XVIII - June 2, 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 : firstname.lastname@example.org
For Your Reading Pleasure
Language Cues Provide 'Glue' for Visual Learning
Language cues can provide the "glue" that helps fasten
certain visual patterns into small children's memories, according
to results to be presented by a Johns Hopkins University graduate
student at the 17th annual meeting of the American Psychological
Society, held May 26-29 in Los Angeles. This new data provide insight
into the long-debated question of whether language affects thought.
Doctoral candidate Banchiamlack Dessalegn and her mentor, Barbara
Landau, the Dick and Lydia Todd Professor in the Department of Cognitive
Science at Johns Hopkins, tackled that question via a query of their
own: Would children who are given verbal cues while viewing mirror
image visual patterns remember them more accurately, and longer,
than would children who were not given those cues? The answer, it
seems, is yes.
Read more at:
Knowing a second language good for business
When Sean Kang isn't cutting deals in English, the finance manager
at Long Beach Honda is cutting deals in Korean. "It's all about
finding common ground with the customers," said Kang, 41, who
immigrated to the U.S. from Korea more than two decades ago. Kang's
boss, Mark Niedringhaus, has a knack for attracting bilingual associates.
The salesmen at Long Beach Honda speak Farsi, Russian, Vietnamese,
Cambodian, Chinese and Spanish. More than 15 percent of Niedringhaus'
customers would rather negotiate in one of these languages. "It's
definitely a plus if the people here can speak a different language
and chew gum at the same time," said Niedringhaus, who gives
a cue when a customer wants to negotiate in a language other than
English. Read the rest at:
Best Buy sparks language flap
MONTREAL – The American electronics chain Best Buy opened
its first store in Quebec Friday with a baptism by fire in Quebec
language politics. Best Buy sent out about 100,000 English-only
flyers to Montreal homes, which has led to a flurry of complaints
to Quebec's language watchdog.
Read the rest and giggle at:
Federal government eyes creation of Chinese-language
The federal government said it wants to establish a course of instruction
designed to help students become fluent in Chinese language and
culture. The program would be part of the government's National
Flagship Language Initiative, which promotes learning of languages
considered crucial to national security. Read more about it at:
Show of Hands: Who can't find the right word?
By TERRY WEBER
When the words just won't come, try gesticulating. That's the advice
of researchers at the University of Alberta who studied the link
between gestures and speech and found that hand movements could
improve your access to language. “What we think is going on
here is that the very fact of moving your hands around helps you
recall parts of the story,” lead researcher Elena Nicoladis,
who teaches at the school's psychology department, said in the report.
“The gestures help you access memory and language so that
you can tell more of the story.”
Read the rest at:
Useful language learn quick now!
The purists may be horrified but a new pidgin tongue of 1,500 words
will foster a greater respect for words. ...Globish is not ... a
formally constructed language, but rather an organic patois, constantly
adapting, emerging solely from practical usage, and spoken in some
form or other by about 88 per cent of mankind. Its chief promoter,
astonishingly enough, is a Frenchman, Jean-Paul Nerrière,
a linguist and retired computer executive who has earned the loathing
of the French Establishment by insisting that Globish — simple,
inelegant and almost universal — is the language of the present
and the future. In his primer, Parlez Globish, Nerrière points
out that Globish is not intended for writing poetry or telling jokes,
but for communication at the most basic level. It is not a language
in the traditional sense, freighted with cultural meaning, but a
supremely useful and ingenious tool, the linguistic equivalent of
a Swiss Army knife. Read the rest at:
Caleb Warnock - DAILY HERALD
Universidad Hispana will celebrate a historic graduation today when
39 students accept the school's first-ever bachelor's degrees. The
four-year-old university is the only one in the nation to lecture
in Spanish, use textbooks in English and have a completely bilingual
faculty, said university president Arturo De Hoyos. "It is
a historic day," he said. "Not a single one of our students
can be admitted to American schools because they don't speak English.
The first thing we do is teach them English. This is something unique."
Graduates will receive their degree in business and management,
he said. Five students will also receive associate degrees in the
same field. Bilingual fluency is a graduation requirement. "The
important thing we give is hope and ambition in the future so they
can continue to improve themselves and have more energy to do better,"
he said. "It means thousands of people in the United States
who never finished school and don't speak English, who are getting
older and older and bitter, can graduate with a degree." Lea
el artículo completo aquí:
Foreign Languages in German Schools
Ingrid Lommer - DW-World
In a drive to better school performance later on, Germany is focusing
on early childhood education, and in particular, foreign language
learning. But the benefits far outweigh improved scores on report
cards. For a long time, early childhood education in Germany was
seen as a bit of a burden. The creed among experts was to let children
simply be children, and not weigh them down with too much knowledge,
too early on in life. But Germany's shockingly poor performance
in the international comparative education survey -- the PISA study
-- has prompted experts to think again. It's hoped that an emphasis
on early childhood learning will help close the gap between Germany
and other Western nations such as Canada, Denmark and Finland, which
occupy top spots in the study's results. Part of the plan involves
introducing students to foreign languages starting in the third
grade. Read more at:
Swiss language linked to Latin fading from use
By SAM CAGE The Associated Press
Heading home in the afternoon shadows cast by the surrounding snow-clad
peaks, schoolchildren throng the streets of the remote Alpine town
of Scuol, chattering in what sounds like Italian spoken with a Swiss
German accent. They're actually speaking Romansch, a direct descendant
of Latin. But experts fear it faces the same fate as the Roman legions
that once occupied this corner of the Alps. "It's declining
even more rapidly than I thought, and that's the problem,"
says Jonathan Steinberg, a specialist on Swiss history and culture.
"I think it's a terminal position, because they don't agree
on pronunciation, they don't agree on vocabulary." According
to the 2000 census, the number of people speaking Romansch dropped
13 percent in just 10 years, to just 35,000 who said they spoke
it as their first language. Read more about this at:
Mr. Language Person: True Quotations
(This classic Dave Barry column was originally published on Dec.
It's time once again for "Ask Mister Language Person,"
the only language column that is endorsed by both the American Association
of English Professors AND Cher. This column presents answers to
common reader questions about grammar, vocabulary, punctualization,
and, when they are in season, metaphors. These questions are not
"made up." They are authentic re-enactments of actual
questions taken from police files.
Q: What is the correct grammatical usage of "being as how"?
A: This is an adenoidal phrase that is used when a person needs
to explain a decision regarding an issue such as sandwich allocation.
EXAMPLE: "Earl gets the egg salad, being as how he dropped
it in the bait." Read more at:
By Peggy Spear - Contra Costa Times
SUSAN WINCHESTER knew that the foreign language classes her toddler
was taking were having an impact one day at the diaper changing
table. The Orinda woman, who is bilingual, asked Douglas in French,
"What color is the sun?" "He looked up at me with
a sparkle in his eye and said, 'amarillo.' And it wasn't a mistake."
"Amarillo" is the Spanish word for yellow, and Douglas,
at just 2, was letting his mom know he is trilingual.
Want more? Read it at:
Resources you might be interested in...
Blingual Research Journal On Line
Exactly what the title says - an on line source for research into
Bilingual Education. Research articles available in PDF format for
download, including currently, an article by Dr. Stephen Krashen
titled, "The Ameliorating Effects of High Socioeconomic Status:
A Secondary Analysis." Find it here: http://brj.asu.edu/
New Issue: Studies in Second Language Acquisition
Volume 27, Issue 1, March 2005
The most recent issue of Studies in Second Language Acquisition,
published by Cambridge University Press, is available for free download
online. In addition to several book reviews, the following feature
articles are found in the current issue:
"Attention When?: An Investigation of the Ordering Effect of
Input and Interaction" by Susan Gass, María José
"Receptive and Productive Vocabulary Learning: The Effects
of Reading and Writing on Word Knowledge" by Stuart Webb
"Gaps in Second Language Sentence Processing" by Theodore
Marinis, Leah Roberts, Claudia Felser, and Harald Clahsen
"Identifying the Impact of Negative Feedback and Learners'
Responses on ESL Question Development" by Kim McDonough
To view the current issue, go to: http://journals.cambridge.org/
The first time I visited, I got easy access to what I was looking
for. Today, they request log-in. You can log in as a guest.
Mini workshops are over for now. I was planning on offering
some of them again in the summer along with an expanded TPR workshop,
but life has intervened, as it often does, and I simply have no
time to market them! I've been contacted by two families in Bucaramanga,
Colombia, and asked to travel there in June to take their kids through
dyslexia correction programs. You can imagine, I JUMPED at the chance!
Getting the proper materials in Spanish, and taking care of all
the little details that must be just so for an extended absence
from the country (wanna come pet my dog?) has left me breathless.
AND, this is the last issue of E-Comp! before the summer hiatus.
So, if you were thinking about signing up for a class over the summer,
watch the website in early July. When I'm back from the tropics
I'll reassess and a schedule of courses will be posted if I'm able
to pull it all together.
Have a WONderful summer! - and watch the website for news (and pictures
of Bucaramanga). E-comp! will be back on October 1, 2005.
Prolinguistica - Teaching for Comprehension