My definition of academic language is a very simple one which is it’s the kind of language that’s used when teaching and learning is taking place so it can be the language of the teacher explaining new information not the language used for classroom management or social interaction with the students but the language used when the teacher’s communicating new information. It’s the language of textbooks uh and it’s the language that students are expected to use when they’re um convincing the teacher that they’ve done their homework and that they know the the the the information uh when they’re writing essays or stories or compositions and uh it’s it’s I know you’ve discussed this before different from social language in lots of ways and and um one of the main differences is I guess is the fact that it is communicating new information and there for in a way it’s more complete than lots of social language. Lots of times social language you’re sharing common assumptions I know you well enough to to know that when I say wasn’t that fun that you know what I’m referring to where as in academic language because it’s I know something that you don’t know I’m I’m describing uh new information so I have to give a much more complete description so there’s short hands to it. Um and then of course each uh discipline has it’s own discourse features so that when you’ve learn to read a story and you learn how story grammar works and what to expect in a story um it doesn’t help very much when you’re reading a science text because science texts don’t read like stories. Or when you read a word problem in mathematics you may think it’s about a story but it really isn’t you know the the character development is is not great in that word problem so it’s uh it is different and it’s harder there’s no question.

Because that’s what students need in order to be successful in school and success in school means more opportunities in their lives. Um the more education they can get the more choices they’ll have in their own lives. When they’re not successful in school they get discouraged and they drop out they don’t have a lot of opportunities to do other things and fortunately in this country people can always go back to school later on but I I think not too many do and once someone’s had a bad experience in school they sort of cross that off their list of of possibilities in life. So our English language learners really need as much success in academics as possible.

Academic language is not something that native English speakers know when they first come to school. So one of the functions of schooling is to develop academic language for all students, native speakers, non-native speakers. I think the big difference between native speakers and non native speakers is that when a child comes into kindergarten uh at the age of five a native English speaker, they have many years in which to gradually develop academic language it’s it’s certainly not done all at once. Uh where as when you get a non native speaker of English that’s coming in as an older age um they have a big gap to catch up with and uh so I think we need to focus more on the academic language in an English as a second language situation which is really different from an English as a foreign situation because when you’re learning English in another country the hardest part to learn is the social language and uh you know a lot of the people you learn the social language first and then you learn the academic language but all you have to do is find counter examples which are all the people who have reached a very high level of academic language in English in another country, they come to the United States, they can not carry on a social conversation. So it’s not that one comes before the other it’s which one to focus and for purposes of schooling the academic language is what’s going to us our students forward and the other thing is if they’re living in an English speaking environment they will develop the social language we don’t really have to teach it that much but the academic language you only learn it in school, you don’t learn it outside on the playground.

Um I think I think with um families that um have come from an educated background that parents to a lot of reading to their children and they they are beginning to develop the academic language from babyhood really by reading stories to children and uh they’re developing their vocabulary they’re understanding of how literature works. Uh parents who are not highly educated very often are not very comfortable reading themselves and so they may not provide these opportunities for their children to develop this kind of academic language and and I think sometimes with our immigrant families it’s just lack of time because parents are working two jobs some times three in order to support the families and they they really don’t have the time and often they don’t have the skill for for providing this kind of academic language at home so the the school has to do it.

Academic functions meaning um the uses of language what you use academic language for. Um one of the most obvious of course is providing information and understanding information so exchange of information. Um I think um making inferences uh reading between the lines, listening between the lines as the case may be. Um when you get into the language and discourse of science you’re making hypothesis um in so there’s the language that goes along with making hypothesis um another function for instance in mathematics would be estimation which I think a math teacher doesn’t think so much of estimation as something that you do mathematically but it also has it’s language component where you there’s a language to express in estimate uh just like there’s a language in science to express a hypothesis. Uh all the higher level thinking uh skills I think have their corresponding language functions uh so whether it’s uh synthesizing comparing contrasting, um analyzing, um evaluating, making judgments, all of these are functions they are for used for a purpose and they have certain um linguistic features that go along with each one of them.

The the difference between academic language and the different disciplines in elementary, middle school and high school, um I I think if you look at elementary science text books or math textbooks there’s um today at least in today’s text books a tremendous effort made to make relationships between the new information and children’s every day lives which is wonderful if their everyday lives that the authors of these text books are writing about have any similarity at all to the every day lives of English language learning students which they may not um but assuming that they are talking about common human experiences uh that’s fine um so that uh we might have a science unit starting with something like have you ever looked up in the sky at night, do you see all the stars, what do you know about stars and getting into um talking about the stars and the milky way and what ever. Um I I think we with secondary level textbooks there’s a lot less of that and it’s more cutting directly to the scientific information so there’s um the bridge between the presumed prior knowledge of the student and the new information is often either small or simply not present so I think that’s one thing that makes a secondary uh level textbooks harder. Of course they’re written at a more difficult level there’s much more technical vocabulary um it’s it’s really interesting and I really recommend to teachers that they look at the curriculum and the textbooks in a certain discipline for elementary and secondary and look at the common themes and see how they’re treated at each level. Uh for instance if in science if you’re working with photosynthesis well what do you know, what do you do about plants, you start studying about plants in kindergarten, first grade and and it cycles around it’s it’s really a spiral curriculum and each time you study it you go into more depth and get more technical and you assume that students all ready know everything that went before which often they don’t. Um, and and then by the time you get to high school and and you’re into um biology it’s very complex and you have tremendous uh amounts of vocabulary to learn that biology teachers feel is extremely important uh for students to terminally master and understand. So um the themes can be the same but they’re treated at a really different level in in the upper grades.

Um there are of course very different patterns for for ESL programs and how they work and uh in perhaps the most traditional pattern is the pull out pattern where the ESL teacher has students for a certain period during the day and then they go back into their regular classes and uh a contrasting pattern is where there’s there are more hours spent with ESL but it’s ESL oriented towards the different content areas which is another model. Um in general students are put into general education or main stream classes according to their English language proficiency so very often the very first course that they’re put into is the mathematics course and um this may work well if uh especially if students who’ve had a good mathematics background in their native language. One of the issues in mathematics education as I’m sure you know is that there’s more emphasis on thinking um mathematically on talking about mathematics uh writing about mathematics and on solving problems rather than so much emphasis on computation and so suddenly mathematics changes from being a safe haven where children whose English proficiency is not very well developed can do very well suddenly it’s another very challenging area because the language demands of math with the NCTM guidelines have just shot way way up. Uh so mathematics is no longer sort of the safe place where where where students can go when they’re limited in English proficiency. Um personally I think that science, if it’s taught right, if it’s taught in a hands on way, in an inquirery based mode science is an ideal first general education or main stream class for English language learners because the fact that you’re manipulating um things, the fact that you’re conducting experiments it’s it’s so visual and so concrete that the language that goes with it, the academic language that goes with it, is illustrated by the actual things that students are doing and they also have a chance to show what they know instead of having to talk about what they know. So I I really recommend science but not the kind of science that’s taught out of textbook where it’s just reading and regurgitating information. Not that kind of science but science that’s hands on. That’s an ideal first course for limited English speakers. Um social studies is very often a course that um ESL imparticular feel very comfortable uh teaching uh history and geography um the problem with social studies is that it can be very language dependent. Now I think that when you’re working with geography you have the concrete um support of things like maps and models and timelines and things like that and that helps a lot. Um however a map is a very abstract thing so um you still have to connect it to the student’s prior knowledge and life experiences. I think that when you get into history that fun as it is to teach a lot of times we don’t realize how heavily language dependent it is. Uh especially if if in your ESL class you’re still working in the present tense and when you suddenly start talking about history uh history doesn’t just have one past tense history’s all in the past and but some things are paster than other things and so you that this leads to very complicated linguistic forms uh you have uh the past, the simple past and you have the past perfect and you have all kinds of different ways of expressing uh the sequence of events chronology in the past and there’s a lot of information uh so I think social studies even though it’s it’s a wonderfully rich area and one that immigrant students need very badly because the one area that we can guarantee they have not studied, for example, is American History, because why would you study American history in another country at until you’re probably at the college level. So um the last the most difficult uh area is language arts and literature because it is so culturally based and because the language is so rich there’s just so much to know to be able to deal with with literature in the in the mainstream general education sense.

Um the issue of the ESL teacher who is incorporating some content into his or her ESL class um in the projects that I’ve worked with I’ve encouraged this because I think this is the true embodiment of academic languages is bring from from the different disciplines. It is very often difficult for an ESL teacher that’s why I think very often they’re more comfortable with social studies topics um but if you say well how about doing some science in the ESL classes, I’m not a science teacher, uh much at last math, I’m certainly not a math teacher why do you think I went into language education in the first place is because I’m math phobic or what ever, um but I think that when it’s presented as what you’re teaching is the discourse and the language and the way of thinking of mathematics or science should be two I think really difficult areas for ESL teachers. But that’s suddenly shifts. Uh the other thing I recommend is that ESL teachers who are interested in teaching content areas visit classrooms of their own grade level where there’s mathematics or science teaching going on and listen for the language, take note of the language, look at the textbooks, analyze the text books from a language perspective. This will give them an insight into the kinds of language demands of the different content areas that um and and this is an insight that ESL teachers can do very easily and it’s hard for content teachers because they’re used to thinking about their subject matter not about the language so it’s hard for them to see what’s difficult about language but the ESL teacher can pick it up right away uh so so I really think a lot of classroom visiting and I think it’s really good for content area teachers to visit ESL classes so they can see how an ESL makes new information comprehensible the kinds of of tricks of the trade that ESL teachers are so good at. So collaboration between teachers is really important. Um when an ESL teacher is bringing content into his or her classroom uh it’s very often difficult to decide which content what topics and the easy answer to that is to go to that grade level teacher of that content area and say you know next year my ESL students or later on this year are going to be in your class if you could chose five things you want them to know and be about to do what would those five things be? And content areas can tell you, area teachers can tell you immediately they know what are the important things. I did this once at the middle school level um with a science teacher and she said you know if they can just find their way around the science lab if they have some experience in using things like microscopes and some of the other uh things that we have um and and they know the names of them and they know the procedures a little bit she said I always have to reteach the actual information because kids forget it from one year to the next but it’s the procedures and the skills and so the ESL teacher said well yah, hey I can manage that you know give me a tutorial, teach me and then I can pass on these kinds of skills um which at the middle school level that’s doable. Uh I think in the content side the real challenge is at the high school level. The content is very difficult and with out background and knowledge in that content area the ESL teacher is really at a disadvantage and I think that’s where you need close collaboration, I think that’s where you need mainstream teachers who are specialist in their content area who can learn some ESL techniques to make their teaching more comprehensible to English language learners and they’re the ones who really have to teach the content. ESL teachers can do a little bit of preparation in the content areas but the the true teaching of science and math are or social studies or you know any of the economic any of the content areas at the high school they need to by done by a certified teacher in that area no question.

My message of hope is that language is not the same as thinking and knowledge that your students may not be able to express what they know but that doesn’t mean that they don’t know it. Um and if you make your teaching as concrete as possible, if you provide examples uh if you provide lots of visuals, if you demonstrate relationships between things, if you’re asking students to do reading assignments in textbooks provide them with some tips on reading strategies, show them how to make an outline or a graph to organize the information so that they don’t have to keep reading fifty pages over and over again which is going to take them three times as long as a native English speaker would to read the same amount uh show them the short cuts by pulling out the important information and putting it in a visual form then when they’re studying for that test that you’re going to give that’s their study guide not trying to keep going back and rereading and rereading the textbook which can be really really hard. So think of ways in in which the information that you’re presenting that is so important that can be communicated in ways other than just listening to you talk about it or reading it in a textbook. So demonstrating as as much as you can and and then when you ask your students whether in oral or written form listen for the message and the meaning of what they are saying or writing and don’t get distracted by their incorrect English or their bad grammar or their terrible spelling or you know what you really want to know is what they know and so focus on the message that they are communicating and you’ll probably be very happily surprise to find out how much they do know and how much they can contribute if you can just sort of ignore the language part and go straight for the content.

Um you ask what are learner strategies and I would like to make a tiny little distinction between learner’s strategies and learning strategies. Um and it doesn’t really matter you can use the interchangeably but I like to think of of learners strategies as the strategies that our students are already using things they’ve discovered on their own to assist in their own learning. Their techniques for remembering new information, for understanding something, for being able to retrieve that information and there’s a a lot of work that is being done and has been done on identifying the kinds of strategies that learners use that they’ve developed on their own to find out one reason is to find out what is the difference between learners that are being very effective in school and those that are encountering difficulties and we do find some differences in strategy use. Learning strategies I like to think of as instructed strategies where the teacher who has found out what strategies students are already using on their own um has made students aware of these strategies and demonstrates and teaches additional strategies that students can and to their repertoire. So it’s it’s a tiny distinction but but I sort of like to think of it as learner strategies untutored, learning strategies instructed strategies.

Lots of people are a little bit confused about the difference between learning styles and learning strategies. Very briefly learning stra--- learning styles see I’m getting confuse too. Learning styles are considered to be um fairly uh permanent predisposition to learning in a certain way. For instance if you say well I’m really a visual learner I really like to see things um probably you’re going to be a visual learner most of your life and most of the time and actually an awful lot of people are visual learners, um however if um you really need to learn audio-tutorially you can probably learn how to be a better auditory learner than you are but you may still prefer to learn visually. So learning styles are preferences it doesn’t mean that you can’t learn in other ways it just means that you prefer certain ways of learning. Many people are concrete learners, they really have to touch and feel things and and manipulate things in order to learn. And again more of us are that way even as adults than than we realize. Um so learning styles are fairly permanent predispositions for learning in a certain way. Learning strategies on the other hand are techniques or procedures that the learner can take independently on their own uh to make a learning task easier so would you say that perhaps that a a some one who’s predisposed to learn visually might find that a learning strategies of drawing pictures to remember something might be very effective. But some one who is not a visual learner might also find that drawing pictures helps as a strategy as an example. Um other learning strategies are are very much uh focused on certain tasks, so the tasks really determines a strategy more than the individual’s preference for for learning style. For example, um in reading a story or piece of literature one of the reading strategies that most teachers teach is when you get to an unfamiliar word use the context around the word to try to make a reasonable logical guess meaning. Don’t stop and look up every word because you you lose the meaning in the thread of what’s happening in the story you’re reading. This strategy we call using context clues or making inferences you know often depending on the grade level of which words you use. Uh and it’s a wonderful strategy uh when reading narratives and students who don’t know how to make inferences can profit from learning this strategy. How ever if the student’s reading a science text and there’s a science word like photosynthesis and a science text assumes that the students knows what this word means and continues to delve into the depths of photosynthesis uh with a lot of technical information guessing at what photosynthesis might mean is not a good strategy, it’s a very bad strategy for that particular task. So students need to they need help very often in okay if it’s if it’s this kind of task this is a good strategy but if it’s this other kind of task you know when it’s a new science or technical term and you really don’t know what it means and it’s not explained in the text then you go to your glossary you do ask your teacher you do get expert help because you need to understand the exact meaning. Um the strategies that I believe are useful for all tasks are what are called metacognative strategies which have to do with learners understanding their own learning process and the demands of the task and generally metacognative strategies are divided into three um planning strategies, monitoring strategies, and evaluating strategies. In in the recent work that I’ve been doing I’ve added a fourth category, uh because it maps on very well to a task, before starting a task you do planning. Uh when we’re teaching process writing that planning is called prewriting. When we’re doing reading we’re doing things like predicting, previewing, looking at the title, thinking do I already know about this topic. There are different planning strategies but you can put them all under the category of planning before starting the task and it’s very important and all teachers have had the experience of students who jump right in to doing something with out listening or reading the directions uh who really don’t spend anytime planning an end result, this is usually not very good. Then the the next strategy is monitoring and that simply means being aware of how the task is going while you’re actually engaged in the task and I think all of us have probably when we’re reading something for example we’re reading we’re reading we’re reading and we suddenly sort of come to and realize I don’t remember a word of what I’ve been reading for the last ten minutes. This is a very common experience and and I think what it means is that during those ten minutes we are not monitoring our reading. Something happened to sort of shut down our conscious attention and it can be fatigue, it could be a distraction, maybe it’s time to turn off the TV set, maybe it’s time to take a break. But there’s no point in continuing to try to read something if you’re not monitoring your understanding of it because your wasting your time if it’s important to remember now sometimes we read and it’s not important to remember but in an academic setting it’s usually important to remember so monitoring is being aware, am I understanding this, am I getting this how’s it going, um if you’re writing am I getting ideas, uh am I sort of sticking to the point, it’s not the editing which comes latter, it’s just being aware of how the task is going. If you’re conducting a science experiment um am I being really careful to get the measurement exactly right, am I really observing at you know thirty second interval or what ever you’re suppose to do, it’s that awareness. One thing that happens with monitoring and this is the extra step that that uh the researcher that I work with that I have added on uh and we call it problem solving. When when you’re monitoring and something isn’t going right then you realize that you have a problem and the recognition of that problem leads to using a variety of strategies to solve the problem but I think that you have to monitor first so that you can realize there’s a problem and then you say what tools can I use to solve this problem and so there are a variety of strategies that you can use um the simplest of which is asking somebody for help, um you can um use some of your prior knowledge to say have I done something like this before, uh what do I already know to help me solve this problem, um you can infer the meaning of of a new word um you can um take notes so that you can remember the information what ever the problem is there are a variety of strategies. You can work cooptionally with someone else as as a way of solving problems and then when the task is completed the step that is so important and that most of us I think as busy human beings don’t take the time to do is to have a moments pause for reflection to think back and evaluate how did I do, what worked well, what could have been improved, what did I get out of this and I don’t think this is a very natural thing to do perhaps, perhaps it’s a cultural thing perhaps this is our society that we don’t take time to reflect but I think it’s something that’s really important to include in the class room. To to look back, to think after a task and lots of teachers do this, they have students write in journals for example reflect on what they just did they have a discussion session. But uh I I think that metacognition strategy is is a very neglected one and it’s really important.

Um let me talk about metacognition, which I think is what we would all uh like to help our students develop more metacognitive awareness. Um metacognition has been defined as thinking about thinking and so someone who is metacognitively aware is simply someone who is able to say this is how I learn this is what I’m thinking these are the things that are going on in my head right now. Um back to Socrates know thy self. Very simple concept. Now meta—metacognition is often divided into two basic types, one is knowledge and the other process. Like so many things in education we have content and we have process. So the metacognative knowledge is first of all knowledge of yourself as a learner what works for you. Um world knowledge. What you’ve learned in the world and sometimes academic language is seeing as a subset of world language or something separate. But basically what you have learned about how the world works up to this point in your life. Knowledge of the task. Um I have solved math word problems before in my life so I know what the task is like and knowledge of strategies of what kinds of strategies might be useful so that’s that knowledge part of metacognition. Then the process part are are the metacognitive strategies and usually um they have be defined as three, planning, monitoring, and evaluating and the framework that I’ve developed uh with my colleagues in research we had added a fourth piece to that three part framework, and the metacognative framework that we like to work with has planning, monitoring, problem solving and evaluating.

Learning strategy researchers love to put learning strategies into categories and there are a lot of categories out there and when students study learning strategies they get very irritated with all of us researchers because we each have our own little way of categorizing them and it drive people crazy and I’m sorry we have tried to reach a common agreement and we just can’ t and I think we’ve agreed at this point to respect each others difference. It’s really how you see things uh how what kinds of boxes you want to put them in. Um in in the development of the cognitive academic language learning approach we use the same the categories that are used in the um cognitive learning theory which are the meta cognitive strategies which I’ve just talked about. Cognitive strategies which are the ones that act directly on the material to be learned and then we put into one category social and affected strategies which actually you could separate into two different categories. Social strategies having to do with with interacting with others affected strategies having to do with your control over your own affect motivation feelings. Um and the reason we’ve put social and affected together is because we didn’t have enough different academic type strategies to make two categories, it’s a very simple reason so they they sort of interact with each other so we put them together. Um and and that works pretty well. Um what I’m working on now is the metacognitive framework that I just described um and looking at all strategies within metacognitive components so if you look at planning what kinds of strategies do we use for planning so it’s more directly tied to the task as opposed to the type of strategy. And I think that’s a little bit easier for teachers uh so so we look okay what what is the task you’re going to do, what would be a good thing to do to get ready for that task? What do you want students to pay attention to while they are working on the task? What problems are they likely to have and what would be some good strategies to solve those problems and how are they going to evaluate their own performance on the task and sometimes this resonates(?) with teachers it’s it’s I think a lot easier than the endless taxonomies and lists of which there are many different choices.

Well learning strategies are important for all students and I think that the research that’s be done in first language context with learning strategies has documented beyond any shout of a doubt the importance that learning strategies have for successful academic performance. Um the the research that’s been done in first language context especially in reading and writing strategies um the difference that can be made and much of the work in general education has been done with learning disabled students who have been able to perform with tremendous leaps um with the aid of learning strategies. Um but even students who are not learning disabled, even students who are doing well in school can do even better when they understand themselves as learners and can really take control of their own learning. Now why is it important for language minority students for exactly the same reason that it’s important for any student? But also because students who are coming from a different culture, different back ground, different educational system, have probably developed learning strategies that are appropriate in their culture and in their educational system and those maybe wonderful in an American context and some of them may not get students to where they need to be. We know that education is very culturally based so when you change educational systems you are going into a new culture and if you want to be successful and I think our students do in that new culture then you have to learn some of the strategies to negotiate in that new educational system. Be- so that’s sort of the general reason why it’s important but I think of the other reason is um I know you’ve been talking with Jim Cummins and Virginia Collier and and their research is documented how long it takes for students to be come academically competent um in a second language. I think that learning strategies are something that can help them shorten that length of time because some one who is strategic learns faster and more efficiently so sharing the secrets of learning these little tools of learning that should never be a secret they should be shared openly by all teachers with their students. I I mean some times I think of learning strategies really as just mind tricks in lots of ways. Um when when you talk to students who are use to for example to just memory strategies and you say well how do you memorize things? I have laborious ways of memorizing things where they copy things many many times over, they say it to themselves, they’re no longer thinking about the meaningfulness. When you show them how they can uh take that same information add some of their own prior knowledge to it makes them kind of a visual or a graphic organizer and by the time they’ve gone through three or four uh strategy exercises with the information they’ve got it and they haven’t made a conscious attempt to memorize it. Um you know it’s it it makes such a difference in how well they can study and learn and the other thing that I would like to say about learning strategies instruction is it changes the way a teacher teaches. You can not teach learning strategies if you’re a transmission oriented teacher. It does not work. Or it works only in you telling the students exactly what strategies to use and forcing them to use them and then it becomes uh a very boring drill and kill exercise. The point of strategies instruction as I see it is that students need to become self regulated and independent learners and that means that they’re going to become proficient strategy users who are able to select the strategies that they know work best for them for a specific task and they may not be the strategies that you as a teacher might use for that same task. Your job is to expose them to many different kinds of strategies, give them enough practice so that they can really make reasonable judgments about which strategies really do work best for them. Uh so we want independent learners, we want uh we want our students not to have to depend completely on the teacher on the textbook. Uh we want them to be able to learn on their own and that’s what strategies do.

Maybe what I would suggest and this is just sort of an off the cuff suggestion, for teachers in a particular discipline is to try to do some reading in a completely different discipline and try to write down their thinking processes as they’re reading. So let’s say you’re a math teacher, pick up a history textbook or a literature book assuming that you never read this kind of thing which may not be true. But take something that’s out of your normal reading pattern and look at it and think okay planning how are you going to approach this text that’s a new kind of text for you and either talk aloud into a tape recorder or jot down the ideas that come to your mind as you’re planning. Then as you’re reading monitor, ask yourself questions, am I understanding this, what does this really mean, what does this remind me of that I already know about? Maybe you can find something in in a piece of literature that you’re reading that relates to science or math. This is good and there will be things but keep either a running dialogue with yourself with the tape recorder turned on or or keep taking notes to reflect on your own thinking processes before, during and after reading something in an area that’s not your own area it’s sort of unfamiliar to you. I think this will will give you um and insight into dealing with unfamiliar content that’s expressed in unfamiliar language um and this is what second language learners have to do. Of course the other thing is try to read something in another language um if you’ve had uh probably if you’ve studied a foreign language you’ve focused on the language of ----------(?) aside uh can you read something in your own discipline, can you read a science article for example in French or Spanish or what ever language you’ve studied, and you’ll find that your content knowledge is really going to help you a lot. That uh you will find all the words that are congnates. You will you know how a science article is organized, it’s going to be organized the same way in another language so you’ll be able to get more out of it than you would suppose. Then read something that’s out of your field that you don’t have a lot of prior knowledge about in that foreign language and you’ll see the difference that prior knowledge makes. So those are just a couple of suggestions of hand.

We are all language teachers. We’re all language teachers. You are using language what ever you’re teaching you’re using language to communicate ideas and information and you’re expecting language in return so what ever you are teaching you’re also teaching language.