Sunlit Water

February 10, 2007

Throughout History, Undergrads Have Submitted Abstracts

Filed under: Language — by teofilo @ 8:27 pm

So the undergraduate linguistics association of which I am the president is holding a conference in a month or so, and this afternoon we reviewed the abstracts we’ve gotten to decide which papers to accept.  I’ve got to say, my sympathy for AWB’s occasional complaints about introductions in undergrad writing has been renewed; I’m amazed at how many people are sticking this vague, pointless crap into their abstracts (700-word limit! do you really need to waste that much space?).  We’ve given them some slack for being undergrads who’ve never really been taught how to write abstracts, but damn, that’s some awful, awful writing.  Luckily we were drinking 40s while reviewing them, otherwise we would probably have been a lot angrier and meaner.  Also, most of the ideas behind the abstracts, even the bad ones, were very good and we’re quite happy about how the conference is looking so far.



  1. Two of the most valuable things I’ve learned about writing are:
    1) Be able to write to length
    2) Good writing is re-writing

    College does not usually foster either of these skills. (Being able to stretch a 5-page thought into a 10-page paper does not count as writing to length, and most of the people I knew in college did not write — much less submi — multiple drafts.)

    Comment by Witt — February 10, 2007 @ 9:09 pm |Reply

  2. I used to teach students how to write abstracts! Used to TRY to teach, I should say.

    Comment by Jackmormon — February 11, 2007 @ 4:48 pm |Reply

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