Literacy

Harry Potter Teaches Us How Meaning is Socially Constructed

It’s a great clip to use for exploring how meaning is socially constructed. From Harry Potter and the Chamber of…

Is Texting the Future or Downfall of Writing in Schools?

Leave it to a linguist like Columbia University’s John McWhorter to challenge popular fears that texting marks the end of language…

What Do We Know about Literacy in the Content-Areas? Eavesdrop on These Experts to Find Out.

Literacy belongs to all teachers, regardless of the grade and subject you teach. Still, it can be challenging to understand…

Explore the Words that Are Unique to Individual Hip-Hop Artists

As an English teacher, I always enjoyed compendia–those books that listed the number of times words appeared in other books.…

An Opera Singer Shares His Secret to Learning Languages

So much of learning and teaching occurs through language. The more we understand the contours of languages–not just traditional languages…

Society and Schools Must Do More to Value the Intelligence of Everyday Workers

Education professor Mike Rose describes just how wonderfully intelligent and creative everyday people are in their everyday work. He challenges the idea that…

Forget What You Know About “Correct” English. It Never Really Existed. Here’s Why.

Imagine for a moment that what you think you know about things like grammar and correctness of language is actually…

To Think Differently, Try Speaking Differently

Pictures might be worth a thousand words, but words are worth a hundred billion neurons. In this excellent talk, cognitive…

When a Sociolinguist Eavesdrops on a Bus and Gives a Ted Talk

Learning a language is not purely cognitive. Most people can’t just memorize vocabulary and rules of grammar and speak a…

Literacy and Orality Nerds, There’s a Walter Ong Lecture Online

Walter Ong’s work on literacy and orality marked, for me, a turning point in my professional life. I’ve since come…

What’s Your Capacity for Language? See What Chomsky Thinks.

I have re-watched this several times, always intrigued by Chomsky’s notion that what happens internally (within the mind) when one…

Babies Are Like Little Linguistic Statisticians

A thoroughly intriguing talk about the ways babies learn language. Researcher Patricia Kuhl suggests that babies keep track of sounds…

The Strange Tale of Merriam-Webster’s Ghost Word

Merriam-Webster is redefining the role of the dictionary in the 21st century. If you don’t follow them on Twitter, I…

Coates: Some Words Don’t Belong to Everyone

Asked at a book talk by a white college student if she and her friends have the right to use…

Words like Water: How a Baby Learned to Speak

You take a techy who becomes a dad and has a fascination with language. Then add videocameras all throughout the…

So, THAT is Where Letters Come From!

Etymology is one thing, but to look at the historical roots of letters themselves is just pure alphabetic joy.
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