A friend on Facebook posted this picture, which then sparked a discussion about speaking English when it isn’t your native language.
So here’s the thing: It’s hard. What this illustration points out is incredibly true. When I moved to Lithuania, I had no idea how to speak the language. Eventually, a few years after I arrived, I had the opportunity to take a basic, entry-level class.
It was hell.
Being a teacher myself, I would talk with my teacher who told me, after that fact, that when she saw she had an American coming in to her class, she was a little nervous. “I hate teaching Americans – any native English speakers, really.”
Now, mind you, the class itself was taught in English as that was the common lingua franca amongst the students, so the idea of speaking English wasn’t the problem. Continue reading “On Speaking English as a Second Language” →
Monki is now 23 months old. Leave aside the standard “oh my god look how quickly time goes by” stuff and there’s some really interesting things going on. As you know, we’re a divided family. I’ve talked about this before when it came to naming the wee one.
Continue reading “On Language Acquisition” →
Mark Forsyth tasted internet fame this week when a passage from a book he wrote went viral. He explains more language secrets that native speakers know without knowing.
Source: BBC – Culture – The language rules we know – but don’t know we know
Not much really new here, but it’s all stuff which needs to be said, over and over again.
“Catmull begins by pointing out that failure, for most of us, is loaded with heavy baggage — a stigma that failure is bad and a sign of weakness, engrained in us early and hard.”
This is the result of “Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Words can hurt much more, and have a much more reaching effect than mere “sticks and stones.” Words can destroy us and keep us from being who we are truly capable of being. But at the same time, words can lift us up and and make us better than we ever thought possible.
It all depends on the words we use and how we use them. Words are important.
Pixar Cofounder Ed Catmull on Failure and Why Fostering a Fearless Culture Is the Key to Groundbreaking Creative Work | Brain Pickings.
15 Retronyms for When You’re Talking Old School | Mental Floss.
These are really interesting. I wonder how the relate, linguistically, with things like “Hamburger Meat” and “Tuna Fish” both of which have the addition of unnecessarily specifying to which group they belong.
It’s also an interesting conversation starter to think about which words are going to need Retronyms in the future. We already specify 3D vs 2D films, but I could see that becoming something we’d need to be even more specific about in the future. It might even become immersive vs. flat. What about books? Are we already moving into Retronym territory by having to specify print book instead of e-book?
In any case, I think it’s a fascinating look at the way we interact with the words around us.