Volume XIII - January 1, 2005

Welcome to the E-Comp!, a complimentary monthly newsletter for language educators brought to you by Prolinguistica.com.


For Your Reading Pleasure

Europe Battles English Invasion
Fast becoming Europe's lingua franca, English has invaded other national languages. The trend has some on the continent worried that languages might in the future take second place even within their countries of origin. English has already invaded the languages of Moliere, Cervantes and Goethe, dominating the fields of technology and business and even taking some native tongues hostage. But purists are fighting back as hybrids such as "surfen" and "downloaden" on the Internet, "emailear" and style terms "looke" or "gestyled" show the creeping advance of English.
Read the rest of the article at: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,1564,1415320,00.html

Word watch: keeping track of changes in language
ABC Online - Australia
This is a transcript of an interview about language. Eleanor Hall begins by commenting that English is constantly changing. "About 15,000 words fall out of common use every year. New words come into vogue to take their place. And for centuries word lovers have been complaining about the sorry state of the language. But one wordsmith who's joining us today says he's not concerned so much about the language changing but about it being colonised by corporate-speak to the point of meaninglessness. Don Watson is an award-winning writer and historian who was former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating's speechwriter and biographer, and this month released his latest word book, "Weasel Words." He's is in our Melbourne studio now. Also joining us in Melbourne is lawyer, refugee advocate and word lover, Julian Burnside, whose book, "Word Watching," explores the origins of words, takes us through some quirky language history and highlights the dangers of what George Orwell called doublethink and Mr Burnside calls 'doublespeak'."
You can read the rest of the transcript at:

Physicists tackle linguistics
Physicists in Germany claim to have developed a new computer model that can describe how human languages evolve over time. Dietrich Stauffer and Christian Schulze of Cologne University have taken techniques used by biologists to describe evolution and applied them to the rise and fall of languages. In particular they find that the size distribution of languages - a measure of the relative popularity of different languages - can be described by a nearly "log-normal" curve (arXiv.org/abs/cond-mat/0411162).
You can read the rest of the article at:

A Hindi-English jumble, spoken by 350 million
By Scott Baldauf
The Christian Science Monitor
GURGAON, INDIA - Turn on any Indian television station these days and you're likely to hear things like "Hungry kya?" and "What your bahana is?" Or one of your friends might ask you to "pre-pone" your dinner plans or accuse you of "Eve-teasing." No, you didn't mishear them. These and countless other new words and phrases are part of the fastest-growing language in the country: Hinglish. The mix of Hindi and English is the language of the street and the college campus, and its sound sets many parents' teeth on edge. It's a bridge between two cultures that has become an island of its own, a distinct hybrid culture for people who aspire to make it rich abroad without sacrificing the sassiness of the mother tongue. And it may soon claim more native speakers worldwide than English.
Read more at: http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/1123/p01s03-wosc.html?s=hns

Whew! Safe from unplanned obsolesence for another five minutes...

Language teachers? Bilingual toys expose kids to new tongue
By John Silcox
The Journal Gazette
Remember when it was enough that your child’s doll could coo or whine in English? Now, in order to impress the playgroup, you need a toy that can teach little Susie to sing “Buenas Noches” or show little Sam to count “uno-dos-tres-cuatro.” Educational toy giants like Fisher-Price and LeapFrog are introducing bilingual toys that appeal to kids who speak either tongue. And while parents shouldn’t expect their tots to become fluent from a doll that says “Hola,” exposing them to a second language couldn’t hurt, say linguistic experts. “It’s not a bad way to spend your money,” says Amanda Seidl, an assistant professor of speech, language and hearing sciences at Purdue University in West Lafayette. “But it’s not going to help the child to learn these things. It’s not really going to help them learn Spanish. “Moving to Spain,” she says, “will help kids learn Spanish.”
Read the rest of the article at:

Children of Hispanic Immigrants Continue to Favor English, Study of Census Finds
By Rachel L. Swarns
WASHINGTON -- English remains the language of choice among the children and grandchildren of Hispanic immigrants, despite continuing waves of migration from Latin America and concerns from some analysts that English may lose ground to Spanish in some parts of the UScholars say that the descendants of most European immigrants who arrived in the late 19th and 20th centuries became exclusively English-speakers within three generations. In recent years, some people have questioned whether the descendants of Hispanic immigrants will follow suit, given the surge in Spanish-speaking arrivals and the emphasis on multiculturalism and increased globalization. The study, which examined data from the 2000 census, found that most Hispanic-Americans were also marching steadily toward English monolingualism. The report found that 72 percent of Hispanic children who were third-generation or later spoke English exclusively.
Read the rest of the article at:

Campaign urges America to learn foreign languages

By Natalie Troyer
Nearly half of Americans say there is "too little" foreign language instruction in the nation's public schools, and 50 percent attribute this to a lack of funding, a Roper Poll has discovered.  Enrollment in foreign language classes at universities nationwide has fallen from 16 percent in 1960 to 8 percent in 2002, according to the American Council on Education.  In order to combat this decline, the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) has developed a campaign to focus attention on the academic, social and economic benefits of studying other languages and cultures.  The Senate has passed a resolution declaring 2005 "The Year of Languages in the United States." Yearlong efforts will be made to build public awareness about the value of learning languages, to facilitate dialogue between education leaders and policy-makers and to support research on language learning in the United States.
Read the rest of the story at:

Bilingual Ed, redux
Teaching in Turkish Pays Off

The Observer
Amelia Hill reports that exam grades have improved fourfold in a London secondary school that teaches science lessons in Turkish. The initiative has been launched to help pupils who have no, or little, command of English. The pilot scheme has been so successful that other schools are starting similar projects and MPs have called for government funding to help launch similar schemes across Britain.
Read the article at:

"Bambi" in Arapaho
Disney's classic "Bambi" has been released in the Arapaho language to help preserve a fading Arapaho language and culture. The Wyoming Council for the Humanities, a non-profit, state-based educational program of the National Endowment for the Humanities, has a limited number of videotapes of "Bambi" in Arapaho--the first feature length children's animated movie ever dubbed into a Native American language available for linguists, anthropologists, educators, and other interested persons. In the Arapaho version of the fifty-two year old Disney classic, the voices are provided by Arapaho children and adults who participated in the language project in the small Arapaho community of Ethete, Wyoming. Proceeds from the videotape are earmarked for Native American language preservation projects.
For more information, contact:
Allison Maher
Tel: (307) 721-9243
Email: ninapb@wyo.edu
Or visit: http://www.uwyo.edu/wch/bambi.htm

A nation apart?
A global society increases the need to learn more about the world outside our borders
By Kristi Garrett
We all got a geography lesson in the fall of 2001 as the U.S. turned its attention to Afghanistan. For many Americans — especially younger ones — the nightly news was an abrupt introduction to the relevance of Asian cartography. The need to understand the history and culture of places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Iran became strikingly clear... U.S. residents have long lived insulated, as though on an island nation that clearly dominates its closest neighbors to the north and south. That isolation, coupled with the nation’s economic, political and military superiority, has engendered little desire in most Americans for learning about cultures beyond our borders. Few become fluent in a second language or travel overseas, a distinct difference from Europeans, most of whom live within easy access to several countries and languages. In a shrinking world, however, Americans can no longer afford to cling to comfortable ignorance.
Read the rest at:

Third Language Area in Brain Identified
Robert Preidt
(HealthDayNews) -- British scientists say they've identified a third area of the brain involved in language, a finding that seems to confirm previous theories. Until now, it was believed that just two brain areas handled language. One area produced language, another area was responsible for comprehension, and a dense bundle of nerve fibers linked the two areas. However, some scientists suspected there was a third language area in the brain. In this study, researchers used diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging -- a more powerful version of standard MRI -- to identify this third area, which they dubbed Geschwind's territory.
Read more at: http://www.healthcentral.com/news/NewsFullText.cfm?id=522772

Cooing of mothers to babies may explain origin of language, research suggests
WASHINGTON - Every parent is familiar with "motherese," that slow, high-pitched, singsong tone that mothers all over the world use to talk to their babies. You might suppose that this manner of speaking is just a simplified, degenerate form of grown-up language. To the contrary, some scientists think motherese may lie at the root of human language - long, long ago when our primitive ancestors came down from trees and started to walk on two legs. Dean Falk, the head of the anthropology department at Florida State University in Tallahassee, calls it the "putting the baby down hypothesis."
Want more? Find it at:

UV light might color tribes' languages
By Dennis O'Brien
Dozens of tropical cultures have no word for the color we know as blue, and two researchers say they've discovered why: The people who live in those areas can't see it. Scientists have known for years that ultraviolet light can cloud our vision and increase the risk of eye diseases. An estimated 20 million people in the United States have cataracts. But a psychologist at Ohio State College of Optometry says that among indigenous tribes in equatorial areas, ultraviolet light has another effect. The damage occurs early in life, goes untreated and leaves people with tinted, "yellowed" lenses that leave them unable to perceive the color blue. Brown and Lindsey have examined 203 languages for their color terminology over the past 35 years, including common languages such as English, French and Spanish. They've also reviewed tongues in some of the world's most remote areas: Mixtec in Mexico, Kwerba in Indonesia and Chichewa in the Malawi region of Africa.
Intrigued? Read the rest at:

Creating Literature in Native Languages
Listen to this story...
Day to Day, December 8, 2004 · NPR's Noah Adams talks with Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o about the importance of creating literature in small languages in order to preserve world cultures. Thiong'o is director of the International Center for Writing and Translation at the University of California at Irvine.
URL for listening:

Tribe awarded grant to keep language alive
By Joseph Robertia -Peninsula Clarion
The Kenaitze Indian Tribe recently received a three-year, $584,000 Administration for Native Americans grant that will allow them to ... "educate" using a variety of projects all designed to revitalize the Dena'ina language. "Our goal is to have a tribe of lifelong learners and teachers of Dena'ina culture and language," said Sasha Lindgren, language program director. Dena'ina is part of the Athabascan or Na'Dene language family. There are five dialects for the Dena'ina language: Upper Inlet, Iliamna, Inland, Outer Inlet and Seldovia.
Read more about this at:

Learn English, Says Chile, Thinking Upwardly Global
By Larry Rohter - NYT
SANTIAGO, Chile - In many parts of Latin America, resistance to cultural domination by the United States is often synonymous with a reluctance to learn or speak English. But here, where Salvador Allende was once a beacon for the left, the current Socialist-led national government has begun a sweeping effort to make this country bilingual. The initial phase of the 18-month-old program, officially known as "English Opens Doors," calls for all Chilean elementary and high school students to be able to pass a standardized listening and reading test a decade from now. But the more ambitious long-term goal is to make all 15 million of Chile's people fluent in English within a generation.
Read the rest of the article at:
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/29/international/americas/29letter.html (free registration required)

Resources you might be interested in….

Latest Issue of Educational Leadership Focuses on ELLs

The theme of the December 2004/January 2005 issue of Educational Leadership is “Educating Language Learners,” and includes the following articles:
* Perspectives: A Look at Language Learning by Amy M. Azzam
* Teacher Skills to Support English Language Learners by Deborah Short and Jana Echevarria
* Getting at the Content by Yu Ren Dong
* Why We Need "The Year of Languages" by Sandy Cutshall
* Language Learning: A Worldwide Perspective by Donna Christian , Ingrid U. Pufahl, and Nancy C. Rhodes
* U.S. World Language Program Models by Audrey L. Heining-Boynton
* Teaching English Through English by Christine Rossell
* Skyrocketing Scores: An Urban Legend by Stephen Krashen
* A View from the Classroom by Jill Wu
* The English They Need for the Test by Brian Bielenberg and Lily Wong Fillmore
* The Balancing Act of Bilingual Immersion by Samina Hadi-Tabassum
* The Rich Promise of Two-Way Immersion by Kathryn J. Lindholm-Leary
* The Third Language of Academic English ( by Jeff Zwiers
* Teaching Students from Many Nations by Judy Abrams and Julia Ferguson
* Reading Supports for All by Jill Fitzgerald and Michael F. Graves
* "If I Said Something Wrong, I Was Afraid" by Douglas B. Reeves
* The Gift of Attention by Kathleen Fay and Suzanne Whaley
[Each of these titles came with a URL for an abstract at the ASCD site, however, I've not included them, because I could not get any of them to work on my computer. You might try visiting www.ascd.org to see if you can find them, but it's probably easier to find someone in your school who get the publication and borrow it!]

New Pew Hispanic Study Suggests Hispanics View Race as a Measure of Belonging
A new Pew Hispanic Center study, “Shades of Belonging” by Sonya Tafoya, suggests that Hispanics see race as a measure of belonging, and whiteness as a measure of inclusion, or of perceived inclusion. The report reveals that Latinos’ choice to identify as white, or not, does not exclusively reflect permanent markers such as skin color or hair texture but that race is also related to characteristics that can change, such as economic status and perceptions of civic enfranchisement. Whiteness is clearly associated with distance from the immigrant experience. Thus, the U.S.-born children of immigrants are more likely to declare themselves white than their foreign-born parents, and the share of whiteness is higher still among the grandchildren of immigrants. In addition, the acquisition of U.S. citizenship is associated with whiteness.
Download the report at:
Download the executive summary at: http://www.pewhispanic.org/site/docs/pdf/SOR%20Executive%20Summary%2012-04.pdf
For other reports from the Pew Hispanic Center, go to:

On-line Book about Mexican State Contains Traditional Games, Songs, and More

Spanish teachers may find the book "This is how we play in Jalisco," published on-line by the CONAFE Institute of Mexico, of interest. It compiles traditional games, songs, stories and riddles typical of that Mexican state. You'll find the materials at: http://omega.ilce.edu.mx:3000/sites/litinf/sur-jal/html/sur-jal.htm

Visual Thesaurus Animates Words and Meanings

The Visual Thesaurus is an animated display of words and meanings -- a visual representation of the English language. Looking up a word creates a visualization with a word in the center of the display, connected to related words and meanings. By exploring the over140,000 words, meanings and relationships, the Visual Thesaurus is meant to build skills in vocabulary, reading and writing.
See the website at: http://www.visualthesaurus.com/
Teachers' Guide (http://www.visualthesaurus.com/teachers_guide.pdf)
Student Workbook (http://www.visualthesaurus.com/student_workbook.pdf)

Culture, Language Arts, and Social Studies Resources for Middle and High Schools
Two new resources designed for grades 6-12 by the Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools program are available online and in print format from the Peace Corps.
* Voices from the Field: Reading and Writing about the World, Ourselves, and Others (2nd. ed.) is a collection of Peace Corps stories and standards-based curriculum units for language arts classes.
* Uncommon Journeys, Peace Corps Adventures across Cultures: Using Peace Corps Literature in the Classroom is a set of standards-based lessons and stories for use in language arts and social studies classes.
[Excuse me, but these days any time I see something advertised in the top line as "standards-based," I have to wonder... Use your own judgment, as usual...]
Information on both publications is available by email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov
Or go online to: http://www.peacecorps.gov/wws/index.html

Literacy Foundation Offers Free Books

(LEF - non profit)
The Literacy Empowerment Foundation, invites schools or other literacy projects to apply for free books for Read Across America Day. During the past year, LEF has distributed over 3,000,000 books to schools all across the country for Read Across America Day and other literacy projects. Resources are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Orders must be received by February 8, 2005.
For more information or an order form, contact:
Tel: (717) 791-6210 or (610) 719-6448
Or visit:
For more information about LEF, contact:
Literacy Empowerment Foundation
6323 Salem Park Circle
Mechanicsburg , Pa. 17050
Tel: (717) 791-6210 or (610) 719-6448
Email: rorendi@literacyempowerment.org

From www.ed.gov/free
Twelve new resources in science and social studies have been added to the Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE) website. Three of these new resources:
* "The Chinese in California, 1850-1925"
Go to: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award99/cubhtml/cichome.html
* "First American West: The Ohio River Valley, 1750-1820"
Go to: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/award99/icuhtml/fawhome.html
* "Immigration"
Go to: http://memory.loc.gov/learn/community/cc_immigration.php
Visit the FREE Web site at: http://www.ed.gov/free/

Teaching Ideas
The “Teaching Ideas” Web site offers activities and games to strengthen language learning for elementary school students learning a foreign language. The site also offers links to other teaching tools and a forum to discuss lesson plans with other elementary language teachers.
Check it out at: http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/foreignlanguages/contents.htm
[I don't know... Go see what you think. But I've gotta wonder about a site that lists games to help teach "foreign numbers"... Which ones are those, again?]

Every month "Danny" lists ten books under 200 pages long for those of us who - ahem - don't have time or inclination to read anything longer. He lists books for adults, young adults, and children. These are not necessarily newly published works - some are old favorites that should never be forgotten. Each item includes a short description, Danny's commentary, and a link to amazon.com, where you can often read reviews by their customers. Of course, you don't have to buy from amazon.com, and many of the books he lists will be found in your public library. But if you do, amazon will donate up to 10% of the cost of the book to Bookends, a nonprofit organization devoted to increasing children's access to books and community service awareness (www.bookends.org). You can also sign up to receive a monthly newsletter from lazyreaders.com, which will also list the ten recommended books.


Prolinguistica has moved again, but only a few feet. A larger office became available in the same building, so our mailing address is now:

Prolinguistica Corporation
1621 Freeway Drive #206
Mount Vernon, WA 98273

Happy New Year!


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