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Language and Politics

Written By: Robin Lakoff on September 17, 2012 No Comment

The world of the early twenty-first century is one divided by factionalism and suspicion, and connected by new channels of communication that are uneditable, instantaneous, and anonymous. Therefore the most important thing a modern president must know in order to be effective is how to use language,  both interpretively and actively, both domestically and globally. […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on June 18, 2012 No Comment

The article, Hindi, Hinglish: Head to Head” by Ananya Vajpeyi (Assistant Professor of History, UMass Boston), published by the World Policy Journal, jumped out at me from among the sundry language policy related news items in a listserv email I received. While the attempt to parse out delicate and complicated issues related […]

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Written By: Youki on March 29, 2012 20 Comments

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2012/03/29/piers-morgan-only-in-america-banned-words.cnn

Piers Morgan examines 50 words that are banned on New York school tests.  Here’s the full list:

Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)
Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs
Birthday celebrations (and birthdays)
Bodily functions
Cancer (and other diseases)
Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes)
Celebrities
Children dealing with serious issues
Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)
Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or […]

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Written By: daveski on September 10, 2011 No Comment

I’m at the BLC one-day colloquium, History and Memory in Foreign Language Study, and though I’ll only be able to be here for part of the day, I’d like to leave a few thoughts. Or, as I’ve tried to indicate in the title, one view.

Before launching into the collection of liveblogging tidbits that […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on February 20, 2011 13 Comments
“[Is] English [Really] Spoken Here[?]” NYT Fail

Mr. Manu Joseph, writing “India Faces a Linguistic Truth: English Spoken Here” in a “Letter From India” in the New York Times, makes some incredible claims about the status of English in India, with random bits of “evidence” that wouldn’t pass muster with, I’d wager, most Indians familiar with its linguistic […]

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Written By: daveski on November 7, 2010 11 Comments
Following the language faculty cuts at LSU

There’s a certain urgency to the question asked on the blog of The Foreign Language Fourteen, “When did you first realize that knowing a foreign language was cool?” The blog prompts its readers with questions like “Do you know that Spanish won’t get you anywhere in Brazil?” “Can you read Plato […]

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Written By: daveski on October 23, 2010 6 Comments

The thinning out, scaling down, and downright elimination of language programs seems to be a normalizing trend in these times of budgetary hardship. While the State University of New York at Albany’s wholesale elimination of its French, Italian, Russian, classics and theater programs this month has received some notice, it hasn’t, […]

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Written By: daveski on October 11, 2010 4 Comments
If I am you, then we is possessed

“I’m not a witch. I’m nothing you’ve heard. I’m you.”

So starts this campaign ad for Christine O’Donnell, the Republican party nominee for the special Senate election in Delaware, released about a week ago:

And considering the lunacy of the opening and closing lines (especially), I assumed that the good folks over at the […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on July 27, 2010 No Comment
Unmarked Multilingualism?

In doing literature review for language socialization research in the Indian context, I found a provocative chapter written by Mohanty (2006) via the good folks at Google Scholar. This paragraph stood out:

In India, presence of many languages is natural and unmarked in all forms of social and individual communicative acts. Quite early […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on November 18, 2009 4 Comments
At what price “free speech”?

Reading a provocative post entitled The Abortion Amendment by fellow FITizen Prof. Robin Lakoff on the newly started Berkeley Blog, I was reminded of an event that rattled me a few weeks ago on campus. Berkeley Students for Life (BSL) apparently invited the more→

Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on November 9, 2009 No Comment
Marathi: The Indian “national language”?

The newly constituted Maharashtra Assembly in India was the site of an eventful brawl when Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers prevented Samajwadi Party legislator Abu Azmi from taking his oath of office in Hindi: as soon as he began taking the oath, the workers snatched his mike and attempted to shred the […]

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Written By: daveski on October 11, 2009 3 Comments

Last night I had the privilege of joining Usree for a visit to a language-learning event and screening of Najib Joe Hakim’s film that chronicles the successes of children in bilingual programs in San Francisco schools, Speaking in Tongues.

Held at Beverly Cleary Hall across the street from the Unit 3 residence hall, and […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on September 20, 2009 4 Comments
Obama Takes on The Blogosphere…?

President Obama made some surprising comments today about the blogosphere during an interview with the editors of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Blade:

“I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up […]

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Written By: Robin Lakoff on July 22, 2009 4 Comments

Recently I have encountered several analyses of Sarah Palin’s speeches as “found” poetry. One example comes from a wonderful piece by John Lundberg in the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-lundberg/sarah-palin-the-anti-poet_b_237935.html):

Look at how she turns a simple statement into a mind-numbing puzzle (this is from Hart Seely’s terrific collection of found poems taken from actual Sarah Palin […]

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Written By: daveski on June 5, 2009 4 Comments

The White House website announced that the State Department has prepared translations of President Obama’s major “A New Beginning” speech delivered at Cairo University .

There are translations into 13 languages so far: Arabic, Chinese, Dari, French, Hebrew, Hindi, Indonesian, Malay, Pashto, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish, Urdu and Portuguese. And at the […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on May 8, 2009 1 Comment

Samajwadi Party (a regional Indian party) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s campaign promise to abolish the use of English, “angrezi hatao” (Remove English) in UP (Uttar Pradesh, a north Indian state) has been causing quite a bit of tumult. Mulayam specifically promised “to ban English in education and computers in new projects.” My parents […]

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Written By: daveski on April 29, 2009 10 Comments
Next Stop: Int’l Border

I’ve been sitting on this post for over a week now, after coming back from the American Educational Research Association’s annual conference in San Diego (mentioned in my previous post here). More on that in a bit.

And as other people have said on FIT many times but in different ways ( more→

Written By: daveski on April 20, 2009 2 Comments

I got this email from Wolfgang E. Adolph in the Department of Mod. Lang. & Linguistics at Florida State University via the Language Learning and Technology International Information Forum listserv; considering the UC system’s ongoing budget woes and threats to our languages at Cal I thought it’d be good to cross-post in its […]

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Written By: daveski on April 15, 2009 3 Comments

I’ve just come down to San Diego for my first-ever AERA (American Educational Research Association) conference, and there’s much to write about. Actually, with probably around 10,000 people spread across 4 giant convention centers and hotels, there’s way too much going on to capture anything more than a tiny fragment. But one thing […]

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Written By: Usree Bhattacharya on April 11, 2009 2 Comments

One of the major news stories doing the rounds of the blogosphere and the “Internets” is the recent Rick Warren interview on CNN’s Larry King Live. The interview yielded answers from Warren that seemed in direct contradiction to his very recent earlier stance on California’s Proposition 8 (aimed at “illegalizing” gay marriage).

Here’s […]

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