[lg policy] Edling Digest, Vol 28, Issue 8

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 21 21:32:37 UTC 2010

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Today's Topics:

  1. LITER8 LRNRS: Is Texting Valuable or Vandalism? (Francis Hult)
  2. US: "Stagnation or Worse for K-12 Foreign Language" (Francis Hult)
  3. 2010 CIBER Business Language Conference (Francis Hult)


Message: 1
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 2010 09:16:17 -0600
From: Francis Hult <francis.hult at utsa.edu>
Subject: [Edling] LITER8 LRNRS: Is Texting Valuable or Vandalism?
To: <edling at lists.sis.utsa.edu>
       <A9B2E1D7E2CAE34FB088BEFC63241A4B967072 at diamonddt.UTSARR.NET>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

Via lgpolicy...

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        LITER8 LRNRS: Is Texting Valuable or Vandalism?
Date:   Wed, 20 Jan 2010 09:48:09 +0000
From:   British Academy <britishacademy at email.britac.ac.uk>
<mailto:britishacademy at email.britac.ac.uk>
Reply-To:       British Academy <britishacademy at email.britac.ac.uk>
<mailto:britishacademy at email.britac.ac.uk>


Children who are heavy users of mobile phone text abbreviations such
as LOL (laughing out loud), plz (please), l8ter (later) and xxx
(kisses), are unlikely to be problem spellers and readers, a new study
funded by the British Academy has found.

The research*, carried out on a sample of 8-12 year olds over an
academic year, revealed that levels of "textism" use could even be
used to predict reading ability and phonological awareness in each
pupil by the end of the year.

Moreover, the proportion of textisms used was observed to increase
with age, from just 21% of Year 4 pupils to 47% in Year 6, revealing
that more sophisticated literacy skills are needed for textism use.

The study conclusions will come as a surprise to many who believe that
textisms are vandalising the English language.**

The theory behind the research, carried out by Dr Clare Wood, Reader
in Developmental Psychology at Coventry University, relates to one of
the early developing skills associated with (and believed to underpin)
successful reading and spelling development. 'Phonological awareness'
refers to a child's ability to detect, isolate and manipulate patterns
of sound in speech.  For example, children who can tell which words
rhyme, or what word is left if you remove a letter, have particularly
high levels of phonological awareness.

After her initial studies uncovered the link between textism use and
literacy***, the British Academy funded Dr Wood's latest research
through its small research grants scheme.  A larger scale report will
follow, to be published next year.

Dr Clare Wood, British Academy grant holder, said:

"We began studying in this area initially to see if there was any
evidence of association between text abbreviation use and literacy
skills at all, after such a negative portrayal of the activity in the
media.  We were surprised to learn that not only was the association
strong, but that textism use was actually driving the development of
phonological awareness and reading skill in children.  Texting also
appears to be a valuable form of contact with written English for many
children, which enables them to practice reading and spelling on a
daily basis.

"So what can we do with this evidence? With further research, we hope
to instil a change in attitude in teachers and parents - recognising
the potential to use text-based exercises to engage children in
phonological awareness activities.  In short, we suggest that
children's use of textisms is far from problematic. If we are seeing a
decline in literacy standards among young children, it is in spite of
text messaging, not because of it."

*Sixty three children participated in the study (27 boys and 36 girls)
all between years 4 and 7.  81% of these children owned their own
mobile phones and the rest had regular access to one owned by someone
else.  The average age at which children were given their own phone
was 8.4 yrs, with 5 yrs being the youngest age at which a phone was
given to a child within the sample.
**Journalist John Humphrys, writing in the Daily Mail, went so far in
2007 to describe texters as 'vandals who are trying to do to the
language what Ghenghis Khan did to his neighbours eight hundred years
***B. Plester, C.Wood & C. Bell, Txt msg n school literacy: does
mobile phone use adversely affect children's written language
attainment? (2008)

Please visit www.britac.ac.uk
 and click on the news item on the homepage to see the full report.

Forms of text message abbreviation (or 'textism') that are used when
sending messages:

*       Shortenings: cutting the end off a word, losing more than one
letter, e.g. bro = brother.
*       Contractions: cutting letters, usually vowels, out of the
middle of a word, e.g. txt, plz, hmwrk.
*       G Clippings: cutting off only the final g in a word, e.g.
goin, comin, workin, swimmin.
*       Other Clippings: cutting off other final letters, e.g. I'v,
hav, wil, com.
*       Symbols: using symbols, including emoticons, and x used
symbolically, e.g. &, @, ;-), :-p, xxx.
*       Initialisms: a word or group of words is represented by its
initial letter, e.g. tb = text back, lol = laughing out loud, gf =
*       Letter/Number Homophones: a letter or number is used to take
the place of a phoneme, syllable, or word of the same sound, e.g. 4,
2, l8r, u, r, c.
*       Non-conventional Spellings: a word is spelled according to
legitimate English phoneme-grapheme conversion rules, but not the
conventional one used to spell the word, e.g. nite, cum, fone, skool.
*       Accent Stylisation: a word is spelled as it is pronounced in
casual speech, e.g. gonna, wiv = with, av = have, wanna, elp = help,
anuva = another.
*       Missing Apostrophes: left out either in possessive or
traditional contraction form, e.g. dads, Im, Ive, cant.

Dr Clare Wood received a small research grant from the British
Academy.   These grants are available to all academics (on a
competitive basis) for primary research work in the Humanities and
Social Sciences.  For more information, please visit

The British Academy, established by Royal Charter in 1902, champions
and supports the humanities and social sciences. It aims to inspire,
recognise and support excellence and high achievement across the UK
and internationally.   For more information, please visit

The British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH Tel:
020 7969 5200, Fax: 020 7969 5300, Web: www.britac.ac.uk


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Message: 2
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 2010 11:46:09 -0600
From: Francis Hult <francis.hult at utsa.edu>
Subject: [Edling] US: "Stagnation or Worse for K-12 Foreign Language"
To: <edling at lists.sis.utsa.edu>
       <A9B2E1D7E2CAE34FB088BEFC63241A4B96708F at diamonddt.UTSARR.NET>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"


Stagnation or Worse for K-12 Foreign Language

Foreign language instruction in elementary and secondary schools is
"no better -- and in some areas worse" -- than it was in 1997,
according to the "National K-12 Foreign Language Survey."
(http://www.cal.org/projects/flsurvey.html)The study found "pockets of
innovation" in teaching methods and increases (from a very low base)
in the teaching of Arabic and Chinese. But many other findings -- with
implications for foreign language programs at colleges and
universities -- suggested backward movement. The teaching of French,
German and Russian all are down at both the elementary and secondary
level; the gaps between foreign language availability at public and
private schools have grown larger; and "severe" teacher shortages
exist in many areas. The report, based on a national survey, was
conducted by the Center for Applied Linguistics for the U.S. Education

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Message: 3
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 2010 11:47:08 -0600
From: Francis Hult <francis.hult at utsa.edu>
Subject: [Edling] 2010 CIBER Business Language Conference
To: <edling at lists.sis.utsa.edu>
       <A9B2E1D7E2CAE34FB088BEFC63241A4B967090 at diamonddt.UTSARR.NET>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

Via AAAL...

Join us in Philly!!

Register for the 2010 CIBER Business Language Conference hosted at the
University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA.

On March 24-26, 2010, Penn Lauder CIBER, the Penn Language Center, and
the Lauder Institute will host the CIBER Business Language Conference.
 This event ties into the larger national discourse about the ways
that language education must keep pace and meet future challenges for
applied language programs in light of research, trends, and needs of
the changing economic environment. The conference responds to the
overarching mission of the U.S. Department of Education's CIBER grant
program to enhance the competitiveness of U.S. business globally.

Conference Location:
Houston Hall <http://http/www.facilities.upenn.edu/map.php?id=50&t=1>
University of Pennsylvania
3417 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Early registration deadline: February 15, 2010.

Register here!  http://www.lauder.wharton.upenn.edu/2010ciberblc/


Penn Lauder CIBER
University of Pennsylvania*Lauder-Fischer Hall, 2nd Floor
256 South 37th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6330

  Phone 215.898.4642

Visit our Website: www.lauder.wharton.upenn.edu/ciber

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End of Edling Digest, Vol 28, Issue 8


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com


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