Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bilingual Education

Bilingual education involves the teaching of two languages for academic instruction and content. According to Andersson and Boyer (1970) in Bilingual Schooling in the United States, "Bilingual education is instruction in two languages and the use of those two languages as mediums of instruction for any part, or all, of the school curriculum."

In bilingual education, both languages are considered equally important; one is not favored over the other. Content and delivery are provided in the two languages rather than one of the languages being taught as a subject by itself. In bilingual education, none of the languages should be lost, altered or diluted.

In Canada, both French and English are official languages. The Canadian Constitution provides for the use of both languages. Although French-Canadians are making serious attempts to get to a French unilingualism, it is unthinkable to seek the homogenization of linguistically diverse groups. In addition, in current times, the acquisition of more than one language remains a plus. While French is estimated as having 110 million native speakers and 190 million second language speakers worldwide, English has become the lingua franca, the language of choice for business and computers.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Highway Engineering Basics

If there is something that has facilitated the time-saving transportation it is the construction of roads. It is believed that road construction engineering existed in the 2500 - 3500 BC where ancient civilizations called the Mohenjadaro and Harappan civilizations built rather sturdy roads for transportation. Certain ancient books from similar times talked of the rules for regulating traffic, punishments for traffic offences and the construction dynamics of roads for transportation.

Some of the best of road construction engineering evolved at the onset of the 20th century where the Romans were known to have constructed roads made out of stone lined with layers of lime mortar, broken stones in lime concrete, lime concrete and large stone slabs placed one above the other in the same order. French roads also built in those times depicted a similar engineering but lesser number of stone layers to make roads. The common thing about these roads was that they provided good drainage and good materials were used in its construction lasting it as long as till the current times today.

The aggregates used for road making involved in highway engineering of the modern times takes into consideration the consistency of the materials quantity and quality used, its specific gravity, absorption and polishing capabilities and finally its grading and particle shape. When it comes to highway engineering the best of the aggregates are used to give a durable and tear-resistant end product. Bituminous road surfacing where the uses of construction materials like Asphalt and concrete require the careful specifications with design also require attention to the kind of bituminous binder used. For this reason, the binder undergoes a series of tests for its properties before they are included in the highway construction.

Highway engineering basics concerns various tests that

- determine the flakiness and elongation of the aggregate particles, one that determines the aggregate crushing value (ACV),

- one that determines the aggregate impact value (AIV),

- one that determines the hardness and abrasiveness of the aggregates,

Monday, August 20, 2012

5 Most Annoying Grammar Mistakes

There are so many things that can go wrong grammatically when it come to the English language. From the plethora of exceptions to the rules outlined in our grammar books to the silent vowels that are invariably evident in our words, grammar is often a tough nut to crack for most of us. While nobody is perfect, there are some grammar mistakes that should never be made by anyone at any time. There are some mistakes that are made that are simply inexcusable. Here are five of them:

1. Confusing homophones like "they're," "their," and "there"

These three words are all different and they must never be mixed up. Confusing these words is criminal because it not only confuses your reader, but it is just plain annoying. Their is possessive and means the object belongs to someone. There is in reference to a place as in "neither here nor there." They're is perhaps the easiest one of all since you are given a clue as to the word's meaning by the apostrophe. They're is a conjunction standing for "they are." Please do not mix these common homophones up. It makes you sound unintelligent if you do not know the difference between these words.

2. Never use "of" as a verb

Everyday, people use this annoying slang, "should of," "could of," and "would of." This is clearly the wrong usage. Following should, could, and would should be the word "have" for example. All too often, people say "should of" when they actually mean "should have." Do not make this mistake by being too lazy to say or write the correct word.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Strange But True: Pronunciation Similarities in Spanish and Japanese

If you know anything about the history of Spain and Japan, you know that there are few similarities between their cultures and languages. Culturally, and linguistically, Spain has a major influence from ancient Rome as well as the long Moorish rule of the country.

By contrast Japan had its most powerful influences from Asia, mostly Korea and China. The different forms of Japanese writing have their roots in Chinese writing, although Mandarin Chinese and Japanese are linguistically completely different.

The Mandarin Chinese language is a good example of a language that is in a separate category than both Japanese and Spanish. Chinese uses a complex set of tones to communicate meaning. A good example is the word, "ma." That word can mean anything from "mom" to "horse" to even a kind of "pronounced question mark" at the end of a sentence to indicate that you're asking a question. There are 5 different ways (tones) that you can use to pronounce "ma," and each tone would change the meaning of the word completely.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tips for Beginners to Improve Spanish Pronunciation Skills

Spanish instructors and students generally tend to ignore the phonology of the language, while concentrating more on grammar and vocabulary. Learning any language is not just limited to knowing vocabulary and grammar; it also includes the ability to achieve accurate and acceptable pronunciation.

Good pronunciation promotes communication
Incorrect pronunciation limits your ability to put your message across and will confuse people, while good pronunciation will make people understand you easily - remember, native Spanish speakers can understand you even if you make grammatical mistakes, but not when you pronounce the words incorrectly. Moreover, good pronunciation helps you to speak with confidence, which promotes friendly communication.

Here are a few tips for beginners that will help them improve their Spanish pronunciation skills.

Have a positive attitude towards Spanish
Many beginners get irritated when they are unable to understand the native Spanish accent - this creates aversion towards spoken Spanish in the students. It is therefore very important for beginners to have the right attitude, readiness and motivation for learning accurate pronunciation. Identifying the elements of the language that aid/hinder the learner's effort to achieve native pronunciation will help a lot in improving the pronunciation.

Learn different accents/stresses on vowels and consonants
Understanding the sound system of Spanish language is an important part of improving pronunciation. As pronunciation mainly includes articulation of sounds, you need to be aware of the accents and stresses on Spanish vowels, occlusive consonants, fricative variations, liquid consonants, etc. Many native English speakers find these sounds difficult to reproduce. But, one good aspect of Spanish pronunciation is that the vowels have a single sound, hence, Spanish words are read exactly as they're written.

Friday, August 10, 2012

How to Improve Your Spoken Spanish Skills

Conversational Spanish is an important part of learning Spanish. It is quite common to see Spanish learners have impressive vocabulary and grammar, but be unable to construct sentences while conversing and speak fluently. Thus, it is necessary to adopt the right approach to improving spoken Spanish skills.

This article discusses a few important aspects of learning Spanish that impact your ability to speak positively.

Learn basic phrases
While learning to speak Spanish, start with learning basic and everyday Spanish phrases - this way you make rapid progress in learning and understanding spoken Spanish. Rather than concentrating on learning individual words, learn phrases and sentences in the context - this makes it easy for you to speak Spanish. Also, based on your surrounding environment and your interest, you can learn phrases based on themes (school, family, salutations, emotions, etc.).

Follow a step-by-step process
To start speaking Spanish, you don't need to wait until you complete the entire course or get master all of grammar. Practice everyday conversations by listening and speaking right from the beginning in a step-by-step manner. Initially, start with simple and small sentences/phrases, so that it is easy to reproduce while speaking. Later, depending on your convenience you can move on to sentences with slightly more complex verb tenses and conjugations.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Creating Better Teachers Creates a Better Future

Understanding the concept of channeling.

As a teacher sometimes you just pass through information. You did not create the information - you did not modify it - you enabled the clean and direct transmission of facts to an audience.

Understanding the concept of editing

As a teacher sometimes you edit the information as it is transmitted to your audience. Some parts of the information are left out - this is called editing by omission. Some parts of the information are changed - this is called editing by alteration.

Understanding the concept of creation.

Sometimes there are original ideas or new mixtures of facts or concepts applied to other applications. As a teacher sometimes you can pass on an original idea or concept or application.

As a teacher you should know when you are channeling, editing or creating the information that is being transmitted to your audience.

Easy Ways for Kids to Practice Writing Prompts

The mind of small a child is similar to a blank canvas. You can paint whatever you want to on that plain slate. They might feel confused when they want to think of something that they don't know. Here they require adult supervision. Helper can either be their parents or teacher, as these are the only two types of relations children are most of the time learning from. There is a possibility of some other relations as well. Just check with whom your kid is comfortable in learning. It is not a rocket science. Just give them simple writing prompts to start the process.

The basic formula is to ask them questions and move with that on paper. Basic types of questions could start from What, How, When Where or some wish related. Here are some examples.

Explain to your child that every situation consists of an event, thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Emphasize that the same situation can lead to two different thoughts and that the thoughts cause different feelings and behavior.

E.g. How will you go to school if it will rain today?

There can be number of answers to the question like,

I will not go to school and will have some fun with my family or

Sunday, August 5, 2012

How To Learn French: French For Beginners

When it comes to learning French for beginners you have to get a fundamental understanding of the language. It is no good for you to try and learn more advance French without having a foundation in the language.

Whilst you can learn a lot of French from watching French television or listening to French radio programs, if you do not have a basic understanding of the language it sounds like gobbledygook because all the words appear to run in to each other. It's only after a long time listening that you start to pick out the separate words.

If you have some understanding of the language then you can pick out the words you do know and work the rest out from there.

But how do you get this understanding of French for beginners?

The best way to do this is to pick up a French language training program and work with that or you could attend a French language class at a community college near to you. The downside of this latter approach is you can only go as fast as the class progresses.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Metaphor in Song Lyric

Background Information

No one can deny the role of music in human life. People listen to music for a variety of reasons: to entertain, to relax, to escape from their tiring and frustrating life, etc. A question can be raised: "How can music get the ability to do all of those tasks?" It is the song lyrics where we can find the answer. The lyrics have the power to touch and evoke people's deepest feelings. This power is created mainly by the author taking advantage of a number of rhetorical methods and Metaphor is one of the most widely used. To be more specific, metaphor is a hidden comparison which the authors often use to convey their thoughts or feelings in a very sophisticated way; therefore, those who listen to the songs must spend some efforts on discovering the hidden message. However, correctly understanding the meaning of metaphors is not always easy and sometimes the listeners find it really difficult and confused to figure out the authors' implication.


Discovering the true meaning of a metaphor in song lyrics is somewhat similar to playing a puzzle game. Our group find this task really interesting and full of challenge. That is the reason why we have chosen the topic of "Metaphor in Song Lyrics" for our study. We also hope to provide the English learners a little more knowledge about the use of metaphor in an exciting area (music) so that they can enrich their vocabulary. In addition, properly understanding the metaphors in song lyrics will make it less difficult to interpret the author's message or implication. As a result, the listeners can share with the authors their stories, feelings, happiness or even pains which are conveyed beautifully into the song by metaphors.