Monthly Archives: April 2016

St Mark’s Day

We interrupt our planned schedule to point to you the arrival of the St. Mark’s day. In the ages past, this was a widely celebrated event in our University. The festivities would start at 10am and go on untill late. It was a tradition that was not interrupted even by the WWI, when the building itself was requisitioned for a military hospital. Sadly, what war couldn’t destroy the sharp tooth of time had consumed. Today you wouldn’t even know that there is something o celebrate.I know that technically it’s a celebration Christian in origin. But would anyone be offended if we wanted to celebrate our school?  I know I wouldn’t. So hey, powers-that-be, make it happen. Bring back the celebrations of St. Mark’s Day.

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Filling and Finding

 

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A small pile of books to be filled.

Filing. Nobody ever wants to do filing. After the research is done, paper written, the exhibition goes down from the cases. When it’s all said and done, there is filing. I guess it’s like a cooking and eating a meal. And the person drawing a short straw is going to wash the dishes. In the archives, the doubtful honour falls to the archivists, or rather to anyone the archivist has under their command. That is usually interns or/and volunteers. And at our archives that would be me:-).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. But some books had to go back on the shelves this past week and I was the one climbing the shelves. There is an unexpected side effect to the filling stuff and putting them back in their original places. The effect is that you sometimes find things. I especially like to write about unexpected things. So for the next couple of posts I’ll be catching some waves. Ahoy!:-)

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The language you speak-Tony Wright’s Interesting English

One of my favourite things to do in the archives it digging through our book collection. Maybe because there is such a wide range of material there, from fiction to resource books, from published dissertations to poetry. During my last foray among the pages, I found Interesting English by Tony Wright. Tony was at one point working on teacher education programmes in Marjon and is currently retired.
There is something very interesting in the approach of Tony’s book. What the book does is making people stop and think about the language. It is not just simply resource for teachers on how. It also asks why and in what way. It shows influences persons capability and relationship with language.
Apart from tasks that exercise the understanding and mastery of the language, Tony sets ‘thinking’ questions. One of them was especially standing out to me.
‘Is English your friend or foe? Can you explain why?’
I think that this is a profound question that any learner should ask themselves.
I remember when I first started to learn, English was my foe. It was something that my parents forced upon me. Something I saw no point doing, something that had to be endured. And even now, so many years later, I observe adults that treat English as something to be conquered, or as a necessary evil to be accepted. How can anyone learn under those circumstances? Can anyone learn under those circumstances? I think not. Yet the questions about the language are so rarely asked, so rarely taken under the considerations.
Tony’s book can make the reader aware not only of technicalities of English, but also of the human side of the language. He proves, that the separation of the language from the feelings people have towards it, is impossible. The language is not a construct, but a landscape to be explored.
And you? Have you ever asked yourself about your feelings towards the language you speak?

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