2022-2023 L'IMAGE Project PI Journal
To cite this page: Taniguchi, Ai. 2023. Principal Investigator Journal #8: Expert Consultants. In University of Toronto Language, Identity, Multiculturalism and Global Empowerment Project (L'IMAGE). Available online at https://www.lingcomics.com/pi-journal-8-experts. Accessed on [date].
Journal #8: Expert Consultants
L’IMAGE PI Journal #8: Expert Consultants
Alt-Text with long description
[Page 1, Title Page]
Top of page reads: UofT L’IMAGE Project: Language, Identity, Multiculturalism and Global Empowerment
Title over bright red banner: Principal Investigator (PI) Journal
Subtitle under red banner: Journal #8: Expert Consultants
A prototypical “edit” icon from e.g., a computer. It is a vector image of a simplified pencil overlayed diagonally over a square, which represents a piece of paper. At the bottom of the square, it reads “L’IMAGE”.
Bottom right of page: University of Toronto Mississauga logo and University of Toronto logos are visible.
[Long description of text and images in the comic strip:]
The comic strips in the L’IMAGE comic series uses the font Ames, which is the standard font for comics. Ames is an all-caps font. However, Alt-Texts for this project are not written in all-caps so that they will be more accessible for screen readers.
The comic artist for the series is Dr. Ai Taniguchi. Her drawing style can be described as: Japanese manga inspired, cute, large eyes, intentionally sketchy and unpolished line art, simplified, expressive. The comic strips are all digital, but she uses a pen that mimics the line weight of a traditional fountain pen. Her line art is on average 0.5mm in width (relatively thin), but the line weight varies and looks hand-drawn.
The title page of each comic strip is in color. It has a University of Toronto color scheme: navy blue, light blue, and bright red. The background is white with a navy blue frame. The references page and the “About the L’IMAGE project” page also have this University of Toronto color scheme.
The comic strips themselves are black and white, and employ digital screen tones for shading and backgrounds. Narrations are inside rectangular boxes unless otherwise noted.
Top panel 1: The drawings of Ai are highly simplified in this comic, drawn in her comedic style with a thicker brush stroke than usual. In this panel, she has a neutral expression, holding up a peace sign with her left hand.
Ai’s narration: I’m a linguist. My area of specialization is in semantics and pragmatics.
Top panel 2: We see just the top of Ai’s face. She looks comically serious. Hand-written text above her head depicting her thought or speech reads, “What does _every soup_ mean??”.
Ai’s narration: Semantics is about the meaning of words (and other smaller units of meaning), and how they combine to form the meaning of sentences.
Bottom panel 1: There are two bowls labeled “Soup A” and “Soup B” at the top. Below the bowls, we see two versions of the same discourse by two people. One person is asking, which soup should I have? In both conversations. The other person responds “Soup A has cheese in it” in both conversations. In the first conversation on the left, it is indicated via text that the person asking the question is lactose intolerant. In this conversation, it is indicated that “Soup A has cheese in it” means Soup B is what they should have. In the other conversation, it is indicated that the person asking the question is cheese-obsessed. In this case, it is indicated that “Soup A has cheese in it” is interpreted to mean Soup A.
Ai’s narration: Pragmatics is about how context affects meaning (and how meaning affects context).
Bottom panel 2: Ai has a blank, mouthless expression. Hand-written text representing her speech or thought reads, “My very first conference presentation was at NWAV actually (sociolinguistics).
Ai’s caption: Of course in grad school I did coursework and research in areas outside of my primary specialization as well, so I know a *lot* about language ein general. But there are still a lot of things I don’t know, too!
Top panel 1: Ai, wearing square glasses, is reading a book. There is a stack of papers next to her.
Ai’s narration: So naturally, the L’IMAGE infographics have a light peer review process. Here’s how it works. Step 1: I do a lot of research in the primary literature about a particular topic, sometimes with the help of my RA.
Top panel 2: There is a piece of paper that seems to say “page 1” and “page 2” in brackets. Page 1 has the title “Arabic background” but the rest of the text is illegible. Page 2 has the title “MSA”, but the rest of the text is illegible.
Ai’s narration: Step 2: I draft the text of the infographic.
Bottom panel 1: Ai is bowing deeply and her hair is falling over her face completely, and her face is not visible. She is holding out a piece of paper to a woman and saying “pls”. The woman has dark hair and is light-skinned and is giving a thumbs up and saying “OK!”. Captions indicate that she is an Arabic expert.
Ai’s narration: Step 3: We ask an expert on the topic if they want to be a reviewer, and if they say yes, we give them about a week to give feedback on the content of the infographic. We gave our experts the option of doing a written review or an oral review over Zoom.
Bottom panel 2: There is a light-skinned person with a mohawk and another person with dark, short hair wearing rectangular-ish glasses.
Ai’s narration: Experts include grad students, postdoctoral researchers, language instructors, linguistics professors, and more!
Top panel: A drawing of a light-skinned, middle aged woman with light-colored hair. She has bangs and her bob-length has layers and frames her face. She is smiling. Hand-written text next to her is pointing to her and reads, “Thank you our dept. admin Susan for processing so (emphasis on so) many of these payments (“TT” crying kaomoji).”
Ai’s narration: The infographic is usually only about 1000 words, but because of the very quick turnaround time, we offered each of our consultants at least $100 CAD. Depending on the nature of the expert’s involvement, sometimes the compensation was more.
Ai’s narration: A good public linguistics communication project simplified a complex topic but doesn’t lose the core essence of it. It simplifies in a way that doesn’t udnermind the science behind it.
An illustration about miso soup explains Ai’s principle as an analogy. Caption at top reads, “Like a simplified recipe with simpler/fewer ingredients, but it’s still the thing”. Below the caption, we see three versions of miso soup: traditional miso soup, simpler miso soup, and not really miso soup.
Traditional miso soup has a check mark next to it. The ingredients for it are illustrated and labeled: dashi from bonito, miso, tofu etc., veggies etc.
Simpler miso soup has a check mark next to it. The ingredients for it are illustrated and labeled: dashi from box, miso, tofu.
Not really miso soup has an X mark next to it. The ingredients for it are illustrated and labeled: hot water, miso.
Top panel: A close up of a bowl of miso soup that seems to contain tofu, green onion, and seaweed. There is steam coming out of it.
Ai’s narration: (Contrary to popular belief?) this is hard to do, and this requires a *lot* of knowledge about the topic. One of my grad school mentors once told me, “You don’t really know your research until you’re able to explain it in plain terms to lay audiences”.
Bottom panel: just a shaded tone background and a narration box.
Ai’s narration: That’s why the experts are so important in this project.
Top panel 1 and 2: A color image of some of the L’IMAGE infographics. They are a page from the neurodivergence and language infographic, the languages of South Africa infographic, the Arabic infographic, and the Anishinaabemowin lesson with Dr. Corbiere. These two panels form one continuous image, but is split by a comic border.
Ai’s narration (panel 1): I’ve really left my comfort zone in some of these infographics…
Ai’s narration (panel 2): … and really took the time to learn about and teach topics that we as linguists have often neglected to teach in introductory linguistics courses.
Bottom panel: A person with dark hair, light skin, and rectangular glasses is holding a photo and saying “here’s a picture we can include!”. A person with short light hair, light skin, and short bands is saying, “double check that reference!” A person with darker skin, a head scarf tied in a bow shape covering her head, is saying “how about this instead”?
Ai’s narration: All of my infogrpahics had corrections made by the experts! Some edits were small. Some were huge.
Top panel 1: A person with light skin and voluminous curly dark hair is saying, “Modern Standard Arabic actually is…”.
Ai’s narration: Sometimes there were certain things I just did not have the linguistic knowledge about as non-user of that language…
Top panel 2: An older person with rectangular glasses and straight, medium length hair (probably Dr. Corbiere) and a person with short, side part hair and a stubble beard are smiling. They are saying, “here’s the tricky history…”
Ai’s narration: “… and other times, there were simply social, political, historical, and/or cultural nuances that someone in my positionality could not pick up from the scientific literature alone.”
Bottom panel: Three people are smiling. The first person is smiling with their eyes squinted; they have very short hair and wearing small, rectangular glasses. The second person has a prominent mustache, short hair with very short bangs, and wearing rectangular glasses. The third person has a voluminous, dark colored curly hair pulled back in a half-up style. Her shirt seems to have a logo of some sort and it says “ravens” in all caps.
Ai’s narration: I contacted old and new colleagues in this project to serve as expert consultants, and it’s simply been amazing how much I’ve learned from this collaborative process. I’ve not only gained new knowledge in linguistics, but new sensitivity and new perspectives about linguistics pedagogy as well.
Top panel 1: Manga effects (shadow over top half of her face) show that Ai feels ill. There is a silhouette of a person making a mischievous gesture where the tips of your fingers of either hand touch each other. This person has no actual face besides a smirking mouth, and their face has the text “Reviewer 2” where there typically would be eyes and a nose.
Ai’s narration: Also: as someone with really severe rejection sensitive dysphoria, I usually really, really, really struggle with critical feedback.
Top panel 2: Blank background.
Ai’s narration: I’m not sure what it was about the review process in the L’IMAGE project –
Bottom panel 1: A person with short curly hair and a darker skintone, smiling.
Ai’s narration: Maybe it was the enthusiasm with which our reviewers participated in this project ---
Bottom panel 2: A person wearing a hijab and glasses (probably Amina), shrugging with both hands up next to her, looking exasperated. She is saying, “People have no idea how different various Arabic varieties sound sometimes!
Ai’s narration: Or maybe it was my intent focus on communicating a lesson that the student project participants wanted me to communicate in these “5-Minute Linguistics” lessons ---
Top panel 1: Ai with a comically serious, mouthless expression.
Ai’s narration: But not once did I get an anxiety attack about opening the document containing the expert’s review during this project.
Parenthetical comment underneath the narration box reads, “Even when I was unmedicated for my ADHD! This is a big f*cking deal lol.)
Top panel 2: Blank background.
Maybe I just like the feeling of creating something together like this and feeling supported in the realest sense, and (emphasis on and) compensating them properly for their expertise. I don’t quite know how to articulate it yet, but I really (emphasis on really) loved this particular type of academic collaboration.
Bottom panel 1: Two people are smiling. One has a side part, short hair with short bangs. The other person has short hair, a beard, and rectangular glasses.
Ai’s narration: I am grateful for all of our consultants for their time and expertise. I really (emphasis on really) enjoyed gaining new knowledge this way.
Bottom panel 2: Ai is smiling and waving with her left hand. Decorative flowers above her indicate friendliness.
Ai’s narration: I take responsibility for any errors in the comics and/or infographics!
Ai’s speech bubble: I’ll tell you about how logn each comic and infographic takes next time!
Text at bottom right: See you next time!
Page title: About the L’IMAGE project
Project PI and comic artist: Ai Taniguchi, Assistant Professor, UTM Department of Language Studies
Research Assistant: Haili Su, MA Student, UTSG Department of Linguistics
Special thanks to: Gilbert Lin, Assistant Director, Intercultural & Global Initiatives, UTM International Education Centre
With the generous support of: UofT International Student Experience Fund, UTM Department of Language Studies, UTM International Education Centre
Learn more: http://www.lingcomics.com
Bottom right of page shows the University of Toronto Mississauga logo and the University of Toronto logo.