Hello again from Pompey!
Wow! What a response! You are all such prolific writers, it’s unbelievable! I received a massive 44 replies to my first posting and I shall do my very best to reply to as many of you as possible. However, I must also actually write some content of my own so this second posting looks to be a very long one!
Firstly, I’d like to apologise for the error I made in replying to Lukasz’s first blog (his first draft), which was sent to me personally, but not posted online. So, rather stupidly, I responded to it, unaware that no-one else would have read it! I sincerely apologise for the confusion - perhaps Lukasz might allow me to include part of his first draft next time so that others may understand which errors I had corrected? As you can see, it is my first attempt at teacher-blogging, so I hope you’ll be patient with me!
Secondly, let me explain ‘Pompey’ from the title: I’m not talking about the military and political leader of the late Roman Republic, but the nickname of the city and of Portsmouth F.C. The real meaning of the word Pompey isn’t known, but there are several theories, of which I have a few examples:
1. When the Portuguese took possession of (what was once called) Bombay, they called it Bom Bahia, two words meaning good harbour. When Charles II married Catherine of Braganza, Bom Bahia was given to Charles as a wedding present, but when the Portuguese seamen brought the Princess to Portsmouth to be married, they may have noticed how Bom Bahia and Portsmouth resemble each other and might have called Portsmouth Bom Bahia, which, to English ears would sound like Pompey. Moreover, both Bombay and Portsmouth have good harbours; the two cities are pretty flat (except that Bombay has a bit of high ground between Malabar Point and Mahaluxmi), and both are only a few feet above sea level.
2. Another theory is that Portsmouth F.C was formed from the Royal Artillery team, who were the original Pompeys. At a Queen's Birthday Review the Royal Artillery lined the parade instead of marching past. They were upset about having to do a job which was (in those days) done in Paris by the Fire Brigade (les Pompiers), and the next time the team turned out they were called 'Pompiers' and the name stuck.
3. Portsmouth F.C is nowadays known everywhere as Pompey - the first use of it in a local newspaper is in connection with the Portsmouth football team which was formed in May 1898: "Wilkie, amid tremendous cheering from the Pompey lads, won the toss, and played with the wind in their favour."
(Evening News - December 9th 1899 p.3, col. 6.)
4. There is also a theory which contends that Pompey is of naval origin. It may have been used for Portsmouth long before the existence of Portsmouth F.C. It is possible to trace its origin back to 1797, at the time of the famous Spithead mutiny. Some of the mutinous vessels’ names were: the Terrible, the Glory, the Defiance, and the/La Pompee. Two delegates from each ship assembled on board La Pompee at Portsmouth - and later, two drunken seamen were arrested in London, incapable of saying little else than that they were going to Pompey – so it’s possible that all the mutinous seamen at that time referred to their delegates being at Pompey... and the name stuck.
5. There is also the possibility that an evangelist bishop, who once visited Portsmouth, declared that it was a wicked town, liable to share the fate of the old city of Pompeii.
6. Another theory claims that the name originates in Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra (act 1, scene 4), where a messenger reports to Caesar: "Pompey is strong at sea". Then in scene 2, Anthony says, "Sextus Pompeius hath given the dare to Caesar, and commands the empire of the sea." Portsmouth was the premier naval port, so the derivation is clear.
7. A final possibility is that Pompey is the result of the inarticulate pronunciation of inebriated sailors who were trying to say POrtsMouth POint, the spot where they changed from ship to shore.
As you can see, there is plenty of speculation and no-one seems to agree on its exact origins. Even when I asked true Pompeians where their nickname came from, they didn’t know! Anyway, after all that, all YOU need to know is that on May 17th this year Pompey won the F.A Cup, the first time in 69 years! And I can tell you, moving to Portsmouth on that day was something else! People were running around on the streets, cheering and laughing, driving around the city, blaring their horns and waving little blue and white flags. The atmosphere was one of fun, happiness and amazement.
Anyway, I digress. In response to Lukasz, I’d like to say how well you write and how enjoyable it was for me to read your blog. Well, I should say blogs, as you have already written two! I read with much interest your description of Poland before and after it opened up to the rest of Europe (and the world). When I lived there in 1996-7, I saw first-hand how people lived and noticed how they dressed and behaved. It seemed to me people were quite well educated in the sense that most valued a good education and indeed, in my classes many students would say to me that a good education was something of an opportunity, not to be squandered. They had a thirst for knowledge and asked me many questions about what it was like in the ‘West’.
I also noticed how women loved to dye their hair! Almost every woman I came across had dyed it bright red or jet black or platinum blond! Have you ever noticed that in Poland? Are the women still dying their hair? Perhaps it was a sign of rebellion or wealth? I don’t know but I remember how it struck me then.
It also struck me how many people lived in huge grey tower blocks – I myself lived in one: on the outside it looked downright ugly, but on the inside it was a little haven, a cocoon where I could escape the harsh winter. In fact the walls had been wood-panelled and it looked a bit like a mountain log cabin! It was very odd indeed, but incredibly warm, welcoming and comfortable, much like the people (albeit not the comfortable bit!).
Your early schooling in the Netherlands reminds me of what I went through as a kid moving to France. I didn’t understand much of what was going on around me in class most of the time. In fact, it’s still happening to me now in my German class!
You say the Poles seem to be too concerned with acquiring wealth and goods, etc. I think the Brits can be a bit like that too, in fact, we have a phrase for that: “Keeping up with the Jones’”. The Jones are the neighbours, so if the neighbours have a nice new car, then we must have one too. If they have a new extension put on the side of their house, then we need to build one, too.
OK, let’s look at some of your errors and I’m going to be very picky as your English is already very good.
1) ...and some of it with my jaw dropped... A good try (and very flattering!), but the correct way to say this is “and for some of it, my jaw dropped” or “and some of it with my jaw wide open”.
2) For the enlightenment of some of our readers out there, the IB is the International Baccalaureate, a (rather difficult) end of high/secondary school exam.
3) ...my teacher got amazed at me... You can be amazed, but not get amazed, so the correct sentence is: (I’ll let you correct it yourself!)
4) ...Very strenuous these two were... I like the use of strenuous here, however, the word order sounds a bit odd. You could say it like this but when writing, it would be best to write it in this order “These two years were very strenuous”.
5) ...not part of the EU then... I know there’s only one EU, so it sounds strange to have to define it with a definite article, but we also say the United States, the Russian Federation and the UK.
6) ...these were a fine 7 years... You need to show how these years were fine, just as you would say “a dreadful 7 years”.
7) ...a chance to visit UK... Can you correct this yourself?
8) ...I then thought I needed to develop... Not the same as: I then thought, “I need to develop”.
9) ...to think about what I want to do... We think about or of something.
10) ...I never took/sat any English exams... We take or sit exams, never do them, which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is very strange indeed!
11) ...introduced a market economy... You need to add the indefinite article here, because you’re describing a type of economy.
12) Enough of the pathos... We say we have enough of something: “Oh, I’ve had enough of these German lessons!”
13) ...of the European Union... Another definite article error. Check out the link (on the side of this blog) to an exercise on articles.
14) I’d love to go one day... You want to go to Spain, not come. You can only come back once you have been there.
15) ...it goes in line with... We either say “it is in line with something” or “goes hand in hand with something” – you probably got the two mixed up somewhere along the line!
16) ...working for a software company... We don’t know which one you worked for, so use the indefinite article here.
17) ...how you’ve managed to have friends... We say “to become friends” but we don’t know how you managed to do that.
18) ...he could well be... You need to show the conditional aspect of this assertion.
19) ...as a saint almost... The correct word order is “almost as a saint”
20) ...is underway already... Again, the correct word order is...? I’ll let you try that one!
21) ...we seem to have developed...
prolific If you are prolific, you are very productive.
F.C. Football Club.
amid In the middle of something.
won the toss To win the toss of the coin is to see which team starts with the ball in the match.
contends To contend something means to argue or assert a point.
mutiny A mutiny is a rebellion. Ever seen “Mutiny on the Bounty” starring Marlon Brando?
vessels A vessel is a boat or ship but also a container like a bowl or jug.
evangelist Evangelism is the Christian practice of proselytization, which means to inform others about the Kingdom of God. The four Evangelists were Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. An evangelist bishop would spread or preach the Christian faith.
liable To be liable for something is to be legally responsible or answerable for something.
derivation From the verb ‘to derive’ + from, which means to originate from, or the source of something.
inarticulate If you’re inarticulate, you’re either tongue-tied or incoherent. In this case, the sailors were inarticulate because they had drunk too much. See below.
inebriated Another word for drunk (and I’m not talking about the past participle of ‘to drink’!).
speculation To speculate about something is to make a guess.
F.A Football Association.
something else Another type of British understatement where you say it was so bad or good or wild that it became something else.
blaring Very loud, raucous. “The radio was blaring away but no-one was listening to it”.
digress To digress is to go off the point or deviate. Lukasz rambles, I digress!
first-hand A personal or direct experience. We also say ‘from the horse’s mouth’!
squandered Misspent or wasted.
it struck me Something suddenly occurred to me.
downright Absolutely or totally.
haven A refuge or safe place.
picky Can mean meticulous (positive meaning) or fussy (negative meaning). You can decide which I have been with poor Lukasz! He is very brave having his errors corrected for the worldwide web to see!
OK, I’m going to have to log off now as it’s getting late and I haven’t even started my German homework! I hope this blog has been helpful and informative. Next time I will respond to the some of the comments that were made. Bye for now!
Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.