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Afghan Troops Get a Lesson in American Cultural Ignorance

Afghan Troops Get a Lesson in American Cultural Ignorance | IELTS, ESP, EAP and CALL | Scoop.it
Afghan troops are told that insulting behavior by Americans is an oversight, not a slight.

 

Cross-cultural interactions can be beautiful when immersed into a new cultural setting and the visitor learns to appreciate it.  Unfortunately, it can often lead to clumsy missteps that are born out of ignorance of a new guiding set of cultural norms.  Some missteps can lead to great laughter while others can be gravely insulting.  The United States military seeks to train U.S. soldiers about Afghan customs, but they are trying a new tactic as well to minimize these issues.  The U.S. military has prepared a cultural guide to teach the Afghan soldier that they work with about the curious customs that are part of social interaction in the United States but not considered offensive. 

 

Tags: culture, war, unit 3 culture, conflict.


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Charles Matley's comment, October 1, 2012 11:31 AM
Shows that the United States could use a higher quality education.
Rich's comment, October 3, 2012 1:28 PM
We could have used an idea like this quite a long time ago. The cultural bridges have already been burnt to the ground.
Kendra King's curator insight, February 27, 7:18 PM

I think the comparison to Vietnam at the start of the article shows just how little our culture learned last time. During the Kennedy administration, troops were given "guides" to inform them about the area as the article suggests. However, this "hearts and minds" strategy was a huge failure. So, what does the United States do? Send the army to a forghien country again  with "recommended readings" and superfine "video games." As a result, some are so offended they are killing American fighters. While I might think this a bit extreme, the US also came in the country in an welcomed manner to begin with. Furthermore, the west (overall) consistently looks down upon Middle East culture. Belittling a culture will eventually anger the people. It is common sense that is consistently overlooked. 

 

Something clearly needs to be done and while I think this strategy might not have immediate short term results, the military should continue on with the plan regardless. Currently, the tensions in the country are incredibly high. Clearly, what ever efforts the US put towards working with Afghanistan citizens came of as insincere. As such, people might just look at American's new attempt to work with them as a disingenuous effort. Furthermore, they might think calling it "ignorance," is just excusing Americans' actions. In the long term though, if done correctly, soldier's might actually learn to be more empathetic of the culture and more genuine so that the Afagni's might actually realize it all is just a "big misunderstanding" (there is a significant culture gap that will take time to learn) and not just laziness on the part of American's.    

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NYTimes Video: City of Endangered Languages

NYTimes Video: City of Endangered Languages | IELTS, ESP, EAP 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, 2014 10:25 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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Language on Twitter

Language on Twitter | IELTS, ESP, EAP 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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Emily Bian's curator insight, October 3, 2014 5:13 PM

This is a thematic map showing the different languages spoken on Twitter in Europe. This Europe thematic is really neat to look at, but it also shows globalization in that Twitter is everywhere, and people are more connected because of it. This increases interactions between people living in different countries, and even different continents. 

            3) language and communication

This will help future APHUG students, because Twitter is relatable to a lot of teens and it will open their eyes to the different languages spoken across Europe and the world, and it's not just English. It connects them to the rest of the world. 

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LEARN

"3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles, an exploding volcano, 2 cameras and almost a terabyte of footage." 

This video beautifully encapsulates the spirit of a globalized educational experience and the value of geographic understanding in an ever-interconnected world.   Geography is about broadening our minds to other places, other cultures and other ways of doing things.  In a three part series including 'Eat' and 'Move.' 


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Lisa Fonseca's comment, November 27, 2011 10:04 PM
I agree completely with geography is about broadening our minds to other places, other cultures, and other ways of doing things. You need to be apart of other cultures, and other country norms in order to truly respect them and learn about them. Overall you need to explore other places, and cultures with all your five senses. You need to be able to see the beauty of the place, taste the foods of the culture, listen to the sounds arounds you, smell the the distinctive scents, and touch and feel the concrete piece of land.
Seth Dixon's comment, November 29, 2011 5:49 PM
I'm a sucker for these video clips since they embody the joy of experiencing the new and the different.
Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, November 29, 2013 12:30 PM

This is great because it shows people are round the world what great people and cultures are available for people to explore. It also shows that great spirit that people are exposed to. It also shows that people are outgoing and do not let nothing bring them down.

 

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Interactive Sistine Chapel

Interactive Sistine Chapel | IELTS, ESP, EAP and CALL | Scoop.it

One of the amazing memories of my trip to Europe was visiting the Vatican and developing a kink in my neck from marveling at the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.  No photography is allowed to preserve reverence in what many consider not only a cultural heritage site, but a holy site.  This link is the next best thing to being in the Vatican staring at the Sistine Chapel.  We might not be able to travel the world with our students, but this can help us bring the world to our classroom.


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Cam E's curator insight, February 27, 2014 10:50 AM

This is a very cool opportunity due to the fact that photography isn't usually allowed in the Sistine chapel. Of course it can't compare to the beauty of the place in person, but in some ways it's almost more powerful as this room is usually filled to the brim with tourists, seeing it empty is a bit more striking as you can appreciate the fool instead of missing it in the crowds of people.

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Belize: A Spanish Accent in an English-Speaking Country

Belize: A Spanish Accent in an English-Speaking Country | IELTS, ESP, EAP and CALL | Scoop.it
BELIZE has long been a country of immigrants. British timber-cutters imported African slaves in the 18th century, and in the 1840s Mexican Mayans fled a civil war.

 

Belize has a much higher Human Development Index ranking that its Central American neighbors such as Guatemala.  That fact alone makes Belize a likely destination for migrants.  Given that Belize was 'British Honduras' during colonial times, English is (still) the official language, but that is changing as increasingly Spanish-speaking immigrants are changing the cultural profile of Belize.        


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Rachel Phillips's curator insight, February 12, 6:05 PM

As an American, I've never really thought about immigration to places other than the U.S., but this really opened my eyes.  It's a bad situation.  These people need their jobs, and need the money, but the immigrants are scooping all of that up.  Immigration is such a large occurrence that the language spoken in Belize is actually changing.  It's gone so far that politicians are pitching in to help immigrants just to help themselves.  In a way, it's absurd, and shocking, at least to me, that the government is just welcoming this while the citizens seem to be so against it.

Kendra King's curator insight, April 14, 11:40 PM

Belize is becoming more Spanish speaking due to their influx of migrant immigrants. According to the article, “Belize now has more native speakers of Spanish than of English.” As such, knowing how to speak two languages is a huge benefit to those working in the service sector. Given that this sector is one that both migrants and natives partake in, it makes sense. Thus, making Spanish classes mandatory for the native non-migrants is actually a smart economic move that ensures the students will come out with practical skills. It may seem odd that English is still the primary language taught in school given the importance of Spanish, but it isn't. My guess is that most of the migrant Spanish speaking workers are not in school . The article mentioned most of the migrants are moving into rural areas where they work in the the fruit fields. Such jobs do not requite a lot of education. So without the Spanish speaking population present in the school system, there isn't much of a reason to change the primary language of the school. Therefore, adding Spanish as a class is the best move given the populations needs.  


Conversely, the ethnic relations in the country is something I do not full grasp. The author's insured the relationship between members of different ethnic groups are “generally good.” However, I would have liked more concrete proof of this assurance.  To me the evidence the author provided could just end up causing more tensions. For the author assured the groups were getting along   because politicians weren't divided on ethnic lines and as such were giving free land to new migrants. The land wasn't going to the other members of the population because it is not in their character to ask. While it might not be in there character to ask for help, they could resent others actually taking the help. Especially if this gives an economic advantage. Now I could be wrong, but in countries where the minority challenge the majority things get unpleasant as discussed in class when looking at Europe and the Untied States. Given the developmental differences of these regions, the comparison may be inaccurate. However, until I hear more about how the groups actually feel towards each other, I am going to remain critical of the author's statement that all is good.   

Rachel Phillips's curator insight, April 16, 4:26 PM

I find it really interesting that so many immigrants are so welcomed by politicians, who actually pay immigration fees just to gain votes.  It's also intriguing that politicians "give away" land, and that so many people are moving away from cities, while the rest of Central America is moving into the cities. this is kind of an odd tactic, atleast from the view point of an America, because if an American politician did these things for immigrants, most Americans wold absolutely refuse to vote for them.  However the issue of immigration and locals being "too proud" to get governmental help, whereas immigrants will "stand in line", seems to fall right into place with how many view immigration in America, so it's relatable.

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Five of Asia's Most Endangered Languages

Five of Asia's Most Endangered Languages | IELTS, ESP, EAP 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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Infographic: Life on Less Than $2 a Day

Infographic: Life on Less Than $2 a Day | IELTS, ESP, EAP and CALL | Scoop.it
A global snapshot of the cost of survival in several developing nations...

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Daily Life in Afghanistan

Daily Life in Afghanistan | IELTS, ESP, EAP and CALL | Scoop.it
We tend to look at Afghanistan through the lens of conflict, with good reason. Deaths of American forces recently reached 2000 in the 11 years since US involvement in the country began.

 

Yes, Afghanistan is a war-ravaged country; but it is also a place that families call home and where children play.  This photo essay is a nice glimpse into ordinary lives in Central Asia.

 

Tags: Afghanistan, images, culture, Central Asia. 


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Shanelle Zaino's curator insight, October 22, 2014 1:35 PM

These images of everyday life speak to what we don't know about this country.As Americans we often think of only the bad that could be taking place and do not think that there are people living normal lives here.Work,play,prayer things we do here in the United States are also being done in Afghanistan. I think we need to stop seeing people from different countries as so polar to our country. Basically we are all humans and we are all the same.

Edelin Espino's curator insight, December 13, 2014 3:04 PM

In this photo essay you will see many pictures of the normal lives of afghan people. There is one of two young boys riding a donkey and one about a boxing wearing his best suit after hi won a fight the last night. He wanted to show his friends how happy he felt.

 

Good post.

Jason Schneider's curator insight, March 3, 1:09 PM

It appears that Afghanistan has a poor economy. It's lifestyle is definitely different from the way we live in the United States. The buildings are not as well-developed as the buildings in New York City and Chicago. Also, Afghanistan seems to lack cleanliness which allows diseases to spread throughout the country, and perhaps throughout small parts of other countries that border it.

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The Evolution of Western Dance Music

The Evolution of Western Dance Music | IELTS, ESP, EAP and CALL | Scoop.it

"An Interactive Graphic Showing The Evolution of Western Dance Music Over The Last 100 Years in Under 20 seconds..."

 

Excellent visualization of diffusion as well as cultural syncretism in the pop cultures affiliated with globalization.  


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Seth Dixon's comment, November 4, 2011 4:36 PM
Thanks to one of my favorite people at my table at the APHG reading in Cincy for posting this link on FB.
Lisa Fonseca's comment, November 8, 2011 10:12 PM
This is a great visual to demonstrate the connection between cultures. We are such a diverse society and I think it is very important to be interconnected with other cultures and be aware of them. Looking at that visual it demonstrates with each year going by more and more pop culture gets connected with other countries.
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UNESCO World Heritage sites

UNESCO World Heritage sites | IELTS, ESP, EAP and CALL | Scoop.it

"Combines information from UNESCO, Google Earth and Wikipedia to deliver visual and written information on over 900 World Hertitage sites." 

An excellent resource for student projects. 


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Linguistic diversity dwindling

Linguistic diversity dwindling | IELTS, ESP, EAP 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 10:57 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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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 3:52 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 11:04 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 11:59 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, EAP 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, 2014 11:33 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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Shake the Dust

This trailer for the documentary 'Shake the Dust' shows the globalization of youth culture and the diffusion of the creative art known as break dancing. This film challenges its developed-world viewers to reconceptualize how they perceive the lives of people living in the developing world as more than just poverty and misery, but to see the humanity and joy. In this 12 minute clip, you'll see portrayals of teenagers in Uganda and Yemen who are a part of cultural institutions and can be agents for change within their society and even political forces.  For more information about the documentary, visit: http://www.shakethedust.org


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