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19 Bringing a Dying
Language Back to Life
Brigid O’Rourke describes how a Harvard instructor has introduced seventh graders to the world of Gullah
Making Connections That Count
June 2018 6 Editorial 8 Letters 9 News 12 Source 14 World as We Speak 17 Indigenous Languages 51 Resource 54 Last Writes
Interview José A. Viana, assistant deputy secretary and director Office of English Language Acquisition, U.S. Department of Education, shares his goals with Daniel Ward
Roberto Rivera explores the vital connection between social and cultural competence—for both students and teachers
28 The Agency of Artificial Intelligence Peter Foltz, Eric Hilfer, Kevin McClure, and Dmitry Stavisky explain what artificial intelligence (AI) means for the teaching of language and literacy
34 Catering to
Kevin McClure explains how developments in neuroscience can help students receive the instruction that they alone require
Accelerating English and Math on the Go Amanda Cuellar shares the benefits of learning via smartphone for adult English language learners
47 The Bilingual
Advantage in the Global Workplace
Mehdi Lazar identifies the four traits that give bilinguals a competitive edge
Keeping the Internet Real
June 2018 Vol. 17, No. 10 The Journal of Communication & Education Publishing Editor Daniel Ward Assistant Editor/ Creative Director Leanna Robinson Proofreading Stephanie Mitchell Office Manager Tania Ruiz Book Reviews Karen Russikoff Last Writes Richard Lederer The Word Peter Sokolowski Contributors Amanda Cuellar Peter Foltz Eric Hilfer Mehdi Lazar Kevin McClure Brigid O’Rourke Roberto Rivera Dmitry Stavisky Marketing Emma Sutton
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Visit languagemagazine.com and click on Resources for research references.
mid all the talk of fake news, misinformation, and abuse of personal information, the ongoing battle to save net neutrality has been pushed to the background. The net neutrality rules, which passed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2015, prevent broadband and wireless companies from blocking or slowing internet traffic. Surveys show that a majority of the public supports net neutrality and, as the internet becomes more crucial to the provision of fundamental public services like education, its neutrality is in the national, and international, interests. The internet should be an open and accessible resource. Today, we access the internet through our phones, tablets, and computers, but the future of the web will be heavily intertwined with virtual and augmented reality. This future of mixed reality will deliver learning experiences and information in ways we are only just starting to envisage. Thankfully, we will have teachers to guide and direct students through the morass of data, but there is still the question of who maps the world and controls what is experienced. We cannot rely on a few powerful companies to be the gatekeepers of information and education. Even if they are well trusted, the potential for manipulating what is learned and what is considered fact is too great. Students are better off relying on the multiplic@languagemagazine ity of sources to aggregate information, but to do so, they must be taught how to qualify their sources and World Language Teachers the information supplied. As we are continuing to see with the Facebook manipulation saga, it is facebook.com/ virtually impossible now to LanguageMagazine prevent false information from being presented as fact. Once such information is conveyed through @langmag virtual reality, the difficulty
of qualifying it will be multiplied exponentially. All we can do is equip our students with the research skills and knowledge to enable them to make informed judgements about the information that will bombard them— make them “internet literate.” The Congressional Review Act (CRA) is being used to try to halt the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality. The CRA gives Congress 60 legislative days to undo a regulation from a federal agency. Simple majorities in both the House and Senate, as well as the president’s signature, are needed to roll back the FCC’s vote. Last month, the Senate surprisingly voted to undo the regulation and restore the principle of net neutrality. During a press conference following the vote, Senate minority leader Charles Schumer of New York credited the victory to the grassroots advocacy that has led millions of people to call their senators and representatives asking them to support the CRA. Despite this momentum, a similar bill currently lacks the support needed to pass in the House of Representatives by the deadline of June 11. Even if it were to pass, it would also require the president’s approval, so its passage is unlikely. Nevertheless, net neutrality may survive through state initiatives—there are more than two dozen states, including California and New York, considering legislation to reinstate the rules within their borders. Earlier this year, Washington became the first state to sign such legislation into law. Governors in several other states, including New Jersey and Montana, have signed executive orders requiring ISPs that do business with the state to adhere to net neutrality principles. Historically, teachers have been the guardians of information. With the advent of artificial intelligence and multiple realities, that role is changing. Now, they must impart the skills needed by their students to assemble information, assess it, and determine its value for themselves. Daniel Ward, Editor
Thousands of students just like Mazin are seeing success with reading and writing.
Mazin now hopes to be a journalist.
North Kansas City, MO A debate on graffiti as part of the English 3D® instruction piqued Mazin’s interest in reading and writing. Debates and discussions allow students like Mazin to express their opinions, engaging them in reading, using academic language, and writing. After a year with his teacher, Mr. Homiak, Mazin is now reconsidering his career in basketball to pursue journalism.
At HMH, we honor the journey. Witness these learning moments and more on our new website: hmhco.com English 3D®, The Learning Company, the HMH logo, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt®, and HMH® are trademarks or registered trademarks of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 05/18 WF492159
LETTERS SEND TO: email@example.com SUBJECT LINE: Letter to the Editor
Dear Editor Bilinguals Single Out Second Language While Reading (May 2018)
Your phrase “bilinguals who are highly proficient in their second language can not only overcome those difficulties but can thrive in their second language” is ambiguous because the people who are highly proficient in their second language do not need to overcome any difficulties to thrive in the second language. It has been known for two decades that when an adult is proficient in a second language it means that he or she has formed a new language center in his or her brain and when he or she is using the second language it acts similarly to monolinguals. Another example: When a simultaneous interpreter is interpreting from the native language to a second language, he visualizes what is said in his native language and describes his vision in the second language. No direct translation takes place in simultaneous interpretation! Brain activity in a second language is identical to that of monolinguals, providing the person is proficient in the second language. It would be extremely interesting and valuable if you could provide the answer to the question of why only 5% of the adult population becomes proficient in a second language and the rest are failing in this effort. Arkady Zilberman lbtechnology.net
Revolutionize Reading Instruction! (April 2018)
Yes, abstract processing is the end goal. I agree good readers don’t decode, but good readers become good readers by being able to decode unfamiliar words. Once they decode a word enough times, they no longer have to—it becomes automatically recognized. I also agree that as readers progress, they read faster than sound, and “sounding out words” is no longer primary (for words they know). But a key reason why nearly two-thirds of the kids in the U.S. are not grade-level proficient in reading is that they can’t recognize written words efficiently and quickly enough to get the benefits of reading required to scaffold their improvement. What we are describing is a “training wheels” and “safety net” that safely guide decoding in a radically more coherent way than the ways we teach reading today. In the final analysis, the challenge isn’t decoding, it’s disambiguating the confused correspondences between letters and sounds and doing so fast enough to maintain attention to the meaning unfolding. https://www.youtube.com/ watch?time_continue=2&v=odFgIWq3xwc David Boulton mlc.learningstewards.org
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hen we think of words that have been borrowed from other languages, we tend to first think of those that are fairly recent borrowings—words that look obviously foreign, like karate, cannoli, and sudoku. Older borrowings tend to hide under centuries of anglicization; a word like platoon is the English version of the French peleton, and barbecue comes from the Spanish word barbacoa. Chaise lounge seems to be stuck in an intermediate stage of development, with its very French first word and much more comfortable second word. It turns out that English speakers, in a rush to find a cozy place to set down a name for a newfangled sofa imported from France in the late 1700s, transformed the name chaise longue (French for “long chair”) into chaise lounge. This kind of gravitational pull toward a more common word is known as folk etymology, or the transformation of an unfamiliar term to make it seem more familiar. Since longue is not an English word, but lounge, spelled with the same letters, is, it is a natural choice for people seeking linguistic comfort. But there’s more to this story: lounge also has a meaning in English that, coincidentally, is the same as the original chaise longue, “a long couch.” That makes the temptation to switch longue for lounge nearly irresistible. It is clear from a comparison of the relative frequency of the use of both terms over time that chaise lounge is gaining on chaise longue in recent years, though a distinction is often recognized: chaise lounge is used more frequently for outdoor poolside, patio, or deck furniture, and chaise longue (or simply chaise) is used for indoor furniture. Another coincidence is that lounge sort of looks like a French word, but it probably is not. In fact, we are not certain of the word’s origin, though we know that it was first used as a verb. This blend of the French origins and English elements is also true of the pronunciation of chaise longue/chaise lounge. In French, chaise longue has a short \e\ in chaise and a nasalized \n\ and a hard \g\ in longue: \shez lohn-gh\. In English, chaise longue is sometimes pronounced with both words anglicized: \SHAYZ-LONG\, but, along with chaise lounge, chaise is sometimes pronounced in the French manner: \SHEZ\. For those keeping score at home, that means that the French term borrowed into English that then blended with a similar but unrelated English term is sometimes pronounced as it would be in French. Just thinking about it makes us want to lie down to rest. Follow Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large for MerriamWebster, on Twitter @PeterSokolowski.
Early Language Key to School Success Kim Echart of the University of Washington News reports on a new study which shows that early use of words and grammar determines overall student success
new study indicates that children’s language skills in kindergarten predict their performance in other areas, including math and reading, throughout school. Not only does a child’s use of vocabulary and grammar predict future proficiency with the spoken and written word, but it also affects performance in other subject areas. Language, in other words, supports academic and social success, says Amy Pace, an assistant professor in the University of Washington Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, which led the study, published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly. The study was the first to look at a comprehensive set of school readiness skills and to try to determine which, of all of them, is the most solid predictor of a child’s later success. Language—the ability to fluidly learn words and to string them together into sentences—was the hands-down winner, said co-author Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, director of the Infant Language Laboratory at Temple University. For this study, Pace and her colleagues examined longitudinal data from more than 1,200 children in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. That study used several measures of academic and social skills at specific ages and grade levels, including evaluations upon entry to kindergarten and in grades one, three, and five. While there is considerable research on how children develop specific skills over time, much of that research is focused on patterns of learning within a single subject area, like math or reading. Researchers in the UW study wanted to determine whether there are relationships between skills when considered in combination and to think about how these combined abilities might predict gains, or growth, above what might be expected based on the skills the child demonstrates when he or she first enters a kindergarten classroom. The team analyzed academic and behavioral assessments. Researchers found that of the skills and milestones evaluated, only language skills predicted students’ performance both within that subject area and in most others (math, reading, and social skills) from first through fifth grade. Reading ability in kindergarten predicted reading,
math, and language skills later on, and math proficiency correlated with math and reading performance over time. People often confuse language with literacy, Pace said. Reading skills include the ability to decode letter and sound combinations to pronounce words and the ability to comprehend word meanings and contexts. Language is the ability to deploy those words and use complex syntax and grammar to communicate in speech and writing. And that is why it has such potential to affect other areas of development, Pace said. At a time when so much focus is on math and science education, language deserves attention, too. Measuring the impact of one skill on another, in addition to measuring growth in the same skill, provides more of a “whole child” perspective, Pace said. A child who enters school with little exposure to number sense or spatial concepts but with strong social skills may benefit from that emotional buffer. “If we look at just a very narrow slice of a child’s ability, it may be predictive of ability in that area, but it’s not necessarily a good prognosticator of what’s to come overall for that child,” she said. Researchers expected to find that the effects of kindergarten readiness would wear off by third grade, the time when elementary school curricEarn 20 CEUs ulum transitions from introducing 100% Online foundational skills to helping students apply those skills as Expert Instructor they delve deeper into content areas. But according to the study, children’s
performance in kindergarten continues to predict their performance in grades three through five. This was consistent for multiple skill areas, including language, math, and reading, and suggests that bolstering children’s development in those first five years is essential for long-term academic success. A few findings merit further study, Pace added, especially as they relate to educational policy. The study also represents an opportunity to rethink what skills are considered measures of kindergarten readiness, she said. The original Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development was funded by the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development. Additional co-authors were Rebecca Alper of Temple University, Margaret Burchinal of the University of North Carolina, and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff of the University of Delaware.
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Massive Study Confirms Teens’ Language Expertise
fter years of research suggesting that the “critical period” to learn ended before the age of ten, an enormous new study of over half a million learners suggests that children remain very skilled at learning the grammar of a new language much longer than expected—up to the age of 17 or 18. However, the study also found that it is very difficult for people to achieve proficiency similar to that of a native speaker unless they start learning a language by the age of ten. “If you want to have native-like knowledge of English grammar, you should start by about ten years old. We don’t see very much difference between people who start at birth and people who start at ten, but we start seeing a decline after that,” says Joshua Hartshorne, an assistant professor of psychology at Boston College. The study found that people who start learning a language between ten and 18 will still learn quickly, but since they have a shorter window before their learning ability declines, they do not achieve the proficiency of
The Eyes Tell All
native speakers. Still unknown is what causes the critical period to end around age 18. The researchers suggest that cultural factors may play a role, but there may also be changes in brain plasticity that occur around that age. While it is typical for children to pick up languages more easily than adults—a phenomenon often seen in families that immigrate to a new country—this trend has been difficult to study in a laboratory setting. Researchers who brought adults and children into a lab, taught them some new elements of language, and then tested them found that adults were actually better at learning under those conditions. Such studies likely do not accurately replicate the process of long-term learning, Hartshorne says. Following people as they learn a language over many years is difficult and time consuming, so the researchers came up with a different approach. They decided to take snapshots of hundreds of thousands of people who were in different stages of learning English. By measuring the grammatical ability of many people of different ages, who
MIT study shows eye movements reveal linguistic fluency
racing the eye movements of people as they read in a second language may be able to create a more accurate assessment of their fluency than many traditional tests, according to researchers the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At last month’s Assn for Computational Linguistics
started learning English at different points in their lives, they could get enough data to come to some meaningful conclusions. Hartshorne’s original estimate was that they needed at least half a million participants—unprecedented for this type of study. Faced with the challenge of attracting so many test subjects, he set out to create a grammar quiz that would be entertaining enough to go viral. Within hours after being posted on Facebook, the ten-minute quiz “Which English?” had gone viral. After taking the quiz, users were asked to reveal their current age and the age at which they began learning English, as well as other information about their language background. “This is a major step forward for the field,” says Mahesh Srinivasan, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, who was not involved in the study. “The study also opens surprising new questions, because it suggests that the critical period closes much later than previously thought.”
conference, Yevgeni Berzak, Boris Katz, and Roger Levy’s paper “Assessing Language Proficiency from Eye Movements in Reading” presented a novel approach for determining learners’ second-language proficiency which utilizes behavioral traces of eye movements during reading. The approach provides stand-alone eye-tracking-based English proficiency scores which reflect the extent to which the learner’s gaze patterns in reading are similar to those of native English speakers. They showed that the scores correlate strongly with standardized tests, and they demonstrated that gaze information can be used to accurately predict the outcomes of such tests. According to the paper, “Our approach yields the strongest performance when the test taker is presented with a suite of sentences for which we have eye-tracking data from other readers. “However, it remains effective even using eye-tracking with sentences for which eye movement data have not been previously collected. By deriving proficiency as an automatic byproduct of eye movements during ordinary reading, our approach offers a potentially valuable new tool for second-language proficiency assessment. “More broadly, our results open the door to future methods for inferring reader characteristics from the behavioral traces of reading.” Download the paper at http://people.csail.mit.edu/berzak/.
This is a free sample of Language Magazine issue "June 2018" Download full version from: Apple App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/i...
Published on Jun 13, 2018
This is a free sample of Language Magazine issue "June 2018" Download full version from: Apple App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/i...