The Importance Of Interdisciplinary Studies In A Complex World

DISCLAIMER: This article was originally posted on Odyssey.


For my Experiential Education requirement course, I had to take a course revolving around studying career paths, specifically from the Roadtrip Nation website and their book. The people behind it took a road-trip interviewing as many people as possible about their career paths, how they got to where they were, and what advice they have. What captivated me was the interview with film director Valerie Weiss, who produced films such as “The Light Beneath Their Feet” and “Losing Control.”

She is actually a scientist with a Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology. How she was able to apply her STEM experience to her film career was by applying the Scientific Method to every scene she cast. They were all considered part of hypotheses and if they failed to produce her desired results, they were revised.

Ever since I graduated with a B.A. in English, I wanted to challenge myself to explore an academic field that is not liberal arts related. Since I am a graduate student, I am given more independence beyond just a single course. More specifically I was just as interested in astronomy or biology alongside my liberal arts interests. I was hoping that by juxtaposing those fields into a unique educational path, I would brace for a job market where there is a lot of competition. I did not want to be superior in any way, rather I wanted to establish my own niche in an ever-changing world.

This would involve learning about two to three academic fields in order to provide a variety of answers to a single problem. What happens in interdisciplinary studies is that the student leads the faculty, despite it usually being the case that it is the other way around. What interdisciplinary studies show is that the student genuinely cares about the material being taught and is willing to shape his/her educational experience around his/her own academic interests. It is for this reason that Debra Humphreys, the vice president of policy and public engagement at the Association of American Colleges and Universities, knows that employers look for self-direction as one of their most desirable skills.

To summarize interdisciplinary studies, Anne Feldman, who wrote the article “Why We Need To Put The Arts Into STEM Education,” concludes that:

“STEAM is people-centric, not subject-centric.”

If such an unusual academic field requires the self-direction of its students, then it would most definitely be the case that people-centric education may be an undervalued component, especially since the person pursuing this field would be driven to inquire further about his/her own field until it leads to other fields.

Graduated students with Interdisciplinary Studies degrees are also important in the workforce since they understand multiple perspectives. This results in more flexibly minded innovation, which would, therefore, result in productivity. Creativity is itself a state of mind that enables flexibility. It can focus on creating overlooked career paths, such as medical illustrators for science magazines. The mixture of Indigenous Studies and Programming would result in an app created by a Canadian programmer to detail the lands in the Americas and Australia as divisions of the tribes before colonization. This could lead the way to actually address any legal issues that may arise between an indigenous reservation and the local government. This complex view of the world was also used by famous brilliant people such as Leonardo da Vinci, who studied mathematics, engineering, and art.

It also creates an overlapping path that can incorporate both liberal arts and STEM, which can prevent entrenched controversies that can occur simply because the information, as well as the way it is presented, can be misunderstood by the other party. In the case of Dr. Myra Strober, a Stanford University professor, she personally witnessed a religious studies professor and an economist argue until the latter left the room. Allen Repko, the author of “Interdisciplinary Research: Process and Theory,” argued that interdisciplinary studies would also help the student confront his/her own biases and opinions. Interdisciplinary Studies is important in this way since it can unite people of different academic fields with the same objectives.

As such, this would enable unique problem-solving skills. In the case of Shama Rahman, who has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience of Musical Creativity, she put the concept of memory under question by engaging in an experiment which enabled the test subject to obtain false memories by listening to music in their sleep. This is what, as she concluded, was what makes the connection between dreams and memories as opposed to memories being a strictly chronological log. This is what enabled her to use this work to research dementia. Indeed, this is what would uncover broad breakthroughs in any field of study.

Exploring interdisciplinary fields is what would help all the decline in STEM job placements. They would make subjects such as math and science no longer appear boring and would actually provide meaning for students to explore their creative interests through the STEM field. There are schools in Pennsylvania that understand this, which is why 12 school districts will spend $530,000 on STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Math) programs. That budget will pay for a robotics lab, a motivation station, an outdoor discovery zone, and a virtual immersion lab. This is definitely what makes interdisciplinary studies a “smorgasbord of academic interests.”

It would definitely be worth it to be “not constrained by disciplinary borders” and having an “entrepreneurial spirit.” This field of study is one that is severely underestimated and one that employers are looking for. It can bring people together and solve complex problems. Rahman concluded her TED talk by asking anyone interested in pursuing interdisciplinary studies:

“What worlds do you connect and how?”

This is definitely a question I, as well as many other people, hope to answer.

Applying Technology To Language Revitalization

DISCLAIMER: This was written as an assignment for my Language & Linguistics class and was originally posted on


Language revitalization benefits speakers of languages through acquisition as well as comprehension, community, and immersion. While the languages discussed originated from different continents, they share the common outlet of technology as a means of transmission. The use of technology as a resource for the propagating of dwindling languages is important because languages, generally and inherently, contain a wealth of societal and cultural information that may otherwise be taken for granted. There is to be more inquiry into the many ways technology can be expanded for the purposes of language revitalization.

Who are involved?

The language speakers are the most important factors in language revitalization, primarily since it is their own language that is the subject of renaissance and the social library of their identity (Anderson 275). They would be dependent upon the rest of the population and the social change that occurs. This was the case of the Irish language revival in Northern Ireland in a theory that Olaf Zenker proposes called “distributed agency.” This would mean that any works of an individual might be the byproduct of the events beyond his control (Zenker 24). In language revitalization, the people who speak the language are the main contributors of their own culture. They are also the ones who use the technology in order to advance their language.

Even though the language-speaking community plays a central role, they still need the assistance of a linguist in documenting the language and the creation of its grammar textbooks and dictionaries. Linguists, specifically applied linguists, are also directly involved in the propagating of the language with establishing immersion schools (Anderson 282). Some of the authors of the primary sources, Olaf Zenker and Rob Amery, are linguists who applied their own experiences of language revival into their work.

Universities are especially important since they are directly involved in the research involving linguistics. Having extensive research helped eleven languages of South Africa (De Pauw 264-5). They may not be threatened with no native speakers left, but the way that they’re preserved ensures that they still have active speakers. As far as tweeting in Maori, there are significant locations in the less populated areas of New Zealand, such as Tauranga, that contain the presence of colleges and universities (Keegan 70). Tertiary institutions become important hubs of language revitalization, considering how universities are innovating new forms of communicative technology (De Pauw 264).

The government plays a crucial role in reviving a language, primarily since they authorize and fund the projects specializing in that area. Compromise is often necessary between a language revitalization project and the local government. The creation of an immersion school usually must try to meet the requirements for a local school district’s secondary language curriculum requirement (Anderson 283). It can be instrumental in assisting a minority language (Amery 96); or in phasing it out, in the case of imperialism (Anderson 279).

What types of technology?

Although languages have been disappearing for the past century, the innovation of technology used to rejuvenate those languages has increased (Whalen 322).  The phenomenon became special during the year when Whalen wrote his article since linguists had to find data in an old-fashioned, costlier way, such as manually traveling to the American Philosophical Society (Whalen 325). The endangerment of languages becomes less of a bleak possibility with the advancing of technology.

In the 1970’s, a group of Irish speakers claimed ownership of a small newspaper within West Belfast called Andersonstown News, and it became a beacon for the Irish-speaking community as they would publish articles either exclusively in Irish or promoted their language in English (Zenker 33). The technology that was used was print publishing, which is a traditional form of language spreading. It was also used by a small group of linguists looking to restore the Mutsun language by publishing dictionaries, textbooks, and other teaching materials (Warner 136).

While acquiring the language is important, simply publishing dictionaries, textbooks, and educational programs is not enough for language revitalization (Eisenlohr 35). Not only that, but publishers are reluctant to produce linguistic texts, since it costs money with little quantity of texts (Whalen 325). For that, the language must be used on a daily basis through interaction (Eisenlohr 35). Television and radio does what print cannot, since they involve the use of both space and time (Eisenlohr 33). Media, such as those, contributed to the spread of dominant languages. If minority languages were to be used with the same technology, it would make them more relevant in the modern world as well as help native speakers preserve their languages (Eisenlohr 23-4). The Radio na Gaeltachta is based in Ireland, while the Red Quechua Satelital Continental, a Quechua-speaking satellite radio network, is in Argentina (Eisenlohr 30-1).

Technology in language revitalization is important if it especially involves communication. Twitter is a social media site used for the purpose of quickly sending out messages that can be forwarded or can convey a social message with a hashtag to make it searchable (Keegan 61). There are five hundred languages spoken on Twitter. Just as television and radio were used to promote dominant languages, social media is also used for the same purpose but, like the two forms, is also used to propagate dying languages (Keegan 60).

Language also must be consistent and not filled with errors. The North-West University in South Africa contains the Centre for Text Technology, which has created spell-checkers, language instruction packages, and research on machine translation and speech technology (De Pauw 264). Within Warner’s team of linguists, a programmer offered his expertise in creating a Mutsun spell-checker. When applying a spell-checker to a dead language, it’s very important since the words are constantly updating as more research is done and the spell-checker automatically corrects the original typed word with the new word (Warner 141).

Technology in language revitalization also enables the connection between spoken and written languages. The Meraka Institute in South Africa focuses on text-to-speech technology, which involves spoken language identification (De Pauw 264-5). In a study involving young adults who were bilingual in Welsh and English, an N400 modulator was used to record the amplitudes of their voices when completing a Welsh or English sentence (Ellis 1392).

Film is also important, since it helps spread the awareness of language revitalization to big productions along with a wider audience. Terrence Malick, in his 2005 film The New World, wanted to depict the Virginia colonies in a realistic way. He did so by making sure that the Virginia Algonquian language was spoken (Rudes 29-30). Film is especially powerful, since it appeals to the sight and hearing of the viewer. Rudes provides a basic example in his article of how Virginia Algonquian was used in the film and, quite possibly, hundreds of years ago. John Smith, played by Colin Farrell, says that he comes from England, or “the island on the other side of the sea.” Then his translator recites it in Virginia Algonquian, with Rudes noting the exceptions in sentence structure and the differences between the words from the two original wordlists and the words readapted by Rudes himself (Rudes 33-6).

The physical format of sound production, which is a CD, is especially important when understanding how the language is pronounced and communicated in different languages (Aronin 228). This was how Blair Rudes was able to help the Native American actors rehearse their lines in Virginia Algonquian, by recording himself reciting the words (Rudes 36-7). The linguists responsible for the resurrection of the Mutsun language have also experimented with CD’s (Warner 139).

It is also important to note that distributed agency is centered on language and the outlets that enable its spoken and written nature (Zenker 24). When technology transcends physical interaction, communication is often done online (Eisenlohr 37). The use of the internet is incredibly useful when developing a more interconnected community who are able to use their language (Keegan 60). In 2004, Whalen suggested in his article that revolutionizing the field of linguistics would be to combine the computerized texts that detail a language with the internet (Whalen 232). A technological tool lauded by Anderson in his experience was a Talking Dictionary, which consists of the combination of text, sound files, photos, and video as a form of online, interactive encyclopedia (Anderson 283). What makes the internet unique is that it removes the necessity to publish language texts through print publishing. This allows speakers to easily access them without any major costs (Whalen 325).

The storage of the language is the most important part of revitalization, especially if it’s a dormant language. Sixty years after the death of the last speaker of Mutsun, the original records written by linguist J. P. Harrington were stored into a database by a group of linguists (Warner 136-7). They also use a database from the Summer Institute of Linguistics called FieldWork Language Explorer to analyze the original material for the dictionary (Warner 141). In this case, technology was used to ensure that any form of information and field-work about a dead or dying language retains some form of durability. Whalen noted the importance of computers when it was applied to linguistics. He mentioned programs used to construct language family trees, digitizing dictionary entries, and the analyses of authorship and the sound of the speech (Whalen 323-4), which is also why the use of part-of-speech tagging within the digitally rendered texts is important (Zeldes and Schroeder 165).

Where are these languages?

A language can only die or be declared dead in a geographical place, which Gregory Anderson of the Living Tongues Institute coined the language hotspot, where they fail to compete with a dominant language, particularly one that was enforced via imperial and capitalistic hegemony (Anderson 276). The community shifting from native language-speaking to dominant language-speaking centrally has to do with the disruption of transmission between the speakers and their children. Understanding the history behind the language shift in various parts of the world means creating technologically assisting solutions that are unique to those languages. For language hotspots consisting of dormant languages, it’s best to use databases or the production of children’s books. In others, the propagation might be the main focus with radio and television.

In Asia, to provide an example, there is a notable language hotspot in Eastern Siberia, specifically around the Kamchatka Peninsula in rugged, mountainous villages. The population mainly thrives off reindeer-herding and sea mammal hunting. Although Imperial Russia established penal colonies and land for serfs, what exasperated the language shift from the indigenous Siberian languages was during the Soviet era when Russian-speaking populations were forced there. The Siberian languages stem from the language families: Turkic, Eskimoic, and Aleut and almost all of them are endangered, which means that the youngest speakers are 50-60 years old (Anderson 278-9).

There is often reliance on code-switching by preserving a native language at home while using the dominant language in the open. When it came to the relationship between the Irish-speaking community and the rest of Northern Ireland, there was the tendency to speak “…Irish if possible, yet English if necessary” (Zenker 34). However, there is a sense of guilt that comes with being a minority, such as the case of Mona Zaki, an Egyptian woman who refused to speak Coptic to her own children, since she felt that it had no value in a country with an Arabic-speaking majority (Mayton 60). Within the supremacy of a dominant language, whether it is English, Spanish, Arabic, or Russian, has to do with how much value children place on their own language, which diminishes as they get older (Anderson 274).

The language ideology that is usually prevalent is the association of dominant-language media with commercial attractiveness (Anderson 275; Eisenlohr 30). Even in state-run television or radio in minority languages, it is often mingled with lexicon from the dominant language, such as Catalan media containing “light Catalan,” which includes Spanish lexicon with the Catalan language (Eisenlohr 30). There is the tendency among new speakers to gravitate towards the dominant language since it is seen as more sophisticated than the native language (Eisenlohr 32). Although social media is used to promote minority languages, there are increasing number of indigenous language speakers using dominant languages to reach out to a wider audience (Keegan 60).

Geography and the close proximity of the speakers are important especially when regarding technology. Language is transmitted through gatherings, such as organizing summer camps where only the language is spoken (Warner 137). The Mutsun people live in scattered communities hours apart, and they have family and job obligations, which keep them from taking part in immersive gatherings (Warner 138-9). As far as tweeting in Maori, the longitude/latitude reading is recorded. Maori twitter users also display their current location on their profile. In this case, the highest number of tweets were concentrated in the largest cities: Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch (Keegan 69).


To read more, visit the paper uploaded on

Who Are The Native Americans Indigenous To New Jersey?

DISCLAIMER: This article was originally posted on Odyssey.


They are named the Lenape and existed for thousands of years. Not only in New Jersey proper but also Pennsylvania and New York. There is debate as to what the land of New Jersey itself would be referred to by the Lenape, but “Lenapehoking” seems to be agreed upon by even the Lenape themselves.

Prior to British colonization, the Lenape Nation dealt with the short-lived colonies of the Dutch and the Swedish. The well-known presence of the Lenape in pre-American history was when they were the nation that engaged in treaties with William Penn, who would become the governor of Pennsylvania (which is where the state received its name). In the Lenape village of Shackamaxon, Chief Tamanend granted Penn ownership of land in their treaty. The site where this happened became part of the Penn Treaty Park which can be visited today.

The Lenape were among the first Christianized Native Americans. The church essentially became the pillar of Lenape community to this very day.

However, as more whites encroached upon native lands, the Lenape were relocated to the Ohio Country. Under Chief Killbuck, along with two other Lenape leaders White Eyes and Pipe, sided with the Americans in what would become the first treaty between the United States and the Indian Nations until later in the Revolution. Afterwards, the Lenape have been relocated along with many other Native American nations to the Oklahoma Territory, which is today the State of Oklahoma, as well as Wisconsin.

Although, some of the Lenape Nation do continue to live in reservations in New Jersey, however it was only quite recently in American history that they had to reclaim their indigenous identity, since they would have been labeled as either “white,” “black,” or “mixed.” In northern New Jersey, there is the Ramapough Lenape Nation, who have struggled with the same problems that many other Native American communities have with giant corporations, which is the intrusion into their indigenous lands, specifically from the not-so-ironically named Pilgrim Pipelines who proposes a pipeline through environmentally fragile lands in northern New Jersey. In southern New Jersey, there is the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Nation.

I felt that it was important for other New Jersey residents to learn about the Lenape Nation, primarily because a lot of place-names have origins in the Lenape languages. Place-names include Cohansey Point which was named after a chief, Manasquan means “island-door,” Manalapan means “edible roots within a covered swamp,” and Hoboken means “a smoke for piping.” There are also Lenape place-names in Pennsylvania, such as Kittitanny, Catasauqua, Minisink, and Pocono.

Although there are two Lenape languages, they do have similarities. Unami was spoken in southern New Jersey and Pennsylvania and Munsee is spoken in northern New Jersey and New York. The last speaker of Unami, Edward Thompson, died in 2002 which led to endeavors to resurrect the language, while the Munsee language is spoken by a handful of speakers left along with dedicated language instructors.

I definitely think that awareness of the Lenape Nation in New Jersey itself would help this tribe to educate New Jersey residents more than I ever could.

Just as I began this article, I will end it with the Lenape translation.


How Were Shakespeare’s Plays REALLY Pronounced In His Time?

DISCLAIMER: This article was originally posted on Odyssey.


We usually think of Shakespeare’s plays, such as “Romeo and Juliet” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dreams,” being narrated in what we would typically hear as British accents. However, it may not have always been like this. It is important to note that during Shakespeare’s time, there was a transition from Middle English in the 14th century to the English that we know as Modern English. This is why the English Shakespeare spoke is referred to as Early Modern English. This time period in English language history was called the Great Vowel Shift. There were Middle English words like wyfe [wee-fuh] that dropped the phonetics of the “e” endings, used by Geoffrey Chaucer in the “Canterbury Tales” in Middle English, and became pronounced [weyef] during this transitional period.

There is a British linguist by the name of David Crystal who has been setting out to reconstruct the Shakespearean dialect, in cooperation with the University of Kansas. He has been an important scholar in the reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Early Modern English. His son, Shakespearean actor Ben Crystal, described the Original Pronunciation as having an “earthy sound” that can speed the performance.

The most important clue originates from the audience members transcribing the plays in their best phonetic spelling and the words on Shakespeare’s grave. Understanding how words were spoken means understanding how they were written or, in the case of the printing press, published. Prior to the introduction of the printing press in 1476 by William Caxton, Middle English did not have standardization. The investment into ink and leaden type effected how punctuations and the amount of “e”s would be needed, which ultimately altered the grammar into what was called Early Modern English. Although Latin and French were the languages of prestige in England, English became published more until England became independent of the Latin-using Catholic Church in 1536 when Early Modern English developed.

Another clue is the way, by our own Modern English perspective, the lines in Shakespeare’s plays do not seem to rhyme, such as words like “eye” and “company.” At the ends of both words, they were actually pronounced [uh-ee], so the words were vocalized [uh-ee] and [cump-nuh-ee]. Crystal makes note of grammarian commentaries written at the time about how to pronounce the letters, which syllable was stressed, and which words rhymed, most notably Ben Jonson.

This research would be important in recovering the puns that would have brought a chuckle from the Globe Theater audience. An example of such a line comes from Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar” where Cassius says, “Now it is Rome indeed and room enough, when there is in it but one man.” The word “Rome,” in Early Modern English, was pronounced [room], which does make a significant distinction between the other word “room.” This would create a ripple effect into how Shakespeare is taught and quoted in American schools and universities. By reconstructing the Shakespearean dialect means a better understanding of his plays through a Modern English translation.

There are also remnants of Early Modern English found in regional dialects of English, either in England proper or in Wales, Ireland, Canada, and even here in the United States. What I found interesting was when Crystal mentioned that the same Early Modern English that Shakespeare spoke was brought into American through the Mayflower by the Pilgrims.

It is a sign that Shakespeare is more relevant to American literary identity than we might expect. It is also another reason why this research is important, as it no longer associates Shakespeare’s works with the elitist posh that is spoken, rather with the inheritors of the dialect spoken at the time. It makes his works more relevant and well-connected to English-speaking people around the world and elevates Shakespeare as not another old, privileged White man, but as one of the innovators of the English language.

Why The Gullah Language Is Not “Poor English”

DISCLAIMER: This article was originally posted on Odyssey.


To the reader who might hear this and read the translation of a Biblical passage below, you might remark “Oh, it’s just poor English,” but how do you know it’s even English? Because it has the same words? As it turns out, from 1066-1476 AD, the English borrowed a lot of French words from their Norman conquerors. Now, French-origin words consist of 25% of the entire English lexicon, so is English just a gutter form of French? A simplistic view of the language may be the reason behind such opinions without understanding the Gullah language’s history and parent-languages. Yes, parent-languages, for this goes beyond the English language and into the arduous fieldwork done by the linguist Lorenzo Dow Turner, who spent years on the islands that the Gullah inhabited. He listened and recorded their speech and then compared their pronunciations to the recorded words of the people of West Africa. Turner’s findings were published in his book “Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect (1949)”.

To provide historical context, the Gullah language is spoken by the descendants of African slaves along the South Carolina and Georgia coastlines, in the islands Hilton Head, Sapelo, Wadmalaw, Daufuskie, etc. These slaves came from coastal West Africa, specifically from Nigeria to Angola. The English language was implemented upon them in order for them to communicate with overseers and the land-owners. While slaves who spoke the same native languages were moved around away from each other to prevent plots of rebellion, the emerging language simply expanded. This is usually how creole languages are formed, by raising generations of people speaking the means of communication between the ruling class and the slaves as a native language.

One crucial part of the language that the slaves inherited from their African languages was their pronunciations. A common feature in words that, in English, start with the pronunciation [yoo] end up being sounded as [nyoo] in Gullah; such as united: nyunited; use: nyuse; and young: nyung. This sound is called the palatal nasal and is found in Ewe, Efik, Ga, and Nupe. The way it was written varies, since Lorenzo Dow Turner used the International Phonetic Alphabet to accurately record it, while the Wycliffe Bible Translation (from the picture above) and Virginia Mixson Geraty, author of “Gulluh fuh Oonuh (Gullah for You): A Guide to the Gullah Language,” used slight modifications of the original English words. It would not be a simple coincidence if their original languages managed to seep through.

If anything, the language serves as a testament to the endurance of the Gullah people in American history. The Gullah word for “money,” which is babbidge, comes from the word “babbit,” which were metal coins used as currency in plantation commissaries. Just a single word can provide a glimpse into the value behind it and what it represented, as in the case of the Civil War being referred to as gun-shoot; with fo-gun-shoot meaning “before the Civil War” and attuh-gun-shoot meaning “after the Civil War.” There is also vocabulary within the Gullah language that can be traced to the languages that the original slaves spoke. There are words such as de which from Ibo means “to be;” kootuh: “turtle” in Malinke; oonuh: “you” in Ibo; buckruh: “a white person,” from Efik meaning “he who surrounds;” and tabby house: “cemented house,” which came from the mixture of cement, oyster shells, and pieces of brick used by African Muslims when building a house.

There are also Gullah words and phrases that are direct translations of the African phrases, such as describing someone who is covetous as big eye, just as in Ibo. The Gullah word for “dawn” is day-clean, which comes from the same Wolof etymology for “dawn.” To call someone an honest person in Gullah is to call him/her a trut-mout, which comes from the Twi expression anokware meaning “the mouth true.” While these Gullah sample sentences: “he gone,” “he been gone,” and “he done gone” appear to look like incorrect English, they are reflections of grammar from African languages, specifically with the use of past tense. In those languages, spoken by the first slaves, it uses the near past (in the case of “he gone”); remote past (by using “been” in “he been gone”); and a completed action (“he done gone”).

Reduplication, when intensifying a word, is also a feature of Gullah grammar as well as several African languages. The reduplication for dey, which is Gullah for “there (indicating a general location),” is deydey, which is “there (indicating a specific location) or correct;” just like in Kongo lunga means “to take care of,” while lungalunga means “to take good care of.” One of the few occurrences in English for reduplication is very, as in describing someone as “very, very mad.”

But, even with all of these grammatical rules and African-origin lexicon, it still might be looked upon as a dialect; even the title of Dr. Turner’s book calls Gullah a dialect. What makes a dialect different from a language is that although a dialect consists of its own variation of grammatical rules and lexicon, a language is a system of communication that develops independently from the other dialectic variations of the same language for political or geographical reasons. In the case of the Gullah language, it developed in isolated parts of the American colonies. As seen from the Biblical passage above, it also has a slight degree of unintelligibility, making it distinct from any American English dialect (which is also why there are English translations on the fringes of the pages).

Researcher Melville Herskovits has studied cultures of coastal West Africa and how much of them were maintained by the slaves and passed down. They were studied in places such as Guiana, Haiti, the Caribbean, and in the United States and the Gullah-speaking area (the latter two were considered distinct). He found that the language of the Gullah people was “quite African.” While the interpretation is not meant to become dogmatic, it still provides credence to the Africanness of the Gullah language. Based on my analysis of the Gullah language, these African languages are the mother-languages that pass on phrases, grammatical rules, pronunciations, and even some of the words; while English is the father-language that disseminates the majority of its words. I will say that it is uniquely African in the face of slavery. It brought the African languages they originally spoke as a way of creating an identity out of those conditions and applying them to everyday life.

How Pornography Is Harmful To Men And Women

DISCLAIMER: These articles were originally posted on Odyssey and Swoon.


To most, the subject of pornography is confrontational in and of itself, but it would be appropriate for me to explain this problem by including research (and I don’t mean “research”) and reasoning.

I am not a Psychology major, but I hope to turn such problems into a benefit. For a long time, this was an article waiting to be written, but now I have the chance to discuss the subject with people of this all-too-human struggle; especially since this is an online platform that appeals to Millennials, for we are the ones who grew up with the Internet and need to read this.

I would like to start by stating that viewing adult entertainment is not an isolated part of society, especially since nearly half of all male college students would say otherwise. Although women can get addicted, the overwhelming majority of addicts are male. It is not just young people who suffer in silence, but also celebrities, like Terry Crews and Russell Brand.

And I know what you are thinking: “If that’s the case, then I should be fine because everyone else is doing it.”

It is a rationalization that is too tempting to conjure, but it does not mean that it is healthy. In fact, it is that reason why this addiction is a societal problem. There are even companies that produce content and are using their business model to attract the demographics most afflicted with addiction.

However, there is also a growing number of young men who are voluntarily abstaining from viewing the imagery.

You may think it’s not hurting you. Is it not? As it turns out, there is proof that habitual consumption can cause erectile dysfunction among the young male demographic who typically would not be afflicted by it.

It may also be of surprise to find that it can be as addictive as narcotics. It is one thing to watch this material, but it is another to be stimulated by it. The viewing of explicit images and videos among excessive consumers has also been linked to the decreased connection between the ventral striatum and the prefrontal cortex (which is common in the brains of addicts). If you are stimulated by porn, then you would want to maintain that euphoria without serious thought. This is how the imagery becomes an addiction since it also involves numbing the reward-seeking part of the brain that produces dopamine. This causes anyone being addicted to escalate their fetishes into darker territory. It may not hurt you in the short-term, but the afflictions are very subtle.

Maybe you would want to do other activities that are more productive?

Even if your “activity” lasts for 15 minutes, maybe that amount of time could have been spent reading a chapter from a book. You may have also basked in your lust as a de-stressor. If you felt sad, stressed, or insecure, you would put on Private Mode and go to work. This is one of the symptoms of addiction; by treating something (alcohol, drugs, gambling, shopping, etc.) as a de-stressor. This would cause it to become habitual until it rules your life.

Dr. Gary Wilson makes note of a group of young men who are mostly not religious congregating around the action of no longer indulging in the content, which includes the founder of the NoFap Reddit thread and movement. A journalist for powerfully stated that the concern of the addiction does not come from religious figures, but “…coming from young men themselves. From us.”

Some claim that this medium liberates women. Does it really? Ran Gavrieli, who has worked with victims of sex trafficking, made it a point in personifying pornography, saying what makes something sexual is, “whatever men find arousing.” Such a statement is easily applied to the mad, capitalistic pursuit of filmed prostitution.

A link does exist between early consumption and misogynistic views of women later in life. It would make sense that a medium that can alter your mind can also alter your view of women as sexual objects. What also makes the industry disturbing is not only the dubious consent by the actors participating in it, but also the predatory nature of people in positions of power to influence the youngest demographic to keep consuming it.

But it is possible to change.

As Terry Crews stated in his video, the more people you tell about your addiction, the less power it has. Shame is a major part of why people continue to struggle with their addiction since it makes them unable to seek help. There has not been a lot of scientific scholarship into this branch of addiction because there were not enough case studies, which are increasing with the rise of the NoFap movement. What the proponents of the movement reported is a boost in energy and sexuality.

I do not think that making something illegal will magically cure the addiction. Such a simplistic act of legislation just does not apply to human nature. I would rather live in a world where such industries are heavily regulated and the population is more educated about this type of addiction.

When someone is addicted and he comes out about it, he should not be responded to with shame, rather with the exact opposite –– with empathy; with the understanding that addicts are really ourselves if we were confronted with titillation and exoticism as self-medication for our own powerless, meaningless lives.

The sad reality is I want to believe that the content is harmless. I want to believe that it is a marriage-stimulator and a sex educator, but there is a difference between wanting to believe something and actually seeing it for what it is.

As a realist, I will say that there is nothing glamorous about the medium. It’s not a loving relationship nor an exotic adventure. It is all just a meaningless dopamine trip.

Not surprisingly, this is how psychologist Gabor Mate connects the power of addiction to the addiction to power.

When this cycle can affect anyone, then it can affect society. This causes the very concept of male sexuality to mutate unnaturally, especially during boyhood. This can especially affect society where there is high expectation on men to be more virulent and tough. Since there is a lot of aggression, coercion, and humiliation in the scenes, almost all of the respondents in one study were either numb to it or were pleasured by it.

Although porn itself is not an excuse for men sexually mistreating women, it can definitely influence that behavior. Since the aggression that is involved can alter the mind, it can also blur the distinction between consent and rape. This can only be possible when the actresses are portrayed as always “wanting it,” regardless if it is in a private or public place. Not only can this rewire male psychology into becoming more aggressive, but also female psychology into becoming more passive.

Women are viewed as sexual objects through a monitor screen, in daily life, and on set. What makes this disturbing is that the industry does not care if it includes ordinary women or sex-trafficked girls since what really matters is how much profit is involved without regard to human life. The people within the industry also seek out girls who recently reached the age of consent.

When the actresses no longer fulfill the expectations of the industry, they are immediately disposed of. What is more, it is impossible for these actresses to reintegrate into society, so when they are not disposed of, they are entrapped in this life. They may also carry with them the sexually transmitted diseases that are prevalent in the industry. By frequenting a site, buying a DVD, or paying a subscription, how would you not be indirectly responsible for contributing to the system that causes these actresses to suffer?

Since women are treated as commodities, this can completely alter the concept of love into one that is less human and more conditional and capitalistic. A former well-known adult film star would have scoffed at love for that reason. He also admitted that during his career, he started to view women as sexual objects.

It would make sense considering how the industry (in most of the content at least) enables you to pick any type of woman you want to be pleasured by, whether she is thin or full-figured, black or white, short or tall, in her 20’s or her 40’s; without much effort.

This may lead you to tell me “Why wouldn’t I want to engage in this? It’s not like I’ll ever meet a woman like that in real life.” That is exactly the problem, which is it raises the limit of what would make the “perfect” woman and places high expectations on women who you never even met. When you look at an adult film actress, you are merely looking at a facsimile of who she really is.

I never want to distance any male readers by insinuating that anyone who watches the material automatically thinks women are sexual objects. If all I did was lecture to the 70% of all young men who use pornography weekly that they are horrible human beings, then they would not listen to me or take the science and the accounts of former adult film stars into consideration.

What the opposition does need to take into consideration is that pornography is no longer opposed just by religious people, but by the young men who were themselves addictive consumers.

To all of the men who might also say “Well, I know that porn’s not real. I would never go out and do the things in it.” Indeed, the majority of addicts do not actually go out and treat women the same way the actresses are treated; but this goes back to what I said about being stimulated by the material (in this case, sexually), then you would want to seek out that behavior in order to maintain that high.

To go back to my disclaimer at the top, although I write about problems that affect women, I am not chivalrous because I am no knight in shining armor. I used to think that anyone who was anti-pornography was either a religious fundamentalist or a feminist. However, what did win me over was the science that can accurately explain without bias the harm that it can cause, in this case, towards women.

The reality is that it is impossible to separate abuse of the female gender from pornography. You can’t eat your cake and have it too. You can’t indulge in a medium that puts incredibly high expectations on women and expect that to not affect your overall view of women.

To somewhat paraphrase my previous article about the addiction, I would rather live in a society where people are educated about the medium than a society where the medium IS the education. There is obviously a lot to stomach when it comes to the connection between this material and misogyny, but I would hope that science would become the truth that sets people free, literally and figuratively.

How To Write A Researched Article

While I often find opinionated articles, I will harken back to the memory of writer Harlan Ellison (who passed away recently) who once said “We are not entitled to our opinions. We are entitled to our INFORMED opinions.” That was why I thought it would be important to write about how to write an article that is deeply integrated with information that can provide credence to the topic being written.

One of the ways of integrating that information is by referencing sources. If they are available online, then they usually come in the form of articles, either on a news site or a scholarly website; or videos on sites such as YouTube or Vimeo. An important rule I learned even before I became an English major was to always keep in mind WHERE I get my information. Which is why I never use Wikipedia as a source, because anyone can edit the information.

I recommend using Google Scholar and specify which types of websites you want to search for. I would recommend finding other sources at websites with a .edu at the end (since this would mean it belongs to an academic institution) and websites of museums (since museums are among the most trusted forms of information).

Sometimes those links might be dead or redirected to another webpage, so I would suggest updating them when you are given the chance. If you are referencing a scholarly article and cannot hyperlink the very text itself, you can instead hyperlink the abstract page which can be found in JSTOR, ProQuest, or any other scholarly website.

Since writing an internet article is very different from writing an essay, it is not incumbent to use MLA format. All you really need to do is hyperlink your sources. The hyperlink function is found in the bar in every Post Editor on Muse. It is the one that has brackets with a hyphen in the middle, just like this.

Perhaps you have sources that are in print form, such as a book. I would suggest either linking the Worldcat catalog page or the Amazon page.

The reason why this information is important is that you might be looking for more tangible proofs of your argument, such as statistics, quotations, and the overall facts. One thing you will notice so far is that I have hyperlinked videos and articles throughout this article. This makes it clear that I used that information and that I am not just saying all of this out of thin air.

If you are a university student, you are given access to your university library’s database, so please use it to your advantage by accessing scholarly articles. I would also recommend that you not get rid of your textbooks, rather you use them as sources alongside those articles. Your coursework is not as worthless as you think.

I will conclude by saying that because I was able to research and write about so many topics, I never failed to have writer’s block on Odyssey because article ideas are not always internal but all around you. It is a point I keep making in my articles about coming up with article ideas. This method of article-writing is merely a way to provide a more in-depth analysis of your topics with the assistance of professionals who are experts in them, and it can push your limitations into interests you may have had.