My name is James Berry, and I am an Associate Professor of English, with a specialty in linguistics, at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point. I received my Ph.D. in English (Rhetoric, Composition, and Linguistics), with an emphasis in historical English linguistics, from Arizona State University in 2011. My research has focused on the intersection of syntax and pragmatics, in English, Mandarin, and other languages, that enables the development of speech-act, evaluative, evidential, and epistemic adverbs. Since I arrived at UWSP in 2014, I have developed a research line in linguistic instruction.
Teaching and Learning PhilosopHy
As a linguist, my credo for teaching has long been “Only connect!” from E. M. Forster’s Howard’s End, and I encourage students to see how strongly our urge to connect with each other drives our language use. I also recognize that all language use—all such connection—is not treated equally. Language is a significant locus for the exercise of power. In all my classes, I ask “Who makes the rules with language?” and “Whose language is considered the ‘best’? What does that mean? What/who drives these decisions?” Issues of power can be seen at global levels, but they are also local, and the classroom is a place where we can see those issues at work. In classroom interactions, I encourage and offer high-impact teaching and modeling practices, always working to mitigate and examine the inherent power asymmetries and how they affect our language practices.