After creating an above-level grammar group, I was left with the problem of creating a challenging grammar assignment. Inspired by a friend’s self-created language, I encouraged my students to examine the rules of other languages. Some interesting rules they discussed included:
- Spanish: Adjectives come after nouns
- Japanese: Nouns are not pluralized. The number of items are implied within the sentence
- French: Nouns have gender
By examining other languages, we validate our bilingual students and provide them with an opportunity to be experts during ELA. It’s also enjoyable to see students discussing and making connections as they analyze their language’s grammar.
You are probably aware of patterns in your students writing caused by their first language. These may include errors in conjugation, subject-verb agreement, or tense. Rather than endlessly marking up papers in red ink, consider having your students compare and contrast English and their first language to truly understand the origins of these errors.
Your students will certainly get a kick out of learning about the multiple perspectives behind different languages.
- If you’ve got loads of money, Rosetta Stone has incredible resources for learning multiple languages.
- I’ve picked up several language textbooks for just a few dollars from my local library’s bookstore.
- Hit up iTunes’ podcast library and look for free language podcasts. Personally, I enjoy JapanesePod101 from iTunes.
Update: If you’ve got kids interested in this topic, the next step is to create a new language! Luckily, my pal Dave wrote the book.
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