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Babel: The Language Magazine
Bringing Historical Linguistics into the Second Language Classroom

"James Stratton, specialist in historical linguistics and second language acquisition, explains how knowledge of language history can be beneficial  when learning historically related languages. 

English and German are both Germanic languages, which means they both trace back to a common ancestor called Germanic. Some 2,000 years ago, English and German started out as the same language, which means they began with the same core vocabulary. Linguists call these vocabulary items ‘cognates’. However, over time, languages and dialects change, such that today, many of the English-German cognates may look and sound very different even though they started out as the same." [...]

Media article for Babel: The Language Magazine on bringing language history into the language classroom.

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The Source
Historical Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition

"Learning a new language can be a daunting task for many, but a recent study by University of British Columbia (UBC) English professor James Stratton, suggests that understanding language history may hold the key to more effective language learning. 


Stratton, a historical linguist who works on second language acquisition, is not alone in finding language history useful. Several scholars have called for the integration of historical linguistics into the second-language classroom for several years. Since few studies had tested its effect empirically, Stratton’s study, recently published in The Modern Language Journal, investigates the relationship between knowledge of language history and second language acquisition." [...]

Interview with The Source about the role of language history in second language learning.

CBC News Radio
On the Coast with Gloria Macarenko

Radio Interview on CBC News Vancouver about how knowledge of language history can be beneficial when learning historically related languages.

Language Sciences (UBC)
The Role of Historical Linguistics in Language Acquisition

"If you’re looking to learn a new language, you might want to start by taking a deep dive into historical linguistics. In the study, ‘Intentional and Incidental Vocabulary Learning: The Role of Historical Linguistics in the Second Language ClassroomDr. James Stratton, Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literatures at the University of British Columbia, explored whether knowledge of language history can be beneficial to learners when learning English-German cognates.

The findings showed that knowledge of language history can help learners remember the meaning of cognates more effectively, and learners who receive instruction on historical changes are better able to successfully predict the meaning of cognates they hadn’t previously encountered. [...]"

The University of British Columbia
News and Magazine
Looking for a faster way to learn a language? Try historical linguistics

"In recent years, language-learning apps, websites, and podcasts have exploded in popularity, promising fun and faster ways to make us fluent. But a new study conducted by UBC English professor Dr. James Stratton finds that one of the best ways of fast-tracking your language acquisition may be to learn a bit of language history – at least when it comes to learning a historically related language. In his study, students who were taught the history of words and how sounds have evolved over time significantly outperformed students who spent an equivalent amount of time following traditional language learning methods. The students who received historical training were also able to correctly predict the meaning of cognates (foreign words that have a common root) they hadn’t encountered before." [...]

Q&A interview with UBC Media Relations about my study Intentional and Incidental Vocabulary Learning: The Role of Historical Linguistics in the Second Language Classroom.

Cambridge University Press Linguistics Blog
An Historical Linguistics Detective Story: This is well confusing!

"Historical Linguistics can be thought of as a crime scene where researchers displaced in time are left with the befuddling task of reconstructing what happened based on limited footprints of data. This historical study showed that intensifiers can come in and out of vogue over time, but its use may differ across different populations." [...]

A blog entry in the Cambridge University Press Linguistics Blog about my study Diachronic Analysis of the Adjective Intensifier well from Early Modern English to Late Modern English.

Cambridge University Press Linguistics Blog
German Intensifiers: The Emergence of German Variationist Sociolinguistics

"Everything in the universe has to evolve to survive, and language is no exception. As well as constantly changing, language is also rich in variability, that is, there are several ways of expressing the same thing. The fundamental idea of variationist or Labovian sociolinguistics is that variation is not random, but instead is conditioned by various linguistic and social factors." [...]

A blog entry in the Cambridge University Press Linguistics Blog about my publication Adjective Intensifiers in German published in the Journal of Germanic Linguistics.

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