Crystal's textbooks a real gem for UC's repository

14 October 2011

Digitised copies of three popular textbooks by internationally renowned linguist Professor David Crystal - that had been out of print - are now available for the first time online in the University of Canterbury's Institutional Repository.

Digitised copies of three popular textbooks by internationally renowned linguist Professor David Crystal – that had been out of print – are now available for the first time online in the University of Canterbury’s Institutional Repository.

The books –  Grammatical Analysis of Language Disability – 2nd Edition (1989), Working with LARSP (1979), and Profiling Linguistic Disability (1992) had been out of print for many years but were still heavily used by students, researchers and practitioners alike, said Professor Thomas Klee of UC’s Department of Communication Disorders and New Zealand Institute of Language, Brain and Behaviour.

“Hosting these historic and important books at UC, and making them freely available for the first time in electronic form to students, speech and language therapists and researchers, is a good example not only of international outreach by UC and the Department of Communication Disorders, but also of the high regard with which the University and the department are held by the international research community.”

“A secondary benefit of hosting the books is it will attract scholars and prospective students to UC’s website who might not ordinarily visit it,” Professor Klee said.

Professor Crystal is an honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Bangor, Wales. Since 1984, he has worked from his North Wales home as a writer, editor, lecturer and broadcaster on linguistics, applied linguistics and English language studies.  He founded the Journal of Child Language in 1974 and Child Language Teaching and Therapy in 1985.

“Crystal, with his colleagues Paul Fletcher and Michael Garman, co-authored the first of these books, Grammatical Analysis of Language Disability, in 1976. Up to that time, speech and language therapists assessed children with language difficulties by testing them,” said Professor Klee. “Crystal, Fletcher and Garman’s innovation was to develop a more naturalistic, ecologically valid approach to assessment that involved recording a sample of the child’s language while playing with a parent or therapist – a far less intrusive approach than testing – and devising a linguistically-principled clinical procedure for transcribing and analysing the language sample.

“The first of their clinical procedures was called LARSP (Language Assessment Remediation and Screening Procedure) and has been used by speech and language therapists throughout the English-speaking world for the past 30 years. Subsequent to LARSP, the authors developed clinical linguistic analyses aimed at assessing other areas of children’s language development, including vocabulary and speech, and these were first introduced in Profiling Linguistic Disability,” Professor Klee said.

Repository Coordinator Grant Barrie worked with the authors to obtain copyright releases and coordinate the digitisation and hosting of the titles on UC’s website.

Mr Barrie noted that authors in a similar position, with books that were long out of print and unlikely to be re-printed, could negotiate with their publishers for the right to digitize and host their titles in a non-commercial setting.  This had already been done very successfully by Professor Andy Sturman (Sturman, A.P. and Spronken-Smith, R.A. (editors) 2001 The Physical Environment: a New Zealand Perspective. Oxford University Press, Melbourne) to the considerable benefit of undergraduate geography students at UC and other New Zealand universities, for whom The Physical Environment remains a core text.

On a related note Paul Fletcher, an emeritus professor at University College Cork who co-authored one of the books now digitised in UC’s collection, will be coming to the University of Canterbury in February next year as an Erskine Fellow.

While here he will teach a course in Linguistics and Language Acquisition to students in the Department of Communication Disorders. He will also be working with postgraduate research students in the new Child Language Centre on Creyke Road.

For further information contact:
Maria De Cort
Communications Officer
Communications & External Relations
DDI: +64 3 364 2072
Mobile: +64 27 299 0741  

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