Lang. activity

Topics: Buddhism, Islam, Christianity Pages: 5 (1051 words) Published: January 17, 2014
This Web quest is designed for you to gain an appreciation that language and religion are essential elements of culture.  Answer the following questions to the best of your ability on a separate sheet of paper.

ACTIVITY 1:  100 Eskimo Words for Snow: Fact or Myth?
There are an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 languages spoken throughout the world today.  One of the great beliefs in the many languages of the world is that, "Eskimos have more than a hundred words for snow."  However, is this statement true?  If so, what are they?  Can we really believe everything we hear? Go to

1) Discuss the problem with saying there is an Eskimo language. The traditional claim is "Eskimos have N words for snow" (for growing N) -- and every part of that claim is problematic: There is no single language "Eskimo", just as there is no single language "Indian". And, like "Indian", "Eskimo" is not a very good name: it lumps together two major cultural groups, the Inuit and Aleut, and ignores major differences (including huge language variation) within each group. 2) Are there 100 words for snow in this particular language?  Explain. Eskimo surely has no words for snow at all. Does Eskimo have a word for the grey mist in a poor TV picture? Just how wide or narrow do we draw the boundaries, and how do we ensure we're drawing them the same in the languages being compared? Now for some fun, go to The Great Inuit Vocabulary Hoax.  Should this site be taken seriously? NO ACTIVITY 2: What's in a Name?  Geographic Place Names

In China, Mandarin Chinese place names are often determined by their geographic location.  (Most words are listed in the pinyin spellings, not the older Wade-Giles system) Go to Chinese Place Names
3) Translate the following Chinese place names into English: Cities
Shanghai in to sea
Sichuan four streams
Hunan "south of the lakes"
Shanxi western mountains
Chang Jiang long river
Huang He yellow river
Changbai Shan long white mountains
Zhonghua central kingdom

ACTIVITY 3: Britspeak: Same Language, Different Dialects
Sometimes misunderstandings occur because words have multiple meanings, and meanings can change over time due to the dynamic nature of language.  English has an extensive vocabulary, and words used in Great Britain may have alternate meanings than in other English-speaking countries. Go to the Britspeak Page

Translate the following British sentences into American English by changing the underlined words (note that you can scroll to the bottom of the page to select different lists of words):

homely comfortable
lad boy
lift elevator
lounge house
bubble and squeak potatoes and cabbage
aubergine eggplant
biscuits cookies
Afters desert

5) berk idiot
over the moon elated
crumpet roll
flat apartment
bun in the oven pregnate

ACTIVITY 4: E Pluribus Unum?  Living in a Multilingual Society The United States, with just under 300 million people, is a multilingual nation with an increasing number of international languages spoken within its borders.  There are literally millions of people in the United States who wish to keep the nation unified through a common language. Go to US English, Inc. and read the introduction.

Go to the page entitled, Fact and Figures Read the information .

6) Which Fact and figure was most surprising to you?  Is this the first time you were aware of this organization?   7) Do you agree with the goals of US English, Inc.?  Explain.

ACTIVITY 5: The Great Esperanto Experiment
Esperanto is a language that was developed in 1887 by Ludwik Zamenhof with the specific intent of creating an international second...
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