and practical activities, including doing a short piece of writing to apply and experiment with some of the ideas that I will introduce. We will begin with some activities, using visuals to explore our language repertoires (no drawing talent required!).


We will then look at some texts – examples of personal and organisational writing – and discuss some distinctive features of these different genres, such as language, structure, imagery and so on.  This in itself will be an interesting exercise, which may also provide insights into  how we could draw more fully on the techniques we use in our personal or professional writing.


I will provide some texts, but it will make the session more valuable if you are prepared to bring some examples (two) of your own writing – one personal and the other organisational.  These will be for your own reference and you will not be asked to share them if you do not want to.  However, if you’re prepared to share some of your material, then please feel free to bring a few extra copies’.


Bob writes:

On Jane’s theme, you might be interested in the following book, which was reviewed by John Dugdale in The Guardian Weekly, 4.3.11, page 40:

Through the Language Glass’, by Guy Deutscher, Arrow, £7.99.

 The review reads:

‘Deutscher aims to reveal how our mother tongue influences “fundamental aspects of our thought, to a much greater extent than is fashionable to admit”.  But much of his lively and cogent study is taken up with examining mistaken conceptions of language’s shaping role, from casual assumptions (such as the notion that speaking French makes you think logically) to academic theories.  He’s lucid and deft at choosing illustrative examples, though, drawing on the work of anthropologists and psychologists to point to its imprint on memory, perception and practical skills.’

Cost (payable on arrival)

Full AMED Members: £10;  Networkers and Guests:  £12.50

And afterwards?

Those of us who want to keep the conversation going after 4.30 pm can do so in The Grand Union Pub, Kennington.

Would you like to know more, or offer to lead a session of the AMED Writers’ Group?  Then please get in touch.

Best wishes.  Bob, AWG Convenor, T:   02380-238-458   

M:             07855-458-691         E:

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