Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Shouting Fire and Freedom of Speech

Language Rights

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Topics for Letter to the Editor Task

We have discussed so far a variety of issues. What you need to do is to look at these issues and choose one that interests you the most. Then go to either China Post or Taipei times and read/choose a related news item that was published on their paper.

Compose your letter to the editor following the guidelines I gave, and send your letter to the editor via email (see links below). When you send your letter (to the Editor) do not include your student number nor indicate that it is an assignment. You need to present your work as a letter coming from a concerned Taiwanese citizen who has something relevant to say/comment on.

Before you compose your letter, study the already published letters, and analyze their format. Follow the same writing format and style.
Taipei times

China Post Opinions Section

You will be notified by the editor if your work has been chosen. If it was, please do not forget to inform the class about it.

Note: When sending your letter to the editor, do not forget to CC the class. Use this email address to post your letter to the Ezine

Your letter will be automatically published at

Deadline of submission: May 31, 2006

Writing Letters to the Editor

The letters to the editor section of your local paper is an ideal forum for sharing your opinion and story with the local community. In addition, it is one of the first pages many elected officials turn to. Letters to the editor show that an issue is of concern to the community and are excellent tools for education. Here are a few guidelines for getting your letter to the editor printed.

Localize your letter -- explain or include examples
Make your letter timely - if the newspaper has recently printed a story or column about the issue of marriage and same-sex couples, you can reference the article and use it as a springboard for your letter.

Keep your letter short and to the point -- 250 words maximum.
Your letter should carry its most important message in the first paragraph.

Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Editors like to call to confirm that the letter was actually written by the person whose name appears on the letter.
Limit the number of points you make, and stay on the same subject.

Don't be disappointed if your letter does not get printed. Newspapers get many letters every day and can't print all of them. Most papers won't print the same writers over and over again.

Don't be afraid to ask for action -- tell readers what you want them to do. This includes your elected representatives; you can be sure they read the letters to the editor.
Source: Human rights Campaign

Local English Newspapers' Contact Info

Language Policy in Taiwan

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Language and Policy

Monday, May 14, 2007


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hip Hop Nation

Symphony in Slang

Silly Symphony 'Symphony In Slang' - Watch the best video clips here

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Ebonics Emerges (2)

Ebonics (1)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Ebonics Slang No Substitute for Standard English

No matter what the racial warlords may say, however, Ebonics is not a language. All it is is black slang.

Ebonics is a pillar of Afrocentrism. Through intimidation, violence and pseudoscholarship, Afrocentrists have dumbed down the education of our black children and kept white teachers from working with them. They deliberately cut off poor, black children from mainstream America.

Poor and working-class blacks with Afrocentric educators, however, do not have the opportunity to learn the Standard English necessary to succeed. They are stuck learning through Ebonics. What students aren't told is that, without Standard English, their employment prospects after leaving school are virtually zero. This could lead to chronic unemployment and, potentially, a life of crime.

With educators teaching slang instead of Standard English, is it at all surprising that students are not prepared for standardized tests? Is it any wonder that many black students who go to college spend their freshman year in remedial classes, trying to learn skills and knowledge they should have gotten in high school?

We need to leave slang in the streets, and return our classrooms to Standard English. This will help to give our children the opportunities they deserve.

Click here to read full article

Correcting Ebonics- the right way

Language researcher Robert Berdan reports that, after observing the kind of teaching routine described above in a number of settings, he incorporated the teacher behaviors into a reading instruction exercise that he used with students in a college class.10 He put together sundry rules from a number of American social and regional dialects to create what he called the "language of Atlantis." Students were then called upon to read aloud in this dialect they did not know. When they made errors he interrupted them, using some of the same statements/comments he had heard elementary school teachers routinely make to their students. He concludes:

The results were rather shocking. By the time these Ph.D Candidates in English or linguistics had read 10-20 words, I could make them sound totally illiterate . ... The first thing that goes is sentence intonation: they sound like they are reading a list from the telephone book. Comment on their pronunciation a bit more, and they begin to subvocalize, rehearsing pronunciations for themselves before they dare to say them out loud. They begin to guess at pronunciations . ... They switch letters around for no reason. They stumble; they repeat. In short, when I attack them for their failure to conform to my demands for Atlantis English pronunciations, they sound very much like the worst of the second graders in any of the classrooms I have observed.
They also begin to fidget. They wad up their papers, bite their fingernails, whisper, and some finally refuse to continue. They do all the things that children do while they are busily failing to learn to read.

The moral of this story is not to confuse learning a new language form with reading comprehension. To do so will only confuse the child, leading her away from those intuitive understandings about language that will promote reading development, and toward a school career of resistance and a lifetime of avoiding reading.

Click here to read the article

Correcting Ebonics?

Text: Yesterday I washed my brother's clothes.
Student's Rendition: Yesterday I wash my bruvver close.

The subsequent exchange between student and teacher sounds something like this:

T: Wait, let's go back. What's that word again? {Points at "washed."}
S: Wash.
T: No. Look at it again. What letters do you see at the end? You see "e-d." Do you remember what we say when we see those letters on the end of the word?
S: "ed"
T: OK, but in this case we say washed. Can you say that?
S: Washed.
T: Good. Now read it again.
S: Yesterday I washed my bruvver...
T: Wait a minute, what's that word again? {Points to "brother."}
S: Bruvver.
T: No. Look at these letters in the middle. {Points to "brother."} Remember to read what you see. Do you remember how we say that sound? Put your tongue between your teeth and say "th"...

The lesson continues in such a fashion, the teacher proceeding to correct the student's Ebonics-influenced pronunciations and grammar while ignoring that fact that the student had to have comprehended the sentence in order to translate it into her own language. Such instruction occurs daily and blocks reading development in a number of ways. First, because children become better readers by having the opportunity to read, the overcorrection exhibited in this lesson means that this child will be less likely to become a fluent reader than other children that are not interrupted so consistently. Second, a complete focus on code and pronunciation blocks children's understanding that reading is essentially a meaning-making process. This child, who understands the text, is led to believe that she is doing something wrong. She is encouraged to think of reading not as something you do to get a message, but something you pronounce. Third, constant corrections by the teacher are likely to cause this student and others like her to resist reading and to resent the teacher.

A Prayer???

A Prayer???


Our Father, who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Thy Kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever.


Yo, Big Daddy upstairs
You be chillin
So be yo hood
You be sayin' it, I be doin' it
In this here hood and yo's
Gimme some eats
And cut me some slack, Blood
Sos I be doin' it to dem dat diss me
don't be pushing me into no jive
and keep dem Crips away
'Cause you always be da Man