linguistics in the classroom

A teacher’s dilemma

Tweet A consistent mistake made by my students is using “everyday” instead of “every day.” “everyday” is an adjective, as in “That is an everyday concern of mine.” The other is a noun with a modifier, as in “Every day I brush my teeth.” While on an unrelated Internet quest (looking for the website which […]

Ridiculous patents

Tweet Apple has patented page turning on electronic books.  While I understand the profit motive, it seems to me that certain things should be hustled into the public domain and left there for all to use.  There is the occasional purpose for commercial activity behond just making a profit. Having spent over half an hour […]

Language cartoons

Tweet Here is a site loaded with cartoons about language, especially English, but some other languages as well.  It is appropriately irreverent, and spikes our preconceptions, etc. — you know, the things that cartoons do.  It was  taken from a posting on linguist list, a resource that no person interested in English should be living […]

Linguistics helps me teach Chinese speakers

Tweet My linguistics background is particularly useful when teaching my Stevens Institute of Technology class of 14 Chinese, 1 Saudi, and 1 Iranian graduate students. The class is called English Communication because the arriving students have studied English for years and could not be called Second Language Learners.  They arrive in the U.S. for a […]

What’s a Teacher to Do?

Tweet A common mistake made by my students is using “everyday” instead of “every day.” One (everyday) is an adjective, as in “That is an everyday concern of mine.”  The other is a noun modified by an adjective, as in “Every day I brush my teeth.” I thought my analysis was undeniably correct until I […]

Teaching pronunciation

Tweet I am teaching a class of Chinese students (plus one Saudi Arabian and one Iranian).  They are graduate students who have all studied English for many years, and perhaps were under the impression that they spoke English when they arrived on our shores. They were rudely greeted by professors who gave incomprehensible lectures, and […]

Linguists and biologist tussle over original language

Tweet An observant British diplomat serving in India, Sir William Jones, observed in the late 18th century that many word roots in Sanskrit matched word roots in Greek and Latin, which led to further linguistics research which ultimately linked a stunningly large group of languages, from English to Finnish, to Sanskrit, all the Latin languages (French, […]

Food as a cultural marker

Tweet My friend Lillian is a Chinese-American chef who has been living in China for the past few years. She has seen more of the country than most native Chinese as she has traveled from restaurant to restaurant, market to market, farm to farm, tea plantation to tea plantation. She is planning to write a […]

Ignorant politics – Rep. King and Chinese

Tweet Rep. Steve King of Iowa has sponsored an English-only bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. It’s a dumb bill with unstated pernicious goals of racism and exclusion, but leave that aside for the moment. Rep. King said, “A common language is the most powerful unifying force known throughout history, throughout all humanity and […]

Down with English-Only laws

Tweet Once again, English Only legislation is being introduced in the U.S. Congress, this time by Rep. Steve King of Iowa. Given the substantial number of serious problems faced by America now, this legislation should be viewed as a frivolous waste of time, but its deleterious effects go deeper than that. It denigrates and demeans […]