Monthly Archives: March 2021

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Learn a New Language to Boost Brain Activity

A new study, published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, shows that studying a new language boosts brain activity, which then reduces as language skills improve, so, if you want to keep your brain in top shape, the best advice is to keep adding to your linguistic repertoire. “In the first few months, you can quantitatively…

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Setting a New Federal Agenda on English Learner Education

With the beginning of a new presidential administration earlier this year, some language activists and thinkers believe 2021 could be a pivotal year for education policy surrounding English learners (ELs). New America, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank focused on innovation in public policy, recently published its own agenda for increasing the federal government’s provisions for…

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Bilingual Infants Prefer Baby Talk

Babies pay more attention to baby talk than regular speech, regardless of which languages they’re used to hearing, according to a study led by Krista Byers-Heinlein, a psychology professor at Concordia University in Montreal, involving 17 labs in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, and Singapore. The study, published by Advances in Methods and Practices in…

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Navajo Goes Extraterrestrial

The first scientific focus of NASA’s Perseverance rover is a rock named “Máaz” – the Navajo word for “Mars.” The rover’s team, in collaboration with the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President, has been naming features of scientific interest with words in the Navajo language. Surface missions assign nicknames to landmarks to…

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Court Rejects Special Status for Russian in Moldova

Last month, Moldova’s constitutional court rejected a law that would have given special status to the Russian language (Language Magazine, January 2021). The law was passed last year by the pro-Russian parliament previously led by Igor Dodon, who lost re-election to current president Maia Sandu of the center-right Party of Action and Solidarity. The Constitutional…

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Spanish Speaks in Florida’s Elections

A settlement has been reached in one of the largest lawsuits filed under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, over providing Spanish-language ballots and assistance to voters in nearly half of Florida’s counties. After a long legal battle, the settlement provides for Spanish-language ballots, election materials, hotlines, websites, voting assistance, and signs at election supervisors’ offices….

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House Passes DREAM Act

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the American Dream and Promise Act by 228-197 in its first push on immigration reform under the Biden administration, showing some bipartisan support for such reforms. Nine Republicans joined the Democrats to vote for the bill that not only creates a pathway to citizenship, but also offers access…

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Cardona Stresses Equity in Rescue Funding

As the Department of Education releases $122 billion directly to states as part of the American Rescue Plan, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona is encouraging states to make sure students who have been hit hardest by COVID-19 are provided with the resources and support they need.  American Rescue Plan funds can be used by SEAs…

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Building a New Deal for Educators

As we celebrate this month’s confirmation of the first U.S. education secretary, Miguel Cardona, to have learned English as a second language, maybe we can afford ourselves some optimism about the future of public education in the nation and how recent experiences may show us that the only way forward is to redouble our commitment…