Here's a comparison of some of the sections of the site over the last year. As always, thanks to everyone who has contributed so much.
Here's a comparison of some of the sections of the site now with 2007, the last time this sort of overview was done. As always, thanks to everyone who has contributed so much.
At TEDxRainier, Patricia Kuhl shares astonishing findings about how babies learn one language over another -- by listening to the humans around them and "taking statistics" on the sounds they need to know. Clever lab experiments (and brain scans) show how 6-month-old babies use sophisticated reasoning to understand their world.
For my first blog post this year I thought I'd provide you with a couple of light-hearted and entertaining looks at the English language. The first shows you just how confusing the language can sometimes be, whilst the second demonstrates why some suggest that English spelling should be reformed.
Things have been quiet in some areas of the site of late and we haven't added many new items. Sadly, work has been squatting on our lives and eating into time normally spent updating the site.
In this video, Noam Chomsky talks about language at Google as part of the Authors@Google series.
In this question and answer session he discusses a number of topics, but the first is about universal grammar in which he provides an in-depth description of how his ideas on universal grammar have evolved over time.
Another interesting question he answers at the end of the session relates to the effect of email, instant messaging and the like on syntax and grammar (TXT Speak). Hear Chomsky's views on whether this is just a natural part of the evolution of language and how it's affecting our minds.
An Illinois, non-profit organisation called Innovations for Learning has released a handheld cosole, like a Game Boy or Nintendo DS designed for education and targeted at kindergarten and elementary students. Despite its simplicity and lack of software, this device has a lot of potential for English language education.
I recently watched an inspiring talk given as part of the TED 2008 conference by Dave Eggers, a philanthropist and teacher-at-large (as they describe him). The talk shows ways in which dedicated one-to-one teaching can be provided to pupils who would not normally have access to this sort of personal tuition. What's more, the students seem to lap it up.
The successful and growing network of professionals volunteering their time to shine their light on local students of all ages is only part of the story. His novel approach to teaching and the way he makes learning fun should be an inspiration to all of us.
As Time puts it: "Many writers, having written a first best-seller, might see it as a nice way to start a career. He started a movement instead."
Since the end of 2004, we have recorded how many entries we have in some of the sections of our site, which means that we can see how much new content we have created since then.
In 2007, we put the Language Articles and PDF Lesson Plans into databases and currently have 26, 31 and 116 entries respectively. These sections are growing fast as we have an additional contributor, Alex Case, who has been adding a lot, which we're very grateful for. There are a further 14 articles in the Members' Area.
In 2007, traffic continued to grow fast, so thank you to all of you for using the site. We hope that 2008 will see many improvements and additions.
We have added a number of lessons for different levels and articles about Christmas and how it can be taught and used in the classroom. There will be more to follow in the next few days, so please check the What's New page for updates.