Volume XIV - February 1, 2005

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

For Your Reading Pleasure

Sign language reveals fast track to grammar
Michael Hopkin
New languages can develop consistent rules of grammar within a single generation of their birth, a study of an Israeli sign language has shown.
The Al-Sayyid Bedouins, who live in Israel's Negev region, have a high rate of congenital deafness. In a population of about 3,500, roughly 150 people are deaf. The community, which was founded about 200 years ago, has developed its own sign language over the past 70 years, with no apparent outside influences. This is the first documented example of a language evolving from scratch in such isolation.
Read the rest of the article at:

Linguistics May Be Clue to Emotions, According to Penn State Research
"It has been suggested in the past that all cultures have in common a small number of emotions or emotion words, but that every culture has multiple ways of nuancing them, sometimes quite differently," says Robert W. Schrauf, associate professor of applied linguistics at Penn State. These words include joy or happiness, fear, anger and sadness. Schrauf and Julia Sanchez, graduate student in psychology, Chicago School for Psychology, asked groups of people in Mexico City and Chicago in two age groups, 20 years old and 65 years old, to freely list the names of as many emotions as they could. "People know more negative emotion words than positive or neutral words. The proportion of words was 50 percent negative, 30 percent positive and 20 percent neutral," says Schrauf. “The cognitive explanation is that we process negative and positive emotions in two channels."
Read the rest at: http://live.psu.edu/story/9849

Global Survey of Recruiters Reveals Demand for Multi-Language Capabilities Among Senior Executives Will Increase
Los Angeles, January 18, 2005 – The ability to speak more than one language is critical to succeed in business in Europe, Asia/Pacific and Latin America, according to nearly nine out of ten (88 percent) executive recruiters from those regions who completed the sixth edition of the quarterly Executive Recruiter Index. Nearly 85 percent of recruiters in Europe, 88 percent of recruiters in Asia and 95 percent of recruiters in Latin America either “strongly agreed” or “somewhat agreed” that being at least bilingual is critical to succeed in today’s business environment. Among recruiters in North America, that percentage was just 34 percent.Despite these regional differences, recruiters everywhere agreed that in ten years, it will be “more important than today” for executives to be at least bilingual (Europe – 74 percent; Asia – 72 percent; Latin America – 79 percent; North America – 66 percent). They also reported there is a “significant competitive advantage” for executives who are multilingual – i.e., speak more than two languages fluently (Europe – 66 percent; Asia – 52 percent; Latin America – 79 percent; North America – 49 percent). You can read the press release about this issue at:

France Cherishes Children's Newspaper

This month, the world's only daily newspaper for children celebrates its 10th birthday. Mon Quotidien (My Daily) has a print-run of 65,000, it is delivered every weekday morning to households across the country, and provides a colourful mix of hard news and human interest. But unlike Liberation or Le Figaro, the paper is consumed not over cigarettes and coffee - but a glass of milk at tea-time. Readers are 10 to 14-year-olds and - if the fast-growing sales figures are anything to go by - they love it.
Read about it at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4191001.stm

Preserving the language
Linguists and other experts are helping to save the cultural history of American Indians
By MARK MUCKENFUSS / The Press-Enterprise
Anthropologists and linguists have been working on trying to preserve indigenous American languages for decades. But there has been a surge of interest in recent years, and the Inland Empire is seeing an increase in the number of people involved in saving American Indian languages and cultural history. "There's a renaissance of traditional culture," says Lowell Bean, a retired anthropologist who has studied Southern California tribes for 43 years. "I think we are certainly on the leading edge." Read the rest of the story at: http://www.pe.com/lifestyles/stories/PE_Fea_Daily_languagetop17.57883.html

Sign language classes are on the rise
By Stuart Silverstein, Los Angeles Times LOS ANGELES -- Enrollments have soared in American Sign Language classes at colleges around the United States, but many of the students are not planning to become sign language interpreters or teachers for the deaf. Instead, they are looking for a way to avoid taking Spanish, French, or another spoken language.
Read more about it at: http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2005/01/23/sign_language_classes_are_on_the_rise/

Ho-Chunk study centers promote language, culture
By KATE SCHOTT / La Crosse Tribune
In the first-floor conference room at the Ho-Chunk Nation Three Rivers House in
La Crosse, Chenoa Bruguier sits cross-legged in a chair. Her ponytail bobbing, she quickly responds when the elder in front of her holds up a card of common animals. The 6-year-old, who is Ho-Chunk and Sioux, is slowly building her Ho-Chunk vocabulary thanks to regular language classes she takes while attending the study center at the Three Rivers House. Read about it at: http://www.lacrossetribune.com/articles/2005/01/23/news/z05ho.txt

Slips mark language development
Freudian claims about the "meaning" of slips of the tongue not withstanding, when it comes to children, such errors reveal much more about what they know about the structure of language than they do about repressed thoughts, according to a UB psycholinguist who is the author of a groundbreaking book on the topic. For more than a decade, UB linguist Jeri Jaeger collected slips of the tongue from young children, including her own. "When a child makes an error in speaking and then corrects himself or herself," she says, "then the observer can tell that the child knows what the appropriate pronunciation, word or syntax should have been." Read the rest of this article at:

A Language-Challenged U.S.
L.A. Times Editorial
Last year, leaders from business and government agencies met in Maryland to address the extraordinary demand for employees who speak foreign languages. You can bet they weren't looking for French or German speakers. They need Mandarin, Korean and Arabic. So while educators seriously debate whether sign-language classes should count as a foreign language, as The Times reported last week, they bypass the real issue: Tant pis, American public schools are desperately behind the times when it comes to teaching languages. With few exceptions, they offer the same European triumvirate as 50 years ago — Spanish, French and German — and start teaching languages far too late.
Read the rest of this editorial at: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-language24jan22,1,1767471.story?coll=la-news-comment-editorials&ctrack=1&cset=true

How We Learn
Alison Gropnik - New York Times
Imagine if baseball were taught the way science is taught in most inner-city schools. Schoolchildren would get lectures about the history of the World Series. High school students would occasionally reproduce famous plays of the past. Nobody would get in the game themselves until graduate school. So here's the big question: if children who don't even go to school learn so easily, why do children who go to school seem to have such a hard time? Why can children solve problems that challenge computers but stumble on a third-grade reading test? When we talk about learning, we really mean two quite different things, the process of discovery and of mastering what one discovers. All children are naturally driven to create an accurate picture of the world and, with the help of adults to use that picture to make predictions, formulate explanations, imagine alternatives and design plans. Call it ''guided discovery.'' If this kind of learning is what we have in mind then one answer to the big question is that schools don't teach the same way children learn. Not specifically about language learning, but this has some interesting implications for us. You can read it at: http://susanohanian.org/show_atrocities.php?id=3508

Demand for Arabic Language Education Rises in U.S.: U.S. Gov't Increases Funding for Foreign Languages and Area Studies
Arabic, now designated a "strategic" language by the U.S. government, faces unprecedented demand for instruction in schools across America, from kindergarten upwards. Not long ago, Middle Eastern languages comprised only 2 percent of all foreign language classes in the United States, led by Hebrew. Then, the 2002 Modern Language Association survey revealed a 92 percent rise in Arabic enrollments from 1998 to 10,600. Read the article at:

Herders' Whistled Language Shows Brain's Flexibility
James Owen in London for National Geographic News
Shepherds who whistle to each other across the rocky terrain of the Canary Islands off northwest Africa are shedding light on the language-processing abilities of the human brain, according to scientists. Researchers say the endangered whistled "language'" of Gomera island activates parts of the brain normally associated with spoken language, suggesting that the brain is remarkably flexible in its ability to interpret sounds as language. A Silbador from Gomera in the Canary Islands uses the whistled language Silbo Gomero as a means of remote communication. The language recodes the vowels and consonants of individual Spanish words into whistles. Read the rest at: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/01/0105_050105_whistle_language.html#main

Language cops bust Quebec nurses
By BRIAN DALY Canadian Press
Montreal — Two nurses at an English hospital have had their licences revoked after failing a written French test even though Quebec faces a nursing shortage.
Quebec's language watchdog and the provincial nursing federation require that all nurses, even those in English hospitals, pass a written French test. Ms. Gumbs has failed the test five times, while Ms. Davantes has failed on four occasions. Aw, gee, read about it at:

Lab rats demonstrate language skills
Languages are not all Greek to rats or monkeys. Rats can tell the difference between such languages as Dutch and Japanese, according to researchers in Spain. A new study made public on Sunday suggests that animals, especially mammals, evolved some of the skills underlying the use and development of language long before language itself ever evolved, the researchers said. It is the first time an animal other than a human or monkey has been shown to have this skill. Read all about it at:

Latino Americans: The New Melting Pot

The Evening Sun
Latinos are the fastest growing demographic group in the United States today, according to U.S. Census surveys. The Latino population is growing in Pennsylvania’s York and Adams counties as well. An Evening Sun writer and photographer spent the past year talking with families and attending events where Latinos gather to find out how they are adjusting to life in this area – and what traditions they bring with them when they choose to settle down here. This four-part series is the result of that year.
To read the introduction, visit http://www.eveningsun.com/Stories/0,1413,140%257E34240%257E2607851,00.html
To read the first part “Homeward Bound,” visit: http://www.eveningsun.com/Stories/0,1413,140%257E34240%257E2604259,00.html
To read the second part “Field of Dreams,” visit:
To read the third part “Building Bridges,” visit:

Chile Wants Bilingual Nation: English Seen as Vehicle for Growth
By LARRY ROHTER, The Associated Press
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 Socialist-led government has begun a sweeping effort to make the country bilingual.
Read the rest at:

By 2010: Spanish is spoken here
By Anna-Lisa Paul
Saturday, December 11th 2004
Aqui no se habla espanol! (Spanish is not spoken here!)
However, if the Ministries of Tourism and Education are successful, the majority of the population will be speaking Spanish by 2010, and it will be established as the first foreign language of Trinidad and Tobago. Read more at:

Resources you might be interested in….

Kanji Alive
Kanji Alive is a searchable Web-based tool that is designed to help beginning and intermediate-level Japanese language learners read and write kanji. Check it out at: http://kanjialive.lib.uchicago.edu/

Free Bilingual Spanish/English Environmental Education Materials
Student packets of environmental education materials are available free of charge under a grant with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These materials focus on pollution prevention, ozone, sustainable development, and protecting children from lead and pesticide poisoning. Included are coloring books, storybooks and student manuals and are ideal for the K-6 level.
For more information, contact:
Dr. Dave Hoffman
Tel: (317) 834-1241
Email: DrHoffmanD@AOL.COM

Free Monthly ELL Newsletter
The ELL Outlook is a monthly e-newsletter published by Course Crafters, Inc. They state that their newsletter is dedicated to providing the latest research, news, program models, and interviews with research educators and policymakers and focuses on the education of English language Learners (ELLs) (preK-12) across the U.S. today. Read the November/ December issue, at:
To subscribe or see previous issues, go to:

Telenovelas Educativas
The media department of Oxnard College, part of the ENLACE partnership, produced two short Spanish-language videos that address college access issues faced by Latinos. The videos feature realistic stories in the style of the popular telenovelas seen on Spanish-language television stations to explain sources of financial aid and academic preparation for college admission to Latino families. You can watch them on line at:

New Spanish Radio Program for Immigrants
Nuevos Horizontes (New Horizons) is a Spanish radio program supported by the University of Illinois. The purpose of this radio program is to inform and entertain with segments that are geared toward Hispanic populations who have come to the United States looking for a "new" start. Nuevos Horizontes becomes a part of that new beginning by providing interviews on current topics of interest as well as informative sections related to health and Hispanic culture. You can listen to their programming on-line at: http://www.nuevoshorizontes.org/

Guia del Migrante Mexicano (Guide for the Mexican Migrant)
The Mexican Foreign Ministry recently published Guia del Migrante Mexicano (Guide for the Mexican Migrant) in Spanish. This guide consists of the following parts:
Pista 1: Consulados de México
Pista 2: Servicios de los Consulados de México
Pista 3: Derechos de los Migrantes
You can read or listen to the guide (in Spanish) at: http://www.sre.gob.mx/tramites/consulares/guiamigrante/

New Book: Going Graphic Comics at Work in the Multilingual Classroom
By Stephen Cary
“Comics are a natural for second language development. Their unique mix of abundant, comprehension-building visuals and authentic text readily engages learners, contextualizes language, and offers a window into the culture. Yet despite their obvious advantages, comics remain unfairly branded as inappropriate classroom reading material, misunderstood and woefully underutilized.” For more information about Cary’s new book, check out:

Sorry to be late getting this out this month. Computer problems - what else? Have a great month!


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