linguistics in high school

Virtual reality

Tweet Years ago, a friend said he thought that young people today were blurring the distinction between real and virtual relationships.  I said that was ridiculous, that human beings would always need the sights, smells, and touch of other human beings. A relationship based on language alone would never prove gratifying. Now I wonder.  My […]

Paying the Piper – the failure of American high schools

Tweet A second semester college student included this language in the third, and final, draft of her essay on “love and marriage.”  I like many other people are surprised by the amount of time couples stay together.  Not to mention adopting a child. After the final drafts had been turned in, I culled 22 similarly […]

More About the Scary Science: Linguistics

Tweet An article in the Arts section of The New York Times this morning, “How Do You Say ‘Disagreement’ in the Pirahã tongue?” points up the gulf between the soft science of Linguistics and ordinary mortals.  Since there is no whiff of this science discernible in high school courses (at least in the U.S.), students […]

A comment on English-only

Tweet Max Markham, a recent Stanford graduate with some impressive international experience, even at his young age, has written an article which appeared on the blog policymic and presents some of the compelling arguments against having English-only legislation passed in the U.S., whether on the state or national level. It was written five months ago, and […]

Journals: a comment on literacy

Tweet This weekend I saw Dr. Andrew Weil speak about mental health at the Book Fair in Tucson, Arizona.  Dr. Weil is a well known author and doctor who advocates integrated health care, using both traditional and modern medical techniques. Among the many elements of maintaining mental health, he mentioned gratitude. We should be grateful, […]

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 […]

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 […]

More meditation in the writing classroom

Tweet Here is another way of using meditation in the writing classroom.  Yesterday’s meditation was useful in that it provides students a break, gives them an extra tool, and allows them to access deeper levels of thinking.  Today’s exercise teaches them something else — everyone’s mind works differently.  It is common but unreasonable to imagine […]

Meditation in the writing classroom

Tweet There is no exercise that my students have enjoyed more than meditation.  They say they are under a lot of pressure, and to have a few minutes of utter quiet, with the lights low, is refreshing and calming, and gets their minds settled.  They rarely have moments to sit and think unmolested, and some […]

American pronunciation

Tweet I am teaching an ESL classes at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey this term, and am having great fun introducing American English to speakers of other languages; in this case, mostly Chinese and Malay, with two Arabic speakers and one Portuguese speaker. Our next class will be on the phonetics of […]