Reconstructing Chomsky on Language

Recently in class Chomsky’s name came up in discussion as the most widely cited author, but not many students knew his name or why he is so well-known.

The following video outlines Chomsky’s ground-breaking theory of language.

Before you watch the video, discuss with a friend the following questions.

  • What makes human language different from animal language?
  • Is language learned, or are we born with it?
  • How is it possible that small children learn languages so quickly?

Watch the video and then attempt the text reconstruction activity at the bottom of the page.

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The economics economy

1. Study the following text.

Edi studied economics at university because he was concerned about the economy in his country. He knew that the Indonesian economy was not a healthy economy. At the same time, he understood the economic value of education, and he knew there were good economics faculties in Australia, so he went to study there and was soon able to compare the Indonesian economy with healthier economies in other countries.

2. Now use the terms following the instructions (below) to complete the rules below.

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Text reconstruction with ReText

This was going to be a suite of apps, with a fancy title, bundled together. But a lot of this stuff is really useless as stand-alone apps – they have to be integrated within a post to have any pedagogical value. And so they’re here, available via menus, but I don’t – at the moment – feel they deserve to be packaged and marketed in any way.

If anyone wants to use these as WordPress shortcodes, you’re welcome – please either email me or comment below this post.

The apps include:

  • Cloze your books (Converts any uploaded text into a total cloze, which you can then attempt to reconstruct online, one word at a time).
  • Sentence Repair Man (Shuffles words in sentences, which you can then attempt to reconstruct online, or print for classroom use).
  • Mind the Gap (puts gaps at every Nth word in a text, with the option to print for classroom use).
  • Linkin’ Text (Highilights 4 types of (spoken) link between words in a text).
  • AWLizer (Highlights words from the Academic Word List in a text).

Enjoy!

Articles and sentient animals

New Zealand now recognises all animals as sentient beings!

Discuss with a friend.. If animals are sentient beings (they can think and feel pretty much like humans can), how does this affect our attitude to:

  • animals as food
  • scientific experimentation involving animals (vivisection)
  • animals in sport and entertainment

After your discussion, read the following text and select articles as appropriate. Continue reading

IELTS Disco Descriptors

IELTS Speaking and IELTS Writing scores are decided by an examiner who refers to descriptions of people’s ability at ten levels, or bands, from 0 up to 9. Candidates are not allowed to see the official descriptors used by examiners, but IELTS do allow you to see a public version of the descriptors that is very similar.

I thought it would be fun to add some colour and clickability to the dreary old public band descriptors! Put on some disco music and click away! Continue reading