Tuesday, April 04, 2006

closing the S&T gender gap: www.girlhype.org

i recently happened across a web site of the American Girl Scouts´ Association (http://www.girlsgotech.org/ ) dedicated to raising awareness and S&T literacy among young girls. then some days ago received similar news via a list i sub to, about a South African initiative this time, called Girlhype http://www.girlhype.org/

"Girlhype offers a variety of educational formats designed for school girls through after-school programs, Saturday camps, and school holiday camps"

i like these kinds of programmes, if only so that they eliminate the fear factor for girls vis-a-vis tech, which btw is not something i think about too often, but have to add that i saw often enough when teaching how frequently (some of) the female students had all sorts of hang ups when doing the tech subjects. they would approach and say:

S: I´m not a tech fundi, so computers are a mystery
JAD: Do you have a cellphone?
(Comment: redundant question really; not having a cellphone is an absolute rarity) S: Yes
JAD: You use it often?
S: Yes
JAD: You know most of its functions, and know your way around?
S: Yes
JAD: Think of the PC as a bigger cellphone with slightly different buttons. Still have a problem?
S: ahem,...no...


now that i look at the word "girlhype" as in its lc format in the domain, it seems odd somehow. ooooh, i guess i´m tired since i start to see shapes in words the same way that people see things in cloud formations...

this reminds me, ever noticed how German folk tend to have hyphens in their URLs? i noticed this last week when in Berlin. can´t say i made the same observation in Cologne some weeks before. but then again, maybe when in Cologne, since i was with friends, i guess looking at billboards was not a priority. anyhow, i´d asked some german/speaking people about this hyphenation-tendency, but did not arrive at a too satisfactory conclusion yet. think about it, it is against the (linguistic) norm to hyphenate phrases as URLs in English. so, we have www.girlhype.org instead of www.girl-hype.org. in the german variation it would take the latter form.

another linguistic oddity was my seeing a word which had three r´s right down the middle. it was a compound (word) , and had to do with the place for returning one´s tray in the cafeteria. so word #1 was semantically equivalent to "return" and word # 2 denoted "tray" if i remember. so imagine word 1 of the form "abcdefghrr" and word 2 of the form "rzyx" and the compound then becomes "abcdefghrrrzyx". i know, phonetically the three r´s may not be a problem, in that "rr" could be a particular sound, and "r" another (and so not as if one had three distinct sounds, yet similar, one after the other) It´s just still strange that orthographically one would have those three same consonants like that, and that one of them would not have dropped away...

the problem with URLs and e-mail addresses also, frequently is that they don´t transpose well to the spoken word, in that you are sure to run into difficulties if you try to give someone an address over the phone (and in anglosajonia, if it is hyphenated - that´s simply fatale ) Not to mention that it is quite simply frowned upon if you were to use a hyphen in an English URL, and doing so denotes some kind of newbieness if not ignorance on the part of the person or entity who created the URL/domain. But thinking further about German tendencies in this regard, since compound words in german are seldom hyphenated (so i´m told), could it be that if one didn´t have the hyphens in the URLs the resulting compound as demonstrated in the web domain, could be semantically distinct from its constituent parts, and so signify something altogether different to its original signification, maybe even verging on the obscene at times? well, that is not impossible, but i don´t know, i am only what one would call "functionally literate" in German (due to a combination of: knowledge of Afrikaans as germanic linguistic base, some rudimentary recall of a German 101 elective some years ago, and some Linguistics-based guesswork).


At Tue Jan 15, 09:37:00 PM GMT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jennifer,

I am seeking more info on Girl Hype in South Africa. The Web address is not working. Can you help? Thanks.




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