Volume XVII - May 1, 2005

Welcome to the E-Comp!, a complimentary monthly newsletter for language educators brought to you by Prolinguistica.com. Tell us what you think. Send feedback, comments, submissions and suggestions to Laura Zink de Diaz at : e-comp@prolinguistica.com

Prolinguistica Mini-Workshops Continue!
You'll find information on the content and learning outcomes, registration, etc., at the website: http://www.prolinguistica.com/workshops.html. Teachers can receive three Washington clock hours from The Heritage Institute (www.hol.edu) for each workshop. Sign up for a class if you live within driving distance! Please share this information with your colleagues and any parents you think might be interested in attending.

For Your Reading Pleasure

Why support a delayed-gratification approach to language education?
Stephen Krashen
The Language Teacher, 28(7), 3-7. (2004)
We have made a serious error in language education: We have confused cause and effect. We have assumed that students first need to consciously learn their "skills" (grammar, vocabulary, spelling), and that only after skills are mastered can they actually use these skills in real situations. This assumption, the "Skill-Building Hypothesis," insists on delayed gratification. Only after hard and tedious work do we earn the right to actually enjoy the use of language. There is an alternative. It hypothesizes that "skills," or mastery of the components of language, is the result of one particular aspect of language use, comprehensible input. It claims that grammatical competence and vocabulary knowledge are the result of listening and reading, and that writing style and much of spelling competence is the result of reading. The Comprehension Hypothesis does not require delayed gratification. It claims that we can enjoy real language use right away: we can listen to stories, read books, and engage in interesting conversations as soon as they are comprehensible. The Comprehension Hypothesis, in fact, insists on pleasure from the beginning, on acquirers obtaining interesting, comprehensible input right from the start. The path of pleasure is the only path. The path of pain does not work for language acquisition.
Don't miss this new article from Krashen, available for download and distribution to colleagues at:

Background noises interfere with infant’s language development
A new study by University of Maryland researchers has revealed that noise levels in daycare centers and homes can interfere with the language development of infants younger than 13 months. The study published in the recent edition of Developmental Psychology suggests that during their first year infants have difficulty differentiating between voices in even mildly noisy rooms. As a result, conversation directed at them may simply go unrecognized. “This might potentially delay the onset of speech. Caregivers may think they’re giving the right kind of language experiences, but all too often, the talk may be going over the children’s heads. Not all homes and daycare centers are equally noisy, but all caregivers should set aside quiet time or a quiet corner where infants can get the language experiences they need,” said the study’s author, Rochelle Newman.
Read the rest at: http://news.newkerala.com/india-news/?action=fullnews&id=93460

Nation urged to learn second language
By Kelly Kendall - Indianapolis Star
In February, the U.S. Senate declared 2005 the "Year of Foreign Language Study," urging more language learning at all levels, from elementary schools to the business world. The Senate bill mentioned American economics, foreign policy and international relations, among other factors, as its motivators. It also pointed out that the United States has some serious catching up to do. According to the European Commission's Directorate General for Language and Culture, 53 percent of Europeans speak at least two languages. In the United States, according to the 2000 census, that number is 9 percent... Although the numbers have been creeping up since 1995, as of 2002, only 8.6 percent of college students were enrolled in a non-English language class.
Read the whole article at: http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050418/LIFE/504180318/-1/CINCI

Ukraine divided over language row
Ukrainian newspapers in both Ukrainian and Russian
Ukraine's press remains a mix of Ukrainian and Russian
The future status of the Russian language in Ukraine is the cause of public and political debate. The BBC's Helen Fawkes speaks to Russian-speakers who fear discrimination and Ukrainians who are proud of their mother tongue.
Read about it at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4472069.stm

Interpreters, translators play vital but different roles
By Nathan Bierma
Before you make a movie called "The Interpreter," you have to get one thing straight. An interpreter is not the same as a translator. That's what the makers of "The Interpreter," which opens Friday, learned as they made the first movie filmed at the United Nations in New York. Interpreters are in charge of interpreting spoken communication as it happens on the UN floor. Translators work with written documents, under far less time pressure. "Some of my best friends are translators, so there is no antagonism," Andreassier-Pearl says. "But we're called `interpreters.' We do a different job. That's one thing I explained to Sidney Pollack, and it's one thing I hope the movie is going to spread around." To hear interpreters tell it, the difference between interpreting and translating is like the difference between auto racing and a stroll.
Read more about it at: http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/movies/mmx-0504200117apr20,0,5616146.story?coll=mmx-movies_heds

Poor inglés? No problem for Brazil's diplomats
Brazil lowers the language skills required of potential candidates in a bid to democratize its diplomatic ranks.
By Andrew Downie | Christian Science Monitor
RIO DE JANEIRO – In Brasil, the importancia of inglés has been reducido. For diplomatas, speaking the language of Bush and Blair is not as essencial as it once was. Across the world, English is recognized as the language of commerce, entertainment, travel, and much else. But thanks to a decree issued earlier this year by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, prospective diplomats no longer need to be fluent in English to win a place at Brazil's diplomacy school, the Instituto Rio Branco.Supporters are hailing the move, saying it will democratize entry. Critics call it an indictment of a failing school system. Under the government's old four-stage process, applicants who did not speak first-rate English were not even considered. Under the new rules, candidates who do poorly in English during the early tests may be accepted if they excel in other areas like law or economics. The government says it can teach English later to those with a basic grasp.
Read the rest at: http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0419/p06s03-woam.html?s=hns

Chinese foreign language programs grow at schools
While Spanish still reigns in U.S. schools, educators are beginning to prepare students to deal with an emerging world economic power. Enrollment in Chinese classes at the K-12 level in the United States grew 65 percent, from 14,490 to 23,850 students, from 1997 to 2002, according to a Princeton University study. "American students could use a lot more work getting ready for international interactions," Ning said. "Compared to other nations in the world, American schools do not spend as much of their resources getting to know other nations as other nations' schools spend getting to know America."
Read more about it at: http://www.sptimes.com/2005/04/25/State/Chinese_foreign_langu.shtml

Making peace through language
New organization offers joint Hebrew and Arabic classes to students in Paris
By European Jewish Press
PARIS - In an effort to promote peace and understanding between Jews and Arabs in France, a new organization is offering joint Hebrew and Arabic classes to students in Paris. Since last October, “Speak in Peace” offers a weekly language course that combines Arabic and Hebrew lessons. Creator Dan Borodaty, a French Jew, set up the language school with two teachers, Laure, a French-Israeli citizen, and Yahya, who is of Moroccan origin. “Arabic and Hebrew are two Semitic languages with the same origin. They are very similar, which makes it useful to learn them together,” Laure told the French Liberation newspaper.
Read the rest at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3064380,00.html

Quechans getting creative to help keep their language alive
Susie Gilbert is learning Quechan for her husband. Once she's mastered the language, she plans to teach it to her husband, a Quechan who never learned his native tongue. "I am doing this to give something back to my husband. It's his language. It's my gift to him," Gilbert said. Gilbert has a common goal with the people who turned out Friday at the Yuma Civic and Convention center for the fourth annual Yuman Family Language Summit sponsored by the Quechan Indian tribe, the theme of which is "e-yah ny aam pii pik" — Language is Our Survival.
Read more at: http://sun.yumasun.com/artman/publish/articles/story_15793.php

Welsh descendants battle to preserve cultural identity
In a wind-battered corner of Argentina, a community of Welsh descendants is trying to keep its language and culture alive.
On the edge of the Patagonian desert, María Zampini reads Smot to toddlers in her day school. That's Spot in the language of the Wales region of Great Britain. Not too far away, at the Camwy school, Gabriel Restucha is teaching a bunch of 12-year-olds to count in the Welsh language. ''Un, dau, tri,'' they recite. One, two, three. Some 900 miles south of Buenos Aires, the descendants of Welsh farmers who first arrived in this wind-battered corner of Argentina some 140 years ago are battling to maintain the language and culture they kept for up to six generations. As in so many immigrant communities, time is taking its toll on settlements like Gaiman. Many of the region's residents who speak fluent Welsh are in their 70s and 80s, and many of their children speak little if any Welsh.
Read more about this at: http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/11355080.htm (irritating but free registration required)

A familiar tale...
Learning the lingo

Bilingual education teaches students to speak proficiently in two languages
By Paula Aven Gladych
The Daily Times-Call
This article reports on the bilingual education program at St. Vrain Valley (CA) School District, where nine of the district's 22 elementary schools provide bilingual education services. District officials say the bilingual program works well for students who are able to enter it in their early years, by teaching children how to read and write in their native language before asking them to make the transition to English, which improves their performance in both languages. However, many parents have been scared away from the schools in St. Vrain Valley, basing their decisions of where to enroll their children primarily on test scores without ever visiting the schools.
Read more at: http://www.longmontfyi.com/Local-Story.asp?ID=1112

Michigan Firm to Design First-Ever Sign-Language Town
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., March 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Nederveld Associates, Inc., a West Michigan-based land planning, civil engineering and surveying firm, today announced that it will serve as lead designer for Laurent, S.D., a new town intended for individuals who communicate using sign language. Laurent is the first community to be conceived, planned and constructed specifically for signers, whether they are hearing impaired or not, and will be the first new town built in South Dakota in more than a century.
Read more at: http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/050323/dew023_4.html

Profoundly cautious on language law
Quebec's political class heaved a vast collective sigh of relief on Thursday: Individual rights remain sharply limited when it comes to language of education. Hooray! That's how thick is the permanent smog of language politics that blankets Quebec. The Supreme Court, ruling in three cases about access to schools in Quebec, said francophone parents have no constitutional right to choose English schools for their children. The French Language Charter requires that schooling be in French, with few exceptions. The main one is for children with a parent who had "the major part" of his or her schooling in English, in Canada. So most anglophone parents can choose French or English school, but francophones, allophones and immigrant anglos have no choice. This is the strange duality the court upheld. Read more about it at:

Resources you might be interested in...

Putting the World into Our Classrooms: A New Vision for 21st Century Education
By Michael H. Levine
In “Putting the World into Our Classrooms: A New Vision for 21st Century Education,” a newly released PPI policy brief, Dr. Michael Levine offers steps for modernizing international education to reflect the global age in which we live. Levine argues that by dramatically improving foreign language instruction, teacher qualification, and access to internationally themed education opportunities, policymakers can ensure that America's high school graduates will have the international knowledge and skills necessary to excel in the 21st century. You can red more about this at: http://www.ppionline.org/ppi_ci.cfm?knlgAreaID=110&subsecid=181&contentid=253280

New Bilingual Book of Rhymes, Songs, Stories, and Fingerplays
"The Bilingual Book of Rhymes, Songs, Stories, and Fingerplays" is a collection of over 450 rhymes, songs, stories, and fingerplays written by Pam Schiller, Rafael Lara-Alecio, and Beverly J. Irby. This collection includes Spanish and English on each page and provides the opportunity for building vocabulary and exploring the sounds of language. The collection is organized by theme and intended to use in a bilingual classroom. More information is available from the publisher at:

TESOL PreK-12 English Language Standards in the Core Content Areas
TESOL has developed a revised, 2nd edition of its Pre-K-12 student standards. Draft Pre-K-12 student standards are available on TESOL's Web site for review, with publication set for late Fall 2005. The guidelines are scheduled for release in Fall 2006. Read the standards at: http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/bin.asp?CID=95&DID=3461&DOC=FILE.PDF

"Becoming Bilingual" – A New PBS Show from Reading Rockets
For a teacher who speaks only English, having students who speak another language can be incredibly daunting. How does one teach a child to read in a new language? Answers may be found by watching Reading Rockets' latest PBS show, Becoming Bilingual: The Challenges of Teaching English Language Learners to Read. Hosted by acclaimed actress Rita Moreno and now airing on public television stations nationwide, the 30-minute program visits schools across the country that are creating bilingual readers. For more information or to sign up to receive notification for when Becoming Bilingual becomes available for purchase on VHS or DVD, visit: http://www.readingrockets.org/tv/bilingual.php --or watch the whole program online.

Customized Classroom Libraries to Meet Needs of Individual Students
According to Attanasio & Associates, their Classroom Libraries offer students access to high quality literature in standards-based collections. These libraries have been developed by educators in varied content areas; they are standards and research-based. All libraries can be customized to meet the needs of individual schools or districts. In addition, they provide bilingual dictionaries in various languages. They have published materials for English Language Learners who are required to take state exams. These materials entitled “Getting Ready for Title III Assessments” are available in classroom packs for grades K-1, 2-4, 5-6, 7-8, and, 9-12.
Read more about it at: http://www.attanasioandassociates.com/index.html
Or contact:
Attanasio & Associates, Inc.
79-11 69th Drive
Middle Village, NY 11379
Tel: (718) 416-1832 or (877) 416-1833 (outside NY)
Fax: (718) 416-1838

With the workshops running every week, no amount of guilt is sufficient to create enough time for any commentary this month... other than to say again, don't miss the Krashen article - it supports what we've been saying for years!

Also, please let me know if your copy of the newsletter is illegible. I can't help you with your email program, but the feedback you give me helps me ensure that what I do at this end doesn't contribute to problems on your end!

Have a great month! ---and sign up for a mini-workshop!

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