All posts tagged: linguistics

Krashen (Out of his element)

There I was minding my own business enjoying the latest issue of Language magazine over my lunch when I took notice of Stephen Krashen’s regurgitating the KS Goodman’s antiquated construct of reading as a “psycholinguistic guessing game.” For those of you who aren’t into reading and literacy research, the idea of reading being a psycholinguistic guessing game is best explained as making inferences and checking those guesses as we read. In his own words, “Reading is a selective process. It involves partial use of available minimal language cues selected from perceptual input on the basis of the reader’s expectation. As this partial information is processed, tentative decisions are made to be confirmed, rejected, or refined as reading progresses” (Goodman, 1967). The idea that reading is a psycholinguistic guessing game as KS Goodman stated in 1967 has been proven wrong by years of actual data. Literacy, and specifically reading researchers have spent the last couple of decades accumulating evidence for a few theories of reading, how we read, and how we learn to read. All of …

Language Matters(Again!)

I am very disappointed in whomever is the social media editor of Human Rights Watch. For those of you who don’t know, Human Rights Watch or HRW is a non-government organization dedicated to the defense of all human rights. They do things like pressure governments to fix issues and make policies which protect the rights of people around the globe. Recently, I have noticed an increase of information regarding child marriage on the HRW Facebook page. This certainly is an issue and is an important issue to be brought to the attention of people world wide. However, the rhetorical tactics they are using are quite degrading. “The marriage of a 14 year old child is illegal in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iraq and South Sudan. However, it isn’t in Massachusetts.” This could certainly be interpreted, generously, as “Hey, these countries have a poor record for human rights. Yet, they don’t allow for childhood marriage. Why do we have this in the U.S.?” Sure, that is one way to look at it. However, the other way to look …

Grammar Police: Than vs. Then

Just as a preface, I love writing about this stuff. So if it seems like it’s one long tangent, it is. English spelling is full of little surprises in etymology that tend to become rabbit holes for me jump into. However, this time it was simply a hunch that brought me to the history and development of the words Than & Then. It all started with a quick glance of the comments section on a science-themed Facebook page when someone inevitably pointed out something that was “incorrect grammar.” In fact, there were probably five or six people who noticed the issue within a 30 second period. Here is an image of the original post: Notice the problem? Of course, people were falsely apologetic and passive aggressive about their grammar policing, but something just struck me as I was thinking about it. Spelling isn’t grammar. I mean sure we use the words differently and for different grammatical purposes, but we don’t differentiate the words when we are speaking. To me, that means that this isn’t about grammar, it’s …