Language Resources for Small Children. All parents concerned with the education of their children should be asking these questions:
- What language are my children hearing?
- What language do we want them to be learning?
- How do we present useful auditory learning matter?
Though children learn easily through hearing and thereby quickly gain a visceral feel for the flow and meanders of well crafted prose (if that is what they encounter) they just as easily pick up whatever auditory flotsam and detritus our popular culture throws their way. This is inevitable, but parents must make sure that children hears language worthy of emulation as well, and it should, whenever possible, predominate.
We have been trying to collect those works which will best serve children during those childhood years of peak language acquisition and acquaint them with good vocabulary and language usage – grammar and expressive constructs which, if assimilated, will benefit them in school, college and throughout life. This has been expanded to include audio works for very young children, and for highly accomplished English speakers seeking to expand their abilities. While there is no guarantee that lectures, even those from ivy league universities, will demonstrate perfect or inspired language, there are indeed a number of scholars whose unscripted speech is invariably flawless, beautiful and sublimely conceived, and which could go into print anywhere without any editing at all. This online collection is fairly extensive and is growing.
Spoken English Examples and Lectures for older students chosen from many sources purely for their use of language.
While many university professors do not express themselves well and often commit common grammar and stylistic errors in their unscripted speech, some speakers do produce superbly crafted prose which no editor could improve upon. We have attempted to find these. It is an unfortunate fact that the language children acquire in school and even in the classroom (and even from their teachers!) would very probably cost them points on a college entrance exam. Many teachers assume that they will communicate more effectively if they adopt the sloppy speech patters of their students instead of using language worthy of emulation. There are certainly some teachers who do strive to be valuable role models, be these are rare in a world that does not value those qualities.
What is good language?
Whether the language commonly used on the street, in the playground and through the media should be adopted as the norm and reflected in dictionaries and grammar works instead of the traditional grammatical rules has been oft debated. However, when it comes to college and college entrance, the language the student or applicant uses and demonstrates in writing and speech will be judged according to a fairly formal standard, and though the criteria may vary, it is very unlikely that a student will be condemned or criticized for using correct or even hypercorrect grammar, vocabulary and linguistic devices. The bottom line is clearly, what impression will the chosen level of language formality have upon an educated audience? Rarely is good traditional and even fairly sophisticated language a liability in college. Vocabulary which will not be understood by one’s readers is clearly not indicated. On the other hand, the student intend on giving a good impression would probably be better off avoiding colloquial ephemera such as “it sucks” or “my bad,” expressions that reflect clearly upon the speaker and may well fall into disuse together with other once common expressions such as “That’s swell” and “it’s groovy man.”
Using appropriate vocabulary
In the opposite extremes of the vocabulary spectrum, in an academic environment it is rarely necessary to avoid using challenging terminology if it is correct. A well chosen word, even if it is unfamiliar to the professor/interviewer/evaluator, will not normally cause a problem and may well give the student/applicant an edge over competitors. The responsible academic who encounters an unfamiliar word (one which, upon scrutiny, is indeed felicitous and correct) will not take offense and may in fact be favorably impressed. One is therefore well advised to avoid the vernacular and to venture somewhat more confidently toward the erudite with little danger of speaking over the head of your reader when writing for or speaking to college entrance examiners. succesfully