IMA 540 Linguistics Class 6

The Interactive Activation Model explained

Past tense Connectionists Rumelhart and McClelland were trying to model cognitive processes for computer [David Rumelhart respected in field of cognitive science]

Vs generativists generative phonology and their descendents, such as those of Chomsky and Halle

Vs The Words and Rules (WR) theory Pinker and Prince

Stephen Pinker: in Words and Rules looking at a single aspect of language and examining it from every angle.

IMA 540 Linguistics Class 5

Neurolinguistics: the study of the biological and neural foundations of language

Cortex: surface of the brain “gray mattergrey matter

white matter: connecting fibers beneath the cortex

whitemtr white matter top white matter 3

cerebral hemispheres:  left/right halves of the brain

corpus callosum: network of 2 million fibers connecting the hemispheres
corpus callosum

contralateral brain function: left side of brain controls functioning of right side of body and right hemisphere of brain controls left side of body.

Modularity of the Brain

First indications came from phrenology – practice of determining personality traits and abilities based on reading the bumps on the skull. Proposed by Franz Joseph Gall in early 1800s. Phrenology has been discarded but Gall’s concept of modularity has been upheld.

Paul Broca – 1864: related language to the left side of the brain, based on autopsies of people who had language deficits and damage to the left frontal lobes of brian. This area came to be calledBroca’s area

Broca’s Aphasia: language disorder that results from injury to Broca’s area
Aphasia: any language disorder that results from brain damage caused by disease or trauma

Carl Wernicke – 1874 – identified aphasia in patients with damage to the back left portion of brain. (Wernicke’s area) 
Wernicke’s aphasia: patients who spoke fluently but had numerous lexical errors; using jargon and nonsense words. Had difficulty in comprehending speech. 

Does everyone have language functions in the left side of their brains? How about right-handed people?
Discussion: is there an evolutionary purpose for lateralization? What do you think could be the reason behind it?

New ways to discover brain functioning:

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging):   Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive method which utilizes the properties of magnetism to create nondestructive, three dimensional, internal images of the soft tissues of the body, including the brain, spinal cord and muscle. (How MRI works)

PET (Positron Emission Tomography):
 shows metabolic activity of the brain (How PET works)
Images from PET scans

SPECT/CT scans: SPECT  studies combine nuclear medicine (the use of radioisotopes  in the diagnosis of disease) with computed tomography.   In this technique, the patient either swallows or is injected with a radioisotope, which travels to a target  organ.  Concentrating in the target organ, the  radioisotope emits radiation, which is detected by a gamma  camera that rotates around the patient.  The  information obtained via the gamma camera is analyzed by a computer, which creates a cross-sectional image of the  target organ.  SPECT scans are frequently used to  determine if a specific area of the body is receiving  adequate blood flow.

Childhood brain lesions
Hemiplegic children: have lesions on one side of the brain; shows differing cognitive abilities
Split brains
surgical severing of the corpus callosum – no communication between two side of brain

Dichotic Listening
contralateral stimuli (opposite side) outweigh ipsilateral stimuli 
reason: stimuli don’t have to cross the corpus  callosum  

EEG – based evidence: Event-related Brain Potentials (ERPs)

 Cognitive neurophysiology is the study of changes in brain function and the relationship of such changes to thought processes. The primary physiological signal that we measure is the electroencephalogram or EEG. The EEG reflects summated potentials generated by the electrochemical signaling processes by which networks of neurons process information. The EEG changes in predictable ways as a function of level of alertness, type and/or intensity of mental activity, and particular forms of brain pathology. We record the EEG by arrays of electrodes attached with conductive gel to many locations across the scalp. Similar sensors are attached to the face in the region of the eyes to record the electro-oculogram or EOG, that is, the electrical potentials generated by eye movements and blinks. The EOG can also provide useful information about mental state. 
(Gevins 1997)

For a more in-depth explanation of ERPs: Coles & Rugg 1995
Other interesting applications of ERPs:
Brain Fingerprinting for Counter-Terrorism
Language Perception & learning strategies
Neural basis of musicality

Historical Evidence for Brain Modularity: Studies of Aphasia Carl Linnaeus (1745) studied jargon aphasia, a disease in which the patient substitutes a semantically similar word for the intended word. 

Johannes Gesner (1770) attributed language difficulties to specific impairment of language memory. He observed bilingual asymmetry in which an abbot who had brain damage could read Latin but not German.

Broca’s aphasics – agrammatic aphasia: utterances without function words, problems understanding syntactic structure

Wernicke’s aphasics – may produce fluent but unintelligible speech, substitute one sound for another (table -> sable) or one word for another. (chair -> table) Also jargon aphasia.

One way that has been tried to help such patients communicate is to have them write the words they want to communicate. In England a Lightwriter has been used to help aphasic patients communicate. Words can be typed and show up on two screens, one for the writer and one for the person they want to communicate with.

Acquired dyslexics: people who lose the ability to read after brain damage 

Genetic Evidence for Language Autonomy

Linguistic savants: individuals who are handicapped in certain spheres but remarkably talented in others

Specific Language Impairment: Seems to have genetic basis, affect identical twins – support modular view of language facility

FoxP2 is the first identified gene that is specifically involved in speech and language development in humans (not in book)

Language and Brain Development

male chaffinch

Male Chaffinch

The Critical Period: period from birth to puberty when language acquisition proceeds easily
evidence: “wild” children, Genie, Chelsea
Bird Songs: some species learn calls, like these:

female chaffinch

Female Chaffinch





But the other’s calls, like that of the cuckoo, seem to be biologically determined

Origins of Human Language

Problem: spoken language existed long before written records are preserved.
Beliefs cloud the topic: monogenetic – belief that all langauges originated from a single source (Tower of Babel story)

Quentin Atkinson’s theory – number of phonemes Tower of Babel

Ullman & Pinker: Words/Rules Theory vs. Connectionist Model

Declarative/Procedural Memory

Types of Knowledge

Types of Knowledge

1.  Roger Sperry biography
     Eccles biography

Fun with electrodes! Probe the brain

IMA 540 Linguistics Class 4

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 10.41.54 PM

Joseph Greenberg

About Joseph Greenberg

Comprehensive Biography

Terms in Greenburg (relevant to language typology)

Diachronic: looking at something (i.e., language) in respect to the passage of time

Synchronic: looking at something at a given moment in time.

See explanations here in regard to linguistics.

Ways to Categorize Languages:

Genetic (historical or diachronic)
Word order (Syntax)
Types of Nouns or Verbs or Prepositions/adpositions

Types of languages in relation to the number of morphemes in a word:

Type Morpheme to Word ratio  Examples
Isolating a word is usually one morpheme  Chinese, English
Synthetic there is usually more than one morpheme per word German, Japanese
Polysynthetic there are a large number of morphemes per word Mohawk, Yup’ik Inuit


Linguistic Typology Resources from the Association of Linguistic Typology (what did I say about geeks with specific interests?)
(includes a database of universals)

IMA 540 Linguistics Class 3

Writing; The ABCs of Language

The History of Writing

  • Pictograms and Ideograms

    • Petroglyphs: rock drawings found in caves like Altamira Altamira pic
    • Pictograms: image of an object
    • Ideograms: pictogram that represents an idea
  • Cuneiform Writing

    • Old known form of writing, developed by the Sumerians
    • Wedge-shaped form of symbols

Logograms: symbols that represent words (used in word-writing systems like Chinese)
Emoticons: strings of text characters that represent emotions; used in email and electronic communication

  • Phonographic symbol: stands for a sound that represents a word.
  • not efficient for all words, but fun and popular for kids (in the example below, take away the letter sound after the dash)


  • Egyptians used pictographic system which the Greeks called Hieroglyphics
  • Pictograms  came to represent both the concept and the word for the concept
  • Through the Rebus Principle, Hieroglyphics became a syllabic writing system
  • Phoenicians developed the West Semitic Syllabary (most were symbols for consonants)
  • Greeks tried to borrow the Phoenician writing system – but Greek has a complex syllable structure; Greeks took the extra consonants and made them symbolize the Greek vowels. the result was Alphabetic writing (from the names of the first and last letters of the Greek alphabetalpha and beta
  • Etruscans knew the Greek system (probably because of Greek colonists in Italy) and the Romans learned it from them. (Etruscans lived in Etruria (Tuscany and Umbria) between about the 8th century BC and the 1st century AD


Modern Writing Systems

  • logographic: a written character represents both the meaning and pronunciation of each word or morpheme
  • Used in China and Japan
  • Why won’t it work with English or other Indo-European languages?
  • Chinese writing
    • Advantages of a word writing system for China: many of the spoken dialects are mutually unintelligible; writing allows for communication by literate Chinese worldwide
    • Simplified system: based on Traditional Chinese characters – developed in the P.R.C. to improve literacy rates in China
    • Romanized writing: Pinyin allows people who don’t know the characters to read and write Chinese words. Many systems have been developed to do this; Pinyin is the official P.R.C. version
    • Calligraphy: art form developed around Chinese and other Asian word writing systems

Syllabic Writing

  • Used in language with primarily CV syllable structure
  • Inefficient to apply to  language like English, which  has many consonant clusters in syllable structure


  • Two syllabaries, or kana:
    • Hiragana used for native Japanese words (in simplified writing for learners and children)
    • Katakanaused for loan words, special effects (onomatopoeia, sounds), and botanical names
  • Word writing system: Kanji – not completely suitable because Japanese is an inflected language; verbs can have 30 or more different forms. So Kanji is combined with Hiragana to show inflection.  Kanji can be used to disambiguate homographs
  • Romanization system: three systems for ローマ字. (Romaji) These are used for learners and non-Japanese-readers of Japanese words.

Cherokee and other Syllabic Scripts

  • Cherokee was not written until this script was developed in 1819 by George Guess, a.k.a. Chief Sequoyah
  • 18 syllabaries are listed on Omniglot as used for writing several Native American, Celtic, and African languages
  • Surprisingly, more than one of the creators of syllabaries was inspired by a dream: MendeVaiNdjuká

Consonantal Alphabetic Writing

  • Semitic Languages like Hebrew and Arabic are written with only consonants
  • Diacritic marks can express vowels
  • Must know the spoken language to read these alphabets

Alphabetic Writing

  • Sound writing  not totally so it’s more of a phonemic system
  • True phonetic system: IPA
  • Icelandic: “The First Grammarian”
  • Hangul (Korean) invented by King Seijong
  • Special characteristics of alphabetic languages
    • Diacritic Marks: accommodate individual characteristics of particular languages, such as tones,  palatalization
    • Digraphs: two letters written together
  • Cyrillic Alphabet
  • Arabic
  • Farsi  (Persian)

    • Western Farsi, or Persian is  spoken by about 22 million people in central and south central Iran. There  are a further 2 million speakers in many other countries including Australia,  Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, India,  Iraq, Israel, Netherlands, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden and Tajikistan.
    • Eastern Farsi or Dari is  spoken by about 7 million people in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
    • Tajiki is spoken by in Tajikistan, Kazakhstan,  Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan by about 4.4 million  people.
  • Urdu an Indo-Aryan language with about 104 million speakers; national language of Pakistan

Reading, Writing, and Speech

  • The purposes of punctuation
    • restrict clauses
    • reflect intonation or pauses
    • provide syntactic information
    • show stress
    • disambiguate
    • Which is more conservative – written or oral language? Why?
  • Reading
  • Spelling
    • The Shavian Alphabet, developed by Kingsley Read
    • Alternative Spelling and the International Phonetic Alphabet Headache Shaw (Or….what you would look like after a lifetime of dealing with English spelling reform)
    • Another superstar of spelling reform, Samuel Clemens, or Mark Twain, wrote: The heart of our trouble is with our foolish alphabet. It doesn’t know how to spell, and can’t be taught. In this it is like all other alphabets except one–the phonographic. This is the only competent alphabet in the world. It can spell and correctly pronounce any word in our language.
      Mark Twain
      That admirable alphabet, that brilliant alphabet, that inspired alphabet, can be learned in an hour or two. In a week the student can learn to write it with some little facility, and to read it with considerable ease. I know, for I saw it tried in a public school in Nevada forty-five years ago, and was so impressed by the incident that it has remained in my memory ever since.
    • Unigraf:
      • Unigraf, a name suggesting one and only one grapheme per sound, began as an attempt to find the most intuitive locations on the standard keyboard for 40 plus unique sound signs.  Such a phonascii or asciibet is needed to access the 40+ symbols on a phonetic font.  Others have made key assignments without paying too much attention to the consequences of their choices.  The first 25 phonogram assignments are easy and most developers of phonetic fonts have been in agreement on these. The aeiou keys are usually assigned to the short (checked) vowels and the shifted AEIOU keys are assigned to the most familiar long (free) vowels.  English has 12 pure vowels so positions for an additional two must be found.  This is where the disagreements begin.
    • Homographs: words with the samespelling but different pronunciation
    • Blame the printing press! (for weird English spellings being spread abroad)
    • Spelling reform: with corrections like these…who needs the Greek lesson?
    • Why doesn’t spelling reform work?
    • What is an argument against phonetic spelling in English?
  • Morphophonemic orthography; why English spelling reflects morphemic knowledge; see the plural -s, for example.

Spelling Pronunciations

    This explains the ‘herb’ pronunciation differences between American and British English; Which one is the more conservative?
And how do you pronounce Worcester, Mass? Or Berkeley?

IMA 540 Linguistics Class 2

Linguistic Signs – arbitrary relationship between form & meaning

Lexicon: mental database of roots, inflectional and derivational morphemes

What does our morphological knowledge consist of?

Morphemes (smallest units of meaning)
Morphological Rules (how to combine morphemes)

Types of morphemes:

Free morphemes: can stand alone as  a word
Bound morphemes: always appear as part of a word

none in English
-able none in English

Better example of English infix: Minne-frigging-sota (A. Spokane)

Roots & Stems

Root: a lexical content morpheme that cannot be analyzed into smaller parts



    • Bound forms with no meaning in isolation: huckle-, boysen-, luke-


  • Roots which have lost their meaning: -ceive, -mit

Monomorphemic words: words which have only one morpheme
Derivational  morphemes: create a new word with a different meaning, such as un- when added to a noun, thus  creating the opposite meaning
Derived word: a word that has had a derivational morpheme added to it
Derivation is governed by rules reflecting a hierarchical structure
Tree diagrams for representing a word

Inflectional morphemes: create words with a different grammatical meaning, such as ‘make’ becoming makes’ when the third person singular suffix is added.
Lexical gaps: Not all possible words are formed by a language
*I admire  your coolth.
Heard of cranberry morphemes?

Sign Language Morphology

Sign languages have root morphemes, affixes, free and bound morphemes, and morphological rules.
Derivation is accomplished through modification of the hand movement and the space in which the signs are articulated. (Sign uses a rectangular space in front of the body for signing)

Word Coinage


    • new words can enter a language through a derivational process


    • some are created


  • two words can be combined into a compound

Compound words

Right-most word is the head (determines the meaning and grammatical category)


Words derived from initials of several words.
Pronunciation can be based on the letters, sounded out as a word or just sounding out each letter.


Created because of incorrect morphological analysis: pease –> pea


Words abbreviated then the abbreviation becomes lexicalized: facsimile –> Fax; pianoforte -> piano
Dis (from disrespect) = clipping

Words from Names

Words that came from a person’s name; sandwich, jumbo, paparazzi


Two words are combined and parts deleted; smog, motel, infomercial

Grammatical Morphemes

Function words, such as it or to only have a grammatical meaning


  • function words are free morphemes

Inflectional Morphemes

    • bound morphemes


    • do not change meaning


  • follow derivational morphemes in most cases (except compounds)

Exceptions and Suppletions

Suppletive forms are irregular and are treated differently by the grammar; their inflections may even be “invisible”
New words, however, come into the language usually with regular inflections, such as geek(s), fax(es). But sometimes  borrowed words come in to the language with the plural form of their native grammar; datum/data
SO, these words have to be memorized – regular rules don not apply. See lists of irregular plurals in English

Morphology and Syntax
Some languages allow affixes to grammatical relationships, while others rely on word order.

There is often more than one way to express grammatical relations

Fun with Morphological Analysis

The Martian linguist – where does this idea come from? It’s from Chomsky; he uses it this way:

Take language, one of the few distinctive human capacities about which much is known. We have very strong reasons to believe that all possible human languages are very similar; a Martian scientist observing humans might conclude that there is just a single language, with minor variants. (from a 1995 interview with  Kevin Doyle)
To this day his only message is: see, think, judge and decide for yourself. This is Chomsky’s own particular talent: he is very good at stepping back and thinking about what it is he’s actually seeing. That’s why he asks questions other people don’t ask. It’s no accident that Martians regularly crop up in everything he writes, whether the topic is language or power. What would Martians see if they could observe us from afar? (from a 2003 interview with Liesbeth Koenen)

More Paku vocabulary can be found here – scroll down to the bottom of page

IMA 540 Linguistics Class 1

What is Language?

  • It distinguishes humans from animals
  • It’s a system made up of sets of knowledge & rules
  • A system that relates sounds or gestures to meanings

Linguistic Knowledge:
Knowledge of the sound system

  • the inventory of sounds (what sounds are possible within the language)
  • where those sounds may occur (position in word, position relative to each other; Could you greet President Nkrumah?)

Knowledge of words

  • Arbitrary relation between form & meaning
    • See comic on p 8
  • Sign language – association of a symbolic gesture with a meaning
    is conventionalized
  • Sound symbolism (pronunciation suggests meaning)
  • Onomatopoetic words -examples in other languages; pera-pera, zha-zha, koro-koro
  • Infinite number of possible utterances (How? See p. 10)
  • “Finite set of rules” (p 11) allow us to create infinite
    set of new sentences (the big question is, what are those rules in
    our brains?)
  • What does the comic on p 9 demonstrate?

How do you recognize the ‘funny’ sentences? (p. 11)

(Posited by Chomsky)

  • Competence, or knowledge one has (not necessarily conscious)
  • Performance: what one does with linguistic knowledge


Second, the distinction between competence and performance, first expounded by Chomsky in 1965, remains problematic to all sociolinguists. A speaker’s competence is the underlying ability to produce and interpret well-formed sentences in a given language and to distinguish well-formed from ill-formed strings. The specifics of such competence are generally established by eliciting intuitions (or using the analyst’s own intuitions) of grammaticality.  Performance, on the other hand, covers not only the manifestation of competence on actual occasions of language use, but the effects of memory, perception, and attention on language behavior. In 1986, Chomsky revised the competence/performance dichotomy, preferring a distinction between I(nternal) and (E)xternal language.

As Sidnell (2000) points out, this change in terminology involved no
significant alteration in the underlying abstraction except a slight
change of focus on what constitutes E-language. While generativists are interested exclusively in competence/ I-language and have not elaborated any coherent theory of performance/ E-language, the distinction is problematic to sociolinguists, most obviously because it treats language as intrinsically asocial…(Sociolinguistics: Method and Interpretation By Lesley Milroy, Matthew Gordon)

Comment: Get used to this…many do not revise their linguistic truisms even long after they have been abandoned by the original theorist. This happens a lot with Chomsky in particular.

What is Grammar?

Mental grammarRules that exist in the brain of the speaker and
permit use of the language

Descriptive: telling what people say

Grammatical: an utterance
that conforms to the mental grammar’s rules as well as the linguist’s descriptive

Ungrammatical: deviates from a speaker’s intuitions; this might mean the utterance is part of a different dialect or register. (i.e., British English: at the weekend;
AAE I be waiting; double negatives
are permitted in Ind-European language

Prescriptive: telling people what they should say;

  • 1762 Bishop Robert Lowth’s “A Short Introduction to English Grammar” was based on Latin grammatical rules
  • Edwin Newman’s “Strictly Speaking”

Dialect varieties- standard, prestige

Teaching grammar used to learn a second / foreign language

Grammar refers
to everything a speaker knows about their language:

  • Phonology: the sound system
  • Semantics:  the system of meanings
  • Morphology:  the rules of word formation
  • Syntax:  the rules of sentence formation
  • Lexicon:  the words used

Universal grammar: laws representing the universal properties of all language

Important quote: (p. 19) “To discover the nature of this universal
grammar whose principles characterize all human languages is the major aim of linguistic theory.”

How close are we?

Noam ChomskyNoam Chomsky: founder of
modern linguistics, proposed that the human brain is wired with a ‘deep
structure’ that gives children
the ability to learn any language
they are exposed to as an infant.

Wikipedia has a discussion
of alternative theories about language acquisition

Most current researchers in language acquisition question Chomsky’s proposed language acquisition device (LAD) and the existence of an underlying structure to children’s utterances.

  • Not universally intelligible
  • Show that sound is not needed for language

Nim Chimpsky

Summary -what we know about language (p.27)

Franz Boas:

Boas, in “The Limitations of the Comparative Method of Anthropology,” said:

  1. Similarities in cultures can’t be accounted for by claiming that human minds have ‘unity.’
  2. The existence of like traits in different cultures is not as important as claimed by comparative anthropologists.
  3. Similar traits may have developed for different reasons (with different origins)  in different cultures.
  4. Cultural differences can’t be dismissed as minor – instead they are of great importance.

Boas wanted to replace the comparative method with one that emphasizes observation of culture traits in detail and in context with neighboring cultures. He proposed an inductive approach (we would call it ’bottom-up’ today) of exploring culture.  Ethnographic research is based on observation without preconceived notions (or hypotheses), but with an open mind.

Edward Sapir

Paper on the Sound Patterns of Language lays the ground work for Phonemics.

He wanted to show that sounds are influenced by their environment (other sounds) and that they have a ‘psychological reality” for speakers. He argues that it is not physical aspect sod the sound that are meaningful but psychological aspects of how users experience the sounds.

Note: Voiceless Dental Fricative compared to Voiced Dental Fricative


Choose one of the questions (from 1,2,3,4,6,10) on  pp. 30
– 32 to discuss. Then share your conclusions.

IMA 540 – Linguistics Schedule

[SlideDeck2 id=735]


Course #: IMA540 – Focused Study II        Title: Linguistics and Expression               Credits: 3

Mode: Course                                            Term: Fall 2014

Instructor: Jill Robbins, Ph.D.                                                                             Student: Tyler Bean

Class Time: Weds. 8:00 – 10:00 pm

Learning Goals:

  • To create a detailed overview of the linguistics field including, but not limited to, universals of language, psycholinguistics, analysis, generative semantics, comparative linguistics, linguistic relativism, sociolinguistics, pragmatics, and metaphors & framing.
  • To understand the place and purpose of language in modern society in relation to slang, comprehension, and the separation between written and spoken language.
  • To contemplate the mimetic properties of language and the possibilities for honest expression.

Assignments and schedule:

Weekly/ongoing conferences with instructor; note-taking and/or journaling

Topics Week Readings Exercises/Assignment*
Human Language, Animal Language, Language Universals, Typology, Linguistic Relativism,Morphology 1(8/27) IL Chapter 1: What is Language
Boas (1896)Sapir (1925)
1,3, 4, 6, 11
2 Sept 3 IL Chapter 3: MorphologyWhorf (1956) p. 57-64 4, 5, 7, 8, 10
3 9/10 IL Chapter 12: Writing 9, 10, 11, 12
4 9/17 Greenberg (1974) p. 11 -57 Aspect paper+
Brain and Language, Language and Cognition, Psycholinguistics, 5
IL Chapter 2: Brain & LanguageSkinner (1980) 7, 8, 9, 13
Ullman & Pinker (2002)
7 10/8 Chomsky (1980)Ullman (2004) Aspect paper+
Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis (part 1), Meaning of Language, Truth, Generative Semantics 8 10/15 Tannen, D. (2005) Ch 2 – 4
9 – 10/24 IL Chapter 5: The Meaning of Language 4, 6, 7, 14, 15
10 – 10/29 Lakoff (1980) Chapters 1-7 (p. 1-34)
1111/5 Tannen (2013) Ch 6. Aspect paper+
Sociolinguistics, Language in Modern Society, Language Change, Computers and Language Analysis 1211/12 IL Chapter 9: Language Processing: Humans and ComputersLabov (1982) Chapters III & IV (optional Ch. I & II.) 2, 3, 4, 7
1311/19 IL Chapter 10: Language in SocietyLabov (2013) Ch. 1-4. 11, 14, 15, 16
1412/3 IL Chapter 11: Language Change 6, 7, 11, 12
(Dec 12) Synthesis Research Paper

Implementing EFL Standards for China

I co-authored the Integrating EFL Standards Into Chinese Classroom Settings Series, described below.

[from] The four books in this series were written to inspire and support all Chinese English-language educators. They combine the best of traditional Chinese teaching with the Ministry of Education’s call for new and creative approaches to instruction.

Features, in Chinese and English:

  • Learner and teacher performance standards developed specifically for this series
  • Stories that show how standards for learning and teaching may be woven into actual classroom experience in China
  • Lesson outlines and graphic organizers
  • Glossary of useful teaching techniques for Chinese teachers of school-age learners
  • Reflection and action worksheets for putting techniques into practice

These features offer Chinese teachers, administrators, and supervisors a dynamic approach to good teaching.

The complete series includes:


Integrating EFL Standards Into Chinese Classroom Settings

  • Primary Level, Grades 3-6 (ISBN 0-07-293341-0)
  • Junior Level, Grades 7-9 (ISBN 0-07-293344-5)
  • Senior Level, Grades 10-12 (ISBN 0-07-293346-1)

Portfolio-Based Professional Development and Appraisal

  • Teachers’ Handbook (ISBN 0-07-293343-7)

Background of China English as a Foreign Language Standards (CEFLS) Project

CEFLS was a 30-month standards-development, materials writing, and teacher education project. Three organizations collaborated on this project: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), with headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, in the United States; The McGraw-Hill Companies, with headquarters in New York City, New York, in the United States; and National Foreign Language Teaching and Research Association (NFLTRA), with headquarters in Beijing, China.

Teacher Performance Standards (PDF)

The CEFLS project’s teacher performance standards are built around eight domains. These domains are derived from research into previously published standards as well as the reflections of CEFLS writers, reviewers, and associates on the characteristics of good teaching.

To create these teacher performance standards, CEFLS participants consulted the Chinese Ministry of Education’s (MOE) English Curriculum Standards (2003). CEFLS was specifically inspired by the stated desire to “change the formal teaching methods that emphasize grammar and vocabulary teaching and ignore the cultivation of language use” (MOE, 2003, p. 1). CEFLS continues the curriculum’s emphasis on learner and teacher attitudes, engaging the students’ interests, task-based learning, and performance objectives.

Learner Content Standards (PDF)

The CEFLS Project’s learner content standards correlate to the Chinese Ministry of Education’s (MOE) English Curriculum Standards (2003) and form a harmonious overlay with the MOE’s standards. These content standards for learners provide a concise, clear, and complete statement of the outcomes toward which Chinese EFL teachers may guide their students. They offer teachers a supportive structure along with the freedom to pursue the outcomes in their own creative ways and though whatever resources are at their disposal.