english as a second language

Practice with Pronouns is a site that lets you practise subject, object, possessive, and reflexive forms of English third person pronouns. It comes with a few of the most common options, but you can also fill in whatever pronouns you like. Useful for both English learners and people wanting to practise using nonbinary pronouns.  

As if it couldn’t get any more delightful, it often uses quotes from Welcome to Night Vale in the practice sentences, which is definitely far more entertaining than See Spot Run. The feedback sentences are also very cute. 

(Hm, I’m pretty sure the second blank in that screenshot should have said “xyr”, in retrospect.)

The stigma of immigrant languages.

By Calvin N. Ho, PhD

As an undergraduate majoring in linguistics, I was fascinated with the concept of endangered languages. Colonization, genocide, globalization, and nation-building projects have killed off untold numbers of languages. As linguist K. David Harrison (my undergrad advisor) tells NPR, speakers of stigmatized or otherwise less-favored languages are pressured to abandon their native tongue for the dominant language of the nation and the market (emphasis mine):

The decision to give up one language or to abandon a language is not usually a free decision. It’s often coerced by politics, by market forces, by the educational system in a country, by a larger, more dominant group telling them that their language is backwards and obsolete and worthless.

These same pressures are at work in immigrant-receiving countries like the United States, where young immigrants and children of immigrants are quickly abandoning their parents’ language in favor of English.

Immigrant languages in the United States generally do not survive beyond the second generation. In his study of European immigrants, Fishman (1965) found that the first generation uses the heritage language fluently and in all domains, while the second generation only speaks it with the first generation at home and in limited outside contexts. As English is now the language with which they are most comfortable, members of the second generation tend to speak English to their children, and their children have extremely limited abilities in their heritage language, if any. Later studies (López 1996 and Portes and Schauffler 1996 among them) have shown this three-generation trend in children of Latin American and Asian immigrants, as well.

The languages that most immigrants to the U.S. speak are hardly endangered. A second-generation Korean American might not speak Korean well, and will not be speaking that language to her children, but Korean is not going to disappear anytime soon — there are 66.3 million speakers (Ethnologue)! Compare that with the Chulym language of Siberia, which has less than 25.

Even if they’re not endangered per se, I would argue that they are in danger. While attitudes towards non-English languages in the U.S. seem to be improving, at least among wealthier and better educated people in some more diverse cities and suburbs, the stigma of speaking a non-English language still exists.

How many of you have:

  • been embarrassed to speak your heritage language in front of English speakers?
  • been reprimanded for speaking your heritage language in school?
  • been told to “go back to [country X]” when someone overhears you speak your heritage language?

I’ve heard innumerable stories about parents refusing to speak their native language to their children. Usually, the purported rationale is that they do not want the child to have language or learning difficulties, a claim that has been debunked over and over again by psychologists, linguists, and education scholars.

I’m sure that these parents truly believe that speaking only English to their children will give them an edge, though the reverse is true. What I wonder is how much this decision had to do with an unfounded belief about cognition and child development, and how much it had to do with avoiding the stigma of speaking a language that marks you as foreign, and as “backwards and obsolete and worthless”?

Calvin N. Ho is a graduate student in sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles studying immigration, race/ethnicity/nationalism, and Asian diasporas.  You can follow him at The Plaid Bag Connection and on Twitter.

My mother is an American girl, even if she is born in Laos and grew up selling soda and papaya salad in the refugee camps.  America touched her life.  Her oldest brothers fiought under General Vang Pao and the Secret Guerilla Units.  Some of her brother taught English in the Ban Vinai Refugee Camp.  She knew America even before she immigrated to Manitowac, Wisconsin in December of 1979.  While she went to school in a small all-white town, her ESL teachers projected their voices to the students of Hmong descendants, as if they were deaf.  From this experience, my mother has now been serving the Milwaukee Public Schools as an English as a Second Language instructor. My mom applied to over 30+ teaching jobs. She sought position in Wausau/Eau Claire/Madison/Sheboygan School districts, all were predominantly White. She got rejected because her employers did not want a “broken English” instructor. No matter how well she taught and that language is not one type, they declined her. She never gave up. One factor for her career was because other womyn of color in the ESL department of MPS fought for affirmative action, mom was hired. And to this day, mom shares her struggles for survival. Her face lights up when she meets her former students and their families anywhere. Her life warms up when students and their families welcome her to their celebrations. Most of her students say they would like to become teachers someday. This is why mom won’t retire even after she has retired. She’ll continue to teach and learn. - Jackie

         Pride and Prejudice English Vocab, Chapter 1

Originally posted by cherrybomb2416

Verbs:

To acknowledge 

Show that one has noticed or recognized (someone) by making a gesture or greeting. OR

To accept the validity or legitimacy of

To object

Say something to express one’s disapproval of or disagreement with something

To settle

Resolve or reach an agreement about (an argument or problem)

Adopt a more steady or secure style of life, especially in a permanent job and home

To flatter

Make (someone) feel honored and pleased

To establish

Set up (an organization, system, or set of rules) on a firm or permanent basis

Introduce (a character, set, or location) into a film or play and allow its identification

To desire

Strongly wish for or want (something)

To vex 

Make (someone) feel annoyed, frustrated, or worried, especially with trivial matters

Nouns:

Estate

An area or amount of land or property, in particular.

All the money and property owned by a particular person, especially at death

Caprice

A sudden and unaccountable change of mood or behavior

Discontent (noun or adjective)

Lack of contentment; dissatisfaction with one’s circumstances

Solace

Comfort or consolation in a time of distress or sadness

Adjectives:

Scrupulous

diligent, thorough, and extremely attentive to details

Let me know if this is something you’d want me to keep doing! I made it mostly to help non-natives, but it could be for natives as well. 

Do not make fun of the way an idol speaks English.

Do not make fun of the way an idol speaks English.

Do not make fun of the way an idol speaks English.

Seriously, I don’t give a shit if “English is your third language and you still make mistakes so it’s no big deal” YOU SHOULD FUCKING UNDERSTAND, STOP FUCKING DOING IT.

IT’S NOT ME BEING BUTTHURT, IT’S YOU BEING AN ASSHOLE.


Seriously, I thought we were over those stupid “loof is on fire” jokes

‘You’re studying linguistics? What are you going to do with that?’

I keep getting the question every linguist hates, so I’ll answer it here and put it on my ‘Important posts’ page on my Tumblog:

What I personally plan to do with my linguistics studies is continue to study teaching English as a second language and go teach it in Japan, maybe elsewhere after that, and maybe some other languages as well, because learning linguistics eases up that process tremendously, and most likely do translation work and independent research (probably about second language acquisition) as well.

Other people study it with the aim of going primarily into research or work on computational linguistics, i.e. projects like search engines, automatic translation, voice recognition, &c. A very small number of people will go on to do forensic linguistics, develop constructed languages for films, books, &c., or other things.