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Записи с темой: articles (список заголовков)
18:27 

Votes and Vowels: A Changing Accent Shows How Language Parallels Politics

Votes and Vowels: A Changing Accent Shows How Language Parallels Politics
By Julie Sedivy

There’s been a good bit of discussion and hand-wringing lately over whether the American public is becoming more and more politically polarized and what this all means for the future of our democracy. You may have wrung your own hands over the issue. But even if you have, chances are you’re not losing sleep over the fact that Americans are very clearly becoming more polarized linguistically.

It may seem surprising, but in this age where geographic mobility and instant communication have increased our exposure to people outside of our neighborhoods or towns, American regional dialects are pulling further apart from each other, rather than moving closer together. And renowned linguist William Labov thinks there’s a connection between political and linguistic segregation.

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@темы: articles, Phonetics, Linguistics, English

00:10 

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@темы: English, Family, Relationship, articles, links

12:15 

George Orwell - Politics and the English Language

George Orwell

Politics and the English Language

Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent and our language — so the argument runs — must inevitably share in the general collapse. It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.
Now, it is clear that the decline of a language...

@темы: English, articles, languages

22:59 

10 Words Every Book Lover Should Know

10 Words Every Book Lover Should Know

The word for a book-lover is a 'bibliophile,' a word first recorded in print -- according to the Oxford English Dictionary -- in 1824. Alternatively, there is the word 'bookworm,' which is of an altogether older pedigree: it first appears in 1580. (The poet and playwright Ben Jonson went on to use it in one of his plays, a satire which bears the pleasing title of Cynthia's Revels, or The Fountain of Self-Love.) But what words should every good bibliophile and bookworm know? Here are some of my favorites.

Well, if you like words, you're probably guilty of EPEOLATRY, which means 'the worship of words.' This word first appears in an 1860 book by Oliver Wendell Holmes Senior. If you consider yourself an educated or 'lettered' person, you might be described as a LITERARIAN, a word adopted from the French in the 18th century and probably modeled on similar words such as 'librarian' and 'antiquarian.'

Some people consider themselves highly educated and lettered literarians, but in fact they are often ULTRACREPIDARIAN -- a word which refers to someone who gives an opinion on things s/he knows nothing about. This rather useful word is first recorded in a letter of 1819 written by influential critic William Hazlitt (indeed, he applies the word 'ultracrepidarian' to a critic here in its inaugural use). This word also has an interesting etymology: it literally means 'beyond the sole,' an allusion to a story involving the ancient Greek painter Apelles. According to Pliny the Elder, a cobbler criticised Apelles' painting of a shoe, stating that it was inaccurate. Apelles promptly redid the painting. The cobbler, spurred on by the effect his first criticism had had upon the artist, proceeded to criticise the way Apelles had painted the leg above the shoe. But this was too much for Apelles, who reportedly warned the cobbler, 'Let the shoemaker venture no further.' The cheeky cobbler had ventured 'beyond the sole' -- i.e., beyond his own field of expertise. (This story is doubly apt, given that ultracrepidarians often talk a load of cobblers.)

Another word for this sort of person, whom you may overhear mouthing off about books, films, politics, or, indeed, anything at the next table in the pub or the coffee house, is MOROSOPH. A 'morosoph' is a would-be philosopher -- a fool who thinks he's clever than he is. The word comes from the French writer Rabelais, where the 'moro-' is from the Greek meaning 'dull' or 'stupid' and the '-soph' from the Greek for 'wise.' Morosophs are foolish for thinking themselves so wise.

If you're not only an avid reader, but one of those people who simply cannot leave the house without a tome stashed in your pocket or bag, then it may interest you to know that Scottish novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott coined the phrase BOOK-BOSOMED to describe someone who carries a book at all times. The phrase first appears in Scott's celebrated 1805 poem The Lay of the Last Minstrel.

However, beware you don't get accused of overdoing the books: BIBLIOBIBULI was American humorist H. L. Mencken's coinage, and it refers to people who read too much. Is there such a thing as reading too much? Well, Mencken thought so: 'There are some people who read too much: the bibliobibuli. I know some who are constantly drunk on books, as other men are drunk on whiskey or religion. They wander through this most diverting and stimulating of worlds in a haze, seeing nothing and hearing nothing.'

Perhaps now would be a good time to head to the library and view the INCUNABULA. This word can be used generally to mean something in its early stages; however, it also specifically means any book printed before 1500 -- that is, in the early stages of printing. 'Incunabula' comes from the Latin for 'swaddling-clothes.'

If you've read this far, the chances are you're a voracious reader, someone who might be described as a BIBLIOPHAGIST -- literally, a devourer of books.

I'll leave you with my own suggestion, BIBLIOSMIA -- meaning the act of smelling books, especially as a way of getting a 'fix' from the aroma of old tomes. Let's get this coinage out there -- I reckon there are more bibliosmiacs out there than many people would realise. It's time we stood up, book in hand, to be counted.

(c)

@темы: English, articles, links

22:37 

The Best Way to Learn a Foreign Language Is the Opposite of the Usual Way

The Best Way to Learn a Foreign Language Is the Opposite of the Usual Way

This article is by Katharine B. Nielson, the chief education officer at Voxy, a language-learning company based in New York City.

The renowned Mexican author Carlos Fuentes once remarked that America’s monolingualism is a great paradox: We’re the dominant world power, yet also the world’s most linguistically isolated one. The numbers appear to bear this out. Roughly 17% of U.S. citizens can speak more than one language, compared with 54% of Europeans. Stanford Professor Russell A. Berman, former president of the Modern Language Association, has warned that the U.S. is quickly becoming a nation of “second language illiterates.”

If we can’t communicate with the rest of the world, our businesses lose opportunities, and our citizens lose jobs to global graduates who have the language skills we lack. Often the solution is presented as one of resources—if we simply divert more time and money to language instruction, we can finally cure the U.S. of its seemingly permanent dependence on English.

However, the problem runs far deeper than resources; it’s that as a nation we still don’t know how to teach language effectively. The curriculum for nearly every introductory language class revolves around grammatical concepts, and we spend far too much time on the rules of language. As a result, students are forced to suffer through grammar-focused instruction that makes them adept at conjugating verbs but leaves them mute when they are pressed to have a conversation. What they need instead is the chance to use language the way it was intended, as a tool for communication, not as a complex set of rules to master.

Europeans have seen the writing on the wall, and in recent years a popular language teaching methodology has grown up in many countries called “content and language integrated learning.” The idea: Use foreign languages to teach non-language subjects. Early research indicates that this is effective at fostering an environment that leads to impressive language learning.

Drawing on a similar approach, in 2006, U.S. Customs and Border Protection did away with the grammar-based Spanish course required of its agents-in-training and replaced it with a curriculum centered on teaching specific, job-related tasks in Spanish. The resulting improvements were dramatic. Not only did the agents get the language skills they needed to perform their jobs more effectively, but even though the new course did not follow a grammar-based syllabus, their grammar was better too.

These results just add to the growing body of research indicating that if we want to improve outcomes, we should fundamentally reevaluate how we teach foreign languages in our schools. We might start by rethinking the concept of language classes altogether. For instance, instead of having isolated courses called “Spanish” or “Arabic,” we should disperse language instruction across the curriculum. One way to achieve this and at the same time make language learning more engaging, would be to send younger students to specialty classes, such as music, art, or gym, taught in a foreign language.

Then when they reached high school, they would be in a position to benefit from additional specialty or elective courses that used foreign languages to teach anything from drama to home economics, allowing us to do away with the outdated, segregated model of language instruction that still dominates secondary education while still preparing interested students for advanced study of literature and culture.

At the same time, doing so would open up opportunities for schools with large populations of students whose first language is not English. Instead of treating them as an expensive problem to solve, we could take advantage of their native language expertise in specialty classes and electives, turning them into a valuable part of our solution.

Helping Americans move beyond English should be a top priority, but we won’t see the outcomes we need until we abandon approaches that don’t work. By de-emphasizing the focus on language itself, we may actually improve our acquisition of it, because when we stop trying to teach people about what they are saying and just start expecting them to say it, we will see far better results.

(c)

@темы: English, articles, languages

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