Sociology of Scientific Knowledge: Towards Understanding Sciences through Language

Enhancing the acquisition of the knowledge of sciences has been for long a concern of educationists. The issue has been investigated from different perspectives. One of the most recent, which this paper explores, is a modern linguistic approach that views scientific knowledge as a representation of social reality; thus, understanding this knowledge should be based on the study of its sociology and textual formation, the former investigating the relationship between science and society and the latter analyzing the scientific modus operandi, signs and language respectively. This approach tends to demystify science and make it easily comprehensible by unraveling the opacity of its language through contextualization and popularization.

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Infants Need Free Tongue Movement to Distinguish Speech Sounds, Say Scientists

A team of researchers led by Dr Alison Bruderer, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia, has discovered a direct link between tongue movements of infants and their ability to distinguish speech sounds.

“Until now, research in speech perception development and language acquisition has primarily used the auditory experience as the driving factor. Researchers should actually be looking at babies’ oral-motor movements as well,” said Dr Bruderer, who is the lead author on a study published in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on October 12, 2015. Continue reading

The role of the Internet in language learning

online lBefore the emergence of the Internet, computers were since in the 1960s introduced in language teaching and learning. With the advent of the Internet, the role of the computers was also modified giving new perspective to language learning, which according to Warschauer and Healey (1998), the computer—both in society and in the classroom—has been transformed from a tool for information processing and display to a tool for information processing and communication. They further stated that, for the first time, learners of a language can now communicate inexpensively and quickly with other learners or speakers of the target language all over the world.

Findings from various researches have indicated the potentials of the Internet in language learning. For example, there has been emphasis that the Internet enhances collaboration and interaction, which are significant factors, in language class (Megan & Min, 2010). In fact, one important aspect of the collaboration is that it exposes the learner to communicate genuinely with native speakers. Communication with native speakers allows learners to practice specific skills such as negotiating, persuading, clarifying meaning, requesting information, and engaging in true-life, authentic discussion (Aydin, 2006). This also gives learner the opportunity to know more about the culture of the target language. Internet also increases students’ motivation, participation (Son, 2008; Elam & Nesbit, 2012), learner autonomy and student-centred learning (Gao, 2007, 2009 & Bax, 2011). Using the Internet also enhances learners’ computer skills.

Language Teaching Methodology

richards and rogersThis is language teaching methodology as modeled by Richards and Rogers (2001). From a language teaching perspective, Richards and Rogers (2001) identified three principles in explaining the concept of methodology. These are:

i. Approach
ii. Design
iii. Procedure

Approach, according to Richards and Rogers, refers to theories about the nature of language and language learning that serves as the source of practices and principles in language teaching. This means language teaching methodology is influenced by the particular view or theory on the nature of language itself. In order for an approach to lead to a method, they say, it is necessary to develop a design for an instructional system.

In view of this, they defined design as:
The level of method analysis in which we consider (a) what the objectives of the method are; (b) how language is selected and organized within the method, that is, the syllabus model the method incorporates; (c) the types of learning tasks and teaching activities the method advocates; (d) the roles of learners; (e) the roles of teachers; (f) the role of instructional materials. By this definition, design appears to be a framework that systematically connects learning objectives to organization of learning contents and the role of participants in learning situation.

Also, they see procedure as something that encompasses the actual moment-to-moment techniques, practices and behaviours that operate in teaching a language according to a particular method. They further say it is a level that describes how a method realizes its approach and design in classroom behaviour. To this end, it can be said that procedure applies to the real moment of activities in a language class.

Therefore, methodology in this perspective, can be summarised as a systematic way of delivering a language lesson using effective design of activities based on a linguistic theory.

Language & Literature

Image As a student of linguistics I always find literature inseparable from language studies. During our undergraduate days we always used to have this debate about ‘ language or literature is more important in language study. Some say, ‘language is an embodiment of culture,’ while others say, ‘ literature is the workshop for the making of language.’ This debate goes on in my professional life. Many times I find people with literature background doing extremely better in language studies, yet a good command of grammar remains the powerful tool of literary creators. I wish to continue the debate in this blog in the light of drawing new ideas in this field as well as to share my passion for language, literature and literary creativity. So, let’s communicate; let’s create; let’s share; and let’s blog!