Advertisement

Talking About the Universe in Minimal English: Teaching Science Through Words That Children Can Understand

  • Anna Wierzbicka
Chapter

Abstract

Science education faces many challenges, not least that of rendering the key propositions into language that children can readily understand. This chapter applies Minimal English to a canonical science education narrative about changing scientific and pre-scientific understandings of the universe. It attempts to capture the key beliefs and mindsets associated with the views of Ptolemy, Copernicus, and Galileo, with a look ahead to the possibilities of further advances in scientific thinking about the cosmos.

References

  1. Aczel, Amir. 2014. Why Science Does Not Disprove God. New York: William Morrow.Google Scholar
  2. Adams, Jeffrey Paul, and Timothy Frederick Slater. 2000. Astronomy in the National Science Education Standards. Journal of Geoscience Education 48: 39–45.Google Scholar
  3. de la Bédoyère, Camilla, Catherine Chambers, and Chris Oxlade. 2007. My First Question and Answer Book. Great Bardfield: Mile Kelly.Google Scholar
  4. Bogusławski, Andrzej. 1966. Semantyczne pojęcie liczebnika i jego morfologia w języku rosyjskim. Wrocław: Ossolineum.Google Scholar
  5. ———. 1970. On Semantic Primitives and Meaningfulness. In Sign, Language and Culture, ed. A.J. Greimas, Roman Jakobsen, and M.A. Mayenowa, 143–152. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
  6. Collins, Francis S. 2006. The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  7. Copernicus, Nicolaus. 1976. On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres: A New Translation from the Latin with an Introduction and Notes by A.M. Duncan. Newton Abbot: David and Charles. (De revolutionibus orbium coelestium, originally published. Nuremberg: John Petreius, 1543).Google Scholar
  8. Couturat, L. 1903. Opuscules et fragments inedits de Leibniz. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  9. Dworkin, Ronald. 2013. Religion Without God. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Einstein, Albert. 1952. Introduction to Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, Ptolemaic & Copernican. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  11. Feynmann, Richard. 2007[1998]. The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen Scientist. Boston: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  12. Flew, Antony. 2007. There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind. New York: HarperOne.Google Scholar
  13. Franklin, James. 2014. Book Review: ‘Why Science Does Not Disprove God’ by Amir Aczel. The Wall Street Journal, 29 April. Accessed online 9 Jan 2017.Google Scholar
  14. Goddard, Cliff. 2010. Semantic Molecules and Semantic Complexity (With Special Reference to “Environmental” Molecules). Review of Cognitive Linguistics 8 (1): 123–155.Google Scholar
  15. ———. 2012. Semantic Primes, Semantic Molecules, Semantic Templates: Key Concepts in the NSM Approach to Lexical Typology. Linguistics 50 (3): 711–743.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. ———. 2016. Semantic Molecules and the NSM Approach to Lexical Definition. Cahiers de lexicologie 4: 13–36.Google Scholar
  17. ———. Forthcoming. Semantic Molecules: The Building Blocks of Human Knowledge in Cross-linguistic Perspective. Google Scholar
  18. Goddard, Cliff, and Anna Wierzbicka, eds. 1994. Semantic and Lexical Universals: Theory and Empirical Findings. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  19. ———, eds. 2002. Meaning and Universal Grammar: Theory and Empirical Findings, 2 vols. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  20. ———. 2014. Words and Meanings: Lexical Semantics Across Domains, Languages, and Cultures. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Hawking, Stephen, and Leonard Mlodinow. 2010. The Grand Design. New York: Bantam Books.Google Scholar
  22. Janzon, Lars-Åke. 2013. Why Can’t Potatoes Walk: 200 Answers to Possible and Impossible Questions About Animals and Nature. New York: Skyhorse Publishing.Google Scholar
  23. Lennox, John. 2011. God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design Is It Anyway? Oxford: Lion Books.Google Scholar
  24. Medawar, Peter Brian. 1979. Advice to a Young Scientist. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  25. ———. 1984. The Limits of Science. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Metaxas, Eric. 2014. Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God. The Wall Street Journal, 25 December. Accessed online 4 Feb 2015.Google Scholar
  27. Nagel, Thomas. 2012. Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sadler, Philip. 1996. Astronomy’s Conceptual Hierarchy. In Astronomy Education: Current Developments, ed. John A. Percy (Future Coordination Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series, Vol. 89) Proceedings of an ASP Symposium Held in College Park, MD, 24–25 June 1994, 46–60. San Francisco: Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP).Google Scholar
  29. Sadler, Philip, Harold Coyle, Jaimie L. Miller, Nancy Cook-Smith, Mary Dussault, and Roy R. Gould. 2010. The Astronomy and Space Science Concept Inventory: Development and Validation of Assessment Instruments Aligned with the K–12 National Science Standards. Astronomy Education Review 8 (1): 1–28.Google Scholar
  30. Schilling, Govert. 2014. Deep Space: Beyond the Solar System to the End of the Universe and the Beginning of Time. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers.Google Scholar
  31. The Solar System: A Lift-the-flap Book. 2010. Scoresby: Five Mile Press.Google Scholar
  32. Wierzbicka, Anna. 1972. Semantic Primitives. Frankfurt: Athenäum.Google Scholar
  33. ———. 1992. In Search of Tradition: The Semantic Ideas of Leibniz. Lexicographica 8: 10–25.Google Scholar
  34. ———. 2011. The Common Language of All People: The Innate Language of Thought. Problems of Information Transmission 47 (4): 378–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. ———. 2014. Imprisoned in English: The Hazards of English as a Default Language. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Wierzbicka
    • 1
  1. 1.Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations