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Language is one of the most remarkable developmental accomplishments of childhood and a tool for life. Over the course of childhood and adolescence, language and literacy develop in dynamic complementarity, shaped by children’s developmental circumstances. Children’s developmental circumstances include characteristics of the child, their parents, family, communities and schools, and the social and cultural contexts in which they grow up. This chapter uses data collected in Growing up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) that was linked to Australia’s National Assessment of Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) to quantify the effects of multiple risk factors on children’s language and literacy development. Latent class analysis and growth curve modelling are used to identify children’s developmental circumstances (i.e. risk profiles) and quantify the effects of different clusters of risk factors on children’s receptive vocabulary growth and reading achievement from age 4 to 15. The developmental circumstances that gave rise to stark inequalities in language and literacy comprise distinct clustering of sociodemographic, cognitive and non-cognitive risk factors. The results point to the need for cross-cutting social, health and education policies and coordinated multi-agency interventions efforts to address social determinants and break the cycle of developmental disadvantage.
Socio-economic differences in language have been noted as an important potential driver of ‘social reproduction’ – the transmission of socio-economic status from parents to children. Levels of language and vocabulary knowledge have also been implicated in wider social outcomes. This chapter provides a sociological perspective on language and vocabulary differences, and summarises some key empirical findings on a programme of work using UK birth cohort data. We address social inequalities in vocabulary, mechanisms of intergenerational transmission, and the role of reading for pleasure
The primary function of language is to convey what we mean for communication. Semantics, a subfield of linguistics, aims to understand how meanings are encoded and operate in different levels of linguistic forms (such as morphemes, words, phrases, sentences, and discourses). The cumulative evidence thus far has mainly been based on native speaker intuitions about the meanings of linguistic forms in language usage. With recent breakthroughs in neuroimaging techniques, neurolinguistic research has been used to test and evaluate theories put forth by theoretical linguistics by measuring the brain activity underlying language processes. This chapter reviews a series of neurolinguistics studies that took N400, an event–related potentials (ERPs) component to index the semantic processing, to investigate how the brain processes meaning conveyed by Chinese radicals, characters, classifiers, and the leading context of sentences. These findings make essential contributions to the growing understanding of when and how meanings are extracted, represented, and processed in the brain for language comprehension.
Upending conventional scholarship on Milton and modernity, Lee Morrissey recasts Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes as narrating three alternative responses to a world in upheaval: adjustment, avoidance and antagonism. Through incisive engagement with narrative, form, and genre, Morrissey shows how each work, considered specifically as a fiction, grapples with the vicissitudes of a modern world characterised more by paradoxes, ambiguities, subversions and shifting temporalities than by any rigid historical periodization. The interpretations made possible by this book are as invaluable as they are counterintuitive, opening new definitions and stimulating avenues of research for Milton students and specialists, as well as for those working in the broader field of early modern studies. Morrissey invites us to rethink where Milton stands in relation to the greatest products of modernity, and in particular to that most modern of genres, the novel.
This conclusion reflects upon the contribution of this study to different spheres of history. First, it considers how the analysis changes our understanding of agricultural books in early modern Britain, by revisiting the advantages of the sociological approach compared with the enlightenment model. It restates the core argument about the enclosure of knowledge in light of the detailed arguments of specific chapters. Second, it suggests that this study opens up space for a new field of research: the social history of agricultural knowledge. It discusses how the current arguments about book-knowledge can be tested, but also how alternative approaches might go beyond the focus on books. Third, it considers the implications for general histories of knowledge and capitalism, which is illustrated through three key concepts: the real subsumption of labour, deskilling and commodification. It argues that the story of early English agricultural literature is not only relevant, but foundational to the history of capitalism in general.
Several children in a typical classroom experience persistent learning difficulties that are likely to reflect weak cognitive skills (Holmes et al., 2020). In some cases, these are related to poor working memory. In this chapter, we discuss how limited working memory resources constrain classroom learning, focusing on the impact of poor working memory on children’s abilities to follow both classroom management and learning-activity relevant instructions (e.g., Jaroslawska et al., 2016; 2017). Different ways to help children with poor working memory are discussed. These include an overview of current ideas about memory enhancement by training and brain stimulation (e.g., Byrne et al., 2020), as well as more practical ways for teachers to use action to improve children’s instruction-following.
Working memory (WM) deficits are fundamental problems of children with average intelligence but with specific learning disorders in reading and/or math. Depending on the task, these deficits manifest themselves as a domain-specific storage constraint (i.e., the inefficient accessing and availability of phonological representations, e.g., numbers, phonemes) and/or a domain-general monitoring constraint (limitations in controlled attentional processing, i.e., updating, inhibition). Recent studies suggest that growth in the executive component of WM is significantly related to such children’s growth in reading and/or math. Although constraints in WM can be modified, WM constraints in performance in children with reading disorders (RD) and/or math disorders (MD) remain when compared to their average achieving counterparts across a broad age span. Taken together, children with RD and/MD suffer fundamental problems related to the phonological loop (STM) and controlled attention (executive) component of WM.
The chapters in this book are all readings, or interpretations, of key characters and episodes in the Divine Comedy where it can be shown that what is at stake is a kind of faith. What has been argued is that reading itself is an act of faith, a willingness to trust not only in the individual human author or narrator, but in the larger story in which all truthful, good faith narratives somehow fit. A different faith, like a superseded hypothesis in science, is another way of approaching a single truth and it can be read, charitably, as such.
There is a tendency, at least among secular readers, to bracket off Dante’s faith as something no longer true, something to which we no longer subscribe. Yet that would seem to miss not just an aspect of the Divine Comedy, but its central point. The episodes in the Inferno this volume focuses on, paradigmatic for the whole work, point to a problem of faith – lack of a shared belief, misreadings of important stories, failed allegiance, and broken promises. But it is the choice of Virgil as a guide, lost because of his belief in “false and lying gods,” that teaches us how to read ancient books whose culture we no longer share. How indeed can we believe in them?
Dante’s Francesca, damned for what she claims Love did to her, refers to Lancelot as cotanto amante, “so great a lover,” at the very moment she recounts that her unnamed consort in hell kissed her on the mouth. The problem is not just that she has been befuddled by romance, misapplying it to the facts on the ground, but that she has been seduced by the wrong story and ignoring the greatest of lovers. “If only,” she says wistfully, “the king of the universe were my friend.
Alison Cornish offers a compelling new take on the Commedia with modern sensibilities in mind. Believing in Dante re-examines the infernal dramas of Dante's masterpiece that alienate and perplex modern readers, offering an invigorating view of the whole Divine Comedy, bringing it to meaningful life today. Addressing the characteristics that distance an author like Dante from the modern world, Alison Cornish shows the value of critically and constructively engaging with texts that do not coincide with current worldviews. She thereby reveals how we might discover constellations by which to navigate the process of reading. Written with incisiveness and sophistication, this landmark book elucidates Dante's eminently readable universe: one where we can and must choose what we want to believe.
In the reading section of this chapter, we look at how much vocabulary is needed to gain meaning-focused input through reading material written for native speakers. We then look at what a well-balanced reading program for learners of English as a foreign language should contain to maximise vocabulary growth, stressing the need to use vocabulary graded material, particularly graded readers. Such a course should provide opportunities for extensive reading, a focus on language features through intensive reading, and the development of reading fluency though speed reading. Finally, we look at how learners can be supported to read ungraded texts, using techniques such as narrow reading, pre–teaching, intensive reading, and glossing. In order to gain 98 per cent coverage of unsimplified text, learners need to know most of the high-frequency and mid-frequency words, totalling around 8,000–9,000 word families. In the writing section of this chapter, we look at the effect of vocabulary use on the quality of writing, measuring written productive knowledge of vocabulary and how to improve learners’ vocabulary use in writing.
Chapter 5 examines the annotations by scribes and marginalia by readers in manuscripts of the poems of Geoffrey Chaucer and John Lydgate. A quantitative survey of the treatment of margins shows that, although poets planned elaborate paratexts for their works, scribes and readers seldom used the page for annotation or marginalia. From this survey the author deduces that scribes and readers in the fifteenth century were more interested in reading the poem continuously and for kinds of reading aloud or for pleasure, in ways that do not lend themselves to written record in margins. The poem lives in an immaterial dimension of cognition and feeling, beyond what appears on the material page.
Chapter 4 considers the division of texts into pages and leaves in manuscripts in English poetry and prose in the fifteenth century. It suggests that this material format allowed scribes to fanfare their own craft process, when they decorated the division of the codex into pages for its own sake, as a mere convention without textual function. But it then argues that page breaks contributed little to the text itself. It notes other methods used by scribes to override the page breaks and argued that they were more interested in the continuity of the text and of the reading process beyond the literal limits of the page.
Reading Shakespeare through Drama arises out of case study research which focuses on reading as a socio-cultural practice. Underpinned by theories of reading, learning, drama and play, it is, nevertheless, rooted in the everyday work of secondary English classrooms. Utilising the dialogic ambiguities inherent in Shakespeare's playscripts, this collaborative approach to reading pays particular attention to adolescent readers as meaning-makers and cultural producers. The authors examine different iterations of 'active Shakespeare' pedagogies in the UK, the USA and Australia, drawing a distinction between 'reading through drama' as an approach and the theatre inflected practices promoted by well-known arts-based institutions. Observational and interview data highlight the importance of addressing issues concerning identity and representation that are inevitably raised by the study of canonical literature. Importantly, this Element situates teachers' practice within broader ideological contexts at institutional and national policy level, particularly from the perspective of England's highly regulated system of schooling.
This is a book about the book. Is this a book? is a question of wide appeal and interest. With the arrival of ebooks, digital narratives and audiobooks, the time is right for a fresh discussion of what is a book. Older definitions that rely solely on print no longer work, and as the boundaries of the book have been broken down, this volume offers a fresh and lively discussion of the form and purpose of the book. How does the audiobook fit into the book family? How is the role of reading changing in the light of digital developments? Does the book still deserve a privileged place in society? The authors present a dynamic model of the book and how it lives on in today's competitive media environment.
This study examined the processing and acquisition of novel words and their collocates (i.e., words that frequently co-occur with other words) from reading and the effect of frequency of exposure on this process. First and second language speakers of English read a story with 1) eight exposures of adjective-pseudoword collocations, 2) four exposures of the same collocations, or 3) eight exposures of control collocations. Results of recall and recognition tests showed that participants acquired knowledge not only of the form and meaning of the pseudowords but also of their collocates. The analysis of eye movements showed a significant effect of exposure on the processing of novel collocations for both first and second language readers, with reading times decreasing as a function of exposure. Eight exposures to novel adjective-pseudoword collocations were enough to develop processing speed comparable to that of known collocations. However, when analyzing the processing of the individual components of the collocations, results showed that eight exposures to the pseudowords were not enough for second language readers to develop processing speed comparable to known words. The frequency manipulation in the present study (four vs. eight exposures) did not lead to differences in the learning or processing of collocations. Finally, reading times were not a significant predictor of vocabulary gains.
This chapter reviews research that examines the fundamental cognitive and social processes whereby people learn to read and write. The chapter discusses three types of literate knowledge. First, literacy can be general, such as the ability to decode words or engage in drafting and revision. Second, literacy can be task-specific: learning to read a novel and learning to read a recipe require different declarative and procedural knowledge. Third, literacy can be community-specific, in which members of a community approach a given text using different cognitive and interpretive frameworks. Learning how to read and write requires many distinct cognitive components, from decoding letters to composing and interpreting texts. Literacy also requires the ability to integrate these skills within communities of practice, and these findings are aligned with sociocultural perspectives on learning in all subjects.
The relationship between Book I of Aristotle’s De Generatione et Corruptione to the rest of his writings on the physical world has been found puzzling. Aristotle’s first statement of its scope promises an account of very general principles of explanation. But the actual focus seems very restricted: theory of elements and of homoeomerous mixture. This study proceeds by examination of cross-references to and from other Aristotelian treatises. These reveal the reading order – the order of argument and exposition – that Aristotle intended for them. GC I presupposes readers already familiar with the cosmology and conceptual system expounded in the Physics, while in the other physical treatises the basic ideas of GC 1 are adapted and refined in explanations of more complex physical entities. GC 1 in fact provides three kinds of foundation: physical, conceptual, and teleological. The order Aristotle insists upon is directed towards a definite goal, the understanding of life and living things. It is not merely pedagogical. More likely it reflects a cosmic scale of values which grades living things as better than non-living, and knowledge of better things as a finer, more valuable kind of knowledge.
Chapter 2 tackles aspects of cognitive processing that can be observed in the course of a translation task, from the moment a translator begins to read a text-to-be-translated until the translation has been finalized. It begins by recording the historical development of research into the translation process and how the task of translation has been modelled. It moves on to examining how advances in methodological approaches have contributed to the development of early models, providing empirical evidence from verbal reports, keylogging and eye tracking. Contemporary translation process research focuses on text reading, segmentation and production; and advances in computational linguistics have enhanced descriptions and identification of translation units, attention, production and alignment.