The Language Feed - March 6, 2006

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Mon Mar 6 17:28:31 UTC 2006

The Language Feed
March 6, 2006

This issue and archives can be read on the web at

Cool site of the week: Omniglot - a guide to written language

Fears over economy as boys dismiss language learning
Scotsman, March 5
Scottish schoolboys increasingly see foreign languages as "gay stuff for
women" and are jeopardising the country's economic prospects, a leading
campaigner has warned.

Immersed in a single language: Sheltered English helps students learn
their new tongue
Daily News Transcript, March 5
More than three years after Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly
supported English immersion in schools, 6-year-old Magno DeAraujo learns
math in English with 19 other Brazilian children. He is a first-grader
at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Framingham and he is part of the
new Sheltered English program, created after the ballot measure.
Instruction is in English and teachers use the students’ native language
when necessary.

Language program in limbo
Inside Toronto, March 2
A program that creates tolerance in schools and promotes self-esteem for
newcomers may disappear if parents don't make their vote count, warns a
local Toronto District School Board (TDSB) trustee.

Film project explores language loss
Maine Today, March 4
A film-in-progress that explores the loss and attempted revival of
Native American languages in New England will be featured Saturday and
Sunday at Railroad Square Cinema.

India & China to dominate the English language
Economic Times, March 5
Globalisation is changing the way we think, live, travel, do business
and many other things. But it’s also changing the way English language
is spoken and written.

Language training big business in Canada
CBC News, March 3
More than 600 private-sector firms provide translation services in
Canada, according to the first-ever survey of Canada's language industry
by Statistics Canada.

Twins invent their own language
Independent Online, March 3
Four-year-old twins have started school early because they have invented
their own language. Luke and Jack Ryan, of Cleckheaton, West Yorks,
happily chat away but even their parents have difficulty in
understanding them.

French GE workers applaud language ruling
CBC News, March 2
A French subsidiary of General Electric Co. has been ordered to
distribute its internal company documents in French after employees
complained about having to use English at work.

Peter Schrag: Back to the language wars: Deja vu once again
Sacramento Bee, March 1
Proposition 227, passed by voters in 1998, was designed to discourage,
if not end, bilingual education in California, and for the most part it
has. But it hasn't shut down the bilingual lobby and the associated
political pressure to restore what would in effect be segregated
programs for students designated as English learners (EL).

Facts about learning a language, February 28
Did you know that learning a language is enormously satisfying and
rewarding for your personal self esteem and the reputation of your
organisation? Have you always wanted to learn a language but been
nervous about it?

Police dent foreign language barriers
Whittier Daily News, March 6
Lt. Cliff Mar was a fledging officer at the Alhambra Police Department
when he noticed the increasing volume of non-English speaking Asians
migrating into the city. Deciding to see firsthand if the staff was
equipped to handle the looming communication barrier, Mar called the
department anonymously one afternoon, speaking in rushed Cantonese.

Soldiers learning art of body language
Honolulu Advertiser, March 6
An aid to soldiers and students, unspoken gestures can speak volumes and
are gaining acceptance from researchers for accurately revealing how
people think. In Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, this knowledge has
found its way into a video game and training program the Pentagon uses
to give soldiers a crash course in how to speak and gesture like the
people they run across.

Lost in translation
Metro West Daily News, March 5
In the fall of 2002, the debate on how to teach kids English raged in
Massachusetts. Question 2 aroused passions among a vocal, albeit small,
group of people who really believed that either bilingual education or
Sheltered English Immersion was the best way to equip children in the
rapidly growing immigrant population of MetroWest with the skills they’d
need to succeed in the United States.

Brain processing of speech sounds is different in some southern English
Innovations Report, February 27
When Rice University alumna Brianna Conrey was in third grade in
Stillwater, Okla., she misspelled "pen" on a test because her teacher
unknowingly pronounced it "pin." At the time, Conrey never would have
guessed that she would write a senior thesis in college about the brain
activity that takes place in people who don’t distinguish between
similar-sounding words like "pin" and "pen." Nor would she have guessed
that her thesis would get published several years later in the journal
Brain and Language.

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