GSW: Language as a Science

The Glottal Stop Workshop helps students re-imagine language as a science and explore English pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar through this unique perspective. In the two-day workshop conducted in Bangalore in February 2020, participants explored how language may be acquired and stored in their minds and how our brains process this information. Through activities and many, many word games, they learnt different ideas in linguistics or language science, from the phonetic script to to the mental dictionary. The aim of this workshop was to build an unconscious awareness to grapple with challenges in communication and improve spoken and written English.

One of the activities included asking students how language may be stored in the minds. Draw the language cupboard, I told them. The responses I got were delightfully creative. My favourite was how intuitive it was for this one kid that the mind is a computer. I was working my language as a cupboard metaphor to get them to think about how much we have in our minds and how it may be organised, and he kept telling me, no problem.. it’s like Google. Note the “formal” and “informal” buttons! Just goes to show the level of exposure these kids have to something as abstract as technology, and how their imagination benefits from it.

Some Student Feedback (I’ve saved the best for last!)

“My overall experience in this workshop was really great. It improved my English. I learnt many things which many won’t learn in their actual English classes. The class was interactive and fun. I would recommend this workshop for my friends as well.” – S., Age 13

“Amazing. I learnt how to improve my grammar , the IPA and many other things.” – K.D., Age 10

“My overall experience in these two days was very nice. I understood a lot about pronunciation, even my mom didn’t know some of the pronunciations. From today onwards, I’ll use these pronunciation skills.” – R.K., Age 11

“My overall experience was very good. I enjoyed it a lot and the food was tasty!” – S., Age 10 (Needless to say, a sure shot way to someone’s heart is through their tummy!)