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May 05, 2013

How Does Our Language Reveal Who We Are?

How does our language express who we are? Our thoughts, our character, our identity and our deepest motives can become more obvious than we realize as we...

...speak, write and use our language in a variety of settings.

Here's a great TED talk by Steven Pinker, the noted linguist, where he questions - and makes us question - the very nature of our thoughts -- the way we use words, how we learn, and how we relate to others - http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_language_and_thought.html.

And, just to keep you in tune with Steven Pinker's thinking, be sure to take a look at this talk on the history of violence. Pinker is convinced, in contrast to the seemingly never-ending stream of news of wars and upheavals around the world, it is not nearly as bad as it seems. In fact, he says we are in a time of unparalleled peace. Check it out here - http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_the_myth_of_violence.html?quote=201.

On a far lighter note, if you need a main resource for games, songs, worksheets and much more, be sure to check out this website - a href="http://www.esl-galaxy.com/".

I know that a teacher can never have too many resources.

There are many great teaching and learning exercises here, but be sure to take note of the section on survival English – the words and phrases essential for travel or interactions for the non-native speaker in an English speaking culture or situation. Start here - http://www.esl-galaxy.com/survival.html.

And just in case you needed yet another reminder of the strange twists and turns of the English language, take a look at this article on the use of a punctuation mark as a word. Yes, it’s true, we use and mangle perfectly good words and grammar and I am sure you will find this use of a piece of punctuation as a word quite intriguing. Details here - http://chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca/2013/04/24/slash-not-just-a-punctuation-mark-anymore/.

Be sure to send us any language usages that puzzle you, and be sure to let us know what it is about language learning that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing, constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


Also: If you'd like to have Morf visit your school or program this summer, you can contact him at mmorf(at)mail.com.

Posted by mmorf at May 5, 2013 05:13 PM


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