WorldView: A Language Blog

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WorldView Good Reads: Off the Press for April 2017

Published: April 25, 2017

Here are good reads from around the globe that have caught our attention.

How to Leave a Mark on People 

Why do some organizations leave a mark on you, and why do you pass through others with scarcely a memory? New York Times columnist David Brook explores these questions, with a nod to the power of summer camp.

Putting Words in your Mouth: The Whimsical Language of Food 

Food is a complex symbolic language in itself that can be just as culturally complicated to navigate as a foreign language. And the names we give to our food can say much about our own identity. So what's your beef with that?

The Benefits of a Multilingual Brain 

Years ago, scientists thought children who spoke more than one language had a handicap because they had to spend too much time distinguishing between languages. Today, researchers using brain imaging technology have shown that multilingualism actually strengthens the brain. Learn more about the fascinating brain research around multilingualism from this TED-Ed video and the accompanying lesson plans.

The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap

In her new book, novelist Gish Jen turns her eye to the age-old question why people in the East and the West see themselves, others, society and culture so differently. As she tells it, people of the West have a perspective of a “big pit self” dominated by individualism and independence. The Eastern perspective, by comparison, is collectivistic and interdependent, creating what she calls a “flexi-self.”

Measuring Global Citizenship Education. A Collection of Practices and Tools 

This rich compendium of practical resources relevant to global education was produced by the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the U.N. Secretary General’s Education First Initiative Youth Advocacy Group.

Drawing on good practice efforts from countries around the world, this collection offers a number of wonderful units and exercises to provide indi­viduals with skills, knowledge, and experiences and to encourage behaviors, attitudes, and values important to help individuals be agents of long-term positive changes in their own lives as well as in the lives of people in their communities.

Essentials of Dialogue. A resource to give young people around the world the skills and experience of dialogue 

All around the globe, education systems are struggling to prepare young people for the complex realities of a profoundly interconnected world. This resource from the Tony Blair Faith Foundation also offers a series of very practical games and exercises to facilitate dialogue among people from different political, spiritual, social and economic backgrounds and beliefs.

Talking Across Divides 

America’s partisan divide is deeper today than at any point in nearly a quarter-century. How can young and old learn how to talk to each other across those divides? The New York Times gathered suggestions from readers and educators from across the country.

World Englishes and Culture Wars 

Four times as many more people speak English today as an additional language than as a native tongue. Braj Kachru, one of the great chroniclers of the rise of English, offers a fascinating global tour of the English language by approaching the rise of world ''Englishes'' from a non-Western perspective. He is known for his description of English's three ''circles''—the Inner Circle of the UK and the transplanted British communities of the U.S., Canada, Australian and New Zealand; the Outer Circle made up largely of former British colonies, such as India, Malaysia and Nigeria; and the Expanding Circle, which takes in the rest of the world, including China, continental Europe and South America.

Kachru himself is a child of the Outer Circle, and he describes how those in the Outer and Expanding Circles use English to talk to each other, either in their vast multilingual countries in Asia or Africa or to people in their continental region—Kenyan to Ghanaian or Singaporean to Pakistani, not necessarily to communicate with Brits, Americans or Australians. These ''world Englishes'' are often very different from those spoken in the Inner Circle.

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