December 06, 2013
Children's Books? Rules And Messiness
In my previous blog, I explored the use of children's books and how I have found them useful (and enjoyable) as language learning tools.
They are, but how does one even define...
December 01, 2013
If You Want To Live A Long Time - Write For Children
Writing is good mental exercise, but did you know that people who write for children generally....
November 27, 2013
What Makes A Langage Difficult To Learn?
Learning a new language, to put it mildly, is a challenge. Some languages are inherently more difficult than others - but that depends on...
November 22, 2013
Telling Good Stories
Everybody seems to love a good story. Not everyone, unfortunately, can tell a good story.
Every story has a captivating opening, a few memorable details and...
November 17, 2013
History Of The English Language
Is language art or instinct? How do the twists and turns of history define, create and emphasize the inherent characteristics of any given culture and hence, its language?
Here is a super-summarized, and yes, a bit irreverent, overview of the major turning points...
November 11, 2013
Huh? Are There Universal words?
There are linguistic theories that there are some words that cross multiple languages and cultures. You'd think the words most likely to transcend languages and cultures would be those that...
November 07, 2013
Does Learning A New Language Make Us A New Person?
Deeply immersing ourselves in a new language is a challenge, but does it even make us a different person?
Does absorbing a new language change the way we think and...
November 02, 2013
Why Chinese students don't party
The vast majority of college students who drop out do so because of nothing to do with school.
Work, finances, family obligations and social adjustment are...
October 28, 2013
Malcolm Gladwell On Dyslexia
Malcolm Gladwell is not a linguist, but his books draw on, and explore what it means to be a person who successfully interacts with the world.
He has been controversial for a variety of reasons, but as a reader of a couple of his books, I'd have to say that...
October 23, 2013
No Brainers In The Thought Shower
Every source of work or activity seem to generate its own brand of slang and jargon.
Most of it is discordant or incomprehensible at first, but some of it is just plain...
October 18, 2013
What makes Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream speech' so good?
I teach public speaking occasionally. Writing and speaking are parallel, but distinct skills and practices.
Some people are naturally better, or just find these two areas of expression easier than others.
But writing and speaking are both...
October 13, 2013
If Shakespeare Wrote Star Wars
I tell my students that audience and purpose help define a writing style. This is true, but it also true that some writers - or eras - have their own clearly defined and recognizable style.
Shakespeare (or at least his style) is readily recognized, but what if Shakespeare had written a contemporary screenplay?
Take a look here and tell me...
October 08, 2013
Annoying And Bogus Words
Learning a language, especially a language as complex and variable as English, is inherently difficult, but if you factor in words that either aren't real or, at best, are...
October 02, 2013
SVO And SOV: The Depth Of Language
I use the term SVO (Subject, Verb, Object) to illustrate to my students a very simple principle of English grammar: the usual word order of subject, verb and object. "He ate lunch" or "She went home" for example.
Virtually none of them have heard of it before, but they all seem to find it useful. Some languages (like Japanese) have an SOV (Subject, Object, Verb) structure.
But is either one...
September 27, 2013
Free Online Language Learning
Want to improve your linguistic range and facility? If you are on a budget, or just want to learn from another teacher or are willing to...
September 22, 2013
Bunch Of Useful Websites!
The whole point of learning a language is to use it, right? And you never learn a language in isolation do you? Usually we learn with others and we learn a language as we are learning all kinds of other things.
In this blog I want to introduce you to, or remind you of, some great learning blogs...
September 17, 2013
How Does Our Language Reveal Us?
We all know that other people, for better or worse, judge us by our use of language. Putting our writing online or on paper can be even more dangerous, but did you know that how we use language can define how we think about...
September 12, 2013
Should We Insist On English?
I love the English language.
Because of my deep familiarity and extended study, I can delve into the nuances and cultural (as well as historical) references.
I can express - and make associations - using words, phrases and metaphors.
September 06, 2013
Brevity Is The Soul Of Wit?
This famous line from Shakespeare's Hamlet is well-known for a variety of reasons. For one, Hamlet is full of phrases that have become commonly used, another reason this particular phrase has caught on is that we all tend to appreciate...
September 01, 2013
Publify - And Other Words From The 1990s
Every living language changes in vocabulary, but I would guess that English, particularly the American version...