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Reading Skill / Is Reading English Hard?
« on: June 06, 2021, 02:08:09 PM »
Is Reading English Hard?

“Reading comprehension” refers to how much you understand of what you read. Even if you read an English book every week, it doesn’t help your learning much if you don’t know what the words on the pages are saying.

So you may be wondering how to improve English reading beyond just… reading more books.

That’s exactly what we’ll discuss in this article.

We will help you learn English reading with smart strategies. You’ll discover exactly how to read English books in a way that will actually improve your skills.

How to Improve Reading and Understanding English
It’s easier to learn English reading than you think! Here, we will discuss how you can improve using staircases and scaffolding.

When a house is built, it doesn’t all get done at the same time. Workers have to build some temporary structures to help keep the house standing up and to help them work on the higher parts. These structures are called scaffolding.

Scaffolding is also a method of learning. The idea is that, to learn a skill well, you need to learn smaller parts that will help you “build” your knowledge and skills.

This is true for reading comprehension too! To really understand what you read, you might need to work on other skills first. You might need to practice reading quickly (or slowly). You might need to stop choosing very difficult books, and start choosing the right books for your skill level. Start easier, start smaller and slower, and then gradually increase the difficulty.

Remember this when you’re working to improve your reading comprehension—and any other English language skill!

The steps below will show you exactly how to improve reading skills the right way. Use these tips and you’ll be understanding a lot more of what you read.

Is Reading English Hard? How to Improve English Reading with 8 Easy Steps
1. Always Make Special Time to Read
Reading for fun can be done anywhere. You could take a fun book out on a bus, in bed or at the office, and you can enjoy it.

However, if you’re reading to improve your comprehension, you need to focus and study.

This means you need to make a special time for this reading. Making time for your reading will let you focus well without risk of being interrupted. This time should be quiet, and you should avoid being distracted.

You should try to spend at least 30 minutes every day on focused reading. That’s how to improve your reading skills seriously and successfully. The more you read, the more you’ll improve.

Try this:

Turn your reading process into a ritual, something you repeat every time you sit down to focus on reading English.

Follow these steps, or any other steps that you’d like to make a part of your reading process:

Find a quiet, comfortable spot with bright lighting to sit.
Get everything you might need ready before you sit down. For example, you might want to have a pen, your notebook, a dictionary and something to drink.
Decide how long you will read. (30 minutes is a good minimum amount of time.)
Put all your electronics on silent mode (or turn them off) and put them away.
Turning off the sound on your electronics might not seem important, but it’s something you really must do!

If you have a specific process for preparing to read, then your brain will know when you’re about to read and you’ll be more focused before you even start.

2. Read the Right Books
The Martian: A NovelIf you dislike science fiction, you might not want to read a book about a man stuck on Mars. When you’re choosing books (and other texts) to read, keep two things in mind:

1. What you’re interested in

2. Your reading level

Whenever you can, you should read things that you enjoy. You should also choose books that are at an English level just above the one you’re most comfortable with. You want to challenge yourself just enough to learn new things, but not enough to get frustrated with your reading.

Try this:

Not sure where to start? There are lots of places online where you can find recommendations for books to learn English reading:

Listopia on Goodreads is full of lists created by people just like you.
Your Next Read lets you search for books that are similar to the ones you’ve read and liked before, or you can browse some of their lists.
Jellybooks helps you discover new books and sample 10%, which means you can try the book and see if it’s a good fit for you.
Whichbook is a very different kind of website—you choose the kinds of things you’re looking for in a book (happy/sad, beautiful/disgusting) and the website gives you suggestions based on that.
Any of these can help you find the perfect book for improving your reading comprehension.

3. Ask Yourself Questions While Reading and After Reading
Learning how to read English books is about more than just reading the words!

There are a few things you can do before, during and after reading to help you better understand the text.

Before you read, browse the text. That means you should look over the text quickly without actually reading every word.

Take some time after you read too, to browse again and summarize what you remember. Try to quickly say or write a few sentences that describe what the text was about.

Thinking about what you read will show you how much of it you really understood, and help you figure out if you still have questions.

Try this:

Before you read, here are a few questions you can ask yourself as you browse, to help you prepare for reading:

Are there any words in bold or italics?
Are there titles or subtitles?
What are some of the names mentioned?
Is there a lot of dialogue?
Are the paragraphs short or long?
After you read, the questions below can be used to help you think about what you did and did not understand:

What was the text about?
What are the most important things that happened in the text?
Did anything confuse you?
Did anything surprise you?
Are there any parts you didn’t understand?
You might have some more questions depending on what kind of text you were reading, but these are good basic ones to start with.

4. Improve Fluency First
Reading. Is. Fun.

Do you notice how you stopped every time you saw the period?

Now imagine reading an entire article or even book like this, stopping after every word. It would be difficult to understand, wouldn’t it?

It’s hard to form an understanding of what you’re reading when you read word-by-word instead of in full sentences. That’s why, to improve your understanding, it’s important to improve your fluency first.

Fluency is how smoothly you can read. When you read in your head, you should have a certain rhythm to the words. The words should flow together naturally, like when somebody is talking. That’s how to read English books like a native speaker would.

Improving fluency can be as simple as choosing slightly easier texts to read, or it might take some time and practice. If you take some time to improve how fluently you read, though, it will help you in the future. You’ll improve your reading and even your speaking. It will also make reading feel more fun and natural.

Try this:

Many of the words you find when you’re reading are actually “sight words.” These are words that you should know by sight and should not have to think about how to read them.

You can practice sight words very quickly. Just find a good list of sight words, like this one, and take about a minute or two every day to read the words as fast as you can.

If you don’t know any of the words it’s a good idea to look them up beforehand, but remember that this exercise is about reading faster, not understanding more. Once you can read at a comfortable speed, you can focus on understanding.

It might seem strange, but another great way to practice reading fluency is with videos. Specifically, look for English videos with subtitles. That way, you will read the words while hearing how a native speaker naturally says them.

FluentU is the perfect tool to find these videos.

FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

Unlike traditional language learning sites, FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the English language and culture over time. You’ll learn English as it’s spoken in real life.

FluentU has a variety of engaging content from popular talk shows, nature documentaries and funny commercials, as you can see here:

FluentU makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition and useful examples.

For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you'll see this:

Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.

The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It even reminds you when it’s time to review! Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning with the same video.

You can start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, by downloading the app from the iTunes or Google Play stores.

5. Once You’ve Learned to Speed Up, Slow Down!
After you learn English reading more fluently, you can stop worrying about your speed and start thinking about the text and its meaning.

That’s right, now that you can read fast, it’s time to read slowly. Take time to really get into the text you’re reading, instead of speeding through it.

Try this:

One great way to slow yourself down is to read out loud. Not only will you be practicing your reading and understanding, but also your pronunciation, listening and speaking. Focus on speaking every word carefully and pronouncing it well.

If you can’t (or don’t want to) read out loud, you can try pausing every few paragraphs to make sure you’re paying attention.

Another way to pace yourself well is by making notes and writing down questions as you read.

6. Ask Lots of Questions
Speaking of questions—ask them. Ask a lot of them! The more you question what you read, the deeper you get into the meaning.

Asking questions is also a good way to make sure you understand what you’re reading. Asking questions like “what’s happening now?” or “who’s speaking here?” can help keep you focused. Asking questions like “why did he do that?” or “what is she thinking?” can help you think deeper into the story.

Try this:

Keep some Post-it notes and a pen nearby. Write down any questions that come to mind as you’re reading on the Post-it notes. Stick them in the text.

When you finish reading, go back and see how many of the questions you can answer now. If there are any questions you still don’t know the answer to, re-read that part of the text and try to find the answer.

7. Read It Again
The poet Ezra Pound says that with books, “no reader ever read anything the first time he saw it.”

Sometimes reading a text just once isn’t enough to understand it. This is true if you’re reading something difficult, or even if you’re not—reading something more than once can help you understand it much better.

Re-reading is great for those times when you read the words but can’t get them to make sense. It’s also great for finding things you might have missed the first time. If there are any new words in the text, you’ll see them again every time your read again, helping you remember them.

In short, reading things again is great!

Try this:

Choose something short to read, no more than a few paragraphs. This can be a story or a news article, anything you want—as long as it takes you only about five minutes to read.

Read the article at your own pace, then write down everything you can remember from the article. Write every little detail, even write down parts of sentences if you remember them.

Now do it again.

Read the article again. Write down everything you can remember again.

Do you see how much more you remember the second time around?

Every time you read something, you understand more of it. When you want to get the most out of your reading, try reading three or more times. The first time, focus on understanding the words.

The second time, focus on the meaning. The third time, you can start asking deeper questions like “what is the author really trying to say?” or “how does this news affect the rest of the world?”

8. Read Many Kinds of Texts
Today we don’t just read books and newspapers. We read blogs, emails, Tweets and texts. The more you read anything in English, the better you’ll get at the language.

Don’t just read books and news. Read anything and everything! Find a magazine that you enjoy, follow some interesting people or websites on Facebook, or visit a blog you like reading.

Magazine Line is a good place to go to find digital or print magazines on just about any subject. They give you lower prices on magazine subscriptions, and you may be able to save even more if you’re a student (check the “Student and Educator Rates” section for details).

Try this:

If you’re having trouble discovering new things to read, try any of these aggregators—websites that take news and interesting articles and put them together for you to look through:

Mix helps you find new websites based on your interests.
Digg collects interesting stories from around the Internet onto one page.
Reddit seems a bit less friendly, but it’s a collection of websites and images that Reddit users submit for others to enjoy.
Whatever you read, just remember: The more you practice, the better you’ll get.


The best part about these tips is that they can work for reading comprehension in any language!

If you follow these steps to learn English reading, you might suddenly discover that you’re reading better and understanding more even in your own native language.

Huh! And you thought you were just here to learn how to improve English reading!



Reading Skill / 8 Tips to Help Students Build Better Reading Skills
« on: June 06, 2021, 02:05:34 PM »
8 Tips to Help Students Build Better Reading Skills

How can you ensure your students understand classroom coursework? Build reading skills. Teachers love to share their favorite stories and the subjects they are passionate about, but helping a child develop the same interest requires foundational reading skills to comprehend and enjoy the curriculum.

Many children see reading as a chore, especially if it’s tied to lesson plans and learning complex information. Teachers, parents and mentors can help ignite a child’s passion to read by incorporating activities focused on building reading skills to improve comprehension and engagement.

Here are some simple and effective ways to help students build reading skills to better understand classroom curriculum.

1. Annotate and highlight text
Teach your students to highlight and underline valuable information as they read. Have students write notes on the pages they are reading to help them stay focused and improve comprehension. Students can also write down questions as they read to receive more explanation on a new concept or to define a new word.

2. Personalize the content
Students can increase their understanding by seeing how the material connects with their life. Have your students make personal connections with the text by writing it down on the page. You can also help students comprehend the text by helping them see an association with current events.

3. Practice problem solving skills
Blend real-world problem solving skills into your curriculum. Have your students write out solutions to the problem and discuss their ideas as a class or in small groups.

4. Incorporate more senses
Add in activities that reinforce learning and comprehension by using more senses as they read. Remind students to read with a pen or pencil to annotate the text. Have your students take turns reading out loud. Use projectors to guide your lesson and write down questions for those who are visual learners.

5. Understand common themes
Ask your students to look for examples of a certain theme throughout the chapter to increase engagement. Have students share their findings with the class to help students learn a specific theme more in-depth.

6. Set reading goals
Have each student set their own reading goals. This can help them take action in building reading skills and students will be more mindful of how they are improving.

7. Read in portions
Long, complex reading can be more digestible by breaking it up into pieces. Shorter segments will help students retain the information as the class discusses the materials. It can also help students build confidence in understanding a complex subject.

8. Let students guide their reading
Your students process reading material and curriculum in very different ways. As you implement reading activities to help your class learn complex materials, you will learn what works best for each student individually.

As teachers implement more reading activities into classroom coursework, students will find improvement in vocabulary, writing skills, problem solving, concentration, and cognitive development to help build a solid foundation for future learning.


English language education and learner’s psychology.


In the globalization era, educational system is so much complex that no single learning
approach works for everyone. Hence, educational psychologists focus on identifying
and studying learning methods to better understand how people absorb and retain new
information. They apply theories of human development to reveal the individual learning
and the instructional process. Interaction with teachers and students in language classrooms
is not the only facet of the job. Through education learners try to impart knowledge,
improve their power of reasoning, and make them prepare intellectually for a long-life
process of education. Teachers as the vital elements of the educational system try to
identify the learners’ educational needs, abilities, attitudes, interests, motivational level,
and temperaments by observing their treatments to unravel their difficulties and involve
these variables in performance. Through effective interaction and socialization, an educator
can induce social and moral values of the society in learners, cause them to fully participate
in and contribute to self-development and to the needs of the classrooms and educational
centers. The present research tries to figure out the learners’ educational needs in EFL
classrooms and tackle their learning difficulties. It also examines how students learn in
various contexts to identify approaches and strategies to make learning more effective.

Full article is attached.

The Psychological Impact of English
Language Immersion on Elementary
Age English Language Learners

To date, most studies about English language learners (ELLs) in Structured English
Immersion (SEI) classrooms in the state of Arizona have focused on ELLs’ lack of
English acquisition in one year, a time frame expected by Arizona policymakers, as well
as their lagging academic progress. While these studies almost uniformly have surfaced
educational and policy concerns about the effectiveness of SEI, the debate about this
approach has been marked by a lack of attention to research addressing the nonacademic ramifications of enforcing this model on children who speak or understand little or no English. One relatively unexamined consequence of the SEI program is its
potentially detrimental emotional, psychosomatic, and mental effects on students forced
to receive instruction (and to be tested) exclusively in English, a language they are still
in the process of acquiring. The qualitative research study described in this article
addresses this issue by examining the participation of monolingual Spanish-speaking
children in SEI classes in one school district. Drawing from the research literature on
child maltreatment investigators sought to determine if SEI placement subjected
monolingual Spanish-speaking students to conditions of maltreatment. The researchers
acknowledge that the theoretical operationalization of child maltreatment remains a
challenge, in part because of an absence of consensus among social science researchers
about what precisely constitutes child maltreatment, and because social sensibilities
change over time. Nonetheless, results indicate that the English learners in this study
experienced clear psychological effects like anxiety and depression symptomatology,
anger, school phobia, and eating and sleeping difficulties. In-depth interviews with
students and parents indicated intense emotional distress from being subjected to
environmental conditions from which they could not escape. Their experiences,
analyzed within the broader socio-political context of contemporary Arizona, suggest
that for some children participation in SEI classrooms constitute a form of emotional

Full article is attached.

Psycholinguistics / Stages of Second Language Acquisition
« on: June 02, 2021, 03:32:31 PM »
Stages of Second Language Acquisition
By Judie Haynes

All new learners of English progress through the same stages to acquire language.
However, the length of time each
Student spends at a particular stage may vary greatly.

Stage I: Pre-production

This is the silent period. English language learners may have up to 500 words in their receptive vocabulary but they are not yet speaking. Some students will, however, repeat everything you say. They are not really producing language but are parroting. These new learners of English will listen attentively and they may even be able to copy words from the board. They will be able to respond to pictures and other visuals. They can understand and duplicate gestures and movements to show comprehension. Total Physical Response methods will work well with them. Teachers should focus attention on listening comprehension activities and on building a receptive vocabulary. English language learners at this stage will need much repetition of English. They will benefit from a “buddy” who
Speaks their language. Remember that the school day is exhausting for these newcomers as they are overwhelmed with listening to English language all day long.

Stage II: Early production

This stage may last up to six months and students will develop a receptive and active vocabulary of about 1000 words. During this stage, students can usually speak in one-or two-word phrases. They can use short language chunks that have been memorized although these chunks may not always be used correctly. Here are some suggestions for working with students in this stage of English language learning:

•   Ask yes/no and either/or questions.
•   Accept one or two word responses.
•   Give students the opportunity to participate in some of the whole class activities.
•   Use pictures and realia to support questions.
•   Modify content information to the language level of ELLs.
•   Build vocabulary using pictures.
•   Provide listening activities.
•   Simplify the content materials to be used. Focus on key vocabulary and concepts.
•   When teaching elementary age ELLs, use simple books with predictable text.
•   Support learning with graphic organizers, charts and graphs. Begin to foster writing in English through labeling and short sentences. Use a frame to scaffold writing.

Stage III: Speech emergence

Students have developed a vocabulary of about 3,000 words and can communicate with simple phrases and sentences. They will ask simple questions that may or may not be grammatically correct, such as “May I go to bathroom?” ELLs will also initiate short conversations with classmates. They will understand easy stories read in class with the support of pictures. They will also be able to do some content work with teacher support. Here are some simple tasks they can complete:

•   Sound out stories phonetically.
•   Read short, modified texts in content area subjects.
•   Complete graphic organizers with word banks.
•   Understand and answer questions about charts and graphs.
•   Match vocabulary words to definitions.
•   Study flashcards with content area vocabulary.
•   Participate in duet, pair and choral reading activities.
•   Write and illustrate riddles.
•   Understand teacher explanations and two-step directions.
•   Compose brief stories based on personal experience.
•   Write in dialogue journals.

Dialogue journals are a conversation between the teacher and the student. They are especially helpful with English language learners. Students can write about topics that interest them and proceed at their own level and pace. They have a place to express their thoughts and ideas.

Stage IV: Intermediate fluency

English language learners at the intermediate fluency stage have a vocabulary of 6000 active words. They are beginning to use more complex sentences when speaking and writing and are willing to express opinions and share their thoughts. They will ask questions to clarify what they are learning in class. These English language learners will be able to work in grade level math and science classes with some teacher support. Comprehension of English literature and social studies content is increasing. At this stage, students will use strategies from their native language to learn content in English. Student writing at this stage will have many errors as ELLs try to master the complexity of English grammar and sentence structure. Many students may be translating written assignments from native language. They should be expected to synthesize what they have learned and to make inferences from that learning. This is the time for teachers to focus on learning strategies. Students in this stage will also be able to understand more complex concepts.

Stage V: Advanced Fluency

It takes students from 4-10 years to achieve cognitive academic language proficiency in a second language. Student at this stage will be near-native in their ability to perform in content area learning. Most ELLs at this stage have been exited from ESL and other support programs. At the beginning of this stage, however, they will need continued support from classroom teachers especially in content areas such as history/social studies and in writing.

Psycholinguistics / Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory
« on: June 02, 2021, 03:31:23 PM »
Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory

Vygotsky’s work is often placed with this theory because of the emphasis he placed on the
importance of social interaction to learn language. Another influential author, M.A.K.
Halliday, believes that children learn language out of need to function in society: “Babies
acquire language in order to survive, have their needs met, and express themselves”
Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory is the work of Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky
(1896-1934), who lived during Russian Revolution. his work was largely unkown to the
West until it was published in 1962.

Vygotsky created a model of human development now called the sociocultural model. He
believed that all cultural development in children is visible in two stages:
• First, the child observes the interaction between other people and then the
behavior develops inside the child. This means that the child first observes the
adults around him communicating amongst themselves and then later develops the
ability himself to communicate.

• Vygotsky also theorized that a child learns best when interacting with those around
him to solve a problem. At first, the adult interacting with the child is responsible for
leading the child, and eventually, the child becomes more capable of problem
solving on his own. This is true with language, as the adult first talks at the child
and eventually the child learns to respond in turn. The child moves from gurgling to
baby talk to more complete and correct sentences.

Vygotsky’s theory is one of the foundations of constructivism. It asserts three major

Major themes:

1. Social interaction plays a fundamental role in the process of cognitive
development. In contrast to Jean Piaget’s understanding of child development (in
which development necessarily precedes learning), Vygotsky felt social learning
precedes development. He states: “Every function in the child’s cultural
development appears twice: first, on the social level, and later, on the individual
level; first, between people (interpsychological) and then inside the child
(intrapsychological).” (Vygotsky, 1978).

2. The More Knowledgeable Other (MKO). The MKO refers to anyone who has a
better understanding or a higher ability level than the learner, with respect to a
particular task, process, or concept. The MKO is normally thought of as being a
teacher, coach, or older adult, but the MKO could also be peers, a younger person,
or even computers.

3. The Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). The ZPD is the distance between a
student’s ability to perform a task under adult guidance and/or with peer
collaboration and the student’s ability solving the problem independently. According
to Vygotsky, learning occurred in this zone.

Vygotsky focused on the connections between people and the sociocultural context in
which they act and interact in shared experiences (Crawford, 1996). According to
Vygotsky, humans use tools that develop from a culture, such as speech and writing, to
mediate their social environments. Initially children develop these tools to serve solely as
social functions, ways to communicate needs. Vygotsky believed that the internalization of
these tools led to higher thinking skills.

Applications of the Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory

Many schools have traditionally held a transmissionist or instructionist model in which a
teacher or lecturer ‘transmits’ information to students. In contrast, Vygotsky’s theory
promotes learning contexts in which students play an active role in learning. Roles of the
teacher and student are therefore shifted, as a teacher should collaborate with his or her
students in order to help facilitate meaning construction in students. Learning therefore
becomes a reciprocal experience for the students and teacher.


Psycholinguistics / Language Learning at an Early Age
« on: June 02, 2021, 03:30:23 PM »
Language Learning at an Early Age

From birth, children are surrounded by others who talk to them or with them. This
communication plays a part in how the baby learns to speak his or her native language.
Some argue that "nature" is entirely responsible for how a baby learns a language, while
others argue that "nurture" is responsible for how a baby picks up his or her mother
tongue. Social interactionists argue that the way a baby learns a language is both
biological and social.

Everyone loves to coo at babies, and this "baby talk" is exposing the child to language,
whether we realize it or not. Interactionists believe that children are born with brains that
predispose them to the ability to pick up languages as well as with a desire to
communicate. Some Interactionists even argue that babies and children cue their parents
and other adults into giving them the linguistic exposure they need to learn a language.
The Interactionist Theory posits that children can only learn language from someone who
wants to communicate with them.


Psycholinguistics / Can Knowledge of Language be Inborn?
« on: June 02, 2021, 03:29:19 PM »
This essay assesses the importance of the innateness hypothesis during the process of
first language acquisition. The innateness hypothesis is the hypothesis, presented by
Noam Chomsky, that children are born with knowledge of the fundamental principles
of grammar. Chomsky asserts with his theory that this inborn knowledge helps
children to acquire their native language effortlessly and systematically despite the
complexity of the process. Acquiring language is likely the single most difficult
process of a child’s maturation period. Yet children do not seem to know how much
knowledge they are acquiring and processing. In this essay, this process is analyzed in
the context of Chomsky’s theories of universal and generative grammar and the
language faculty. The process of first language acquisition is surveyed from the very
first weeks of a child’s life up until the time that grammar is finalized.
It is widely debated how children master knowledge of their native language.
Criticism of Chomsky’s theory is discussed as well as Piaget’s constructivist and
Skinner’s behaviorist theories of language acquisition. Finally, the critical period is
discussed and compared to cases of abnormal language acquisition. It turns out that
the innateness hypothesis, although still not accepted as fact, has stayed resilient and
this thesis argues that it remains the strongest hypothesis to describe the way children
acquire language

Full article id attached.

Psycholinguistics / Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development
« on: June 02, 2021, 03:27:56 PM »

The theory is built around three core components: schemas, equilibrium, assimilation and accommodation, and the different stages of development.


A schema is a description of both the mental and physical actions required in understanding and knowing. It’s a category of knowledge used in interpreting and understanding the world – the building blocks of knowledge. Without them, you would find the world incomprehensible. The world with its things wouldn’t mean anything.

But schemas provide you a way to organize your knowledge, creating units of objects, actions and abstract concepts. According to Piaget’s own definition of schema, from his 1952 book The origins of intelligence in children, they are,

“a cohesive, repeatable action sequence possessing component actions that are tightly interconnected and governed by a core meaning”.

You have many schemas about a variety of things. An example could be your schema about potatoes – what do you know about them? Your knowledge might be based on your experiences; they taste good when baked, they have an outer layer and they are grown underground. Your schema is essentially the knowledge you have (they grow under the ground) and your experiences of the object/idea (they taste good when baked). Therefore, a schema will change over time.

A schema is a cognitive structure that represents knowledge about everything that we know about the world, including oneself, others, events, etc.
A schema is important because it allows us to quickly make sense of a person, situation, event, or a place on the basis of limited information.
So, when a schema is activated, it “fills in” missing details
Source: SlidePlayer presentation by Kazuyo Nakabayashi

Piaget thought schemas to have this ability to change as people process more experiences. According to his theory, a child would modify, add or change the existing schemas as new information or experiences occur. So, if the child would one day eat a disgusting potato, he or she would add to the existing schema. Potatoes wouldn’t be just tasty, but could have the occasional foul taste to them.

Piaget’s ideas of schemas were driven by his background in biology. He saw the schemas as mental organizations controlling behavior or adaptation to the environment. Furthermore, as you gain maturity, the schemas become more complex. For instance, your schema about potatoes becomes much wider; perhaps you gain more information about the different varieties, you understand how different potatoes taste different and so on.

Piaget suggested that the schemas eventually become organized in a hierarchical order, from a general schema to a specific schema. An infant has a schema, such as the sucking reflex. When something touches the baby’s lips, they start sucking. On the other hand, as you grow older these schemas become less genetic and more about our surroundings. You don’t go to a restaurant, pay the bill, eat the food, and then order. You do it all in reverse order and this is an example of a complex schema.

Equilibrium, assimilation and accommodation
The second fundamental concept is the compilation of three concepts: equilibrium, assimilation and accommodation. Out of these three, assimilation and accommodation are the two core processes people use in order to adapt to the environment – the attempt to make sense of new information and to use it for future.

On the other hand, equilibrium is the attempt to strike a balance between the schemas in your head and then what the environment is telling.


When you take in new information regarding your existing schema, you are assimilating. When you encounter French fries and identify it as potato, you are assimilating the French fries into your pre-existing schema. You are essentially using a pre-existing schema to deal with a new experience, situation, object or idea. You take the French fries and assimilate them inside a schema, instead of creating a new one. The process of assimilation is a subjective occurrence, since we are always modifying experiences and information in a way that fits our pre-existing beliefs.

Children’s assimilation can, therefore, seem silly on the onset. R.S Siegler et al. gave an example of a child with a pre-existing schema of clowns in their 2003 book How Children Develop. A young child might have an image of a clown and according to his or her schema, clowns have shaved heads and lots of frizzy hair on the sides. When the child encounters a man with the haircut (even without clown costumes and the like), the child might point to him and say “clown”.

Assimilation is the first attempt of understanding new information and experiences, with accommodation adding another solution if the above is insufficient. In accommodation, you try to modify your existing schemas and ideas, with the process giving you a new experience or knowledge and often resulting in the birth of new schemas. For example, you might see French fries, but after biting into them realise they are made from sweet potato. You therefore, accommodate your existing schema (not everything that looks like French fries is potato) and add or create a new schema (you can use sweet potato to make French fries). You are changing the existing structures or the knowledge you have to fit the environment around you.

Generally, accommodation is a result of a failure of the schema. The existing knowledge you have simply doesn’t work in the situation you are in – the French fries just don’t taste like potato, no matter how hard you try. Therefore, to overcome this obstacle, you change, add and modify your strategy or schema. If you think about the example of the child and the clown, the child’s parent might explain how the man is not a clown, but that the hairstyle was just something he has and it isn’t there for laughs. Now the child would need to change the schema of clown to include other things (making people laugh, red nose, funny costume) in order for it to work.


Finally, you have the idea of equilibrium, which Piaget believed to be the child’s attempt to strike a balance between the two mechanisms: assimilation and accommodation. Piaget believed it to be the mechanism children use in order to move from one stage of thought to the other.

The process involves the child applying previous knowledge (assimilation) and changing the behaviour if the knowledge is not aligned with the new knowledge (accommodation). The process is beautifully illustrated in the below image:


« on: June 01, 2021, 09:39:22 PM »

Gender and language have become an interesting topic on which some linguists have done research to find out the
relationship between them. Some of studies focus on the differences between language that is spoken by men and women
in terms of phonology, syntax, and lexicon and conversation analysis. While the other studies have investigated the
influence of gender-based differences on establishing and maintaining the imbalance power between the two genders.
This paper will attempt to find out the relationship between gender and language and mentions briefly the main
sociolinguistic approaches used in the study of gender and language. Besides that, the paper is going to discuss the
impact of language on reproducing and reflecting social difference. Some aspects related to this issue including attitudes
and prestige, communities of practice, conversational styles and strategies are also taken into consideration. In addition, a
case study in Vietnamese is also mentioned to clarify the relationship between language and gender, followed by some
implications for language planning at the end.

Full case study is attached here.

Sociolinguistics / Differences between Pidgins and Creoles
« on: June 01, 2021, 09:37:35 PM »
Differences between Pidgins and Creoles:

1) Pidgin is a linguistic communication that comprised of components of two or more other languages and is used for communication among people. It can also be called business language. It is not a first language. Whereas, creole is a language that was at first a pidgin but has “transformed” and become a first language.

2) Structural difference: Creole languages have the “Subject Verb Object” word order whereas Pidgin can have any possible order. Also, reduplication is a common and general process in Creole languages but its very not very often found in Pidgins.

3) One important difference between Pidgins and Creoles is that pidgins do not have first language speakers while creoles do. However, this is not easy to make out because there are more and more extended pidgins beginning to acquire native speakers. Extended pidgins refer to when a pidgin becomes a creole. The cultural “side” of a pidgin usually defines this. This means that more pidgins are becoming first languages.

4) Another difference is that creoles may originate through abnormal transmissions but as children acquire them, they must, therefore, comply with the ‘blueprint’ of language that can also be referred to as how the language is going to constructed and formed. Blueprint here is comparable to how we relate to a blueprint of a house. However, for pidgins, as they are a result of a second language, although they have to be learnable by adults, they do not have to be acceptable by children. This means that pidgins do not have to comply with the ‘blueprint’ of language. Pidgins before they become accomplished languages in a community, are always second languages and usually after teenage.


Sociolinguistics / Processes of language Standardisation
« on: June 01, 2021, 09:36:04 PM »
Processes of Standardisation

Standardisation is generally thought of as a process that involves four stages. We need not think of them as being chronological. Indeed, the process of standardisation is an on-going one, and a whole range of forces are at work.



Variability is a fact of life for almost all languages. There are different regional dialects, class dialects, situational varieties. Standardisation represents an attempt to curtail, minimise if not eliminate this high degree of variability. The easiest solution seems to be to pick (although not arbitrarily) one of these varieties to be elevated to the status of the standard.


The ‘acceptance’ by the community of the norms of the variety selected over those of rival varieties, through the promotion, spread, establishment and enforcement of the norms. This is done through institutions, agencies, authorities such as schools, ministries, the media, cultural establishments, etc. In fact, the standard language comes to be regarded not just as the best form of the language, but as the language itself (eg consider the claim that Mandarin is Chinese in Singapore). The other varieties are then dialects, which tend implicitly to get stigmatised as lesser forms, associated with the not too highly regarded people, who are seen as less educated, slovenly, uncouth, etc.


For the variety selected to represent the desired norms, it must be able to discharge a whole range of functions that it may be called upon to discharge, including abstract, intellectual functions. Where it lacks resources to do so, these are developed. Thus a standard language is often characterised as possessing ‘maximal variation in function, minimal variation in form’.



The norms and rules of grammar, use, etc. Which govern the variety selected have to be formulated, and set down definitively in grammars, dictionaries, spellers, manuals of style, texts, etc.


Sociolinguistics / What Is Language Standardization?
« on: June 01, 2021, 09:35:05 PM »
What Is Language Standardization?

Language standardization is the process by which conventional forms of a language are established and maintained.

Standardization may occur as a natural development of a language in a speech community or as an effort by members of a community to impose one dialect or variety as a standard.

The term re-standardization refers to the ways in which a language may be reshaped by its speakers and writers.

"The interaction of power, language, and reflections on language inextricably bound up with one another in human history, largely defines language standardization."

Is Standardization Necessary?
"English, of course, developed a standard variety by relatively 'natural' means, over the centuries, out of a kind of consensus, due to various social factors. For many newer countries, though, the development of a standard language has had to take place fairly rapidly, and government intervention has therefore been necessary. Standardization, it is argued, is necessary in order to facilitate communications, to make possible the establishment of an agreed orthography, and to provide a uniform form for school books. (It is, of course, an open question as to how much, if any, standardization is really required. It can be argued quite reasonably that there is no real point in standardizing to the extent where, as is often the case in English-speaking communities, children spend many hours learning to spell in an exactly uniform manner, where any spelling mistake is the subject of opprobrium or ridicule, and where derivations from the standard are interpreted as incontrovertible evidence of ignorance.)"

An Example of Standardization and Divergence: Latin
"For one important example of the push/pull between divergence and standardization--and between vernacular language and writing--I'll summarize the Literacy Story... about Charlemagne, Alcuin, and Latin. Latin didn't diverge much till the end of the Roman empire in the fifth century, but then as it lived on as the spoken language throughout Europe, it began to diverge somewhat into multiple 'Latins.' But when Charlemagne conquered his huge kingdom in 800, he brought in Alcuin from England. Alcuin brought in 'good Latin' because it came from books; it didn't have all the 'problems' that came from a language being spoken as a native tongue. Charlemagne mandated it for his whole empire.

The Creation and Enforcement of Language Standards
"Standardization is concerned with linguistic forms (corpus planning, i.e. selection and codification) as well as the social and communicative functions of language (status planning, i.e. implementation and elaboration). In addition, standard languages are also discursive projects, and standardization processes are typically accompanied by the development of specific discourse practices. These discourses emphasize the desirability of uniformity and correctness in language use, the primacy of writing and the very idea of a national language as the only legitimate language of the speech community..."


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