Disclosure: I am a person who, when texting, likes to use exclamation points.
Lots of exclamation points.
I like using question marks, too, especially question marks in conjunction with exclamation points.
She *said* that???!!!
Good thing I don’t work for the FBI.
Anyway, where exclamation points (and question marks) are concerned, I like to do exactly what everyone tells you not to do if you want to have a job or a life or the respect of people writing articles complaining about too many exclamation points.
Which brings me to my actual point: French people write exclamation points and question marks differently than we do.
Specifically, they leave a space between the end of the sentence and the mark.
Au secours !
Sauve qui peut !
I love that. (I love that!!!!)
Somehow, for me, the space between the words and the mark gives the mark a dimension of poignancy it doesn’t have when it follows directly on the final letter. I don’t know why.
Poignancy or sobriety.
I’ve started leaving spaces, too.
I love that !!!!
Better, right ?
* It’s a really good thing. I once wrote a ticked-off email to a friend complaining about Ed refusing to sign off on my buying a new computer. He was cheap, I said. Then I sent the email to Ed, by mistake. I was in the room when he got it, and I still remember the look on his face. ↩
And see: More fun with exclamation points, part 2
I mentioned a while back that precision teaching spends a lot of time “training the inspector”: teaching students how to tell a good performance from a bad one.
Which you do by giving students as many examples and nonexamples as they need to learn the discrimination.
EGGs and NEGGs. Examples and nonexamples.
Thursday I spent a couple of hours in an actual bricks-and-mortar bookstore (bring them back ! ), where I discovered EGGs and NEGGs books for French and Spanish.
Now I need the same for listening and talking.
I’ve just read this and had to post:
On Saturday, presidential historian and author Jon Meacham gave a loving and at times comical tribute to Barbara Bush during her funeral in Houston.
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From a week ago, the review I wrote of the Duolingo app after that morning’s “Health” crash:
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It was the opening sentence of an Opinion piece in last week’s Philadelphia Inquirer that first caught my eye:
Ask students what year Columbus sailed the ocean blue and they’ll likely respond with “1492!”
I’m guessing that most students these days have no idea when Columbus sailed over here. After all, as yesterday’s Washington Post reports, two-thirds of millennials don’t know what Auschwitz is, and 22% “haven’t heard of the Holocaust or are not sure whether they’ve heard of it.”
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I’m about to ask Google whether French has more function words than all the other languages in the world put together.
Because I’m thinking it might.
What does Google know, part 2
Have just come across this observation re: the “particularities” of the English Language:
A particular feature of the English language is its spelling system, which is notoriously difficult to master for nonnative speakers. Whilst in many languages, there is a consistent set of rules that map spoken sounds to written forms, this is not the case in English. Nearly every sound can be spelt in more than one way, and conversely, most letters can be pronounced in multiple ways. Consequently, English has been described as “the world’s worst spelled language.”
The English Language in the Digital Age
Apparently the “worst spelled language” crack comes from a book called “Let’s Reform Spelling – Why and How” that’s so completely out of print even Google hasn’t heard of it.
Reforming English spelling doesn’t seem like a half bad idea to me.
We’ll be in Paris this summer !
I haven’t lived in Paris since Ed and I met, so I’m excited. We both are.
While I’m there, I’d love to work with some students on test prep and/or writing, so if you have French friends with kids, I’d be grateful if you could forward this link:
Test Prep in Paris this June
I’ve just finished revamping my power point slides for this week’s installment of my Autism, Language and Reasoning class. In the process, I found myself back on the Common Core website–a place I hadn’t visited for a while.
This week’s class discusses the challenges that writing assignments pose to children with high functioning autism, most of whom are mainstreamed into regular classrooms. One of the strategies we consider is offering alternative, autism-friendly writing assignments.
But what do the Common Core English and Language Arts Standards have to say about that, I wondered. How much flexibility does the Common Core allow towards uncommon students? After all, only 1-2% of students are exempt–only those with the most severe cognitive impairments. Everyone else, including those with high functioning autism (like J), is held to the same calendar-age-based standards.
A quick scan through the ELA Standards shows a number that could double as diagnostics for autism. Consider:
- “collaboration with peers”
- “Use… dialogue… to develop characters.”
- “anticipate the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.”
(From the Writing Standards).
Even better, from the Speaking and Listening standards:
- “Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions…building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.”
- “Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).”
- “Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks”
- “Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives”
and, perhaps most effective of all:
- “use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.”
America’s Common Core architects appear to think they’ve landed on something that has eluded the world’s psychologists, neurologists, and therapists: a cure for high functioning autism! Namely, America’s Common Core-guided K12 classrooms.
Unless what they’re really after is a high school diploma that certifies that none of America’s high school graduates has more than a mild touch of autism.