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On 1st March we moved to a new blogging system.

The archives of all the student, teacher and staff blogs are still available here to read but commenting has closed.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/learningenglish

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Thursday, 10 December 2009

Life in a Northern Town

Hello again!

Thanks for your comments Filippo, Bahij, Leila, James and Anita! Thanks also to Taru for the lovely photos of her 'little Christmas' in Finland.

In my last post I talked about the topic of World Englishes and reported an example of a new (for me) word from Filipino English, imeldific. James, you gave a good definition and explanation of that word in your comment, thanks!

I also talked in my last post about the idea of English as a lingua franca and Bahij asked whether English can be a lingua franca between two speakers of, for example, British varieties of English. This is a really good question! Studies of conversation have shown that we often change the way we speak depending on who we are talking to (this process is called accommodation). We either start to sound more like the person we’re talking to, or less, depending on what we think of the other person. Think of the way that people often talk to very old or very young people for example. So there isn’t really one ‘English’, just lots of (sometimes slightly, sometimes very) different ways of talking, some of which get labelled Filipino English, British English, Scottish English, Yorkshire English, Rachel’s family’s English, Youth English, Clara’s English and so on. The specific way we talk depends on the languages we know and what we know about them, who we’re talking to and when, why and where. OK, now you know not to ask me any questions ever again, if you don’t want an over-long answer!!!

Now then, Kieran and Stephen have got me thinking about the music (and films) I watched as a teenager. I’m too young (sorry Stephen!) to remember the heyday of the Beatles. My heyday in popular music was (take a deep breath) the 1980’s and Modern Romance: big hair, baggy clothes and that strange way of dancing that involved briefly clapping your hands above your head. So, for any of you for whom the 80s were also your heyday, or if you just want to see the strange clapping dance, here is one of my favourites:

Dream Academy: Life in a Northern Town

The video combines shots of a drizzly (see Stephen’s post for a definition)Northern town with a reference to the Beatles and the early 60s. It looks like it was shot in winter too, so it’s perfect for this time of year.

Hope the rest of the week goes well for you!

Rachel W.

World Englishes (n) = the idea that there are many varieties of English in the world, some of which are independent of what used to be seen as the ‘centre’ varieties (British, American, Australian English etc.). Independence means that these new Englishes are in the process of generating new ways of speaking and writing (like the new word, imeldific).

lingua franca (n) = a language that is used for communication between speakers who have different first languages.

imeldific (adj) = excessive, over the top. A Filipino English word based on the name of the wife of a previous President of the Phillipines.

accommodation (n) = changes in the way someone speaks which are related to the speaker’s ideas about the person or people (for example, their intelligence, their ability to understand, their ability to hear and so on) they are speaking to.

heyday (adj) = The period of greatest popularity, success, or power. Also, the period of the speaker/writer's greatest interest in something.

baggy (adj) = very loose fitting, not tight.

shoot (v) = record a film

Comments

Hi Rachel, How are you and your family,- specially the precious two children of yours? It seems you have had an energetic, active and productive year like having launched a webpage that many UK students and English learners and other area people will get a lot of benefit from it, said 'goodbye' your ex-student and greeted new student. You said you're not happy with the slightly strange expression on my face but don't worry! I didn't look at your expressions because of your warning and just listened to your angelic voice.( ha ha.. I got you). It’s superb to hear from you. I do wish all the best to you and your family.

Rachel I liked your very specific explanation of lingua franca. I wish you Happy times for Christmas:)

Hi Rachel! Do you think the concept of "lingua franca" could be valid for other languages, such as, French, Spanish or even Italian? I am just saying that because these languages are not as widespread as English. Have a great day!!

I was in York on Thursday, and had half-planned to pop in and see you at my old alma mater, St John's College, York (as I knew it back in the 1970s). Breakfast at Betty's is simply too good to rush though and I'm afraid I ran out of time. Had to be at my sister's place in Darlington and get back to London the same night. Some other time,perhaps. Could have been fun to chat about blogging and EFL and York and 'stuff'. Ciao!

Next time you're going to be in York Stephen, let me know! York St John University (as it's known now) is where I work. You could have a tour and see how it has (and hasn't!) changed.

Great idea, thanks for this tip!

Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.

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