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IELTS, ESP and CALL
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NYTimes Video: City of Endangered Languages

NYTimes Video: City of Endangered Languages | IELTS, ESP and CALL | Scoop.it
New York has long been a city of immigrants, but linguists now consider it a laboratory for studying and preserving languages in rapid decline elsewhere in the world.

 

This is an excellent video for showing the diffusion of languages in the era of migration to major urban centers.  It also shows the factors that lead to the decline of indigenous languages that are on the fringe of the global economy and the importance of language to cultural traditions.   Article related to the video available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/29/nyregion/29lost.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1317132029-I36HNrdg4+dXkbgUQXnK6w


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Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, January 29, 7:25 AM

This article and video were very interesting.  They point out how a city full of immigrants can help preserver a dying language.  The work being done to learn about and preserve these obscure languages is great.  The fact that in New York you will hear language spoken more there than in their home country is astounding to me and very interesting.  This fact is key to preserving these language as they are from areas of the world were the technology level is much lower and less likely to be preserved.  It is also interesting as it shows where people are coming from to live in NY.  The city draws immigrants like a sponge draws in water and this adds to the cultural mosaic that is NY city.

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Linguistic diversity dwindling

Linguistic diversity dwindling | IELTS, ESP and CALL | Scoop.it

"80% of all web communication is in ten languages, yet 95% of humanity speaks roughly 300 languages.  Could Apple Siri and Google Voice help save the world's languages?"

 

This graph stunningly displays the result of dwindling linguistic diversity in this era of globalization and technological innovation.  Why have so many languages been dwindling?  Why are an important few growing? What is the future of the majority of the world's languages that have so few native speakers?   


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GIS student's comment, September 18, 2012 7:57 AM
I think there is a lot of emphasis in this article based on help. The only way certain languages are going to survive is if people help promote them. I feel that most Americans are blind to the substantial amount of languages that exist because everywhere we look people are tuning English as there primary language. Global advertisements are commonly seen in English. The Olympics had an incredible amount as well. I think the root of this problem starts with education of new languages, especially in America. Language is definitely something that needs to be embraced especially at a younger age.
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How language transformed humanity

TED Talks Biologist Mark Pagel shares an intriguing theory about why humans evolved our complex system of language.

 

Why is language such a critical component to human cultures and the technologies that we have created?  Why did linguistic diversity exist in great abundance 500 years ago but is now increasingly shrinking?  What is the future geography of languages on Earth going to look like? 


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Cynthia Williams's curator insight, July 19, 2013 9:27 AM

And if we did choose one language that would be the world standard what would it be?  I would guess that the Western cultures would demand English.  But why should English be the standard?

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Hawaii Pidgin The Voice of Hawaii


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The Endangered Languages Project

The Endangered Languages Project is a website for people to find and share the most up-to-date and comprehensive information about the over 3,000 endangered ...

 

This short video is a great primer for understanding the importance of linguistic diversity.  Why the loss of linguistic diversity (a global phenomenon) related to other themes  on geography, such as political and economic autonomy for minority groups?  Why are so many languages vanishing today?  What forces are creating these emerging cultural patterns?  For more on the project, see: http://www.endangeredlanguages.com/


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Matt Nardone's comment, September 2, 2012 12:52 PM
I learned a lot from this video/article. I can not believe out of 7000 languages today only about half will survive by the new century. I never thought of language loss as a result of injustice and oppression of a culture. I think that it is very interesting that to save a language means to restore a cultures ideals, ideology, and norms. I think that it is pretty cool Google is trying to help perserve some of the languages that may be fading. It is neat to think that one of the largest social media/communication companies has a great interest not in a universal language BUT a great interest in maintaining differences and uniquenesses about languages.
Adrian Francisco's comment, September 3, 2012 8:04 AM
I like this project and how it preserves languages that are about to die. It's not good when a language dies because there might be some information written in the language and in the future when we look at books we would not know what it is saying.
Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, November 29, 2013 8:59 AM

This is a great website in which everyone should look at because it shows how everyone can come together and help preserve all these languages we all hear today. Day by day languages are becoming extinct because they are speaking English one of the most spoken languages in the world and everyone speaks it or speaks little of it that people can understand. More languages are becoming extinct day by day.

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Indo-European Languages Originated in Anatolia, Biologists Say

Indo-European Languages Originated in Anatolia, Biologists Say | IELTS, ESP and CALL | Scoop.it
Evolutionary biologists say the first speakers of what would become the Indo-European languages were probably farmers in what is now Turkey — a conclusion that differs by hundreds of miles and thousands of years from a longstanding linguistic theory.

 

This research potentially can explain much about the geography of languages and the distribution of cultural groups in Eurasia. 

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Kampe Kyle's curator insight, May 27, 8:33 PM

In AP Human Geo., this relates to the concept of language, language diffusion, and philological history, as it dates all of the languages of Europe back to a unified whole in the past wherein one language in Anatolia sparked all these other languages to eventually take hold.

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Mapping Language: Limited English Proficiency in America

Mapping Language: Limited English Proficiency in America | IELTS, ESP and CALL | Scoop.it
Although English is America’s common tongue, immigrants’ efforts to learn it present challenges to institutions and individuals alike. These graphics compare regions, schools, and communities where newcomers have settled to learn and integrate.

 

The interactive map feature of language and the accompanying spatial patterns reveal much about the major migrational patterns in the United States.

 

Tags: Migration, USA, statistics, language, immigration, unit 2 population.


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Language on Twitter

Language on Twitter | IELTS, ESP and CALL | Scoop.it
API Cartographer Eric Fischer plots language shapefiles of Twitter.

 

Some other images show how social media cuts across place, time and culture and communications have 'defeated' geography to unite the world.  This image (besides looking pretty) shows that culture and place still matter within our increasingly interconnected globalized communications.  There are some very real creating obstacles to diffusion and even if the technology exists for "one huge conversation," there are non-intersecting conversations because of cultural and community differences. 


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English Pronunciation

English Pronunciation | IELTS, ESP and CALL | Scoop.it

"If you can pronounce correctly every word in this poem, you will be speaking English better than 90% of the native English speakers in the world.

After trying the verses, a Frenchman said he’d prefer six months of hard labour to reading six lines aloud."

 

This is the darndest poem and shows how truly complex English pronounciation really is (while also showing how spatially contingent the very idea of 'correct pronunciation' actually can be). 


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21 Regionally Distinct Accents


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

Votes and Vowels: A Changing Accent Shows How Language Parallels Politics | IELTS, ESP and CALL | Scoop.it

"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.

 

"Labov suggests that it’s these deep-seated political disagreements that create an invisible borderline barring the encroachment of Northern Cities Vowels. When he looked at the relationship between voting patterns by county over the last three Presidential elections and the degree to which speakers in these counties shifted their vowels, he found a tight correlation between the two. And the states that have participated in the vowel shift have also tended to resist implementing the death penalty.

 

"Social identities are complex, and can be defined along a number of different dimensions like class, race, or ethnicity. Not everyone feels that politics are a part of their core identity. But I suspect that political ideology may become an anchor for accents to the extent that large social groups collectively identify themselves by their political beliefs. According to Bill Bishop, author of The Big Sort, this is happening more and more as Americans voluntarily cluster themselves into homogenous, politically like-minded communities."


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Five of Asia's Most Endangered Languages

Five of Asia's Most Endangered Languages | IELTS, ESP and CALL | Scoop.it
Meet the "hairy Ainu" of Japan, Taiwan's Saaroa, the Kusunda of Nepal, the last Manchus and the Jarawa of India's Andaman Islands.

 

The rapid spread of  Mandarin, English, Spanish, Hindi-Urdu and Arabic as the 5 largest languages (most native speakers) is connected to the spread of globalization and the cultural aspects of that phenomenon.  These 5 declining languages represent the flip side of those cultural patterns.  


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Linguistic Geography: My Fair Lady

This is a most decidedly dated reference for pop culture, but a great movie for making explicit the idea that the way we speak is connected to where we've lived (also a good clip to show class differences as well as gender norms). The clip highlights many principles and patterns for understanding the geography of languages.

 

Tags: Language, class, gender, culture, historical, London, unit 3 culture and place.


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João Carreira's comment, September 4, 2012 10:24 AM
...Even as portuguese, I apreceated it very much. Thank you.
Don Brown Jr's comment, September 6, 2012 6:30 AM
This movie clip does demonstrate how language is connected not only to space and location but individual or group experiences as well. The languages used by the upper and lower orders in addressing each other or an “outsider” are very distinct within this film. Therefore if you’re socioeconomic status effects the way you speak then perhaps the type of langue you use can indicate what different social groups within a society consider comical or entertaining such as dance and music?
Jess Pitrone's comment, April 29, 2013 6:18 PM
My Fair Lady has always been one of my favorite movies, and it really sparked my interest in linguistics and accents. Not only does your accent define where you’re from physically, but it defines where you’re from socially, as well. While Eliza Doolittle is from the same country, region, and city as Prof Higgins and the people coming out of the theater, she sounds completely different. Right away, her speech gives away what kind of social background she comes from.
Similarly to the “When did Americans lose their British accents?” article, this article helps relay how accents can help define a physical area, and it also shows a connection between accent and economics. Accent is both a cultural and an economic part of geography.