A personal blog

"The longest journey is the journey inward." D. Hammarskjöld

Can you have too much writing time?

Explorations of Style

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a former student, asking for some advice about managing a summer of writing. With her permission, I am sharing her email and my reflections on our conversation.

Dear Rachael:

I’ve taken the summer off teaching with the aim of making considerable progress on my dissertation. I’ve only once had a big block of time for writing during the degree (very early on), and it was terribly unproductive. And terrible. Although I’ve made progress with writing, I’m oddly nervous that I won’t maximize my time and will have forgone a summer of income for nothing. I’ve made a writing schedule for the summer that I believe is ambitious but reasonable, but I would like to have another pair of eyes on the plan. I’m especially interested in your feedback, as someone who thinks extensively about dissertation writing and productivity.

My first thought upon…

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Keeping a reading journal


Reading is integral to research. Everyone says that, and it’s true. It’s also true that you need to find ways to read, note and keep track of all that reading. This is in part a question of tools and strategies. But tools and strategies are necessary but not sufficient.

You need to make sense of your reading. This is not just so that you can write short reports for your supervisor and then a literature review. Making sense of the reading is about understanding scholarly conversations – what they are, who is involved, the debates, tensions, silences, assumptions and holes. Making sense of the reading is finding the pleasure in scholarship.


One of the things that can help you in making sense of your reading is a reading journal. A reading journal is not so much a place to keep track of what you’ve read. It’s not a data base…

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Week 5

Dear Attendees of ACWRI Course,

In the first part of the present chapter, we are going to concentrate on the second “overarching pattern” in academic writing, that is, problem-to-solution (PS) movement. Regarding this pattern, Swales and Feak (1994) indicate that the latter movement could be useful particularly for the writing of critiques and introductory sections of your M.A. theses. 

As you may recognise, unlike general-specific (GS) texts in which the writer adopts a more descriptive and expository style, PS texts demand an argumentative and evaluative approach to writing. Besides these distinctive features, we are going to explore process descriptions which will be of utmost importance especially in writing the methodology / the method chapter of your academic works.

Let us make sure that you have the assigned reading material  (w5-ch3-part-1)for the following lecture with you.
I wish you a very pleasant and productive day.
I hope to see you all at 10.15 a.m. on Monday (October 17).
Best regards,
Y. Aksoyalp.
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Week 4

Dear Participants of AVU 113 Academic Writing,

The remainder of the present chapter (w4-ch-2-part-2), which we are going to continue studying on Monday next week (October 10), aims to explore the definitions beyond the sentence level, namely extended, contrastive and comparative definitions. More specifically, the focus of the next session is centred around the features and functions of these definitions in academic writing genre. In the final part of this part, we are going to analyse how we could begin a text with a generalization when definitions fail to be good starting points.

With the purpose of establishing a sound base of knowledge, skills and practice needed for your academic writing competence in English, I would like you to download, keep and review the course material carefully. 

Please, ensure that you have studied the uploaded text until Monday.

On a final note, let me remind you that our next session is scheduled to start at 09.00 a.m. on October 10 by mutual consent.

I hope to see you all.

Best regards,

Y. Aksoyalp.



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Week 3

Dear Attendees of AVU 113 Academic Writing,

The following lecture is going to delve into one of the “overarching patterns” in academic writing, that is, general-to-specific (GS) movement. Chapter 2 (w3-ch2) of our course book aims to underline the usefulness of GS texts. It also attempts to reveal how definitions and generalisations can be employed to begin a GS text. In addition to these aspects, we are going to concentrate on the linguistic and structural features of definitional sentences and revise article use and restrictive relative clause reductions in this type of expository prose.

I hope that the activities to be carried out and, most importantly, your participation will lay the foundation for the remaining part of this chapter.

I hope to see you all on Friday (October 7) at 09.30 a.m.

Y. Aksoyalp.



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The 13th International Pragmatics Conference

The 13th International Pragmatics Conference will be held in New Delhi, India, 8-13 September 2013.

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