An Electronic Magazine by Omar Villarreal and Marina Kirac (c)
Year 3                         Number 50                          April 1st   2001
Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being SHARED.
Marina, the boys and I are blowing candles around here. Today we are celebrating our issue Number 50.
In a way it is a day like any other day when we "write" SHARE : the intellectual
( ... and physical ) effort to put the magazine together, the long moments stolen from what many would consider more rewarding activities, the rush ( ...and the excitement) and all the other things that come with running "one´s own paper".
But at the same time, it feels very much like a "special" day : we are 50 issues old today . Is´t it incredible how numbers exert a strange fascination on most of us? 
In our case this anniversary makes us look back on these two happy years of
SHARING. We have no sponsors. There is no publicity in our magazine. We charge no fee. We never used our publication to attack anyone. We have an ever increasing readership.
We are a big family of ELT professionals who SHARE a common interest: our personal and professional development so that we can help improve  the quality of the education in general and  of teaching of English in particular in our countries.
In a few words (and deep in our hearts we know you will rightly understand what we mean by this) : we are very proud of what we are and a big part of that we owe to all of you, our dear SHARERS.  
1.-    A message from a founding SHARER.
2.-   April Fools´Day
3.-   Argentina TESOL Annual Convention.
4.-   Bernieh´s Corner : The Personality Factor
5.-   Resorceful Teaching.
6.-   A Strong Woman Vs. A Woman of Strength.
7.-   Great News from APrIR.
8.-   Licenciatura and Congress in Resistencia..
9.-   Licenciate Diploma in Applied Drama for TESOL.
10.-  Good Vibes to a Poet and a SHARER.
11.-   Chomsky: Ideas and Ideals - A Review.
12.-  Cheap Philosophy and Rubber Shoes.
13.-  A Course on Effective Communication.
14.-  Courses at the Creative Learning Centre..
15.-  Kill them with kindness.
16.-  Mar del Plata, here we go!
Our dear friend and "fairy godmother" Elida Messina has sent us this heart-warming message:
My dear Marina and Omar,
The Year of the Serpent seems to be one of expanded creativity for both of you. The latest SHARE issues have been incredibly rich in ideas and information and my feeling is that it will keep growing as an increasing number of teachers dare to share. I love to read every line of each issue that reaches me and to keep learning from the initiatives and the contributions of your readers.
As an April Fool I will humbly conribute a poem by Susan Polis Shutz. Although she addresses it to women, allow me to say that it is meant for all human beings. Judge for yourselves:
Every Woman Deserves the Best
A woman will get only what she seeks.
Choose your goals carefully.
Know what you like
and what you do not like
Be critical about what you can do well
and what you cannot do well.
Choose a career or lifestyle that interests you
and work hard to make it a success
but also have fun in what you do.
Be honest with people and help them if you can
but don't depend on anyone
to make life easy or happy for you
(only you can do that for yourself).
Be strong and decisive
but remain sensitive.
Understand what you are
and what you want in life
before sharing your life with someone.
When you are ready to enter a relationship
make sure that the person is worthy of
everything you are physically and mentally.
Strive to achieve all that you want.
Find happiness in everything you do.
Love with your entire being.
Love with an uninhibited soul.
Make a triumph
of every aspect
of your life.
To be honest, I will keep two copies of this poem to give my grandchildren, Valentina and Gaspar, when they can understand what every line means.
Love you, as ever,
Our dear SHARER Victoria Galliani from Santa Fé sends us this contribution. Thank you Vicky and keep on SHARING !  
Unlike most of the other nonfoolish holidays, the history of April Fool's Day, sometimes called All Fool's Day, is not totally clear. There really wasn't a "first April Fool's Day" that can be pinpointed on the calendar. Some believe it sort of evolved simultaneously in several cultures at the same time, from celebrations involving the first day of spring ( the vernal equinox __March 21__, when nature "fools" mankind with sudden changes in the weather. 
Although it has been observed for centuries in several countries, the origin of the custom is unknown. It resembles other festivals, such as the Hilaria of ancient Rome (March 25) and the Holi festival of India (ending March 31).
The closest point in time that can be identified as the beginning of this tradition was in 1582, in France. Prior to that year, the new year was celebrated for eight days, beginning on March 25. The celebration culminated on April 1. With the reform of the calendar under Charles IX, the Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year's Day was moved to January 1.
However, communications being what they were in the days when news traveled by foot, many people did not receive the news for several years. Others, the more obstinate crowd, refused to accept the new calendar and continued to celebrate the new year on April 1. These backward folk were labeled as "fools" by the general populace. They were subject to some ridicule, and were often sent on "fools errands" or were made the butt of other practical jokes. In France the fooled person is called poisson d'avril ("April fish"), but the origin of the name is unknown. Napoleon I also acquired the nickname of "poisson d'avril" when he married Marie-Louise of Austria on 1 April 1810.
This harassment evolved, over time, into a tradition of prank-playing on the first day of April. The tradition eventually spread to England and Scotland in the eighteenth century. It was later introduced to the American colonies of both the English and French. April Fool's Day thus developed into an international fun fest, so to speak, with different nationalities specializing in their own brand of humor at the expense of their friends and families.
In Scotland, for example, April Fool's Day is actually celebrated for two days. The second day is devoted to pranks involving the posterior region of the body. It is called Taily Day. The origin of the "kick me" sign can be traced to this observance. In April the cuckoo, emblem of simpletons, comes, so in Scotland the victim is called gowk (cuckoo). 
In our country the counterpart of April Fool's Day is actually observed on December 28. Originally, the day was a sad remembrance of the slaughter of the innocent children by King Herod. It eventually evolved into a lighter commemoration involving pranks and trickery.
Pranks performed on April Fool's Day range from the simple, (such as saying, "Your shoe's untied!), to the elaborate. Setting a roommate's alarm clock back an hour is a common gag. Whatever the prank, the trickster usually ends it by yelling to his victim, "April Fool!" or "Ha-ha, I got you" 
Practical jokes are a common practice on April Fool's Day. Sometimes, elaborate practical jokes are played on friends or relatives that last the entire day. The news media even gets involved. For instance, a British short film once shown on April Fool's Day was a fairly detailed documentary about "spaghetti farmers" and how they harvest their crop from the spaghetti trees.
April Fool's Day is a "for-fun-only" observance. Nobody is expected to buy gifts or to take their "significant other" out to eat in a fancy restaurant. Nobody gets off work or school. It's simply a fun little holiday, but a holiday on which one must remain forever vigilant, for he may be the next April Fool!
Popular April Fools Pranks
Your shoe is untied!
Leave someone a message with the name Mr. Bear and the phone number for the zoo.
Put salt in the sugar bowl.
Set someone's alarm clock an hour early.
Call a fellow student and tell him school is cancelled
Send someone on a snipe hunt
Put someone's phone on call forwarding to a 900 psychic number
Put popcorn kernels and oil in someone's tailpipe
Send a taxi driver to someone's house
Happy Aprils´ Fool Day to all! May it be filled with "pleasant" surprises! Always remember what Mark Twain said :
" Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed. 
The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year" .



Our dear SHARERs and neighbours , Liliana and Patricia Orsi,, past Chairs of ESP Interest Section and ARTESOL Board Members  send us this important message :

Dear Omar:  We are sending this call for participation to SHARE with your SHARERS.  More info coming soon.

Artesol Convention

June 15 & 16, 2001, Cordoba, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Call For Participation
Due Date: May 31st, 2001
Argentina TESOL is an Argentine organization with broad interests. The convention is planned for professional development and provides opportunities for social interaction among colleagues who share common interests. The program committee invites presentations dealing with classroom practices, research in language learning and teaching, or the connection between the two. We welcome proposals from teachers, teachers in preparation, graduate students, researchers, program administrators and materials and curriculum developers, including colleagues in related disciplines such as communication, education, linguistics, foreign languages, anthropology, sociology and psychology.
All proposals must arrive at Argentina TESOL, Maipú 672 (1006) Buenos Aires, Argentina by May 31st, 2001. Ph. #: 54-11-4322-3855/ 54-11-4772-5104/ Fax # 54-11-4394-2979/ 4772-5104.
Request information and/or proposal submission forms to:


Hello, dear SHARERS!
My corner today is devoted especially to teacher-trainers and their trainees but I hope we all enjoy this article by Claire Woollam, which I am reproducing from the ELT Newsletter :
Comments are always welcome :-)
Positively Exploiting Personality in on-site TEFL Certificate
Training Courses
By Claire Woollam
Anyone who has worked as an on-site trainer on an intensive RSA or Trinity
certificate course will no doubt have had some experience of the positive and negative effects of the coming together of 10 or 12 unique individuals, who have probably never set eyes on each other before. Seeing the continual development of the group's relationship and experiencing their highs and lows through the weeks are all an integral part of the teacher trainer's job. More interestingly, much can be learned about the human personality and its effect upon group dynamics. In this article I would like to define, based on my own experience, some broad 'personality types' of trainee teacher which I have often seen appear during certificate courses. I will also describe some ways in which the trainer can use character traits to bring out the best in new teachers both working as a group and individually.
Types of Trainee
The way in which trainees interact with each other and respond to trainer
advice and feedback appears to play a large part in an individual's degree of success on a teaching course. Personality seems to be a very important factor. Despite first impressions, groups of trainees which I have worked with have nearly always appeared to split off into different 'types' which I believe are closely related to individual personalities. My categories may be graphically portrayed as follows:
The Organiser:
Organisers usually quickly develop as group leaders. They are full of ideas, although not necessarily always good ones, and are thorough lesson planners and preparers. They listen carefully to peer and trainer suggestions and can often adapt them to come up with an even better lesson activity. Generally creative, they might be found in a corner somewhere cutting and sticking, drawing pictures or helping colleagues with their lesson preparation. Paradoxically, this may also be a weak point of the Organiser. The desire to organise, coupled with their inherent leadership qualities, sometimes means that they have a tendency to 'take over' in a group and become frustrated if they feel that peers are not 'pulling their weight', especially when lessons preceed or follow on from their own.
Despite this, Organisers will usually do extremely well on a course and go
on to become very effective teachers.
The Worrier:
Like Organisers, Worriers tend to be thorough planners, but rather more to
ensure that nothing can go wrong. They seem to think in terms of 'worst case scenarios'. Suggestions for lesson activities and materials may be met with "But what if...?" responses: "But what if they don't understand my instructions?", "But what if their aren't enough chairs?". The often unpredictable nature of an EFL classroom does not marry well with the Worrier. S/he may be taken aback or become flustered if a student asks an unanticipated question or the class reaction to a particular topic is quite different to what might have been expected. In feedback, there is a tendency to be highly self-critical and the Worrier finds it hard to accept positive comments, usually playing down their strengths or hiding them with further self-doubts. Worriers lessons nevertheless often do benefit from their high level of concern and usually develop into very good teachers.
Perhaps, however, they make their lives far more difficult than necessary by being overly-anxious about every small aspect of their lessons.
The Maverick:
The Maverick is probably the most enigmatic kind of trainee I have come across. S/he is often extremely creative and charismatic as a teacher, and is able to deal effectively with unanticipated classroom situations.
However, the Maverick can frustrate both peers and trainers by deciding to
change the planned lesson format without consultation, occasionally part way through the session! Ideas are taken on board and seem to be accepted, but the Maverick really prefers to do things their own way. Occasionally, such trainees have had previous teaching experience, perhaps in the state sector, and as a result may find it hard to accept that other methods might be better or could further enrich their knowledge and technique. Due to their capricious nature, success on the course may therefore be variable for the Maverick.
Having identified several types of trainee, I am left thinking about a group of people who don't seem to fall into any particular category and may in fact be a mixture of the other personality types. The Middleground trainee works carefully through the course, completing work on time and producing reasonable, solid lessons. Middleground exerts a welcome balancing effect on the rest of the group. Not too much energy, not too argumentative, just methodical, calm and fairly quiet. Their conscientiousness is usually rewarded at the end of a course.
Positively Exploiting Trainee Personality Types
One can never really know in advance which personality types will make up a particular course group. In an environment where applicants may be interviewed and accepted onto the course both some time in advance and at the last minute, it is often impossible to know exactly who will be in each group until the first day!
Trainers need to exercise some caution when forming initial impressions about group dynamics. Trainees understandably tend to be reserved and somewhat wary of each other at first, their 'true' personalities only slowly emerging as they grow in confidence. Once the trainers have some idea of the shape and pattern of these 'butterflies', they can begin tentatively to plan Teaching Practice groups, which on a practical level, tend to naturally split the group.
When forming TP groups, it is obviously a good idea to have a range of
personality types, each trainee being able to balance their strengths and
weaknesses with those of others. A group full of Organisers or Mavericks may quickly lead to clashes, whilst Worriers or Middlegrounds may stagnate or have problems motivating and encouraging each other - all this making the job of the trainer that bit more challenging! The ideal TP group should have a good cross-section of personalities.
Having divided members into course groups, the trainer can exploit personality types to best effect in feedback and planning sessions. By being aware of individual's strong and weak personality traits, one can deliver feedback in a sensitive and encouraging way, highlighting positive points and also making suggestions about those areas which could be improved. If the feedback is carried out in a group, other personalities may be called upon to assist and encourage colleagues, thus widening the learning circle.
Lessons learnt within TP groups may also positively influence input sessions. The mixing of trainees for group or pairwork may come as a welcome relief after the long hours involved in TP. Shaking up the balance of personalities from time to time keeps a healthy atmosphere and raises energy levels.
In writing this article I may open myself up to accusations of 'compartmentalising or 'stereotyping' trainees. This is certainly not my intention. Before I began working as a teacher trainer most of these ideas had never occurred to me and I would certainly have been one of the first to comment upon the unfairness of 'labelling' people in such a way.
Experience, however, has shown me that in the often highly pressured
environment of an intensive certificate course the trainer who exploits the most basic commodity at hand - people and their psychology - can help trainees to unconsciously develop as teachers by doing exactly what they do best - by being themselves and making the most of the natural skills inherent in their personality.
About the Author:
Claire Woollam is Director of Teacher Training at London English Language
Academy in West Ealing, London. She has been involved in Certificate
training courses and ELT Management in the UK for the past five years.


Our dear friends and SHARERS,  Laura Szmuch and Jamie Duncan announce the following courses for 2001:

Practitioner Certificate in NLP for Education

A new group will start on Saturday April 7 on this 12-module course leading to an international certificate.  

Master Practitioner in NLP for Education

We are pleased to announce that we will be running a Master Practitioner course for those who have completed the Practitioner Certificate with us or at another institution.  The first module will be held at on Saturday April 21 in Capital Federal.  If you are interested in dong this course, please contact us for more details.


We are available for workshops or short courses in the provinces or at your workplace.  We do have limited weekends available for this so it is a question of first come, first served.  Contact us if you are interested.

Further Information phone to: (011) 4641-9068 or (011) 4432-6540 or  by e-mail at  or   

Jamie and Laura are the editors of a free electronic publication RT News, a magazine on Neuro Linguistic Programming in Education. To subscribe simply send a mail to :  with your name and city stating 'subscribe' in the subject box. You can also visit their web site :  for articles and background to their courses. 



Our very dear friend and SHARER from Punta Alta, Annie Altamirano, sends us this special message which she dedicates to all our woman SHARERS 
A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape ...
but a woman of strength looks deep inside to keep her soul in
A strong woman isn't afraid of anything...
but a woman of strength shows courage in the midst of her fear...
A strong woman won't let anyone get the best of her...
but a woman of strength gives the best of her to everyone...
A strong woman makes mistakes and avoids the same in the future...
A woman of strength realizes life's mistakes can also be blessings
and capitalizes on them...
A strong woman walks sure footedly...
but a woman of strength knows when to ask for help...
A strong woman wears the look of confidence on her face...
but a woman of strength wears grace...
A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey...
but a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she
will become strong...
We would like to join Annie in this dedication. All the best to all the women of strength in our profession who give their knowledge and their love generously to others every day in their classrooms and in their homes .


Our very dear friend and SHARER, the President of Asociación Rosarina de Profesores de Inglés, Nora Séculi writes to us with exciting news of special interst to teachers in the Rosario area:

Workshop: "Reading for Pleasure"

Would you like to read a text and have an opportunity to talk about it, sharing your views  --and your wildest imaginings, too!!-- with a group of colleagues likewise inclined?
This workshop meets once a month to read, analyze and discuss  short stories, poems or plays, according to the likes and dislikes of the group as a whole.
Coordinator:   Nora Lilián Séculi
First Meeting :     April 5th,  Thursday  (10 to 12 a.m.)
Subsequent meetings on the  first Thursday of every month.
Venue:   APrIR :  Bunos Aires 1127  (P.B. "A")
Enrolment: at APrIR - personally or by phone  (0341) 447-5636.
You may enrol for the whole workshop or for individual sessions.
Fee for each individual session: $ 4 (four pesos).
Chating Teas 
A fine opportunity to chat - in English of course ! - with a small group of your peers while having tea in a friendly, informal atmosphere.
First meeting:   April 19th, Thursday  -  Time:  4  p.m. -
There will be monthly "chatting teas",  always on the third Thursday of the month.
Coordinator:  Martha P. de Gaspar
Place:  APrIR -- Buenos Aires 1127  (P. B. "A")
Contribution:  $ 4 . -  (four pesos)
When you decide to join the group for tea and a chat
please, phone APrIR 447-5636 to let us know you're coming !!
 APrIR Common Interest Meetings is the new label attached to our local meetings, in which WE teachers, prompted by a common interest in one subject or aspect of our professional knowledge and abilities, meet to talk about it, share things, and learn and develop further together.
This activity can be described as a kind of totally voluntary study group, in which teachers, in a congenial environment and under no pressure whatsoever, can and surely will participate actively and successfully.
The APrIR Committee is glad to be able to offer teachers this very interesting  opportunity for personal and professional growth.
APrIR Common Interest Meetings starting work in April:
(1)   Methodology 
Coordinators: Graciela Castelli and Giselle Carné -
First Meeting:  April 3rd, Tuesday  ( 9 to 11 a.m.) -              
Venue:  St. Bartholomew's - Tucumán 1257 -
(2)    Language
Coordinators: Magdalena P. de Botto and Silvia Arberas -
First Meeting:  April 6th, Friday  ( 4 to 6 p.m. ) -
Venue: APrIR - Buenos Aires 1127 (P.B."A") -
(3)    C.A.L.L. (Computer Assisted Language Learning)
Coordinators: Rita  Zeinstejer and Alicia Blanco de Amelong -
First Meeting: April  28th,  Saturday  (10 to 12 a.m.) -      
Venue: APrIR - Buenos Aires 1127 (P.B:"A") -
The APrIR Common Interest Meetings Liaison Officer is Beatriz Pesado Castro de Garófalo, member of the APrIR Committee, who will be the link between the different meetings and the President of APrIR.
Fees:  Participation in the APrIR MEETINGS  is free of charge for paid-up APrIR members and for paid-up FAAPI members.
The fee for non-members is  $5 (five pesos) per session.
Expense fund:  Everybody attending  a session will be expected to contribute $ 2
 (two pesos) for  expenses.
Enrolment: It is not indispensable to enrol in advance, but for better organization purposes, please, do let us know  your name and the  MEETING of your choice.
-- Tel-Fax: (0341)  447-5636  --  APrIR 's  e-mail address:  --
Our dear SHARER from Chaco, Susana Sclack, past president of Asociación
Chaqueña de Profesores de Inglés and currently lecturing at Facultad de Humanidades de la Universidad Nacional del Nordeste., writes to us:
Dear Omar and Marina,
Thank you so much for SHARE. It has been a real assett. I usually share it with other members of the Department as we always can keep up to date with news regarding courses or books. We usually find material for our classes too, or just for kindling our hearts when going through hard times.
I would like to SHARE with you and your e-readers the following activities that we are organizing at Facultad de Humanidades de la Universidad Nacional del Nordeste :
1.-  Licenciatura
We are presently conducting a Programa de Licenciatura which is part of Ciclo de Reconversión de Títulos Terciarios for teachers of English, French, Italian and Portuguese.The courses to be held are:
- Teorías Lingüísticas Contemporáneas. Dr Pascual Masullo. March 30th and 31st, April 20th and 21st, and June 1st and 2nd.
-Epistemología: Magister Nilda Zurita. 6th and 7th July.
Other courses to be held during the Second Semester are:
- Seminar on English. Magister Griselda Beacon
- Sociolinguistics. by Prof. Daniel Fernández M.A.

2. II Congreso del Mercosur
"Enseñanza de Lenguas en el Sistema Educativo Formal" We are calling for papers on any of the following topics:

Políticas lingüísticas y educación: lenguas maternas, lenguas segundas, lenguas extranjeras, lenguas en contacto, lenguas clásicas, lenguas en peligro.-
Estudios sobre el lenguaje desde la perspectiva de la Filosofía del Lenguaje, la Lingüística, la Semiótica, la Psicolingüísitica, el Análisis del Discurso, la Pragmática, la Lingüística Computacional, la Literatura y la Historia.-
Didáctica de la Lengua: aportes y tendencias.-
La formación docente en lenguas y las nuevas propuestas de formación docente continua y a distancia.-
El Análisis del Discurso: ¿moda o requisito indispensable en la formación de docentes en lenguas?

Fecha : del 12 al 15 de septiembre de 2001.-
Sede : Aula Magna de la UNNE.
Av. Las Heras 727, (3500) Resistencia, Chaco.
Pautas para la elaboración de Abstracts ( fecha límite : 15/7/2001)
Extensión: una carilla, hoja tamaño A4 (dos copias)
Diskette 3 ½, Word 6.0. o superior - Letra Arial , tipo 12
Bibliografía en anexo
Curriculum (de una extensión limitada a 3 páginas A4, ARIAL 12, espaciado sencillo, indicando datos personales y antecedentes más relevantes (dos copias).
El tiempo de lectura del trabajo en el congreso tendrá una duración máxima de 20 minutos para paneles, ponencias: 40 minutos y talleres: 120 minutos.-
Indicar si la actividad en la que se desea participar es: panel, taller o ponencia individual
For more information contact Susana  Sclack  telefax: 03722-446958

La Alianza Francesa de Resistencia en coordinación con la Embajada de Francia en Buenos Aires ya confirmó la presencia del sociolingüista Jean Claude Béacco quien dará apertura y cierre en el Congreso.-



Our dear SHARER, Ana María R. de Bergel writes to us:

Dear colleagues,
This is to announce that CENTUM and Universidad CAECE have signed an agreement to teach the Licentiate Diploma in Applied Drama (for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) by Trinity College London. This is the first time that this extremely interesting teaching qualification is offered in Argentina. Candidates must be experienced teachers.
The syllabus includes training in acting, mime and staging, as well as the development of puppetry and storytelling skills, but the main objective of the course is to draw from theatre disciplines those techniques and principles which are applicable to language learning and teaching, and to enable teachers to become better communicators.
Participants will develop several projects, design a portfolio of activities and write a dissertation on a practical experience of applying drama techniques to teaching.
The course will last two semesters, and will be taught on Saturdays, from 8:00 to 12:30, at Universidad CAECE, Avda. de Mayo 866, Buenos Aires, starting on April 21. Trinity College London will be moderating the results at the end of the year, and successful trainees will receive the Licentiate Diploma and a certificate from Universidad CAECE.
We are looking forward to teaching this unique course, the first of its kind in our country.
Best wishes,
Ana María R. de Bergel
Coordinator and Programme Designer
CENTUM Servicios de Idiomas
Our dear SHARER Adriana Benvenuto, currently living in the States and working towards her M.A. at Soka University writes to us
Dear Omar and Marina:
I have been and I am so busy at Soka that I am now a passive member of your newsletter.Althought I enjoy my time here, I DO miss teaching, running from school to school, lesson planning, my students' faces...EVERYTHING about teaching.Your messages keep me close from all that teaching environment.
I could have sent a small contribution from here, I know...but this time away from teaching has inspired me to write prose and poetry and make a stronger connection with my inner feelings.
I am attaching a poem that I wrote a few months ago which appears on
My poetry postings are on that website and two of them are going to be published on a book, one recorded on a CD.
Looking forward to receiving your good vibes from Argentina.
To live or to die?
To live or die?
To love or hate?
To give or receive?
I don't know what to do?
Confused like a child,
Who doesn't know where to look
As he crosses the street
The veins are getting darker,
Blood circulates slower
The sun I see isn't the same one
That shines on the open fields
Mankind's immortality
Depends on people's maturity
Do we end it all?
Do we start all over?
Or do we improve today's conditions?
If after two thousand years,
We don't know how to share,
What good is it to teach manners
To a child who is born without asking?
Adri, receive our very best wishes for a successful career in writing. We all hope to have you among us soon.


Our dear friend and SHARER Andrea Coviella sends us this review of the book by N. Smith "Chomsky: Ideas and ideals" that was published in the LINGUIST List:  Vol-12-761. Tue Mar 20 2001. - - Home Page:
The LINGUIST List is funded by Eastern Michigan University, Wayne State University, and donations from subscribers and publishers.
Smith, Neil (1999).  Chomsky: Ideas and ideals.  Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.  Paperback GBP 12.95.
Reviewed by Christiane Bongartz, University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
The title of  Neil Smith's book  is the best possible summary of what the
author sets out to do, namely to explore Noam Chomsky's intellectual and
ideological contributions to contemporary linguistics, politics, and philosophy.  Focusing on Chomsky's public thought and writing, not personal circumstance, Smith gives an overview of a life devoted to radical thought.
Smith first introduces aspects of Chomsky's   linguistic theory and then
proceeds to present his political ideas.  The linguistic and the political aspects of Chomsky's thinking, Smith argues, are inextricably linked and together represent a coherent framework for interpreting both human nature and the world. In short, ideas and ideals merge to form a new whole, Chomsky's oeuvre.
After a brief assessment in the introduction of Chomsky's importance in the
20th century - which is compared to that of Darwin and Descartes - Smith
devotes five chapters to providing evidence for this claim.  While the first
three chapters focus narrowly on linguistics, the fourth links linguistics and philosophy, laying the foundation for a comparison of Chomsky's language
philosophy and his political convictions and activism in the fifth and final chapter.
Chapter 1 "The mirror of the mind" introduces the reader to Chomsky's
conceptualization of language as a species-defining genetically inherited
phenomenon.  Linguistics is thus part of the scientific investigation of human nature, an investigation that must go beyond linguistic description and explain how we know language.  In other words, linguistic explanation reveals how our mind works with respect to individual psychological disposition, making grammar a part of our mental organization.
Chapter 2 "The linguistic foundation" lays out the stages in the development
of Chomsky's linguistic theory since its inception in the 1950s.  Smith shows how the theory moved from grammar as a mere sentence-making mechanism to levels of syntactic representation (deep structure and surface structure) and then further to just a few minimal abstract principles governing syntactic movement.  Increase in explanatory adequacy emerges as the motivating factor behind each new incarnation of the theory.
Chapter 3 "Psychological reality" explores the link between language and
psychology and cognition.  Grammar and language rules can best be captured
as biological facts that take the form of mental representations in the language module of our brain.  Smith offers supporting evidence from language processing, first language acquisition, and studies of language pathology.  Modular representational models are superior to connectionist models of linguistic knowledge, he claims, in that they do justice to language-specific principles such as structure-dependency.
Chapter 4 "Philosophical realism: commitments and controversies" relates
Chomsky's linguistic theory to the underlying philosophy of realism and the
evaluative device of radical empiricism. Outlining some of the major
controversies surrounding Chomskyan thought, Smith points to perceived
misconceptions and misunderstandings that fuel(ed) such controversies.
Chomsky's concept of language as part of individual psychology often remains
unappreciated by those that view language as an external communication device.   Smith argues that Chomskyan ideas have not been  convincingly refuted in terms of big-picture considerations (the adequacy of a realism) nor in terms of small picture ones (banning semantics and pragmatics from the core of linguistic inquiry).
Chapter 5 "Language and freedom" extends the scope of discussion to relate
Chomsky's relentless political activism to the philosophical ideals
prevalent in his academic work.   Reviewing the many issues to which Chomsky
has taken a public stance, Smith argues for a coherence of thought that
movitates both his conceptualization of human nature and his depiction of
what it takes for human nature to unfold optimally within the given biological constraints.
Smith's book differs from others reviewing Chomsky's oeuvre in that it
embraces both the linguistic ideas (cf. Newmeyer, 1986) and political ideals
(cf. Barsky, 1995) motivating his many writings.
This dual orientation makes the book both original and somewhat unusual,
leaving it to the reader to agree or disagree with the coherence that Smith
has uncovered in the two areas of Chomsky's activities.
Although the author writes accessibly and in everyday language, his
presentation of the linguistic theory developed by Chomsky over the years
can best be digested with some previous knowledge of syntactic theory.  It is Smith's accomplishment to take apart the theory and present it according to lines of controversy in the field. Thus he separates theory development (chapters 1 and 2) from the issue of psychological reality (chapter 3), which allows him to draw on empirical evidence that illustrates how linguistic concepts are represented in the human psyche.
Data from language acquisition and language impairment serve to defend
Chomky's theoretical concepts (chapter 3, chapter 4, and chapter 5) - and
explicating and defending the Chomskyan perspective is a goal Smith has very
obviously set for himself.  It is thus not surprising that the reader gets
carefully equipped in the linguistics chapters for the discussion of the
philosophical concepts underlying Chomsky's linguistic theory in chapter 4.
Chapter 4 is perhaps the most ambitious of all. Although there are some
problems with the overall structure (the division into subheadings seems
somewhat arbitrary and is never explained), Smith does a fine job in
highlighting the major lines of controversy concerning the embodiment of
linguistic structure and the nature of language as a psychological phenomenon.  Especially the discussion of language and the community as opposed to language in the individual is one worthwhile reading for those not familiar with this longstanding debate.  Readers looking for an in-depth refutation of Chomsky's opponents, however, might be disappointed - because of the broad scope of the chapter, more room has been given to Chomsky's ideas than to those questioning them.
The most interesting chapter of the book and the most original one is certainly Chapter 5.  It is here where Smith makes the case that the ideas of a modular brain with constraint-based representations can be extended from linguistic knowledge to human nature as such.  Chomsky's political anarchism, then, requires the exertion of free will within the limits of a so-constrained human organism. Although the author admits that Chomsky himself does not perceive of his political and linguistic ideas as being so linked, Smith's argument is intriguing, especially in the light of other contemporary attempts to replace fragmented postmodernism with coherent models of explanation (cf. Johnson & Lakoff, 1999).  Political anarchism, on this view, is to an innate module of moral disposition what linguistics is to the innate language faculty.  While one must be careful not to attribute this claim to Chomsky, it is a plausible extension of his suggestions - one that might well attract more attention as the 21st century unfolds. 
Smith's book is both informative and thought-provoking.  Those interested in
an overview of Chomsky's work will find what they are looking for if they are willing to go with the pro-Chomskyan attitude that Smith has adopted and does not seek to conceal.   The book's major strength is its big-picture perspective - an intriguing combination of problems of linguistic knowledge, philosophy, and politics.  In this sense, ideas and ideals unite to form an ideology that both builds on and transcends other models of human nature.  
Barsky, R. (1997) Noam Chomsky: A life of dissent. Cambridge:  MIT Press
Chomsky, N.  (1995) The minimalist program. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Harris, R. (1995). The linguistic wars.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1999). Philosophy in the flesh: The embodied  mind
and its challenge to western thought.  New York: Basic Books.
Newmeyer, F. (1986).  Linguistic theory in America.  San Diego/London:
Academic Press.
About the reviewer:
Chris Bongartz is Assistant Professor of English at the University of North
Carolina, Charlotte. She received her PhD in English Language and
Linguistics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Her research interests include generative grammar and problems of second language acquisition, especially those related to the syntax-morphology interface.
Her book on noun combination typology in interlanguage will appear in the
fall with Niemeyer, Tuebingen.
Our dear SHARER Carlos Morales from Jujuy sends us this list which contains not only some of the biggest enigmas of mankind but also some pieces of advice for healthy life in our postmodern world. Now seriously, Thank you Charlie for your sense of humour.
1. Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.
2. One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.
3. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
4. If man evolved from monkeys and apes, why do we still have monkeys and apes?
5. I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman,  "Where's theself-help
section?"  She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.
6. If you spin an oriental man in a circle three times, does he become disoriented?
7. Could it be that all those trick-or-treaters wearing sheets aren't going
as ghosts but as mattresses?
8.  If a mute swears, does his mother wash his hands with soap?
9. If a man is standing in the middle of the forest speaking and there is
no woman around to hear he still wrong?
10. If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?
11. Is there another word for synonym?
12. Isn't it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do "practice"?
13. Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all?"
14. What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?
15. If a parsley farmer is sued, can they garnish his wages?
16. Would a fly without wings be called a walk?
17. Why do they lock gas station bathrooms?  Are they afraid someone will clean them?
18. If a turtle doesn't have a shell, is he homeless or naked?
19. Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?
20. Can vegetarians eat animal crackers?
21. If the police arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to remain silent?
22. Why do they put Braille on the drive-through bank machines?
23. How do blind people know when they are done wiping?
24. How do they get the deer to cross at that yellow road sign?
25. Is it true that cannibals don't eat clowns because they taste funny?
26. What was the best thing before sliced bread?
27. One nice thing about egotists: they don't talk about other people.
28  Does the Little Mermaid wear an algebra?
29. Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?
30. How is it possible to have a civil war?
31. If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do the rest drown too?
32. If you ate pasta and antipasta, would you still be hungry?
33. If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?
34. Whose cruel idea was it for the word "Lisp" to have a "S" in it?
35. Why are hemorrhoids called "hemorrhoids" instead of "assteroids"?
36. Why is it called tourist season if we can't shoot at them?
37. If the "blackbox" flight recorder is never damaged during a plane crash, why isn't the whole airplane made out of that stuff?
38. Why is there an expiration date on sour cream?
Our dear SHARER Leonor Cozzolino writes to us to announce :
Asociación Ex Alumnos de Lenguas Vivas "Juan Ramón Fernández" and Trinity College, London are pleased to invite you to participate in a new and challenging initiative in Adult Language Learning:
Tools for Tomorrow 2001
Developing Communication Skills for the 21st Century
Tutor: Susan Hillyard B.A.
This semi-distance, higher level language course is intended for students interested in developing and enhancing their oral expression with a view to communicating effectively in a wide range of situations: oral performance in class discussions, exams and other events; engaging in fruitful conversation; addressing audiences; interacting in conferences.
Upon complying with the course requirements, students will be given the option to sit for the Trinity College London examination and be awarded the Professional Certificate in Effective Communication.
Classes will be held every other Saturday from April through November, starting on April 21st, 2001 at Paraguay 1935 Capital Federal. The monthly fee is $100.
For further information, please contact Leonor Cozzolino at 4814-0545 or
Our dear SHARER Monica Dominguez   or sends us the following information:
Lectures and Workshops at "Creative Learning Centre"
(a)  Multiple  Intelligences: solid ground for innovation, theory and project work
As from Saturday April 21 from 10:30 to 13:30 Prof. Mónica Domínguez will be
presenting a unique  lecture/workshop on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences  and how to implement it in the Language lesson.
Fee: $ 25  for one session   $45 for two sessions
Certificates of attendance issued by CLC
The workshop can be run at your own school or institute as well.
Information and enrolment : / Te: 4823-6941
(b) Additional workshops:
1-Meaningful oral activities for all ages:
Tuesday, May 8th from 18:15 to 21 (short coffee break)
2-Working with songs:
Tuesday, June 5th from 18:15 to 21
3-Video techniques:
Tuesday, July 3rd from 18:15 to 21
Fee: $20 each workshop $54 all three workshops
Coordinator: Prof. Mónica Domínguez
Post-graduate studies in Methodology, Drama, Whole Language, The Theory of Multiple
Intelligences and Neuro-Linguistic Programming in Argentina and abroad. Lecturer in Methodology at "Profesorado del Sagrado Corazón".
Venue for all courses: Creative Learning Centre, Ayacucho 1411  Dto 6   Capital.



Our dear SHARER Christian Fernando Duarte Varela from Córdoba sends us this very story to SHARE:

Kill them with kindness

By Zig Ziglar
I love the story of what happened during the days of the Berlin Wall. One day some of the East Berliners decided they were going to send their West Berlin adversaries a little "gift." They loaded a dump truck with garbage, broken bricks, stones, building material, and anything else with zero value.
They drove the truck across the border, gained clearance, and dumped it on the West Berlin side.
Needless to say, the West Berliners were incensed and were going to "get even" with them. Fortunately, a very wise man intervened and gave entirely different counsel. As a result, they responded and loaded a dump truck with food (which was scarce in East Berlin), clothing (also scarce), medical supplies (even scarcer), a host of other essential items. They took the truck across the border, carefully unloaded it all, and left a neat
sign that read, "Each gives according to his ability to give."
Moral : Kill 'em with kindness. Don't return evil in like kind. Be more magnanimous than that.

Our dear SHARER Ana Lía Regueira sends us this important message. All the best to the organizers of this academic event.
Dear Omar and Marina,
We are organizing the II Convention on the Teaching of English in Higher Education to be held on April 19th., 20th. and 21st. in Mar del Plata. There will be a pre-convention seminar on SLA in charge of Dr. Susan Gass.
For information, please contact Dr. Susana Tuero (Departamento de Lenguas Modernas, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata) at
Thanks for sharing this information and best wishes.
Ana Lía Regueira.

Time to say goodbye again. Today we want to leave you with a riddle: It is true that the most important things are invisible to the eye but some which are not so important are quite obvious and (we know) and you do not know why.

We will be eagerly waiting for your answers. In the meantime, as usual:
Omar and Marina

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