“You Mean I Can Just Say It That Way?” by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein

Read:  “You Mean I Can Just Say It That Way?: Academic Writing Doesn’t Mean Setting Aside Your Own Voice” by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein and write a response to the questions below! 

  1. What do you think of this article? What did you like or dislike about it? Do you agree or disagree with their argument? explain!
  2. The authors say, “The goal of this chapter is to counteract this common misconception: that relying in college on the straightforward, down-to-earth language you use every day will make you sound stupid; that to impress your teachers you need to set aside your everyday voice and write in a way that nobody can understand” ( Graff and Birkenstein 118). What does this meanHow do they want you to change your thinking?
  3. According to the author’s what does it mean to “master academic writing”? How should students go about it?
  4. On page 125, the authors write, “On the contrary, writing is more often a means of discovery in which we use the writing process to figure out what our idea is. This is why writers are often surprised to find that what they end up with on the page is quite different from what they thought it would be when they started. What we are trying to say here is that everydayspeak is often crucial for this discovery process, that translating your ideas into more common, simpler terms can help you figure out what your ideas really are, as opposed to what you initially imagined they were.” What are the authors trying to say? Do you agree or disagree? Have you ever had a similar experience?
  5. In the Code-Meshing section, the author’s discuss using slang, dialect and other components of “everydayspeak” in writing. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with their position? Explain!
  6. Look over your writing from this semester and maybe from other classes, do you incorporate aspects of “everydayspeak” in your writing? Think about how or why you made the choices you did.

 

18 Comments

  1. mustapha

    I found it quite interesting and I thought that it made a pretty good point. If you were to just rewrite down your original draft instead of trying to make it seem smarter, its much more time efficient and it’ll be easier to read.
    2.This means that you shouldn’t abandon your original writing in search of some teachers approval when the original may be the better version. I think they just want us to write in a normal fashion, like back when we were in high school.
    3.To master academic writing is to create a new voice that draws on the voice you already have.
    4.I dont agree nor disagree because I havent experienced this moment, so I wouldnt whether its true or not.

    • Kevin Yu

      1) I liked the reading since now I can understand that I don’t have to write a college essay like a college essay I can bend the rules and write in my own style yet it sounds appropriate.

      2) Writing an essay can be boring to read and being able to think outside the box and showing what you can understand about writing an essay can change the views of your professors or teachers because your the writer and every writer is different.

      3) To master academic writing is to go beyond what you have learned in writing from 3rd grade to college you take what you know and start bending the structure even more so your essay can sound interesting and very compelling to your teachers or professors without boring them.

      4) Instead of having a long paragraph to read you should shorten out what you want to say and write it so you have fewer words on paper because they want you to express your opinions in a few words so you can understand what you are trying to say. I do agree because long paragraphs can be tiring to read so having fewer words can help.

      5) I do agree with the slang because it gives a fresh flavor of ethnic groups and it seems interesting to add to in a paper.

      6) No, I don’t incorporate “everydayspeak” in my writing because I follow the guides of what my teachers or my professors propose and I stick to it and when I took public speaking you have to be straight forward and to the point and that stuck with me so my papers sound so bland and boring but I do get a good grade on it but having “everydayspeak” I believe makes any paper sound good.

    • Rebekah Coleman

      Great! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Arian Qosaj

    1. I thought the article was interesting. I liked how both of the authors talked about code meshing and what that is. Also, how they gave examples of it.
    2. This means that you shouldn’t put your way of writing aside just to make yourself sound like a different writer for someone else’s approval. They want me to change my thinking by keeping the same writing style and techniques.
    3. To “master academic writing” means to create a new voice in the writing process.
    4. The authors are trying to say that writing is a process that starts with a more simpler way of thinking that can then become a more complex way of thinking. When you are thinking of an idea to write about, you should think of it in a more simple way than a way that will cause difficulty. I agree with the authors.
    5. I agree with the way they talk about using slang, dialect, and other components of “everdayspeak” because it shows the different ways of writing and how they can be interpreted.
    6. I do not incorporate aspects of “everydayspeak” in my writing.

  3. Shaniyah

    This text grabbed my attention after the first sentence and I knew it would be an article I can use and apply into real life. The article was mainly about language and the voice you can add into your writing. The text proposed an idea that isn’t talked about often, actually using slang and stuff in your writing to introduce a unique writing and voice. Writers often focus on the standard unique templates and guidelines for writing, which makes the process difficult and more complex when you can think about writing in a easier way. You wouldn’t expect to read a writing that has slang words that you would normally use in texting. so it will be in an engaging, less boring reading. I feel I can use this text as motivation to start using my true voice in my writing, maybe it will allow my ideas to flow better. I agree with this article, and I think its cool that a writer choose to write about this topic.

    • Rebekah Coleman

      Love that you liked it and it will impact your writing!

  4. Hamely Jose Taveras

    I think the article was very interesting. I really like the way the author provided a lot of evidence and examples to explain what she was trying to say. I one hundred percent agree with that argument because I used to think there was standard English or proper English and I had a hard time writing an essay. I thought I needed to use big words and a lot of time my ass is gonna make sense because I thought I couldn’t use my everyday language.

    The authors say, “The goal of this chapter is to counteract this common misconception: that relying in college on the straightforward, down-to-earth language you use every day will make you sound stupid; that to impress your teachers you need to set aside your everyday voice and write in a way that nobody can understand” ( Graff and Birkenstein 118). This means that many college students have a misconception that they need to sound very professional. I have to use big words to impress their professors, therefore they avoid using your normal everyday voices. They want us to convey to us to change our way of thinking to let go of the misconception and learn that it’s okay to use everyday language down to earth and straightforward.

    According to the author of master academic writing is to create a new voice with the voice that you already have. They try to explain that a student shouldn’t stop the self from writing in their everyday language but to use it and create a new voice.

    On page 125, the authors write, “On the contrary, writing is more often a means of discovery in which we use the writing process to figure out what our idea is. This is why writers are often surprised to find that what they end up with on the page is quite different from what they thought it would be when they started. What we are trying to say here is that everydayspeak is often crucial for this discovery process, that translating your ideas into more common, simpler terms can help you figure out what your ideas really are, as opposed to what you initially imagined they were.”What the author is trying to say is that Writers often end up changing their ideas or end up with a different page from where they started from because after using the everyday language they discover how to have straightforward and clear ideas. Meaning if they write in there everyday language they get to simply figure out what they’re trying to say. I totally agree with the author because in my head sometimes I can have an example of how I’m going to write something and thought of writing it with big words but when I actually sit down to write it and structure it I will start writing with my everyday language and everything will just fall in place and be more clear.

    In the Code-Meshing section, the author’s discuss using slang, dialect and other components of “everydayspeak” in writing. I think that the author is so right and I totally agree because I feel that once the author uses it every day language the audience is able to connect with the author and simply see how credible and how involved the author is to the writing. It’s almost as if we get to see the real emotion of the real writer. Like other cases I have read some readings that are very hard to understand. It almost didn’t make sense and that led to a lot of the students that were reading with me to not understand or connect with what the writer was saying.

    Most of the time I use my “everydayspeak” in my writing because I feel but I’m able to be clear and understood my ideas. After “everydayspeaking” I will go back and read it over and change some of the things to make sure my writing is well organized and be clear. I made this choice because as I was learning how to write in English are used to try to use big words by using “standard” English and using big words leading my essay to not make sense. I will get so frustrated because I will have to write by saying it over and over again and I didn’t understand how to change it because I thought there was only one way of doing things. After I was almost done with high school one of my teachers actually told me to explain myself just the way I think and that was the first time it was easier for me to write an essay successfully.

    • Rebekah Coleman

      Wow! Love how you really connected to the reading. I think you do such a great job of incorporating everydayspeak into your writing and making your points clear. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Elma Kastrat

    1. I found this article interesting. It helped me to understand and stop thinking that we need to write all the time on expert levels and make ourselves like experts in writing. It showed me that essays can look good even if they are not written with formal, proper English they can look and sound good.

    2. With this quote the author is trying to tell us that we are all different and we all have different styles of reading and writing. Although some many of us have problems with language and our writings, readings, and speaking cannot be perfect all the time, we should not be ashamed of that but we should show our feelings even if they are wrong.

    3. According to the author to “master academic writing” means to create a new voice in the writing process which you already have used before. It wants to convince us and tell us that we should not forget our language and our way of writing.

    4. The authors are trying to say that our essays start with easy words, paragraphs which are actually or beginning which means that we basically don’t know how we should develop our topic. However , writing more and going deeply in the writing process we get more and more ideas and our essays by the end look much better than we thought they would look in the beginning. And when we think about how our essay should look we should think about it in an easier way because from something small and easy always grow something big.

    5. I agree with the way of using slings, dialects,etc. in our speaking give special look, make them much interesting, and show us the way of “everydayspeaking”. I agree with the authors and I think we should use them more in our speech.

    6. Sometimes when I start writing I incorporate aspects of “everydayspeaking”, but later when I look back into my writing I try to fix it and make it sounds better.

    • Rebekah Coleman

      Love how you connected with the reading. I think its interesting that you often correct your “everydayspeak” when you see it in your writing. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Pedro Flores

    1) I like this article because they talked about voice that you can use in your writting and this is something that i can use in my everyday life or when writing an essay.
    2) This means that college students like to sound professinal and use big words that they probably don’t know the meaning or how to use it just to impress the professor Instea of usung their own voice.
    3) master academic writitng means make your own voice and use it in your writting.
    4) You should start with a short paragraph so that you can express youself with less word and not a very long paragraph.
    5) I do agree witht the slang because it make our paper sound interesting and people could read and relate to it.
    6) I used to write like aspect of everyday speaking but i would think it didn’t look good or made snese so i would change it.

  7. Annie Obas

    1) The text really emphasizes on the differences of proper english and academic conversation or essay wise.That is why i liked the text.
    2)The author wanted us as the audience to understand that expressing ourselves in a overly intellectual manner doesn’t mean we are understood or highly academically viewed but sometimes remaining simple is the way to go.
    3) What the author means by mastering academic writing is bending the structure we were giving and starts writing at our own pace and design.
    4)I think what the author means is that writing is a simple process but sometimes we overthink it and it becomes complicated so going at our own pace and drafting is an essential to have the perfect work.
    5)Using slang in our writing is not a bad idea this way the always serious papers seem more interesting.
    6)I try to follow the professor guidelines as closely as possible even though sometimes i really want to write whatever i want or write in a simpler way but i always try to be more academically than i am.

  8. Arlene Perez

    1. I found that the article was interesting. I liked that this article explained the necessary differences in “everydayspeak” and “academicspeak” to assist me in writing better.
    2. I think that means that the tones and dialects used in our everyday language is less professional than the language you would use in writing an article or speaking to a professor. They want you to change your thinking by not changing the way you write.
    3. According to the author, “master academic writing” means “creating a new voice that draws on the voice you already have”. Students should go about it by combining their “everydayspeak” and their “academicspeak” together.
    4. The author is trying to say that you should begin with less words. I agree because at times articles tend to be awfully long and boring.
    5. I think that I agree with their position.
    6. I have noticed that I do not incorporate aspects of “everydayspeak” in my writing. I made the choice to not incorporate “everydayspeak” in my writing because I find it to be very unprofessional and sets an informal tone to it.

  9. Hanting Hu

    Considering this is very meaningful, the author uses evidence and examples to explain what she wants to express. The author tells with this sentence that we all have different writing styles and do not need to be professional and use big words, which will cause the meaning of the sentence to deviate. Proficiency in academic writing uses the knowledge learned to make readers feel interesting and convincing when reading the paper. I agree that when I prepare to write, I will explain in simple words. I agree with their position because it is exciting to read and understand what the author thinks.

  10. Tenzin Namgyal

    1. I like this article because it showed me that I can still write a good essay but at the same time write in the same way that I usually would, and not have to act super smart and type in a way that is completely different from mine.
    2. What I think this means is that many college students believe that to impress their teachers they have to make themselves super professional. Instead of doing that you should keep your own way of writing.
    3. Mastering academic writing means to use what you have learned from school but also putting your own twist into things.
    4. I have never been in this situation so I don’t have an opinion.
    5. I agree with the use of slang in writing. I believe using slang in everyday writing will give it a new element. And create new styles of writing. More modern styles.
    6. I don’t use “everyday speaking” in my writing. I have been taught that is unprofessional and that I must follow the guide lines which what I have and still do to this day.

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