jueves, 20 de febrero de 2020

Bye for now!

I started this blog in 2014 out of a need to say things somehow out loud. I had my dream job teaching phonetics and pronunciation, I had lots of ideas, but I was also navigating something that to me felt like a bit of an oppressive and competitive environment, and I was not perhaps strong or brave enough to recognise it (though I did my fair amount of rebelling, in perhaps not so noticeable ways). Only now with some distance and having taught abroad and having experienced other academic contexts can I see how I really felt about a lot of the things I had to do in the past. Don't get me wrong; I loved my job, I learned tons from my students, I loved the idea of this blog, and even though they all made me who I am today, and got me here, I currently feel a bit estranged from some aspects of my past --which, to be fair, I guess is what everyone would say of their own past selves.

I adore teaching, I get a kick out of teaching Phonetics (more than pronunciation, to be entirely honest), and I know I can often be quite good at it, but I have found my calling in researching language as it is used in everyday interaction, and that means seeing phonetics as one of many interacting semiotic resources used to do things with others, and doing research on all these situated resources in interaction is what makes me passionate these days. I think this is where my future is, and I'm excited to have discovered and chosen this path as an interactional linguist and a, let's call it, phonetically-informed interactionalist (does that make any sense?).

If you have read me from the beginning, you will have seen the transformation that I have been through as a teacher and researcher. I believe it is a sign of bravery and especially maturity to know what your place is, and not try to occupy a slot that is no longer yours to keep. I have struggled a lot under the rule of gatekeeping practices that exist in some contexts and fields, and I think I don't want to be (perhaps mistakenly, especially by those who don't really know me) associated with them.

I am not in ELT at the moment, and I have not been teaching pronunciation, except during the lucky SCEP weeks the last two years. The pronunciation and ELT worlds have changed quite a lot these last few years, and even though I will always have my reservations around some the agendas and personal biases that come to the surface when it comes to the state of ELT and pron now, and I will always be critical of how some people unfairly attack some aspects of pronunciation teaching (and acknowledge as well those criticisms that I believe are spot on), I don't think I can write informed blogs on a reality I am no longer up to date with. It is also quite likely that I won't have the chance to teach phonetics for the next couple of  years, which feels a bit sad, but also like an opportunity.

However, I know I will always get inevitably excited at transcribing/describing every single accent feature I hear around me; I will always consider myself an eternal language learner; I will never stop thinking about how I would teach certain sound or prosodic features; I'll always be available for feedback and consultancy and academic reviewing of phon/pron teaching; I'll always happily jump at the opportunity of teaching phonetics somewhere; I'll attend and present at and live-tweet every relevant conference on phonetics and prosody if I have research to share; and hopefully, I'll publish some of my research soon. Phonetics is part of me, and part of the way I experience the world, and it will never go away, but I think I need to focus my attention on other kinds of outlets for my Phon-work, at least for a while.

So almost four years after leaving Buenos Aires, and as I am about to leave York to start a new adventure, I believe that it is healthy for me to say goodbye, at least for some time. I will keep my facebook page and the Tagpacker and Scoop.it pages running with resources and useful articles for pron/phon, but I will keep this blog dormant for a while, waiting for the next version of Phon-passionate Marina to come up with something worth saying, or perhaps, to slowly let this part of my life go and make room for something new.

Thank you for reading my rants, and see you around!