Volume 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 : e-comp@prolinguistica.com

For Your Reading Pleasure

Language Cues Provide 'Glue' for Visual Learning in Children
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
Evan Pondel
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 program
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?
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!
Ben MacIntyre
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:

Universidad Hispana
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. 13, 1992.)
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:

'Foreign' language?
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 Alvarez Torres
"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.

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