Sunday, July 09, 2006

An Example of Name Analysis

This article is a great example of using cultural, historical and linguistic knowledge in analytics. A good read.

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Public Libraries as a Resource for Foreign Language Learning

Public libraries in America are one of the best functioning and worth while public institutions. Making language resources available there is a wonderful idea. Language material is usually very expensive. Buying it through the public library system is a great idea. I have been learning Farsi for three years now using the resources of our great public library system here in the Salt lake City area. I also use it when I am designing curriculum or tests for other languages. Since we are now in a phase where we are trying to encourage the learning of critical foreign languages in this country I totally believe that public libraries should jump on board and use some of the available public funding to finance their purchases of foreign language learning material.

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Friday, July 07, 2006

Olive Tree Dictionary

The Olive Tree Dictionary is one of the oldest Arabic English dictionaries. It was written to help people connect and communicate. This article features Yohanan Elihay the author of the dictionary. A good read. I have lost my OTD a while ago and now I want to go get one.

Language and Wealth

This article wonders whether there is a relation between wealth and language. It also makes other good points. A great read.

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

New Immersion Course for Arabic

Concordia Language Villages is adding Arabic to its successful language immersion programs. The article doesn't mention the audience for this program but historically they targeted youth. I believe that they should target adult learners also leveraging their experience in other immersion programs.
I don't have enough knowledge about their program and methodology or data about historical performance. Concordia historically used a mix of cultural and linguistic education. This style is usually the most successful. In general, a successful immersion program for Arabic that makes the language stick is harder to design and administer compared to other languages. Here in the United States we lack the skills and enough teachers who are experienced with this kind of teaching style, we lack the curriculum to make it successful and there is no effort that I am aware of for developing rapid acquisition-by-immersion curriculum. Having a group of students in a classroom or even living with a language speaker, and forcing them to speak the language has its advantages for sure but doing it for short periods of time (2 to 9 weeks) without the proper curriculum and methods rarely produces significant acquisition or reinforcement (personal opinion based on 15 years of experience). At any rate, good luck to Concordia. I will investigate the program and come back to you all with a better assessment of it or new information.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Explosion of Arabic Material on the Web

With Western news operations expanding into the Arabic market there will be more and more opportunities for Arabic language learners. What I am hoping is that some of these organizations would actually provide dual materials that display both the Arabic and English side by side. This would be very useful not only for the Arabic reader but also for the English readers trying to learn Arabic. I also hope that these organizations would go into areas like podcasting and other kinds of audio-visual material.

"July 5, 2006
Western News Operations Expand Into Arabic Market

PARIS — A media competition for minds and market share in the Middle East is evolving as a crowd of Western news organizations prepares to deliver headlines — and geopolitical views — in the language of the Koran.

Backed by government financing, Germany's public international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, is poised to beam as much as 24 hours of daily news programming in Arabic this autumn. France's yet-to-be-named CNN-style channel is in development for a year-end opening, along with a Web site in Arabic and later in 2007 an Arabic television version. And the state-owned Russia Today has similar plans for an Arabic Web site and television presence.

From the United States, CNN is watching the development of its Arabic Web site, which attracts more than 300,000 unique visitors monthly, before it decides whether to pursue television plans.

'I'm losing track,' said Jerry Timmins, head of the BBC World Service's operations in Africa and the Middle East. 'There's pretty much of an announcement a week.'

The BBC World Service itself is also in the fray, with £19 million, or $35 million, from the British government for"