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Why learning grammar is harmful

Many language learners have been conditioned to think that they need to learn grammar to learn a language. This is wrong, wrong, wrong! When I go to learn a new language I avoid explanations of grammar and avoid all questions or exercises based on grammar. Instead I look to the language to teach me.

I listen and read and observe the new language. I take it in small doses. At first it is only 30 seconds or 1 minute at a time. In time the doses can be longer. I repeatedly listen to these small doses and occasionally read them. Of course I need help in having the meaning explained. This help can come from a teacher or can be  automated as we did on The Linguist system  Thereafter it is just me and the new language.

The grammar learner is conditioned to think of rules and ask why? “Why is it said this way? I thought the rule was something else.” Half the time the learner has the rule wrong. Besides, if every time the learner wants say something he/she has to remember a rule, he/she will never speak fluently.

For most languages there is a lack of interesting material to learn from. Most textbook material is just too artificial and boring. The main purpose seems to be to explain points of grammar. So there is a tendency for the learner to lose interest. It is just too tiring and not enjoyable. If the main purpose seems to be to learn grammar it is too difficult to continue after a while.

This need not be a problem for English. At The Linguist we have created a library of interesting audio and text files of real language, not text book language. There a person can learn and enjoy it. One day we will do the same for other languages. We will not teach grammar, but people will learn, the way I do.

Anyone can be a linguist

When I say linguist I do not mean someone who studies complicated theories about language. I just mean someone who can speak more than one language and who enjoys doing it. Usually the two go hand in hand.

Native speakers of English are at a big disadvantage because there is less incentive for them to learn other languages. This may soon change, however, with Spanish and Chinese looming larger.

The key is to make the learning experience enjoyable and interesting. Most language education destroys the fun by focusing on speaking correctly too soon, or by teaching theoretical grammar explanations.

There is no substitute for lots of exposure through listening and reading. But then you need interesting content and a good system for retaining vocabulary otherwise it is just frustrating. In learning my nine languages I feel I have kind of worked that out. I am interested in hearing the experience of others in language learning.

Repetition gives intensity

In strength exercises you need to work the same muscles repetitively in order to get stronger. Language learning is a little like that. Athletes in all sports do repetitive exercises to increase their strength.

I have always found repeating effective. When I listen to content, I listen to the same content repeatedly. It helps if the content is interesting and the voice pleasant to listen to. When I listen I pick out or focus on different phrases or words each time. I then read that same content repeatedly for fluency in reading. I will review new words and phrases from that same content. I have saved these words and phrases on a separate list. (This is automated in The Linguist). Then I go back to listening and reading the same content again.

This is my strength training in language learning. It can be quite passive. I can listen while walking or jogging or even driving or sitting in a bus. But it is deliberate and is done almost every day during my period of intense study.

There other things we can do repeatedly. We can read out loud repeatedly, using a passage that we have been listening to. I would read the same passage out loud five times, exaggerating the pronunciation. Then I would record myself and compare with the native speaker.

It can be particularly effective to take some writing you have had corrected and read it out loud five times or so. Then record yourself and listen. This will reinforce the corrections and help your pronunciation at the same time. You will hear your own thoughts, things you wrote incorrectly, now expressed correctly.

You can even repeat in conversation. Try to make a three minute explanation of a point of view on a subject, after taking one minute to organize your thoughts. Then try to cover the same points in two minutes, then one minute.

All of these activities are like strength training . They prepare you for the more pleasurable activities of playing the game, or in the case of language learning, communicating in the language.

Conferences and Trainings

Title:AHEAD 2009 Global Access: Opening a World of Opportunity
Link: http://www.ahead.org/conferences/2009
Description: July 20 – 25, 2009
Louisville, Kentucky
The Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) is holding its 32nd conference in Louisville Kentucky, July 20 – 25, 2009. AHEAD is a professional membership organization for individuals involved in the development of policy and in the provision of quality services to meet the needs of persons with disabilities involved in all areas of higher education.
Full conference registration materials will be available in March, 2009.
Source: EST
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Title:2009 Building on Family Strengths Conference
Link: www.rtc.pdx.edu
Description: Proposals for the 2009 Building on Family Strengths Conference are now being accepted. This conference will be held on June 23-25, 2009 at the Hilton Portland and Executive Tower in beautiful downtown Portland, Oregon.
This year’s conference will feature the latest developments in two areas:
–Youth empowerment and participation in designing, delivering, and evaluating services, supports, and systems
–Wraparound: practice, supervision, fidelity measurement, outcome studies, system support, and more
And, as always, the conference will include presentations on recent developments and innovations in the fields of family support and children’s mental health.
Submit your proposal online at www.rtc.pdx.edu by January 30, 2009!
Source: ADD
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Title:Introduction to Travel Training Course
Link: http://projectaction.easterseals.com/site/PageServ…
Description: 2009 Dates and Cities
Apply before deadlines indicated; space is limited.
April 28-30, Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas.
Applications due: Feb. 27 (Applicants will be notified of their selection by March 6)
June 22-24, Hyatt Regency Sacramento at Capitol Park, Sacramento, Calif.
Applications due: May 1 (Applicants will be notified of their selection May 8)
August 11-13, Sheraton Suites on the Hudson, Weehawken, N.J.
Applications due: June 12. (Applicants will be notified of their selection June 19)
About the course
Easter Seals Project ACTION’s Introduction to Travel Training course is a free training initiative to increase the skills, knowledge and abilities of travel training professionals.
Training people to use public transportation is a challenging but rewarding career. As professionals in an emerging field, many travel trainers do not have the opportunity to share ideas and experiences or to learn together with colleagues. Whether a school or organization provides general information or intensive, route- specific, individualized coaching, there are precise methods of instruction that skilled travel trainers use to promote travel skills, skills retention and safety. In response, ESPA presents an Introduction to Travel Training, a course offering travel trainers basic information needed to expand their own skills and enhance the services of their school or organization.
Introduction to Travel Training is an intensive three-day course with classroom and field instruction. A limited enrollment and high trainer-to-participant ratio offers an environment where travel trainers will acquire knowledge in the classroom and directly apply and practice new skills on the street, obtaining constructive feedback from trainers and colleagues. Travel trainers will receive a toolkit packed with useful resources ready to use when they return to work.
How do I apply?
Identify the date/location of interest to you and complete and submit the online application. Applicants will be notified of acceptance six weeks prior to the event date. Applications must be filled out completely and returned online; faxed applications are not accepted. Applicants will be notified of acceptance soon after the announced deadline.
For more information
Please contact ESPA with your questions:
Application process: Stan Tibbs, stibbs@easterseals.com
Training content: Kristi Ross, kross@easterseals.com
Stan and Kristi are both available at 800-659-6428 or 202-347-3066.
Click on the above link for more information.
Source: EST
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Title:2009 NLCDD Leadership Institute
Link: http://www.nlcdd.org/week-long-institute.html
Description: 2009 National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities (NLCDD)Leadership Institute to be held at The University of Delaware; July 12-17, 2009
This week-long, intensive leadership development program is designed for current executive-level leaders and emerging leaders. Participants may work in areas of management or program leadership in organizations that provide, advocate for, or fund supports for people with developmental disabilities and their families.
The focus of the Leadership Institute is on assessing and strengthening leadership skills, setting organizational direction, and understanding the future of the developmental disabilities field. Institute participants will come away with demonstrated leadership ability and a firm grasp of the skills and values critical for quality, individualized supports.
Participants will learn the skills needed to:
Succeed in leadership challenges unique to the developmental disabilities field today;
Manage and sustain person-centered, values-based transformational change;
Build and sustain positive organizational culture at all levels;
Challenge the status quo through risk-taking; and,
Set and achieve ambitious goals for yourself and your organization.
A highlight of the course for past participants has been the relationships that are built over the week-long experience. Participants will leave with a network of colleagues and enduring relationships with some of the most influential leaders in the field.
Apply online by clicking on the link above.
Applications are due by April 24, 2009.
For Questions e-mail Nancy Weiss at: nweiss@udel.edu, or call Mary Thomas: 302-831-2940.
Information provided by The Arc of the United States.
Source: EST
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Title:2009 National ADA Symposium: Revitalizing the ADA
Link: http://www.adasymposium.org/
Description: June 8-10, Hyatt Regency Crown Center, Kansas City, MO
The National ADA Symposium is concerned with the Americans with Disabilities Act and related disability laws.
This three day event offers an extensive session schedule on a variety of topics as well as two Professional Development Programs, one for ADA Coordinators and another for those involved in accessible design. Presenters for the 2009 ADA Symposium include representatives from the key federal agencies involved in implementing the ADA such as the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Access Board, and the EEOC.
A highlight of the 2009 Symposium is a Keynote Luncheon featuring United States Senator, Tom Harkin as the Keynote Speaker. Senator Harkin was the leading sponsor of both the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the 2008 ADA Amendments Act.
For more information and registration, click on the link above.
The National ADA Symposium is sponsored by the DBTAC-Network of ADA Centers, a project of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).
Source: EST
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Title:11th Annual Autism Summer Institute
Link: http://iod.unh.edu/pdf/ASIBrochure09_6pages.pdf
Description: The Annual Autism Summer Institute’s goal is to provide strength-based perspectives about students with Autism Spectrum Differences to improve the quality of education in inclusive settings.
The Conference will be held August 10-13, 2009 at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH. Ari Ne’eman, from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, will be one of the keynote speakers.
Click on the above like for more information (this will open a PDF document).
Source: EST
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Title:AAID Leadership Meeting and Open Membership Forum
Link: www.aaidd.org
Description: The American Association on Intelectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) will hold its Leadership Meeting and Annual Open Membership Forum on Tuesday, June 9th at their convention in New Orleans. This meeting will be held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel from 10:00 am to Noon and in the afternoon from 1:15 – 5:00 pm.
The theme of the New Orleans Convention is Creating Enviable Lives: The Business Plan and includes interactive cafes, roundtables, panel presentations, interactive posters, and plenary sessions. Major topics include: Emergency Preparedness; Employment; Leadership; Supports; Managing Agencies; and Succession Planning. Additionally, there are many presentations that deal with health, aging, technology, behavior, education, families, and a host of other issues. The conference program will be posted shortly. Visit www.aaidd.org for more information. Information provided by Monday Morning in Washington, D.C. (The Arc of the United States).
Source: EST
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Title:Webinar: Understanding the Air Carrier Access Act
Link: http://sedbtac.org/events/docs/flyer_2009_AAPR_Web…
Description: Date: Thursday, June 25th
Time: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM (EDT)
Hosted by the Association of Airline Passenger Rights (AAPR) and the DBTACs (National Network of ADA Centers).
The purpose of the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) of 1986 (49 U.S.C. 41705) provides that no air carrier may discriminate against any otherwise qualified individual with a disability, by reason of such disability, in the provision of air transportation. ACAA prohibits domestic air carriers from discriminating against persons with disabilities in the provision of air transport. The law states that persons with disabilities will have access to all services, goods and information that they provide to any other passenger as part of their normal operating practices and forbids air carriers from treating passengers with disabilities any differently than other passengers except in making the necessary accommodations.
Learn from industry experts about the following aspects of the law:
Airport Accessibility
Aircraft Accessibility and Wheelchair Issues
Requirements Concerning Services
Accommodations for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Attendants and Service Animals
Cost: AAPR is charging a registration fee and all registrations are handled by their office (on-line registration). AAPR members can register for FREE. Non-members can register for only $49.95; however, non-members can join APPR for only $10.00 and thereby avoid the registration fee and save $39.95.
Accessibility: The program will be fully accessible using the On-Line Conferencing Tool and real-time captioning. Instructions for accessing the program will be sent to individuals once they are registered.
Source: EST
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Title:Community Team Scholarships – Responding to Crime Victims with Disabilities
Link: http://www.register123.com/profile/web/index.cfm?P…
Description: The deadline has been extended for Community Team Scholarships – Responding to Crime Victims with Disabilities.
Scholarship applications for community teams to participate in the Responding to Crime Victims with Disabilitiesevent planned for September 30 – October 2, 2009 in Denver, Colorado has been extended to July 1, 2009.
Scholarships of up to $5,000 are available as reimbursable funds for conference registration, travel, lodging, and food. Minimum composition of teams includes representatives from victim services, disability services, and law enforcement. However, also including practitioners from other areas is strongly encouraged. The event web page offers some guidance on how to form a community team with the document Developing Community Teams.
Click on the above link for more information and an application form or call Thomas Underwood at (785) 670-1242.
Information provided by The Arc Monday Morning Memo.
Source: EST
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Program Information: Youth Information, Training and Resource Centers

 

Abstract of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act of 2000)
Definition of Developmental Disability
ADD’s Goals
Programs Funded under the DD Act of 2000
Projects of National Significance
Projects of National Significance – Youth Information, Training and Resource Centers
The Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) is the Federal agency responsible for implementation and administration of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act of 2000) (42 U.S.C. 15001, et seq.) and the disability provisions of the Help America Vote Act (42 U.S.C. Sections 15421-15425, 15461-15462). This agency is located within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Abstract of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act of 2000)

For the full text of the DD Act of 2000, click here

The DD Act of 2000 authorizes support and assistance to States, public agencies, and private, non-profit organizations, including faith-based and community organizations, to assure that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design of, and have access to, culturally competent services, supports, and other assistance and opportunities that promote independence, productivity, integration, and inclusion into the community.

As defined in the DD Act of 2000, the term “developmental disabilities” means a severe, chronic disability of an individual that is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments that are manifested before the individual attains age 22 and are likely to continue indefinitely. Developmental disabilities result in substantial limitations in three or more of the following functional areas: self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, and capacity for economic self-sufficiency.

The DD Act of 2000 identifies a number of significant findings, including:

Disability is a natural part of the human experience that does not diminish the right of individuals with developmental disabilities to enjoy the opportunity for independence, productivity, integration, and inclusion into the community.
Individuals whose disabilities occur during their developmental period frequently have severe disabilities that are likely to continue indefinitely.
Individuals with developmental disabilities often require lifelong specialized services and assistance, provided in a coordinated and culturally competent manner by many agencies, professionals, advocates, community representatives, and others to eliminate barriers and to meet the needs of such individuals and their families.
The DD Act of 2000 also promotes the best practices and policies presented below:

Individuals with developmental disabilities, including those with the most severe developmental disabilities, are capable of achieving independence, productivity, integration, and inclusion into the community, and often require the provision of services, supports, and other assistance to achieve such.
Individuals with developmental disabilities have competencies, capabilities, and personal goals that should be recognized, supported, and encouraged, and any assistance to such individuals should be provided in an individualized manner, consistent with the unique strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, and capabilities of the individual.
Individuals with developmental disabilities and their families are the primary decision makers regarding the services and support such individuals and their families receive, and play decision making roles in policies and programs that affect the lives of such individuals and their families.
ADD’s Goals

Toward these ends, ADD seeks to support and accomplish the following:

Enhance the capabilities of families in assisting individuals with developmental disabilities to achieve their maximum potential
Support the increasing ability of individuals with developmental disabilities to exercise greater choice and self-determination and to engage in leadership activities in their communities
Ensure the protection of the legal and human rights of individuals with developmental disabilities
Ensure that individuals with developmental disabilities from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and their families enjoy increased and meaningful opportunities to access and use community services, individualized supports, and other forms of assistance available to other individuals with developmental disabilities and their families
Promote recruitment efforts that increase the number of individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who work with individuals with developmental disabilities and their families in disciplines related to pre-service training, community training, practice, administration, and policymaking.
ADD, like other programs in ACF, promotes the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals and communities. ACF and ADD envision:

Families and individuals empowered to increase their own economic independence and productivity
Strong, healthy, supportive communities having a positive impact on the quality of life and the development of children
Partnerships with individuals, front-line service providers, communities, States, and Congress that enable solutions that transcend traditional agency boundaries
Services planned and integrated to improve access to programs and supports for individuals and families
A strong commitment to working with unserved and underserved persons with developmental disabilities and their families
A community-based approach that recognizes and expands on the resources and benefits of diversity
A recognition of the power and effectiveness of public-private partnerships, including collaboration among a variety of community groups and government agencies, such as a coalition of faith-based organizations, grassroots groups, families, and public agencies to address a community need.
The vision, listed above, will enable more individuals, including people with developmental disabilities, to live productive and independent lives integrated into their communities. The Projects of National Significance is a means by which ADD promotes the achievement of this vision.

Programs Funded under the DD Act of 2000

There are four programs funded under the DD Act of 2000:

State Developmental Disabilities Councils
State Protection and Advocacy Systems for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities’ Rights
National Network of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Education, Research, and Service
Projects of National Significance.
The Youth Information, Training and Resource Center grants are part of the Projects of National Significance

Projects of National Significance

ADD awards Projects of National Significance grants and contracts to:

Promote and increase the independence, productivity, inclusion and integration into the community of persons with developmental disabilities
Support the development of national and state policy which enhances the independence, productivity, inclusion and integration of these individuals into the community.
These Projects focus on the most pressing issues affecting people with developmental disabilities and their families. Project issues transcend the borders of States and territories, while project designs are oriented to permit local implementation of practical solutions. Examples include:

Data collection and analysis
Technical assistance to program components
Technical assistance to develop information and referral systems
Projects which improve supportive living and quality of life opportunities
Projects to educate policymakers
Efforts to pursue federal interagency initiatives.
Fiscal Year 2006 appropriations provided $11.414 million to support these activities.

This program is authorized under Part E of the Act.

Projects of National Significance – Youth Information, Training and Resource Centers

The purpose of Youth Information, Training and Resource Centers grants is to design and demonstrate community-based information, training, and resource centers with youth and emerging leaders, as defined above for this program announcement.

In FY 2004, ADD awarded funding to 15 Youth Centers to design and implement youth information, training and resource centers. The Youth Centers have worked toward becoming a voice and advocate for young people with developmental disabilities, especially with regard to post high school education, training and employment activities.

In 2007, ADD awarded new YITRC grants to 21 organizations (click here for a listing of them). Under these grants, the groups will continue to develop programs and undertake activities that are supportive of ADD’s objectives for the YITRC. The projects of the YITRC grantees will, at minimum include the following:

Consumer Involvement and Input. All projects must have an advisory committee that primarily (greater than 51%) consists of youth and emerging leaders and allows youth and emerging leaders to make decisions on how the grant funding will be spent on activities and outcomes of the project.
Three Areas of Emphasis. Activities and outcomes of the centers must be related to at least three of the eight areas of emphasis located in the DD Act of 2000 (child care, education and early intervention, employment, health, housing, recreation, transportation, and quality assurance).
Information and Referrals. Projects must include a structure for information and referrals for youth and emerging leaders that parents of youth and emerging leaders, as well as youth related service providers, may also access.
Training. A strong self-advocacy and leadership training component must be an essential part of the projects, especially for emerging young leaders (such as an emerging leader’s Partners in Policymaking curriculum, which can be replicated in other states).
Internet Access. Grantees must develop youth friendly Web-based materials and promote safe use of the Internet by youth and emerging leaders.
Materials for Dissemination. The development and dissemination of youth friendly materials on career paths, money management, and healthy lifestyle choices in accessible formats and in languages other than English are a central theme of the project design.
Unserved and Underserved. Projects must focus on unserved and underserved youth and emerging leaders in the targeted communities; and the project participation and advisory committee shall reflect the diversity of the targeted communities.
Collaboration. Collaboration with these four core groups (self advocacy organization, parent training and information center, Developmental Disabilities Network Partner [Council on Developmental Disabilities, Protection and Advocacy System, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Services], State agency), plus others should play a central role in planning and operating the center.
Employment Opportunities. Projects will offer opportunities for youth and emerging leaders with developmental disabilities to be employed by the project.
Capacity Building. Activities of the center will include building the capacity of other youth groups and organizations to include and support youth and emerging leaders, as defined by this program announcement, in their ongoing programs and regular activities.
Community Inclusion. Activities will include identifying and promoting opportunities for youth and emerging leaders to participate in community events and activities to develop their leadership and civic skills and community awareness.
Mentoring. Projects will provide mentoring opportunities, particularly for emerging leaders, to prepare them for careers, community involvement, independent living, and leadership roles.
Civil Rights. Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, where applicable, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998.
The length of the projects is 36 months comprising three 12-month budget periods.

For a complete list of Youth Information, Training and Resource Centers grantees, including a description of their projects, click here.

Language and the brain

Learning languages ‘boosts brain’

Learning a second language “boosts” brain-power, scientists believe.

 

Researchers from University College London studied the brains of 105 people – 80 of whom were bilingual. Learning languages enhances the brain, scientists believe

They found learning other languages altered grey matter – the area of the brain which processes information – in the same way exercise builds muscles.

People who learned a second language at a younger age were also more likely to have more advanced grey matter than those who learned later, the team said.

Scientists already know the brain has the ability to change its structure as a result of stimulation – an effect known as plasticity – but this research demonstrates how learning languages develops it.

 

The team took scans of 25 Britons who did not speak a second language, 25 people who had learned another European language before the age of five and 33 bilinguals who had learned a second language between 10 and 15 years old. “It means that older learners won’t be as fluent as people who learned earlier in life”
Andrea Mechelli, of University College London

The scans revealed the density of the grey matter in the left inferior parietal cortex of the brain was greater in bilinguals than in those without a second language. The effect was particularly noticeable in the “early” bilinguals, the findings published in the journal Nature revealed. The findings were also replicated in a study of 22 native Italian speakers who had learned English as a second language between the ages of two and 34. Lead researcher Andrea Mechelli, of the Institute of Neurology at UCL, said the findings explained why younger people found it easier to learn second languages.

Impact

“It means that older learners won’t be as fluent as people who learned earlier in life. “They won’t be as good as early bilinguals who learned, for example, before the age of five or before the age of 10.” But Cilt, the national centre for languages, cast doubt on whether learning languages was easier at a younger age. A spokeswoman said: “There are conflicting views about the comparative impact of language learning in different age groups, based both on findings and anecdotal evidence.” However, she said it was important to get young people learning languages in the UK. Only one in 10 UK workers can speak a foreign language, a recent survey revealed. But by 2010 all primary schools will have to provide language lessons for children.

Context

A key to understanding anything in a second language is being familiar with the context. There are many ways to become more familiar with context. Actually living the experience is the best but is not always possible. That is why extensive reading and listening is the best alternative to actually living the experience.

When I lived in Hong Kong and studied Mandarin I built up a vast library of content on different subjects of interest that I would read and listen to often. Each time I listened I would seem to focus on different words and phrases until they became natural to me. The local environment did not give me the opportunity to “experience” Mandarin.

Even when I lived in Japan I still had my own language world of reading and listening because it was too difficult to get it all from real life, either because my Japanese was still not good enough or simply because reading can cover more ground than I could experience myself.

Experiments have shown that if you give language learners a glossary or vocabulary list of new words for a text they have not seen it will not help them understand the new text. They simply will not remember these words which they have tried to learn out of context. If they are already familiar with the subject they will understand better, but the vocabulary list will not help.

So the lesson is that all attempts to memorize isolated vocabulary lists, TOEFL vocabulary lists, technical vocabulary lists, antonyms and synonyms, or memorizing the dictionary which Chinese learners sometimes try to do, are very ineffective ways to learn.

That is why in The Linguist we make sure that all words and phrases are learned in the context of authentic content chosen by the learner. Usually the learner will choose a subject that he/she is already familiar with and that makes comprehension and the learning of new vocabulary easier. All occurrences of these words and phrases are collected in the learners’ database for regular review.

You have to experience the language. You have to communicate with people, and to read and to listen a great deal. There are no short cuts. The more efficiently you learn new words and phrases the faster you will grow your language power.

Disability-Related Organizations and Associations

Title:The Arc of the United States
Link: http://www.thearc.org
Description: The Arc of the United States works to include all children and adults with cognitive, intellectual, and developmental disabilities in every community.
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Title:Association of University Centers on Disabilities
Link: http://www.aucd.org
Description: The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) is a membership organization that supports and promotes a national network of university-based interdisciplinary programs.
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Title:Developmental Disability Research Centers Directory
Link: http://www.aucd.org/ddrcportal/directory/directory…
Description: Click on the map to view information about the Developmental Disability Research Centers (DDRC) in a particular state, or use the search features to locate centers and researchers.
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Title:Family Voices
Link: http://www.familyvoices.org
Description: Family Voices focuses on the issues of children and youth with special healthcare needs. Families throughout the United States that have children with special healthcare needs, as well as caregivers, professionals, and friends provide content for the Family Voices Web site. The Family Voices Web site also provides breaking news, data and research, and quick links.
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Title:Institute for Community Inclusion
Link: http://www.communityinclusion.org
Description: The Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) offers training, clinical, and employment services; conducts research; and provides assistance to organizations to promote inclusion of people with disabilities in school, work, and community activities.
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Title:National Dissemination Center for Children and Youth With Disabilities
Link: http://www.nichcy.org
Description: The National Dissemination Center for Children and Youth With Disabilities (NICHCY) is an information center that provides resources on disabilities and disability-related issues. The NICHCY Web site offers information about specific disabilities, special education and related services for children in school, individualized education programs, parent materials, disability organizations, professional associations, education rights and what the law requires, early intervention services for infants and toddlers, and transition to adult life.
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Title:National Organization on Disability
Link: http://www.nod.org
Description: The National Organization on Disability (NOD) expands the participation and contribution of America’s 54 million men, women, and children with disabilities in all aspects of life.
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Title:National Rehabilitation Information Center
Link: http://www.naric.com
Description: The National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC) collects and disseminates the results of federally funded research projects, includes commercially published books, journal articles, and audiovisuals, and averages around 200 new documents per month.
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Title:National Service-Learning Clearinghouse
Link: http://www.servicelearning.org
Description: The National Service-Learning Clearinghouse maintains a Web site with timely information and relevant resources to support service-learning programs, practitioners, and researchers. The National Service-Learning Clearinghouse operates national e-mail discussion lists for K-12, tribes and territories, and higher education service-learning to encourage discussion and exchange of ideas.
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Title:National Youth Leadership Network
Link: http://nyln.org
Description: The National Youth Leadership Network (NYLN) is dedicated to advancing the next generation of disability leaders. The NYLN: promotes leadership development, education, employment, independent living, and health and wellness among young leaders representing the diversity of race, ethnicity, and disability in the United States; fosters the inclusion of young leaders with disabilities into all aspects of society at national, state, and local levels; and communicates about issues important to youth with disabilities and the policies and practices that affect their lives.
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Title:Project Reach: Service Inclusion For Community College Students
Link: http://www.aacc.nche.edu/projectreach
Description: Project Reach Awards Funds to Support Service Learning for Students with Disabilities.
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Title:University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Directory
Link: http://www.aucd.org/directory/directory.cfm
Description: Click on a state for contact information for University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD’s) across the country.
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Title:TASH
Link: http://tash.org
Description: TASH is an international membership association leading the way to inclusive communities through research, education, and advocacy. TASH members are people with disabilities, family members, fellow citizens, advocates, and professionals working together to create change and build capacity so that all people, no matter their perceived level of disability, are included in all aspects of society.
Source: EST
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Title:American Foundation for the Blind
Link: http://www.afb.org
Description: The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit organization that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB’s priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. AFB’s work in these areas is supported by the strong presence the organization maintains in Washington, DC, ensuring the rights and interests of people with vision loss are represented in our nation’s public policies.
Source: EST
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Title:American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
Link: http://www.aapd.com/
Description: The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the country’s largest cross-disability membership organization, organizes the disability community to be a powerful voice for change – politically, economically, and socially. AAPD was founded in 1995 to help unite the diverse community of people with disabilities, including their family, friends and supporters, and to be a national voice for change in implementing the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Source: EST
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Title:National Disability Rights Network (NDRN)
Link: http://www.napas.org/
Description: The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A;) Systems and Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the P&A;/CAP network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.
Through training and technical assistance, legal support, and legislative advocacy, the National Disability Rights Network works to create a society in which people with disabilities are afforded equality of opportunity and are able to fully participate by exercising choice and self-determination.
The National Disability Rights Network serves a wide range of individuals with disabilities – including, but not limited to, those with cognitive, mental, sensory, and physical disabilities – by guarding against abuse; advocating for basic rights; and ensuring accountability in health care, education, employment, housing, transportation, and within the juvenile and criminal justice systems.
Source: EST
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Title:National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD)
Link: http://www.nacdd.org/
Description: The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) is a national membership organization representing the 55 State and Territorial Councils on Developmental Disabilities. NACDD is a 501(c) 3 organization with the purpose of promoting and enhancing the outcomes of its member councils in developing and sustaining inclusive communities and self directed services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Source: EST
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Cultural Competency

Title:National Center for Cultural Competence
Link: http://www11.georgetown.edu/research/gucchd/nccc
Description: The mission of the National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) is to increase the capacity of health and mental health programs to design, implement, and evaluate culturally and linguistically competent service delivery systems.
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Title:Diversifying the Volunteer Base: Latinos and Volunteerism
Link: http://www.joe.org/joe/2001august/a1.html
Description: This article, from the Journal of Extension, describes the methods and findings of a study on Latino volunteerism. The article details strategies for recruitment and supporting participation of Latinos in volunteer activities. The Journal of Extension is the official refereed journal of the U.S. Cooperative Extension System.
Source: EST
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Title:Cultural Competency Webcasts
Link: http://www.ilru.org/html/training/webcasts/archive…
Description: The Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) offers Webcasts on a variety of topics. Past Webcasts have focused on cultural competency, including:
Disability Culture and Awareness (October 9, 2007)
Services for People of Minority Cultures-Part I (October 19, 2007)
Services for People of Minority Cultures-Part II (November 2, 2007)
Click on the above link to search for these and other webcasts. Please contact Peggy Stevenson (p.stevenson@ent-s-t.com) if you need help locating these resources.
Source: EST
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Multiculturalism

Even though I speak nine languages I am quite opposed to multiculturalism, or at least the ideology of multicultualism. The ideology of multiculturalism in Western countries promotes the position that immigrants should hold on to their ancestral culture rather than integrate or assimilate to the culture of the country to which they have emigrated. I think that promoting separation over integration is wrong.

People should be allowed to choose what they want to do. There should be no forced integration but there should also be no official encouragement to stay separate based on ancestry. The premise of multiculturalism is that ancestry, or assumed ancestry, should dictate your culture. This idea has many serious disadvantages.

First of all it works against the development of an inclusive sense of community within the host country. It encourages people to only see their original ethnic community as “their community”. This weakens solidarity in the host society.

Second, multiculturalism suggests that someone of a particular ethnic origin has an obligation to learn his/her ancestral language and culture, even in the second generation. There should be no such obligation. If I want to learn a language not related to my ancestry in preference to the language of my ancestors, that should be a matter of free choice.

There is an inherent contradiction in multiculturalism since the cultures that are promoted as being worthy of preserving are usually themselves the result of cultural blending. If French or Chinese or Moroccan culture is already the results of various cultures blending together, why should this blending process or assimilation in a new country be considered undesirable.

As a linguist I consider that I am free to learn any language and to enjoy any culture. I oppose the bureaucratic imposition of the parents cultural identity on a new generation of citizens. What is the connection to language learning? I will cover that in another post where I will point out that tying ancestry to language is a major obstacle to language learning.