January, 2012

Goals and Motivation in Second/Third… Language Learning

Tweet This is a guest post from Rebekah Palmer (http:palmerlanguage.blogspot.com). Cross fertilization of ideas amplifies the abilities of all of us. If any of my readers have experiences or suggestions, please feel free to share them. As educators, we often talk about goal setting. We set long-term goals for courses and short-term lesson objectives. We […]

Identifying nouns

Tweet From another blog I got a class exercise which proved useful in an unexpected way. A third party gave it to me, so I don’t know whom to credit. Exercise:  The Unknown Blogger first chose a brilliant description by John Steinbeck, from Cannery Row: “Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a […]

Whence English?

Tweet Perhaps you have heard of “World English.” This is not a single language, but a concatenation of versions of English, as spoken in America, England, Australia, southern Africa, the Caribbean, India, Pakistan and neighbors, Hong Kong, Belize — all over the world.  Each version is different in vocabulary, accent, and sometimes in syntax. Standard […]

Heritage languages

Tweet Diversity is often just a concept. Many people live in a diverse town, yet never visit the “foreign” parts of it. Students can be members of a diverse class, yet never come into contact with the parts of their peers’ lives that reflect their different backgrounds.  Students with an Italian background, for example, often […]

Share your thoughts

Tweet In just the last month, this blog has been read by people speaking 33 different languages, in 58 different countries, from Vietnam to Djibouti to Trinidad to Sweden and everywhere in between.  Most readers are from the United States, but there is a healthy representation from all continents (except Antarctica – that would be […]

New online dictionary available — free

Tweet Collins has published a new dictionary which has several useful features.  I believe it is still in beta form.  It impressed the heck out of me. 1.   Definitions, of course, and the phonetic representation of the word. 2.   A comprehensive list of synonyms and of related terms and related words. For the word “beat,” for […]

Non-human translation not quite up to snuff yet.

Tweet If you are even vaguely familiar with another language, and you are feeling bored and depressed, a visit to an automatic translation site such as Babel Fish might give you a giggle or two. One article in GMA News, writes that in a Malaysian Defense Ministry publication, “‘pakaian yang menjolok mata,’ which means ‘revealing […]

Language in the classroom — it’s not quite that simple

Tweet Quote from La Canada Valley Sun story about sexual and racial harassment of students by a teacher:  “Spurred by complaints that the La Cañada High math teacher regularly used racist and sexist language in her classroom, officials presented a modified draft of the district’s code of ethics during a public meeting Monday.” Think about this a minute. What […]

Language Controversies

Tweet Language seems benign – don’t swear in front of your grandmother, don’t shout “fire” in a crowded theatre, and you’re okay. There are, however, many inflammatory issues which intimately involve language and here are a few. Controversy One:  The New York City Council once debated whether to ban the words, “bitch, “whore,” and “nigger,” […]