Gremlins and Informal English
I know that in my last blog I ended by saying goodbye, but there has been a change of plan and you're stuck with me for another month.
Zsuzsa, it's great to meet you and find out about your wonderful city. I know that we had some technical gremlins last week, but everything seems to be sorted now. So, I'm really looking forward to blogging with you across the rest of June.
I have been to Hungary once, to see my friend who was working as an English language teacher in Budapest. I thought it was a lovely city - full of grand buildings but it also seemed quite a 'happening' place. I have vivid memories of eating palacsinta (pancakes) and listening to lots of fab gypsy CDs.
I'm not sure if this is Buda or Pest... but it's very grand!
In your passage you describe June as a nightmare for students, but you go on to tell us about a heavenly park where students can relax while they revise. As some other students commented on your blog, you create a nice mental image of this special place.
Frogs croak and water-lilies float on the surface of water, children run around, they angle for tadpole and undergraduates study their notes of chemist or philology on their blankets.
This is a lovely little passage. We would say Chemistry here and tadpoles. Here's another very small mistake:
June is a nightmare for Hungarian undergraduates. These days we have to prove our knowledge...
In English these days means the same as nowadays; i.e. it means now in 2011 rather than in the past. E.g.
In the past most Englishmen had a cooked breakfast every day, but these days people don't have time.
In your sentence you could say in this month or at this time.
But those are tiny mistakes. In general, I think you write very well indeed and really confidently. The only thing I would say at this stage is that your writing is a little formal and functional.
I would like to transmit some events and curiosities from my little country, Hungary in this month.
You could say - I can't wait to tell you about some of the events and curiosities from my little country, Hungary.
I don't know much about Hungarian (other than that it is very hard to learn!) but English is a profoundly informal language. So we tend to write in the same everyday language that we use with friends. Even business correspondence will contain phrasal verbs and contractions (although you probably wouldn't use slang words in that context).
There are usually three or four different ways of saying something in English. When you come across a word like transmit it's worth looking up the synonyms and trying to work out which of the words is most used, which is most formal and so on.
... I'm interested in your ideas and the ideas of our correspondents on this blog. So for this week's homework I'd like everyone to share how they learn English vocabulary - particularly informal vocabulary.
Where do you pick words up?
How do you make a note of them?
What do you do to ensure that you can remember the words when you need them?
I look forward to reading your responses!
- you're stuck with me - A humorous phrase that means 'Unfortunately for you, I'm staying"
- gremlins - gremlins are little creatures that don't really exist. Sometimes we say that problems with technology are caused by these little creatures living inside telephones, TVs etc.
- sorted - an informal word meaning fixed or resolved. Here in the UK we use this word quite a lot. E.g. - A: Did you manage to get that contract to the client? B: Yep, it's all sorted now.
- 'happening' - an informal adjective meaning that a lot of interesting or exciting things are happening. It's usually used to describe a place.
- fab - this is informal / slang English. It's short for fabulous, so it means great, brilliant. This word was very popular in the 1960s and 1970s.
- revise - to look again at your studies before taking an exam
- everyday - ordinary, normal. Note that this word is an adjective; the adverb form is two words. Compare: In the past most Englishmen had a cooked breakfast every day. We tend to write in the same everyday language that we use with friends.
- come across - encounter, find by accident
- looking up - to check something in a book or on the internet. It usually refers to using a dictionary or encyclopaedia.
- synonyms - different words that mean the same thing
- pick (something) up - here, to pick up means to learn something. We can use this phrase to describe learning a habit or activity, especially without much effort e.g. My dad was always playing the guitar and I just picked it up.