Category Archives: Experiential Blog Posts

Prevalence of Different Genres of Literature

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There is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow that suggests people don’t focus on subjects unnecessary for survival unless other conditions necessary for survival and sanity are met. According to Maslow, people don’t focus on literature when other they are worried about there own survival. To survive, we need food, water, and shelter, in our society, we also need financial security.

To test this theory, we can follow trends in the major literary genres throughout the last 150 years.  Drama, comedy, tragedy, and satire correlate very well with each other, romance varies slightly but generally follows the same overall trend. During the 1860’s, during the Civil War, none of the genres gain any significant prominence, due to the fact that people were concerned with the safety of their friends and family. Starting in 1870, all genres start gaining more prevalance, until about the middle 1910’s, the start of World War I. During WWI, the relative prevalence of all genre’s drops sharply, potentially due to the fact that people are generally more concerned with their own personal safety. During the roaring twenties, the prevalence of all genre’s increases sharply. During this time, the economy was growing rapidly, due to the increased financial security, people where allowed to focus more on literature. The prevalence of each genre begins to drop when  the stock market crashes in the late 1920’s, and continues to drop throughout the great depression and World War II.  Growth is stagnated during the cold war in the 50’s, and begins to fall sharply as the Vietnam War escalates in mid 60’s to mid 70’s.

The prevalence of all genres continues to slowly decline after the 80’s, except for Romance. I think this decline is due to the decline of printed media as a whole due to the rise of technology and digital media.

 

The Formality of Society

Formal vs Informal Words

As the english language has changed and warped to meet the needs of its speakers, the meaning and emphasis of certain words changes. When people begin to use a new set of words, they become more commonplace and loose power as a result. The Ngram above shows the relationship between a few words that would be considered formal to many people and some words that represent the informal version of each. During the 20th century the relative abundance of formal words switched places with that of the informal counterparts and since, informal words have been used much more regularly. That being said, our society is pushing towards less formal methods of communication because of the  abundance of casual words that are found in literature.

In order to look at why this switch occurred, it is a good idea to think about the type of people that were contributing to the literature of the day. Before the 20th century, books and records were written by educated individuals or professionals more commonly than the average person. As a result, more formal works were produced and terms that our society would consider slang had not become widely popular. During the 20s when the country reached its financial high before the great depression, slang terms and those that would be considered more informal emerged as more prominent contributors to literature. As the 20th century progressed, the frequency of each showed how culture was influencing the way people communicated on paper, offering a more thorough glimpse into how they spoke in person.

Modern day society greatly favors informal methods of communication over those that would be considered old, dated,  or strict. Terms like “all right” are much more common than “acceptable”, and while this is not a definitive measure of the formality of society, it shows a push towards informal communication and ultimately a reduction in the use of formal terms and phrases.

The reason for this shift can likely be attributed to the internet and the interconnectivity it provides. Communication has reached levels that are unrivaled and as a result, we are leaning more towards slang in written communication. Whereas at one point written language was exclusively formal, new forms of writing that exhibit casual language are beginning to emerge.

 

Popularity of Different Religious Figures

 

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I wanted to look at the change in popularity of different none western religious figures since 1700. At first I tried to compare these results with that of God and Jesus but I found that God and Jesus appeared too much and skewed the graph to make it impossible to see the changes in any of the other figures. Once I had decided with the dates 1700 to 1900 I found the graph that was produced very interesting. I was surprised that the Dalia Lama received so little popularity when compared to the other three since he is the only one of the religious figures that is actually a living person. Then again, he is the head of Tibetan Buddhist which do not have the largest following. I was also surprised to see the Zeus was so popular since his religion is no longer followed. This probably has more to do with the Greek gods’ popularity in pop culture than Zeus actually being written in religious text. I was not sure what to expect with Muhammad since he is of course a very popular Islamic religious name, and in turn many people have been named after him. Most notable, Muhammad Ali which I believe this explains he increase in the mention of Muhammad in the 1950. I was not very surprised when it came to the Buddha’s recent popularity in western culture as it seems I come across more and more quotes from him every year. I believe this data is the most significant of the four since Buddha could not really be misinterpreted as something else by google I shows a true representation of the increase in interest in the Buddha in Western culture. The only word to significantly fall was Zeus from 1900 to 2000 and I believe this had to do with the industrialization of the world and a change in the opinion of people. I think before the 1900’s people looked more to the past and spent time thinking about it, but after the industrial revolution public opinion changed and they spent more time looking to the future and less on the past.

Relationships Over Time

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Humans will always be interacting with each other in different ways. Man is a social animal and by nature, humans need relationships to be happy and content. I was curious to see how more intimate types of relationships have changed and become more or less prominent over time. For this reason, I decided to search the words “marriage”, “sex”, and “friendship” on Google Ngram to see if there have been any significant changes in the past two hundred years.

It was interesting to see that marriage has stayed relatively consistent, with the exception of a time period around the 1920s. The 20s marked a period of time of independence. It was a time for young people to let go and enjoy themselves. Young women were especially less interested in marriage because of this newfound freedom.

On the other hand, sex and friendship have seen dramatic changes in usage over time. You can see a large and gradual increase in “sex”, but an equivalent decrease in “friendship”. This change reflects how American culture has gone from relatively conservative to very liberal in this sense. Sex has become more and more casual, while less and less importance has been placed on friendship. In this age of social media and smart phones, people more than often converse through chatting and text messaging. This perhaps is weakening the average person’s ability to socially interact with people face-to-face. As a result, people have most likely become more introverted and are less capable of developing and sustaining friendships.

 

Popularity of Military Terms

I decided to look up military branches on Ngram to determine if increased use of the terms correlate with war in the United States and if a certain branch was more popular during which war. I did this by tracking “army”, “navy”, “marines”, “air force”, and “military” in American English only.

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It is obvious that the army is by far the most discussed branch. “Military” follows closely behind “army” and eventually passes “army” to become the most common term among the five in modern language. In the distance is the navy and then (once invented) the air force. Most people seem to use “military” as a general term to describe all the branches which explains why it has grown in popularity over the past 40 years. Also, “army” could be the most popular term for so long because it was the most common used military branch in the past due to the lack of advanced technology.

Also, the spikes in the term usage correlate with wars in America. The huge peak in 1776 was when the United States gained their independence, which also explains the peak in the navy because of the magnitude of overseas warfare. The peak in 1812-1816 correlates with the War of 1812. There was little to no peak in “navy” in 1865, though there was a peak in the other terms because of the Civil War’s lack of necessity for a navy. The peak in 1918 associates with World War I while in 1944 World War II was in full swing. There are some peaks that are more difficult to find correlations for. This could be because there were wars abroad that made people think of the military more. Since the terms all peaked during wars, it seems as if people were extremely preoccupied with the war and that the topic dominated conversations.

Society’s Fixation on Major Events

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I think the topic I want to focus on is pretty obvious from the words that I searched. We, as cultures, choose to focus on major events. The world wars were arguably some of the most crucial events in world history. Today, we discuss buzzing news by taking to Twitter and publishing articles online. We also use some methods that they used last century, though, such as putting this news in the front page of the next day’s paper or publishing the information in books for later generations. Although our ways of sharing important events have changed over the years, our curiosity and interests have not changed.

It’s interesting when you view the graphs. During each world war you notice a sharp increase in the words United States, Germany, and world war. The peaks of the countries happen at about the same time, and they last for the same time interval. This graph would be helpful if you wanted a preview what would happen if a third world war occurred. The graph would mimic how it looked during the previous two world wars. The only difference that is predictable is the time of the peak. The peaks during WWI and WWII occurred a couple of years following the wars, whereas if a future world war were to occur, a peak would be seen during the period of the war. This is because our society can share that information much faster than they could during prior time periods.

Coke vs. Pepsi

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The controversy between Coke and Pepsi has become more prominently displayed since moving to Atlanta due to the Coke headquarters being so close. Upon arrival, I had to be a tourist and visit the factory when I first moved down and I found it really interesting how soda was so impacted by events throughout history. Using Google Ngram Viewer I made a graph comparing Pepsi, Coke and Dr. Pepper for another beverage comparison. Surprisingly, Dr. Pepper barely had any popularity even though it was first established in 1885 and was nationally produced and sold in 1904.

Coca-Cola shows a gradual rise from the early 1900’s and on, while Pepsi only takes off in the late 1930’s. Both beverages were created around the 1890’s, however Coke had a brilliant marketing scheme where salesmen would hand out coupons for a free coke. Pepsi’s gained popularity in 1936 with the introduction of a 12 oz. bottle. This was twice as much soda for the same price as a bottle of Coke, encouraging price-watching consumers to buy Pepsi over Coke.

On the graph, there is a huge drop on the graph for Coca-Cola in the mid-1960’s. This is because at this point in time in history, many women began to count their calories. This led to the creation of TaB which had only one calorie and was more appealing to calorie conscious consumers. From the 70’s and on there is a huge rise in popularity for both companies because the competition was growing fierce. From then on, the marketing battle began and both companies focused on who could claim more fame in the worldwide market.

 

The Maturation of Cartoons

I decided to use the Google Ngram to see find the popularity of specific cartoons and cartoon TV channels. This idea came to me because I used to spend hours at a time watching cartoons as a kid and I wanted to see how they have changed in today’s TV. The graph shows that Nickelodeon has been the most popular channel throughout its existence. Disney Channel used to be the second most popular out of the three (Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and Disney Channel), but Cartoon Network has recently surpassed it. This data shows that when kids our age were around 5 or so, the Disney channel was more popular, but as we grew older we changed preferences to Cartoon Network. Nickelodeon seems to appeal to a broader age spectrum and this might have to do with its Nick at Night section. As a kid, I was always more interested in Cartoon network than I was with Disney Channel so I can see why this shift happened. The shift could have occurred because of the release of Pokemon right around that time. Back in the day, I used to watch every episode of some of those early seasons.

Ngram Graph

I picked those three specific TV shows (Spongebob, Rugrats, and Family Guy) because they represented three parts of my life. I watched Rugrats when I was a toddler, Spongebob when I was in grade school, and Family Guy from then on. The graph seems to represent kids my age moving on from show to show. Rugrats was the biggest, then Spongebob overtook it, and if the graph kept on going, I would assume the Family Guy overtakes Spongebob around 2010.

It is very interesting how this graph seems to map my generation’s maturation just through the relative frequency of a few cartoon channels and TV shows. I definitely experienced a feeling of nostalgia while doing this experiential post and I very much enjoyed it.

Experiential Blog Post: Google NGrams

I decided to look at the relative frequency of words that apply to women and their roles in society over the course of time to find insights about their status or recognized importance.

All Comparisions
All Comparisons

For my experiment I compared “women”, “mother”, “wife”, “girl”, “female” and “lady”. It’s clear from the outset that the occurrence of “women” is far higher than the other words that were compared and really spikes in the late 1900’s especially in the early 90’s. I realized now (far after the fact) that I forgot “woman” from the initial analysis but including it doesn’t change the trends that much. Oddly enough its not quite as pronounced as “women” and doesn’t spike up as significantly either.

"Women" vs "Woman"
“Women” vs “Woman”

Ignoring whatever is the cause of the difference, the two words still trend together fairly well. The occurrence of “female” also tracks pretty well.

"Women" vs "Wife"
“Women” vs “Wife”

On the other hand, over the past 300 years, the word “wife” stays fairly stable and unchanged. I think this points to a difference between the traditional role women play (in the household) and the emphasis on the actual women themselves. While traditional roles and words describing those (like “wife” and “mother”) stay relatively constant throughout recent history, words describing the people themselves occur more as importance and attention is directed at them.

Looking at the early half of the seventeenth century and even up to the year 1900, the word “women” actually occurs less than “mother”. I think this really points to the difference and culture shift that is indicated in the written English language.

Smartphone Popularity Contest

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I’ve been thinking of getting a new phone these days but with a college budget I don’t think its going to happen. So I wanted to see the different cultural effects of phone companies in Europe and the United States. I have all of the major phone companies like Apple, Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Blackberry. The pictures go in order from top to bottom as English, French, German. I predicted that in English Apple would be the highest. Apple doesn’t only pertain to Apple products though. It also contains actual red apples or maybe yellow ones so the word apple doesn’t just include iPhones but fruits too that’s why the graphs are skewed. In French, Sony has the lead. In German, LG has the lead. These make sense because Sony and LG are big company names that can’t be misled to think it’s a fruit. This could mean that Sony has a firm grip of product popularity in France or maybe the French like criticizing Sony so much that they had to write about it in books. Same goes for Germany and LG products. In both French and German, Apple came in second.  We can’t give apple fruits the entire credit for being so high though. There is some credit due to Apple, the company. They are one of the biggest technology company ever. They will continue to lead the revolution of Apple products taking over the world. Honestly, I was rooting for Samsung and was really bummed that they didn’t really make a dent in the word count, so word count doesn’t equal good popularity.

The Most Popular Pie: A Study

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The pie has been one of America’s, and the world’s, most loved desserts of all time.  The diverse amounts of flavors that the pie offers the home cook is unrivaled by any other dessert.  Naturally, this post looks into the most popular pies of the 20th century, and tries to identify some of the reasons for the ups and downs.

The first thing to catch my eye after looking at this graph was that apple pie was on top for virtually the entire century.  Additionally, if you separate the “flavor” adjectives (apple, pumpkin, lemon, and blueberry) from the others (economic, humble, whole, a, inch, and cap), you’ll see that the flavor pies follow a very similar trend.  Almost like clockwork, the flavors (most notable of being apple and lemon) begin heading upwards in popularity in 1930 and peak around 1944.  I don’t think that it is a coincidence that this is the exact same time period used to describe the Great Depression.  The depression left many people poor and hungry, so they resorted to improvising.  After looking around for some depression era recipes, I’ve found that it was very common during the time to fake a pie crust with ritz crackers, resulting in a cheaper, yet still delicious baked pastry.  After the peak in 1944 however, the flavors bottomed out in 1965 until they began to plateau to the position they are in today.  The decline could be attributed to the culture becoming more experimental after the war.  Americans were finally able to afford a larger variety of food, so naturally what was popular at the time diminished.

Pie will always be an ubiquitously loved dessert.  It has been for the past centuries, and the future only holds more ups and downs for the delicious pastry.

Science and Religion in our society

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Over the past few decades our culture has started to tend to be more based on science and less so on religion. This trend started in the early 18th century with Deism. This was a religious philosophy shared by many of the founding fathers of the United States, as well as enlightenment thinkers. Deists believed in a creator who was not active in the present world, and that instead natural laws governed the world. Since then we have seen a gradual decline in the use of the word religion, other than a peak during the second great awakening. This has not because insinuating that people are 1/5 as religious now as they were 300 years ago, instead people no longer study religion the same way they did in the past, now learning has focused on science as shown by the blue line.

This interest in science was started around the turn of the 18th century by works such as Newton’s Principia. Newton’s and other scientists of his time set the foundation for scientific learning that we all see today. The use of the words “science, engineering, physics, and chemistry” really took off in the mid-19th century as more people began looking into new scientific fields, such as Charles Darwin and evolution.

As time went on people began to write more and more about science and less and less about religion. This shift in word usage has signaled a change in society, in the 1700’s much of a common persons education had to do with religion, and many people learned to read so that they would be able to read the bible, whereas now almost none of our formal education has anything to do with religion, and in large part consist of science, physics, chemistry, and engineering, especially here at Tech.

This change in education has changed the way that our culture thinks, no longer is religion a main topic of discussion. It is far more likely that you will witness a debate or discussion on the newest iPhone, then on the Bible. This is not to say that religious discussion is gone -the four words together barely account for more than religion when unadjusted- but instead take place in different settings. These setting are less public, although not less academic, and because of this less public nature influence culture, and therefore religion shows up in writing less. In the last hundred years religious studies have taken a back seat culturally, and because of this our culture is much more based on science than it was a few hundred years ago.

 

Jeff Iliff: One more reason to get a good night’s sleep

Jeff Iliff discusses the scientific reasons behind One more reason to get a good night’s sleep. He speaks with emotion and includes the audience by creating an engaging atmosphere using various methods that can be connected to WOVEN. His main statement in the talk is that sleep is when our brain clears out all of the waste byproduct from a long day. His presentation is well worded to include everyone, even people who know very little about biology. Jeff brings up images throughout the presentation to help paint a clear image of what is taking place as we sleep. He even uses evidence to argue his point through the data from a scientific studying showing the blood vessels of a mouse’s brain while resting versus awake. He includes brief labels on these diagrams to further prevent any confusion with his scientific terminology. While speaking, Jeff maintains a comfortable eye contact that keeps the audience interested in what he is saying. His hand movement is limited- not overwhelming- but just enough to be relaxed. He faces many directions of the audience to engage everyone viewing, not only those who sit directly in front. He also maintains a good pace when moving from image to image. He moves slow enough for the audience to understand his point but not lingering on anything long enough for the audience to become bored.

Looking specifically at the time between 5:01 and 5:11, we see how he transitions from his talking point o the image of the brain of a mouse. His tone is not arrogant when pointing out his personal findings in the research. Instead, he continually uses the word “us” and his voice is the mere awe that matches that of his viewers. Combining visual representations with an interactive speech creates a strong argument and makes for an effective presentation by Jeff Iliff.

A New Purpose for Robots

 

“Robots with “Soul”” is a TED talk given by Guy Hoffman in which he questions current human interaction with robots, while sharing insight that he found in the world of acting and animation.

Between 15:17 and 15:38 Hoffman progresses from a revelation to a final product that would sum up the entirety of his presentation.

During the entire sixteen minutes Hoffman uses images and videos to convey information and maintain an engaging atmosphere. However, in this segment he deliberately projects an empty black slide that would not distract viewers in order to highlight his verbal speech as much as possible. To further attract his audience he includes a couple humorous remarks that keep the mood light and bring more attention to his speech. Through gesturing with his arms and hands he enhances the humor of his statements. For example, when Hoffman initially remarks that people “liked that the robot was enjoying the music” he raises his arms in plain disbelief to emphasize the unexpected discovery, hence adding to the humor of the comment.

As he begins to describe his idea of applying what he had learned in a final robot, the black screen begins to seem like a curtain hiding something important. This serves to create a sense of anticipation throughout the audience.

To satisfy this anticipation Hoffman finally displays his final product in the form of an animation. As opposed to a still image, the animation allows him to project multiple things to the audience at once in a non-verbal fashion such as the physical appearance, the purpose, and the graceful dynamics of the robot.

Hoffman controls his audience by presenting information in a series of steps. He uses subtle verbal and nonverbal techniques to progress his ideas in such a way that shifts the entire focus of the audience between him and his displays.

 

 

Does Education Need to Change?

“This really happened. We were sitting there and I think they just went out of sequence, because we talked to the little boy afterward and we said, “You OK with that?” And he said, “Yeah, why? Was that wrong?” They just switched, that was it. Anyway, the three boys came in — four-year-olds with tea towels on their heads — and they put these boxes down, and the first boy said, “I bring you gold.” And the second boy said, “I bring you myrrh.” And the third boy said, “Frank sent this.” (4:47 – 5:22)

This excerpt from his child’s play sets up the rest on the Ted talk about changes to the education system very well. The argument of this Ted talk is about if the education system kills creativity. First, Robinson must set up a basis for this argument, that children are already more creative than adults. If children weren’t creative then Robinson thesis would fall apart since you can not take something away that is already not there. It is not only that this excerpt, about his son’s play, is important for his thesis, but it also shows how well structured his argument is. After telling the story Robinson transitions into talking about how kids are will to make mistakes and take their best guess, but in the corporate world of today that is looked down upon, so no one takes chances. No one doubts his authority since he was a university professor and is talking on TEDx, a very well respected organization. The one issue with having someone so well educated doing a talk is that it makes it difficult for the most people to identify with and could be difficult to understand, but by talking about how his own son and making jokes it is easy to understand for the rest of the public. He spends most of his argument putting in jokes for the audience. This makes the entire video much more enjoyable to watch and allows Robinson to get his message through. I do think there are other things Robinson could have done to improve his argument. If he had set up a power point then he could have shown statistics and graph that could back up his argument, but without and research sourced all we have to go on is Robinson’s logic argument. Without any for of visual argument there does seem to be something lacking but it does seem the Robinson’s intent was to start a conversation on education. This is because he only highlights the problem but does not offer any specific fix to the problem. It would be interesting to research into what he has done further for education since this Ted talk was from 2006.

Let’s put the ‘awe’ back in ‘awesome’

This is a presentation by Jill Shargaa, a comedian, about the misuse of the word awesome. In her presentation she discussed how people mistake the word awesome for words like nice, great, delicious and even thank you. She gave perfect examples of scenarios when awesome can be used based on the definition she gave.

In the time frame of 04:23 to 04:42 minutes of the presentation, she was discussing how ‘awesome’ landing on the moon is. Looking closely at the presentation within this time frame, Jill combined various multimodal elements to effectively convey her message.

Jill’s word choice was rather unethical. She used informal phrases like come on and are you kidding me to emphasized her point. This is an informal presentation so such phrases are allowed to relax the audience. Since Jill is a comedian, she yelled and prolonged certain phrases to make her presentation entertaining and to humor the audience.

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She also uses images and words to communicate her message through a slide show. In the image above she uses the sentence “Yes, awesome” to tell the audience that the moon landing was awesome. Her use of words was rather informal and satirical. The image above the text shows the 1969 moon landing, which was exactly what she was talking about, was awesome.

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In the image above the instance when she was yelling “landing on the moon come on!” She is kneeling and her hands are positioned like she is crying to the audience. She is trying to emphasize how ‘awesome’ the 1969 moon landing is. By putting herself in that position and yelling she is emphasizing how important that part of the presentation is. After she said ‘that’s from like here to the moon” she made a surprised facial expression to emphasize how far away the moon is from earth and to create a comical impression on the audience. This is noticed because after she did it, she waited to give the audience time to laugh before she returned to her presentation.

By combining all these various elements into her presentation, she created an informative yet comical presentation. She successfully conveyed her message to the audience and also created a relaxed atmosphere that left the audience in laughter.

Spiffy Robot Legs

In this Ted Talk, Hugh Herr discusses the origins of his interests with bionics after he lost his own legs in a climbing accident, how his prosthetic limbs integrate with his body, and he shares several stories of recipients of the bionic limbs he works with.

From 2:00 through 2:30, Herr discusses how he began creating his own prosthetic limbs to adapt to different climbing situations. By adjusting the shape of his feet, he could climb rock features that other climbers couldn’t.  In this section, Herr uses visuals heavily, showing examples of the different prosthetic limbs he crafted for climbing, his heavy usage of pictures videos, and diagrams is consistent later in the presentation when he discusses the more technical aspects of the bionic limbs he works on. His tone and expression are fairly constant throughout the presentation, there is a detectable hint of pride in his expression when he demonstrates how he can neurologically activate running. Herr uses some head and hand motions throughout his presentation, however it is more interesting to note that the cameras frequently zoom in on his bionic limbs. Herr also paces around the stage much more than any other TED presenter I’ve seen. This is because they are the primary focus of the presentation, and frankly they distract from the monotony of his voice.

Herr’s presentation is a mixture of a technical presentation as well as inspirational stories. Herr’s dry presentation style works very well for the technical elements, however not very well for the inspirational stories. This is why he use’s videos and other examples so heavily, as they are much better at appealing to people’s emotions and representing the mathematical modeling.

For example, at the end of the presentation, Herr shares a story of a girl who lost her leg in the Boston Marathon Bombing. He led a team to create mathematical models of dance steps so the girl could dance again with one the of bionic prosthetic limbs.

Speak so People will Want to Listen

         Here is a link to Julian Treasure’s website.

          In this TED Talks presentation, Julian Treasure, an expert on sound and speaking, gives the audience advice on how to improve their public speaking so that other people will want to listen. He begins by saying that the human voice is the most powerful instrument in the world, and the best way to bring about change in the world is to use your voice So, how can we use our voice better to bring about change? Well, Mr. Treasure tells us the things to avoid when speaking with others and the different ways we can improve our own speaking through pitch, prosody, and other resources. In his presentation, he demonstrates this advice first hand, by using the different resources to enhance his own speaking and captivate the audience.

Julian Treasure uses various multimodal elements in his presentation, even though he is focusing on speech, to help communicate with the audience. To analyze the way he uses multimodal elements, we will look at the time frame in the video from 6:20-6:40. At this point, Julian is telling the audience how to use the pace of their voice to add effects and emotion to their speaking.

         Multimodal elements

Time image was taken: 0:51

          He demonstrates this point orally by speeding up and slowing down his voice to add effects to his own presentation. When he speeds up his voice, it adds excitement to his speech, but when he slows down his voice, the words he is speaking are more emphasized. Finally, he demonstrates the impact of silence when speaking, which helps add power to the end of a sentence. By demonstrating these effects with his own voice, he proves the point that the pace of your voice can add different effects to your speaking.

Julian also uses visual evidence to emphasize his point through images and body language. The image below shows the picture used in Julian’s slideshow. This image shows a toolbox, with different elements of sound depicted inside the toolbox. This image is used to enhance his point that each of these elements is a “tool” that you can use to improve your speaking. Even though he goes in to focus on pace at this moment, the image still brings the audience to the idea that we must use these “tools” on our own to enhance our own speaking.

Visual communication Time image was taken: 6:22

          Julian’s body language is also important in the presentation. The image below shows a moment when Julian uses body language to enhance his voice power. Notice his head is leaning over and his hands are directed to a specific point. Just by looking at his body language, you can tell that he is trying to emphasize something. Which is exactly what he was doing in this moment with his voice as well- he was trying to emphasize certain words by slowing down his voice. By adding this body language in with his voice, he adds even more emphasis to those words.

Body language

Time image was taken: 6:26

          By adding all of these multimodal elements together, Julian Treasure’s presentation becomes very smooth and is really engaging for the audience. Not only do the various elements help for a great presentation, but they help to develop a clear and strong argument. The human voice can be used to bring about change, however by adding other elements together, the change can begin to be seen.

It Just Takes ________ To Be Successful!


What do you think it takes to be successful?  In this lecture, Richard St. John reveals his keys to what it takes to be successful, which you can see pictured above. In order to come up with his keys for success, St. John surveyed hundreds of prosperous people.  St. John simply revealed one key for success and went just a little further in detail on each key throughout the video.

From 0:30 to 0:55, St. John gives an explanation to why he first started researching what it takes to be successful. In this section of the video, he lowers his voice more than in rest of the video. He links his hands together almost imploring you to put yourself in his shoes when giving his story about meeting the underprivileged girl on the plane.  St. John also gives details which were trivial and wouldn’t have changed the main story much if they were left out about the girl that got his mind thinking what it takes to be successful. I believe he gave these details to show that it does not matter where you come from because anyone can be successful.

St. John still keeps a calm voice during the rest of the lecture, but there is interest in his voice. His tone makes you believe that you don’t have to climb one humongous stair to become successful in life but instead eight little steps. He rarely uses gestures; they are mainly apparent when he introducing one of his eight keys. They are different gestures personalized to the trait, but they make it obvious that St. John is revealing a new point. He also raises his voice, puts more intensity in voice, and pauses just a second with every successful trait. This action is to alert the  audience that an important word has just been spoken. St. John also incorporates humor frequently in his lecture to keep the audience’s attention close to his topic. Throughout his video, Richard’s word choice and tone make you forget he’s speaking in front of thousands of people because he seems approachable.


Online Lecture

St. John's Keys To Success
St. John’s Keys To Success

Put the AWE in AWESOME

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Jill Shargaa explains how overused the word “awesome” has become. She goes to say that we use the word “awesome” to explain how our sandwich was. The dictionary describes the word “awe” as fear mingled with admiration. I don’t think sandwiches are worthy enough for my admiration and if it is then you really need to raise the bar on what you admire. She then goes into 10 things that deserve the word awesome. I will be explaining one of the topics she puts on her list.

I chose to analyze the time from 5:11- 5:31. She escalated her enthusiasm of the 10 things she believed deserved the word awesome. When she got to her shark topic, she was just so energetic which affected the crowd to also listen and be intrigued by what she was so excited to tell everybody. Her hand gestures were very prominent during the whole presentation. During the shark topic, she motioned her hands as the teeth of the shark to help visualize how awesome sharks regrowing their teeth were and how they were predators to be feared. Her facial expression also exemplified, if she was a shark, how the teeth would grow beside each other by showing her teeth. Her choices of topic were wide ranged so they encompassed most types of people who could try using the word awesome correctly. Her word choice was awesome because I admired, in fear of course, how smoothly she flowed to explain how to use the word awesome and to explain topics that deserve the word awesome. I feel that the meaning of the topic was well understood because it is a common word that everybody uses and Shargaa explains in a simple way so that everybody can understand. Her over exaggeration of hand movements and facial gestures also helped convey her topic in a more fun and entertaining way. This helps people be involved and listen to what Shargaa has to say. Her presentation had many pictures like a pecha kucha but a few words like “yes, awesome” or “not awesome.” This was simple to understand so people don’t have to read too much and have time to just listen to what she has to say. I feel I have typed the word awesome many times now.

Please, please, people. Let’s put the “awe” back in “awesome”