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 : firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
BY PAIGE LAUREN DEINER
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.
BY MEI-LING HOPGOOD
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
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
Read more at: http://www.longmontfyi.com/Local-Story.asp?ID=1112
Michigan Firm to Design First-Ever Sign-Language
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
"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
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
"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
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
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!
Prolinguistica - Teaching for Comprehension