The Web of Language

blog navigation

Dennis Baron's go-to site for language and technology in the news
Results for "August, 2009"

blog posts

  • California must ban language discrimination

    The California legislature has passed a bill to allow people to use any language that they want when they patronize or work for a business establishment. It's already illegal to discriminate in California on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation. If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs the new bill into law, it will be illegal to discriminate in California on the basis of language as well.

  • The (former) President's Reading Lesson

    President Obama's health-care initiative may be visionary, but his apparent faith in the Bush administration's "No Child Left Behind" program, with its emphasis on standardized testing, prompts me to reprise this 2004 essay that first appeared in Education Week. Maybe the Department of Education can become visionary too, rethinking NCLB and its massive testing program so that no one really is left behind.

  • Cell phones make kids faster, dumber

    Last year the Librarian of Congress warned that texting was responsible for a drastic decline in American sentences, but that opinion wasn't backed up by any scientific evidence. Now, a team of Australian psychologists has come a step closer to proving that mobile phones are destroying our ability to think. The researchers show that children who use mobile phones respond to higher-level cognitive tasks faster, but less accurately, than those who don't.

  • A Better Pencil, available now from Oxford University Press

    Computers, now the writer's tool of choice, are still blamed by skeptics for a variety of ills, from speeding writing up to the point of recklessness, to complicating or trivializing the writing process, to destroying the English language itself.

  • Internet addiction: deadly pathology or just a nice substitute for TV?

    This week 15-year-old Deng Senshan died from beatings while being treated for internet addiction at a Chinese internet rehabilitation clinic.