A thousand new words

Yesterday, Merriam-Webster announced that they just added 1000 words to their online dictionary. WHAT?!?!? Suddenly we find ourselves wondering what should be in a dictionary, because no doubt there is plenty of slang included as part of the additions. But is a word still slang once it makes it into a dictionary? This could be a very interesting discussion, but it is February and we hardly have the energy for it.

We will stick to the facts. Here are some of the words that have been added: Seussian, conlang, face-palm, binge-watch, photobomb, humblebrag and EpiPen. Just writing them down, the objections start coming to mind.

Anyway, read more for yourself.

Awards highlights: the great things you will find in our catalog

We here at English Central have always prided ourselves on the fact that we do not sell just any books – we sell great books! (If you recognize the previous sentence from the past two blog entries then all I have to say is bless you for reading!)

We have 14 publishers that we work with and some of them have been around so long or are so decorated that they really can’t remember what they have won. So, we decided to create a list of highlights of the books in our catalog that have won awards:

ENGLISH FOR ACADEMIC PURPOSES

The Transferable Academic Skills Kit (TASK) – Amanda Fava-Verde et al – Garnet Education – Shortlisted for the English Speaking Union English Language Book Award 2013

English for Specific Academic Purposes (ESAP) – Garnet Education – Winner of the ESU English Language Book Award 2009

GENERAL ENGLISH

Global – Lindsay CLandfield – Macmillan Education – Winner of the ESU English Language Book Award 2010

Fiction in Action: Whodunit – Adam Gray and Marcos Benevides – Abax Publishing – Winner of the ESU English Language Book Award 2010 and Winner of the ELTons, Cambridge ESOL International Award for Innovation 2011

Backstage Pass – Lesley Ito – Atama-ii – Winner of the Language Learner Literature Award 2015

BUSINESS ENGLISH AND ESP

Aviation English – Anna Cowper, Andy Roberts, Henry Emery, James Greenan – Macmillan Education – ELTon winner 2009

K-12

Hooray! Let’s Play! – Gunter Gerngross and Herbert Puchta – Helbling Languages – Winner of the ELTon, Excellence in Course Innovation, 2013 AND Winner of the ESU English Language Book Award, Young Learners, 2013

Sunshine – Garnet Education – Winner of the ESU English Language Book Award, Young Learners, 2011

METHODOLOGY AND TEACHER RESOURCE BOOKS

Learning Teaching – Macmillan Education – Winner of the ARELS Frank Bell 1995

Teaching English Grammar – Macmillan Education – Winner of the ESU English Language Book Award, Best Entry for Teachers, 2010

Uncovering Grammar – Scott Thornbury – Macmillan Education – The Ben Warren International House Trust Prize 2001

Dealing with Difficulties – Lindsay Clandfield and Luke Prodromou – Delta Publishing – The Ben Warren International House Trust Prize 2006

Teaching Unplugged – Scott Thornbury and Luke Meddings – Macmillan Education – ELTons winner, 2010

Digital Play – Kyle Mawer and Graham Stanley – Delta Publishing – ELTons winner, 2012

The Developing Teacher – Duncan Foord – Delta Publishing – ESU English Language Book Award, Best Entry for Teachers 2009

Not too shabby! We are truly honoured to work with our publishers and to promote their fine publications.

And the award goes to… Garnet Education

I said it in the previous post and I will say it here again: we here at English Central have always prided ourselves on the fact that we do not sell just any books – we sell great books! We started working with Garnet Education about 10 years ago because they were making quite a name for themselves with their titles, which were exclusively EAP at the time. Generally regarded as trailblazers in EAP publishing, they have more recently expanded their horizons to other areas of ELT. They have done a lot of innovating and so it is a good thing they have gotten some recognition for it!

We asked General Manager Richard Peacock to list the nods they have gotten and here is what he reported back to us:

ESAP Series: Winner of the 2009 English Speaking Union English Language Award

Sunshine: Best Entry for Children in the 2011 English Speaking Union English Language Award

TASK: Shortlisted for the English Speaking Union English Language Award 2013

Skills in English (the foundation of all the Skills stable): Highly Commended in the English Speaking Union English Language Award 2004

Oracle Readers: Wuthering Heights and The Case of the Dead Batsman: Finalists in the Language Learner Literature Awards

There were also awards at some stage for Access EAP and Upgrade, but I can’t find any details …

: )

And on that note, I would like to add that Garnet Education has always been wonderful to work with and eager to cooperate with us on the various ideas we have come up with over the years (like producing American English versions of their books!). Richard is the man in charge and ultimately this cooperation is thanks to him. I personally also appreciate his sense of humour and the colourful terms of affection he uses when speaking to me. Richard, if you are reading this, thank you… and Lori misses you. : )

And the award goes to…. Helbling English

We here at English Central have always prided ourselves on the fact that we do not sell just any books – we sell great books! Helbling English (previously known as Helbling Languages) has certainly gotten its fair share of attention despite the fact that they have only been in the ELT business for 12 years. Here is a list of the titles from their catalog that have either won or been nominated for awards:

The Thinking Train Eltons Nominated 2016, Innovation in learner resources; English Speaking Union – English Language Award – Shortlisted 2016

Hooray! Let’s Play! Eltons Winner in 2013, Excellence in course innovation; English Speaking Union HRH Duke of Edinburgh – English Language Book Awards –Best Entry 2013 for young Learners (for the Student books)

For Real Eltons Nominated 2012, Innovation in learner resources (Intermediate level)

Teaching Young Learners to Think Eltons Nominated 2012, Innovation in teacher resources

Get on Stage! Eltons Nominated 2013, Innovation in teacher resources

Something to Say English Speaking Union HRH Duke of Edimburgh – English Language Book Awards – shortlisted 2014

Seeds of Confidence Eltons Nominated 2011, Cambridge ESOL International Award for Innovation

Activities for Interactive Whiteboards Eltons Nominated 2010, Cambridge ESOL International Award for Innovation

A Problem for Prince Percy (The Thinking Train) English Reading Foundation Language Learner Literature Award Finalist 2016, Young Learners category

Skater Boy (Helbling Young Readers) English Reading Foundation Language Learner Literature Award Winner 2014, Young Learners category

The Leopard and the Monkey (Helbling Young Readers) English Reading Foundation Language Learner Literature Award Winner 2015, Very Young Learners category

The Time Capsule (Helbling Readers Red Series) English Reading Foundation Language Learner Literature Award Finalist 2012, Adolescent & Adult: Elementary category

The Green Room (Helbling Readers Blue Series) English Reading Foundation Language Learner Literature Award Winner 2013, Adolescent & Adult: Intermediate

Can you afford to speak Persinglish?

It is an old story: putting some foreign words on products to make them seem more interesting and marketable. This writer remembers being horrified one day while teaching children in Korea because a 5 year old girl came into class wearing a t-shirt with a picture of a cartoon character that had “sex goddess” written underneath. And certainly, us North Americans often go weak kneed at things that have French names. And then there are the tattoos of Chinese characters that the bearer thinks means one thing but actually means something else entirely.

Well, in Iran these days, it would seem that English is the language for the cool kids. Restaurants are capitalizing on this. Many menus now feature items with English names (though written phonetically in Persian) and prices are skyrocketing… some are claiming that prices are as much as tripled. On twitter, Sara Salehi wrote “The situation is so bad that even saying ‘sibzamini sorkh karde’ instead of ‘French fries’ is interpreted as defending the Farsi language.”

Read more in The Observers.

Multilingual megaphone launches

We are a little late on this one… In November, Panasonic announced that it would be launching a new megaphone in December. This megaphone is special because a Japanese speaker could speak into it and it would translate into English, Chinese and Korean. It won’t translate anything – it has about 300 pre-programmed phrases that it can recognize and translate.

Why a megaphone? The device was designed to help companies deal with the increasing number of tourists to Japan. They are hoping it will be used in transportation hubs and at tourist destinations. Users can add new phrases and updates by connecting to the internet. They are available for the bargain price of $183/month.

Read more.

Changing ACT for ELLs

The American College Testing exam board has announced that it will be making changes to the ACT test to accommodate ELLs starting in the 2017-2018 school year. Some of the accomodations include allowing ELLs extra time to complete the test, having the use of translation dictionaries, testing in a non-distracting environment (such as a different room), and rubrics in the student’s native language. The stated ambition for the changes is to make the ACT better reflect what ELLs have learned in school and thereby improve access and equity.

Read more in Education Week.

NYSUT calls for greater investment in ELLs

The teacher’s union New York State United Teachers has called on the state to make a greater investment in supporting ELLs. The number of ELLs in New York State has increased by 22% since the 2008-2009 school year. Schools are mandated to provide adequate support to ELLs, but the union is arguing that budget constraints make it impossible to satisfy this requirement. The union is asking for a special aid category to be created in the 2017-2018 budget that will provide at least $200 million to boards with large or growing ELL populations.

Read more from NYSUT media relations

Million dollar question: how do ELLs best learn?

In December, Peggy Estrada, an associate research scientist in Latin American and Latino studies at UC Santa Cruz, was awarded a research grant to study the classroom composition of California classrooms and specifically whether integration or separation of ELLs affects their learning opportunities. The Spencer Foundation awarded the grant called “English Learner Achievement in Elementary School: Classroom Composition and Opportunity to Learn.” Over the next three years, Estrada will work with colleagues Timea Farkas and Claude Goldenberg to conduct a small-scale experiment with 16 schools in California, where 42% of K-12 students are said to be non-native English speakers.

In a UCSC news release, Estrada stated that three main questions will be examined in the study. “First, do English language arts classroom practices differ depending on the classroom composition, and if so, how? Second, do classroom practices and classroom composition each predict student achievement? And finally, if we find a relation between classroom composition and student achievement, is that accounted for by classroom practices?”

Read more in the UCSC press release.