Snap Language

Getting Smarter through Language

Passages for Language Learners

This is a list of passages written with language learners in mind. Most of them will be for English language learners (ELLs), but usually the same principles apply to learners of other languages.

These passages or articles are geared toward not only the language-learning experience but also socio-cultural aspects of language learning, linguistics, and other language-related topics.

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The articles appear below in descending chronological order.

Highlights

Level of Formality in American Language and Culture

Read: Beginner Read: Intermediate

Just as in other languages, English has levels of formality. What is considered appropriate or inappropriate in the US? How do you know what level of formality to use? How can you avoid social blunders? (Article available for beginners and Interm./advanced learners.)

audio avaible at “Beginner” level.

Recent Articles

What is grammar (for a linguist)?

Read: Interm./Advanced

The idea most of us have about what grammar comes from what we learned in school, which is known as “traditional grammar.” However, to understand how language works linguists need to study a type of grammar based on describing the language as people actually use it, not how they “should” use it. In this article, Franco explains what grammar is for linguists.

Accents and Idiolects

Read: Int./Advanced

Franco explains what accents and idiolects and draws on his own experiences to discuss their sociolinguistic nature, including the possible negative impact on an individual caused by stereotyped perceptions of accents and idiolects.

5 Steps to Break through the Socio-Cultural Bubble

Read: Intermediate Read: Advanced

Marc Franco proposes five steps for English as a second language (ESL) learners to break through the “socio-cultural bubble” and, as a byproduct, improve their language skills in English. This is based on the concept that ESL learners living in the United States sometimes create a “socio-cultural bubble” in which they stay within their cultural and linguistic community, thus limiting socialization and exposure to English, which can slow down and even prevent language learning.

Learning English in the US (a case study)

Read: Intermediate Read: Advanced

The author, an experienced instructor of English as a second language (ESL), shares what he has learned about the experience of many ESL learners who are learning English while living in the United States. Although the focus is on ESL and the United States, the information likely applies to learning any language in a country where the language is spoken.