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Results for "August, 2008"

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  • LPGA to golfers: speak English or get off the tour

    The LPGA is going English-only. Following the lead of the Salvation Army, St. Anne Catholic School, and Geno's Steaks, the Ladies Professional Golf Association has made English its official language. Not only that, the association warned the Korean golfers on the tour that even if they're winning tournaments, they'll be suspended if they don't start speaking English by 2009.

    The LPGA defended its new rule by arguing that golf is entertainment as well as sport. It further insisted that amateurs playing with the Korean pros in U.S. pro-am tournaments were not amused when their partners couldn't sufficiently entertain them in English. Perhaps not, but with 121 foreign players representing 26 different countries on the LPGA Tour, and 45 golfers from Korea, there have been no complaints from corporate sponsors or pro-am contestants about the inability of foreign players to communicate or entertain.

  • It's 3 a.m. and someone is texting the White House . . .

    Actually it was only 2:35 a.m. and Barack Obama was texting me, and I'm nowhere near the White House, to let me know that he had picked Joe Biden as his running mate.

  • Court rules 'Talking while Spanish' grounds for expulsion at Kansas school

    U.S. district court judge J. Thomas Marten ruled Friday that an English-only school policy at St. Anne Catholic School in Wichita, Kansas, violated no laws, and that the offense that has come to be called 'talking while Spanish' was grounds for expulsion in the private elementary school.

    Last year, in an effort to stop alleged bullying by students speaking Spanish in the sixth grade, the school banned all foreign languages in all grades: in St. Anne's classrooms, hallways and lunchrooms, as well as on the playground. To further discourage Spanish, principal Sister Margaret Nugent also ordered Hispanic students not to sit together at lunch. The school is 35% Hispanic, 10% Asian, and 0.05% African American and Native American. Apparently, only the Hispanic children were required to mix with the Anglo students.

  • 'Talking while Spanish' on trial in Wichita

    In 2007, St. Anne School, a Wichita Catholic elementary school, ordered its students to speak only English while on school grounds. Students and parents were asked to sign forms acknowledging the new policy.

  • Afghan government reaches impasse: can't decide whether to use the Pashtu or the Dari word for 'university'

    This week, as Afghanistan continued to outpace Iraq in the two countries' olympic race toward self-destruction, the Loya Jirga, or Afghan parliament, debated whether to use pohantun, the Pashtu word for 'university,' or daneshgah, the Dari word, in the new higher education law. Delegates also argued over which of the nation's two official languages should be used in class. 

    Pashtu, the majority language, is spoken in most of the country by the Pashtun, the traditional rulers of Afghanistan. Dari, related to Farsi, or Persian, is used mostly by those in the country's northwest who live closer to the Iran border.

    A reporter for a state-run newspaper was recently fined for using the Dari word for 'university' instead of the Pashtu one which is on Kabul University’s official seal.

  • British academic acts to decriminalize bad spelling

    Students at one British university may soon be told that spelling doesn’t count. Writing in the well-respected Times Higher Education Supplement, Ken Smith, a criminologist at Buckinghamshire New University, wants to turn spelling errors from misdemeanors into civic virtues.

    If Smith gets his way, instructors at Bucks will stop punishing students who use “variants” like arguement, Febuary, truely and occured. After all, Smith claims, thier meaning is absolutely clear (perhaps he means, ‘there meaning is clere’?).

    Smith teaches a large introductory course in criminology, and year after year he’s had to cope with the worst in human orthographic behavior. Now, instead of waterboarding students who misspell, he wants to spend his time helping them deal with real crimes, like murder, identity theft, insider trading, and the split infinitive.