Areas of Interest
Linguistics (syntax, history, cognition and linguistics, language acquisition and learning, evolution of language, English grammar); the language of children’s literature; language and power; English Medieval Language and Literature.
At work on a book on psychological and philosophical schools of thought shaping American children’s books in the early 20th century. The question ‘What is a child?’ feeds invariably into the next question: ‘What language does a child need?’ Those two questions have generated substantially different kinds of children’s literature. I am looking specifically at the Bureau of Educational Experiments (BEE, founded 1916 in NYC). It answered the first question with: ‘Children have innate skills: a poetic sensibility for language, whole-body sensorimotor learning, and exceptional observational acuity. If those skills are preserved rather than suppressed (read: in traditional school settings), those children will grow up to be future writers, artists, and scientists.’ That answer generated a very interesting response to the second question: ‘Children need language specifically designed for their skill levels at successive maturational periods (infancy through 7 years).’ Interdisciplinary scientific testing and experimenting with stories and manuscripts led, over the following 30 years, to the development of age-appropriate children’s literature, with a trajectory of best-selling authors leading from Lucy Sprague Mitchell to Margaret Wise Brown and Dorothy Meserve Kunhardt. Authors like Gertrude Stein and Theodor Seuss Geisel–whether they acknowledged it or not–also profited from the paths broken at BEE, as can be established from the novel linguistic profiles of their children’s books.
Thiede, Ralf. 1983. A Black English/Standard English interim grammar in college composition: A case study. Transactions of the Missouri Academy of Science 17:171-80. online
Thiede, Ralf. 1992. Lexical Transformations and the Mapping of English Ditransitives. The National Kaohsiung Normal University Journal of English Literature and Language 1 (December): 104-18.
Thiede, Ralf. 1994. Friedens- und Konfliktforschung: Aktuelle Fachtermini in Deutsch und Englisch. Lebende Sprachen 1994.4:156-57. online
Davis, Boyd, and Ralf Thiede. 2000. Writing into Change: Style Shifting in Asynchronous Electronic Discourse. Ch. 5 of Network-Based Language Teaching: Concepts and Practice, ed. Mark Warschauer and Richard Kern. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139524735.007 Google Books preview
Thiede, Ralf. 2006. Lexical Classification and Pragmatic Licensing of Mandarin B.A..Southern Journal of Linguistics 27.1/2 (2003): 1-38.
Thiede, Ralf. 2007. MERGE and Information Management. Human Sciences 55 (2007): 57-70. online
Thiede, Ralf. 2009. Stylistics and Syntax: Exploitation of Mixed Systems in English.Southern Journal of Linguistics 33.2:72-91. NC Docks Open Access
Thiede, Ralf. 2012. Linguistics and children’s literature. Southern Journal of Linguistics 36.2: 1-9.
Thiede, Ralf, 2012. Special issue: ‘Linguistics and Child Literature,’ Southern Journal of Linguistics. With articles by Theofil Husar, Brittany A. Stone, Elizabeth Tingley, and Julie Wright.
Davis, Boyd, Ralf Thiede, and Mary K. Smith. 2013. Cross-cultural socialization into a common profession: Exploring how nursing students in Taiwan and in the U.S. narrate professional Identity. Crossroads (University of Bialystok) 1:6-23. DOI: 10.15290/cr.2013.01.01 online
Thiede, Ralf. 2015. Review of Entranced by Story: Brain, Tale and Teller, from Infancy to Old Age by Hugh Crago. Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 40.1:85-88. DOI: 10.1353/chq.2015.0001 link
Thiede, Ralf. 2019. Children’s Books, Brain Development, and Language Acquisition. New York: Routledge, 250 pp. link (UNCC access only) Reviewed by Hugh Crago, Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 44.4 (Winter): 451-53. DOI: 10.4324/9781351113991
Thiede, Ralf. 2019. Synesthetic entrainment in interactive reading sessions of children’s books. Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 44.4 (Winter): 381-400. link (UNCC access only)
Thiede, Ralf. forthcoming Fall 2022. Reanalyzed vs. Fossilized how come: The Michael Montgomery Collection. Southern Journal of Linguistics. (manuscript)
Conference access copy:
“Gertrude Stein as a Children’s Book Author.” Children’s Literature Association 2021. access copy
Charlotte Teacher Institute