Mrs. Watson's Class
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Gullah Culture

"While Gullah was not originally a written language and has never had a governing authority or dictionary, linguistic scholars have found that the language is internally consistent and in some ways more efficient and expressive than standard English. Elements of the language have seeped into African-American Vernacular English across the country."

 

For the first time in recent memory, the Charleston County School Board is discussing how to address the specific needs of Gullah and Geechee students, children of a culture whose linguistic origins trace back to the west coast of Africa via the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Some teachers have said the students' way of speaking — whether in the heavily West African-influenced Gullah language or in the more Anglicized dialects sometimes known as Geechee — can present an obstacle to understanding in the classroom. Like many Lowcountry Gullah speakers of her generation, the current head of state for the Gullah/Geechee Nation carries painful memories of adults who taught her to hold her family's way of speaking in contempt.

 

Tags: language, culture, race, education, historical.


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The world’s languages, in 7 maps and charts

The world’s languages, in 7 maps and charts | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
How does the U.S. compare to the world in terms of language diversity?
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Geography's curator insight, July 5, 2015 11:11 AM

Pre read discussion: What continent do you think would have the most languages spoken?  What is the most spoken language in the world?  What impact do global languages have on others?

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32 Mispronounced Places

32 Mispronounced Places | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it

"There’s nothing more irritating to a pedant’s ear and nothing more flabbergasting than realizing you’ve been pronouncing the name of so many places wrong, your entire life! Despite the judgment we exhibit toward people who err in enunciating, we all mispronounce a word from time to time, despite our best efforts. Well, now it’s time we can really stop mispronouncing the following places."


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Kristen McDaniel's curator insight, February 20, 2015 11:37 AM

So interesting!  I knew Louisville, only because my husband of almost 18 years is from there and taught me very early in our relationship that it was "Luh-vull".  ha!  

Savannah Rains's curator insight, March 24, 2015 3:14 AM

This fun article is telling people about common places that we butcher the names of. Some of the reasons that we say them wrong is because they are in different languages so we shouldn't be pronouncing everything perfectly. But the ones that we say everyday like Colorado, is because we ALL mispronounce it so it becomes the norm. This article really sheds some light on the way that languages can be misinterpreted or changed because of people.

Claire Law's curator insight, April 26, 2015 2:16 AM

I love discovering I've mispronounced a word, particularly place names. Most of these are in the US but the few international examples are interesting (and the mispronounced variations are perplexing, perhaps we're blessed in Australia with journalists who can pronounce tricky foreign toponyms). I'm surprised Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) and Uluru (NT, Australia) don't make the list.

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Oy Vey: Yiddish Has a Problem

Oy Vey: Yiddish Has a Problem | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
The language is mostly spoken by Orthodox Jews who want to set themselves apart from the modern world. Is there a future for Yiddish in other communities?
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Globalization and English as a lingua Franca present challenges for languages not spoken by large group

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Aidan Lowery's curator insight, March 21, 2016 11:48 AM

unit 3

Globalization and English as a lingua Franca present challenges for languages not spoken by large group

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When Did Peking Become Beijing and Persia Become Iran? We Have the Data

When Did Peking Become Beijing and Persia Become Iran? We Have the Data | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
Where politics and language collide: how place names change over time.
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What is in a name?

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Business Languages In Africa

Business Languages In Africa | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it

"The Main Languages of Business in Africa."


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Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 2015 10:46 PM

This map is a simple but powerful one. Africa is the continent that contains the most nations (53), yet it uses only six languages for business. Not surprisingly, all of the languages (with the exception of Arabic) are European in origin. Clearly, the effects of colonialism are still felt around the world in former colonies. The languages that were forced upon various African countries by their colonizers have endured and become the main languages of business in their respective countries. What is just as unfortunate as the roots of colonialism holding fast, if not more so, is the absence of any indigenous languages being used as the language of business in any of the countries of Africa. While using a business language that is spoken by much of the world is surely a matter of practicality and logistics, it is still robbing African countries of their heritage and culture to some degree.

 

This brings up the issue of globalization and how it is constantly at odds with the preservation of culture and tradition. In order for Africa (or any continent or region or country) to function in the modern world, it must be capable of conducting business in a language that is spoken by its business partners. The ability to do business with virtually any person, company, or country in the world is an obviously invaluable one. At the same time, however, it allows for the subtle and gradual erasure of unique culture and traditions. So while it would be ideal for cultural preservation for countries to conduct business in their indigenous languages, it seems to be a necessary evil for smaller and less influential countries to adopt the languages of their more powerful and influential business partners if they wish to survive in today's world. 

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 29, 2015 4:24 PM

The lingering effects of colonialism, so strongly relevant in every aspect of African ways of life, are perhaps most evident in the "lingua franca" of African nations today. With a multitude of different ethnicities and languages in use in every African nation today, the result of the arbitrarily drawn national borders made by European colonizers, necessitates the use of the one language that's commonly spoken across every independent nation- a European tongue. This system, while a necessity in today's world, is a solution that no one is quite happy with. It reminds Africans of all ages of the power still held by their colonizers over their everyday lives, a stark reminder of the horrors of the previous century at every business meeting and every exchange of goods. This harms the national psyche of each nation, as well as undermining the importance and pride Africans deservedly maintain in their own native languages. European-made borders, however, make it difficult to find another, native language that every ethnic group can agree upon. As a result, the European languages are still in use in Africa, and will most likely still be in use for some time to come. It's a system that no one likes but, for the time being, everyone must accept as reality.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 30, 2015 7:26 AM

This map is a great resource in showing the diversity of language in Africa. Of course, this map discounts the many native African languages. It instead focuses on the language of business in the continent. That language, has been influence by the European colonization of Africa. The chosen language of business is often tied to the colonizer of the region. The diversity of language in Africa is staggering to say the least.  

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Lexical Distance Among the Languages of Europe

Lexical Distance Among the Languages of Europe | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it

  This chart shows the lexical distance — that is, the degree of overall vocabulary divergence — among the major languages of Europe. The size of each circle represents the number of speakers ...

 

And yes, English has its deepest roots in German...the French aspects were tacked on after the Norman Conquest.


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ethanrobert's curator insight, March 19, 2014 10:20 AM

This is a wonderful map that truly shows language families and their roots. In Europe, I was rather surprised when I seen that the Romance branch was much larger than that of the Germanic. All of the ancient Germanic groups such as the Jutes, Angols, and the Saxons were well versed in combat. Considering they conquered much of Western Europe, how is it that the Romance group is bigger than the Germanic? Also, in Eastern Europe, the Albanian language has no reason to exist. In a region dominated by the Slavic group with no environmental barriers, the Albanian language should not exist.~Ethan.

Arya Okten's curator insight, March 27, 2014 10:33 PM

Unit II

Ness Crouch's curator insight, March 28, 2014 8:43 PM

This isn't my normal area of interest but I found this fascinating!

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Cultural Syncretism

Cultural Syncretism | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, December 8, 2013 8:39 AM

I found this image on social media from a great geography teacher (link to his site--looking for APHG group activities?  Try this).  This picture taken at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Memphis, TN shows an intrguing linguistic combination that I had never imagined before.  This is referred to as cultural syncretism, where two or more cultures or cultural traits combine together to make something new.  Globalization and migration are making more cultural combinations than we've ever seen before in this human mosaic we call home.


Tags: language, culture, the South, APHG, religion, landscape.

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, December 11, 2013 12:01 AM

Interesting 


Lauren Sellers's curator insight, May 28, 2014 11:02 PM

This was taken in Memphis, TN. I liked how it mixes the religion with the surrounding culture and dialect, really interesting and shows that people can have the same religion and different backgrounds. 

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Can you speak Esperanto? - CNN.com Video

CNN's Monita Rajpal takes a look at the origins Esperanto and some of the world's most famous Esperantists.
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21 Accents

Here's a little tour of 21 accents in one take. Love the fun challenge of switching between them fluidly. Props to All of these places and their multi-accent...
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Accents from many countries/cities. She is good.

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Where 60 Million People in the U.S. Don't Speak English at Home

Where 60 Million People in the U.S. Don't Speak English at Home | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
The number is on the rise.
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Not All English is the Same

Not All English is the Same | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it

"22 Maps That Show How Americans Speak English Totally Differently From Each Other"


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Lena Minassian's curator insight, January 27, 2015 5:58 PM

This article was actually funny and interesting. You do not really pay attention to the pronunciation of words just because we are surrounded by the same people who say a particular word the same way. Many individuals in the US are in for a culture shock if they leave their respected homes. One word that you have grown up with may be a completely different word in another area. We tend to not focus a lot of attention on the smaller details like this type of grammar and pronunciation so this caught my eye because it was interesting to think about and realize how you say words compared to the rest of the United States.

Louis Mazza's curator insight, January 28, 2015 11:53 AM

to me this is not so shocking but definitely entertaining. i mean between my family their is pronunciation differences. some say tomato others say toma`to right? not all English is the same is a concept that makes perfect sense to me. in other countries such as Italy, a person from the north cannot understand a person from the south because they speak in different dialects. perhaps it has to their with their location, or job types. but it holds true that different parts of a country can speak the same language in different ways. 

Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, April 8, 2015 3:04 PM

I've seen this collection of maps a number of times before, but they are just as interesting and informative every time I look at them. It's really a fun exercise in seeing what phrases you use or how you pronounce certain words as opposed to the rest of the country. As a Rhode Islander, the bubbler/water fountain divide was of particular interest to me. I also found it funny that I have the vaguely Western/Midwestern tendency of calling "rotaries" (or what are traditionally called rotaries in my area), "roundabouts". This is especially curious to me, because I generally tend to think of that term as a British one. Could this possibly mean that a lot of British immigrants settled in the Western/Midwestern United States? Or am I just mistaken and buying into a poorly informed stereotype about British people?

 

Whatever the case, these maps are very informative and say a lot about the linguistic differences that occur even within one country. Now granted, the United States is a large country, so there is bound to be a good amount of variation. But it's still fascinating to me just how much variety there can be. The fact that when traveling, your use or pronunciation of a certain word or phrase can immediately identify you as an out-of-towner is very interesting. This is yet another example of the importance of doing your own research in order to avoid making incorrect assumptions. Just because all of the people within a geographic border may live in the same country, it does not mean that their dialects or colloquialisms are all the same. It does not even necessarily mean that they speak the same language. Different immigrant groups (because almost no country is impervious to immigration) settle in different areas and this ends up contributing (in part) to the different dialects and expressions that one finds within geographic borders. 

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Ancient Eurasiatic ‘superfamily’ found at root of European and Asian languages

Ancient Eurasiatic ‘superfamily’ found at root of European and Asian languages | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it

"Languages spoken by billions of people across Europe and Asia are descended from an ancient tongue uttered in southern Europe at the end of the last ice age, according to research.  The claim, by scientists in Britain, points to a common origin for vocabularies as varied as English and Urdu, Japanese and Itelmen, a language spoken along the north-eastern edge of Russia.  The ancestral language, spoken at least 15,000 years ago, gave rise to seven more that formed an ancient Eurasiatic 'superfamily', the researchers say. These in turn split into languages now spoken all over Eurasia, from Portugal to Siberia."

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Rainey Vause's curator insight, March 26, 10:38 PM

Unit 3: lang.

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Czech Republic poised to change name to 'Czechia'

Czech Republic poised to change name to 'Czechia' | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
The Czech Republic is expected to change its name to "Czechia" to make it easier for companies and sports teams to use it on products and clothing.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 15, 2016 9:12 AM

That sound you hear is cartographers and database managers gasping at the joy and shock of need to updata all their data and maps.  Old maps still show Czechoslovakia, maybe on date in the future someone will be excited to find "The Czech Republic" on the map as much as I was fascinated to discover Hindustan on a 19th century globe. I also enjoyed this quote from the Czech foreign minister: “It is not good if a country does not have clearly defined symbols or if it even does not clearly say what its name is."  

 

Tag: Czechia, languagetoponyms, culture.

Laura Brown's curator insight, April 15, 2016 11:22 AM

Marketing and media are the new gods. Can't imagine the power they have in order to cause a country to change it's name. Not so long ago battles and wars were fought over cultural identity, now it's for sale. 

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Korean language shift causing North-South tension

Korean language shift causing North-South tension | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
The widening divide between North and South Korea’s shared language is leading to confusion, hurt feelings and suspicion.
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Good for the Culture, Political inits 

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Disney's Frozen - "Let It Go" Multi-Language Full Sequence - YouTube

On Digital HD Now and Blu-ray 3/18 disney.com/ownfrozen Get the soundtrack now on iTunes: http://di.sn/sH2 Disney's Frozen is the Golden Globe winner for Bes...
Nancy Watson's insight:

Twenty-five languages in 4 minutes. Great intro or exit to the study of language. Can you identify the family of each language?

 

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The Geography of Language

"Over the course of human history, thousands of languages have developed from what was once a much smaller number. How did we end up with so many? And how do we keep track of them all? Alex Gendler explains how linguists group languages into language families, demonstrating how these linguistic trees give us crucial insights into the past."


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Woodstock School's curator insight, June 4, 2014 6:05 AM

A good teaching tool for explaining the diversity of languages.

Adilson Camacho's curator insight, June 12, 2014 9:38 PM

Geografia Cultural

Chris Plummer's curator insight, January 11, 2015 11:46 PM

Summary- This video explains how so many languages came to be and why. By the early existence of human there was a such smaller variety of languages. Tribes that spoke one language would often split in search of new recourses. Searching tribe would develop in many new different ways than the original tribe. new foods, land, and other elements created a radically different language than the original. 

 

Insight- In unit 3 we study language as a big element of out chapter. One key question in chapter 6 was why are languages distributed the way they are. It is obvious from the video that languages are distributed they way they are is because of the breaking up from people which forced people to develop differently thus creating a different language. As this process continues, there become more and more branches of a language family.  

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The English empire

The English empire | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
YANG YUANQING, Lenovo’s boss, hardly spoke a word of English until he was about 40: he grew up in rural poverty and read engineering at university. But when Lenovo...
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The spread of English as the lingua franca of business

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Gambia president rejects English language

Gambia president rejects English language | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
President's decision to shift official language from English to local language comes months after its decision to withdraw from the Commonwealth

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Nicole Kearsch's curator insight, November 3, 2014 1:25 PM

Gambia does not want the English language to be the official language that is spoken anymore.  Noting that it reflects the UK and they don't believe that they and the UK have much in common especially on the platform of human rights.  Cutting the English language as the official language continues to cut ties with the UK.  One of the problems with this is if there are multiple local languages spoken in Gambia which one are they going to choose as the official language.  With this more problems are presented, those that do not know the local language that is chosen to be official will have to learn the new language quickly if they want to have any idea as to what is going on in their own country.

Kendra King's curator insight, March 15, 2015 6:32 PM

The president’s reaction is more than understandable. His country is in the midst of trying to heal after de-colonization. His actions show he is trying to cut out the west altogether. It is an extreme move, but if done correctly it could give the country a chance to start over to develop their own culture again. I think having a more local language could have the potential to unite the country. However, given the many dialects spoken in a typical African country, I do wonder what language will actually be chosen. If anything, there might have to be a few official languages so as to keep the peace among the population. Furthermore, English will still need to be learned. As much as Gambia may resent the United States or the UK those countries are too dominant. As such, the nation will have to do business with them or one of the many other countries that speak English. When this happens, English will be the expected language and not an African dialect because Africa doesn’t have the power to really negotiate its terms. Therefore, I think all this will end up being is a symbolic stand as the world is far to interconnected for Gambia to truly cut off ties with the western world permanently.  

 

I can also see where the president is coming from in regards to the human right’s issues as well. I am in no way condoning the countries handling of domestic affairs. I think a firing squad is outdated to say the least. However, being talked down to by a country who egregiously violated the population without ever really making amends is insulting. Furthermore, being reliant on their money is probably insufferable. I would say the country might need the money, but given how aid is improperly implemented in most foreign countries I don’t even think cutting them off matters much. Still, one might think that after experiencing such social injustice the leader would be a little more compassionate to its people. 

Aidan Lowery's curator insight, March 21, 2016 8:46 PM
unit 3
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How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk

How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
What does the way you speak say about where you’re from? Answer the questions to see your personal dialect map.
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Twenty-five question survey on regional dialects

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(Serbo-)Croatian: A Tale of Two Languages

(Serbo-)Croatian: A Tale of Two Languages | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it

"What language is spoken in Croatia? Croatian is now the 24th official language of the European Union, but there are disagreements about whether it’s a distinct language or just a slightly different dialect of Serbian. Serbian nationalists believe that everyone shares the same language, “Serbian”. But many Croats persist in making their national language as distinct from Serbian as possible. Listeners will discover how politics is intruding on language, and how it is changing the map of linguistic patterns in unexpected ways."

 

Tags: language, Croatia, political, podcast, Maps 101.


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CCRES's comment, November 6, 2013 4:06 AM
Baška tablet , Croatian: Bašćanska ploča, pronounced is one of the first monuments containing an inscription in the Croatian recension of the Church Slavonic language, dating from the year 1100.
Tracy Galvin's curator insight, May 1, 2014 3:03 PM

This part of the world has been so mixed up for so long. Each country wants their own identity, language and name but the borders are continually changing. Although these fights seem petty to me (an American) I am sure they mean quite a bit to the people living in these areas. National identity is very important to humans in general. Where we come from is the basis of who we are.

Jess Deady's curator insight, May 4, 2014 9:51 AM

Languages are sometimes a mystery to countries but mostly has to do with who's occupying these countries and where the countries are located.  Croatia is only a few countries away from Serbia so the fact that the language they speak may/not be close to Serbian is no surprise. Migration and other factors contribute to the language developed in specific countries.

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Regional slang words | Geography Education

Regional slang words | Geography Education | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
How many of these 107 regional slang words do you use? This week on Mental Floss' YouTube information session, author and vlogger John Green explains 107 slang words specific to certain regions.
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Fun Tour of American Accents | Amy Walker

A Fun tour of American Accents. How To Do an American Accent - Bonus! You Did It! Well done. :-) Bonus from a FUN, in-depth, private tutorial series with acc...
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Great look at American Accents by region

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Marianne Riddile's curator insight, February 14, 2014 7:46 AM

Motorhomers not only travel to a variety of locations around the country but they get to meet a wide variety of people from various locales. You will recognize these various accents and it might be fun to locate the tutorials she mentions on YouTube.

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Do Geography and Altitude Shape the Sounds of a Language?

Do Geography and Altitude Shape the Sounds of a Language? | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
Languages that evolve at high elevations are more likely to include a sound that's easier to make when the air is thinner, new research shows (Do geography and altitude shape the sounds of a language?
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American English Dialects

American English Dialects | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it

There are 8 major English dialect areas in North America, presented on the map. These are shown in blue, each with its number, on the map and in the Dialect Description Chart below, and are also outlined with blue lines on the map.  The many subdialects are shown in red on the map and in the chart, and are outlined with red lines on the map. All of these are listed in the margins of the map as well.


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Ms. Harrington's curator insight, May 22, 2013 12:16 PM

Very cool map with links to video/audio of the local dialect.

Leslie Creath's curator insight, May 27, 2013 1:41 PM

This is fascinating to me

Alex Smiga's curator insight, November 15, 2015 11:47 AM

Looky thurrr

 

Funky American English dialects