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Grammar Badgers spread language wisdom

May 10, 2017 By Sara Griswold

Need some grammar advice? The Grammar Badgers website is perfect for you.

The Grammar Badgers program was created by graduate students in English linguistics as part of a seminar on what is considered bad grammar, instructed by Anja Wanner, a professor of English language and linguistics.

“As a linguist, my business is not to tell people how to speak or write, but it feels very wrong to me to leave the public discussion of standards to self-styled language mavens,” states Anja Wanner.

Students in the seminar created 1-minute videos, podcasts, a grammar quiz with video comments, and teaching materials for people interested in a linguistic perspective on grammar and grammar awareness.

They then created a website for all of their materials to be accessed on by anyone.

The Grammar Badgers website reads: “On this site, you can test your knowledge of English grammar, learn about tricky grammar topics in videos and podcasts, and find materials suitable for teaching. If you have a particular grammar question that you would like us to address, email us.”

The students have especially been working on promoting it to students at UW–Madison.

“I had only vague initial ideas about what interests, skills, and community experiences students might bring to the project. I was completely blown away by their professionalism and creativity — from logo design, to video and sound editing, to connecting with language professionals in the community,” Wanner stated.

The website is up and running, and there are plans for continual improvement in the future.

“We will add an “Ask a Grammar Badger” feature, which will be the basis for student-led surveys in the fall. Students will invite questions from the community and will address them on the Grammar Badger website,” Wanner says. The idea is that people can also send in questions that one of the ‘Grammar Badgers’ will then address, so this is a project that goes beyond the walls of the classroom in different ways.

To make things fun and accessible, Bucky Badger is featured in the videos.