Showing posts from August, 2010

T-minus 1 week!

In one week the new semester starts! The FINAL semester of graduate studies - woohoo! On the roster this (final) time around we've got the following: Psycholinguistics which deals with: Contemporary issues in the fields of first and second language development and bilingualism will be addressed within the framework of the psychological development of the individual, from early childhood through adolescence. Theories of learning will also be addressed, particularly as they have been used to explain language development, including behaviorism, cognitive psychology, Piagetian constructivist theory, Vygotsky’s Social Interactionism and Freirean critical consciousness and praxis. Having done most of the reading for this course over the summer, I think it will be rather interesting. It's all about how the mind (a child's and an adult's mind) picks up language and how we learn to learn a new language on top of our native language. And the Practicum (aka Field Experienc

Translation - random thoughts

A number of years ago I was approached by a firm to do a translation. A one page bureaucratic document that that to do with excise taxes. I was quite excited to be approached for this, although I borked the translation. I spent way too much time sweating the somewhat difficult stuff (like all the crazy acronyms found in the document) that I mistranslated big time units to small time units. Oh well. Live and learn! Now I've been working on a longer literature translation on my spare time for a friend, and I've learned my lessons, however another thought has come to mind: How close to the original does a translator make his work? The intent of the translation is to not necessarily translate everything verbatim, but convey the meaning of the original into the target language. What I am wondering is how much leeway does a translator have with tenses, active versus passive voice and participial expressions. For example, you are translating something from a language where the

Wave goodbye to Google Wave, say hello to...

OK, this isn't really news, but the news is our all over the interwebs - Google will no longer be developing Wave as a stand-alone product, and will keep the service up and running until the end of the year - it will also provide a way for people to get their data off Google Wave. I have to say that I really enjoyed messing around with Google Wave. I got an early beta invite, I invited some friends, but the mistake was that I invited people that are gadget geeks like me, but we don't normally collaborate! This Wave was really a bit useless for me because the people that I invited were people whose interactions with me would not push me to use the service! Google because open for everyone's use this past spring, but by that time I hadn't really thought of uses for Wave. In a recent comment in InsideHigherEd, I saw that people were using Wave as a replacement for the Bulletin Board System within the LMS (learning management system). What a brilliant idea! I think

Translation procrastination...

A long while back I had translated a government memo from modern Greek to English. It was only one page and I wanted to have it be perfect! I looked up all acronyms (some of which I had no idea existed since I left Greece before being involved too much with governmental BS), but I missed the small things! I had translated "minutes" as "seconds" - bah! What an newbie mistake! I still beat myself up over it! I became blinded by perfection that I missed the obvious! In any case, I am now back in the translation game, this time translating, for a friend, the life and times of St. Margaret from New Testament Greek to English. It's about 40 pages of New Testament Greek (medieval Greek?) goodness! Luckily all those years as an altar-boy in Greece, and my two semesters of Ancient Greek had prepared me a bit for this under taking. I procrastinated most of the summer but recently I got back in the groove. The biggest problem, again, was perfection. I was expec

Informal Learning in the Workplace

One of the topics that we covered in our Knowledge Management class back in the days of the MBA was this whole concept of informal learning (or water-cooler learning) that happens day-to-day in any given workplace. In those 1 minute interactions at the watering hole you may learn something that impacts your job performance (for better or for worse) and one of the goals of KM was/is to capture such leaky knowledge for the benefit of everyone in the company. I came across this presentation on informal learning a little while back and I thought it interesting. I think that this is something that learning professionals should be exposed to if they are in a degree or certificate program :-) 8 Reasons to Focus on Informal & Social Learning View more presentations from Charles Jennings .

Road to the PhD - some thoughts

Last week I spoke to a friend of mine who is already pursuing a PhD - said friend is at the dissertation stage if I am not mistaken.  I let her know that I am considering a PhD - having overcome my fear of writing long research-based passages, and having grown accustomed to the Master's level difficulty, I've decided to up my game since I like learning new things.  I also aspire to one day be a professor, so a PhD is generally a must in these cases. After many professors, in many different fields, have encouraged me to go for it, I've started compiling a spreadsheet of which schools have what I am interested in, what the requirements for entry and exit are, who the movers and shakers are (i.e. potential advisors), and what other important things are nearby (i.e. centers of research that those schools collaborate with).  Another major consideration is cost: where are the stipends and assistantships? You don't go into a PhD program, or the professoriate for that matter,

How important is encoding?

Here's some non-random stream of consciousness for you as far as language goes. How important is encoding to you? Does encoding really matter? What do I mean by encoding? The alphabet you use, whether you represent words as syllables, as characters, as letters, and how you put all that together. The impetus for this though process comes from a (pretty silly in my opinion) facebook group that I was invited to a while back. The group is called "save the Greek language," kinda funny if you ask me because I don't think that the Greek language is in any danger of being lost. The details of the group say the following (for the original look at the end of the blog post). Greek is one of the most beautiful languages. English has a far reach and is...a requirement. Greeklish [emphasis added] on the other hand is nothing. Mixed up, messed up [words] that are convenient. We will forget the Greek we know. Prefer to write in Greek [script]. You will be expressing yours

Prezi, revisited

I came across this Prezi course introduction to an "Intro to Learning on The Cloud" course. I have to say that from a teaching and learning perspective the course looks pretty compelling! This introduction was interesting as well, however there is a big caveat. I don't know if this was a self-paced presentation, or if it was used in an in-class presentation. As an in-class presentation I can see this Prezi working, however as a voiceless self-paced presentation it's a major fail. About 40 seconds in, having clicked next-next-next the animations in this prezi made me nauseated - the the point that I needed to stop viewing it! I wonder if this was a case of flashy-prezi use, or just a good presentation for the wrong medium teaching & learning in the "Cloud" on Prezi

Does language influence culture?

Here's an interesting article on the Wall Street Journal about the relationship of language and culture.  If you haven't studies psychology or applied linguistics, it's an interesting thought provoking article to get you primed for further exploration into the topic of language and culture - and if you are not interested in these topics enough to study them further, then it's a nice conversation (or ice breaker) topic for any meetups or cocktail parties that you go to :-)  The author, a university professor, writes that Chomsky's Universals have not withstood scrutiny.  I am only starting to to immerse myself in psycholinguistics so I don't really know much about the subject (other than the primers on Chomsky's Universal Grammar ), but as far as I know, Chomsky keeps refining his hypothesis, so if one version of the hypothesis has some issues, as more knowledge on the subject is gained and as more studies are conducted, we see newer interpretations of t