Dr William Short

Teaching

As a teacher of the classical languages, my objective is not only to provide my students with the knowledge and skills necessary to competently and confidently deal with these languages, but also to teach them to understand, to appreciate, and – hopefully – to love the literature of Greece and Rome. Inspired by modern language pedagogy (in particular the communicative approach) and informed by social semiotic theory, functional linguistics and cognitive science, my teaching approach emphasizes how language communicates meaning within contexts and how context itself – historical, literary, cultural – contributes to linguistic comprehension. I try to stress the cultural specificity of concepts, believing that, ultimately, the fascination of any society is that its meanings are in fact different from our own.

My pedagogical interests combine with my research around the notion of ‘metaphorical competence’, or the idea that teaching students the patterns of metaphor that characterize a particular language will allow them to make informed predictions about – and so better understand – the meanings of conventionalized idiomatic as well as imaginative literary expressions.