Food for Thought

Frases ou dizeres para nos levar a pensar.

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” 

John A. Shedd

 

“Courage is found in unlikely places.” 

J.R.R. Tolkien

 

“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”

Michelle Obama

 

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

Winston Churchill

 

“Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.” 

CS Lewis

 

“Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.”

Helen Keller

 

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.”

Mary Anne Radmacher

http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/

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As Novas Palavras Criadas em Inglês na Atualidade

Cat café’ and other words added to OxfordDictionaries.com

NBD, but are you ready to fangirl over our dictionary update? Abso-bloody-lutely. We’ve got some awesomesauce new words – no, rly – that will inform and entertain whether you’re hangry or it’s already wine o’clock. Mic drop.

Mic drops, awesomesauce, manspreading, and more

Let’s pick that mic up again and check out some of the words that have been added to OxfordDictionaries.com in the world of informal language. The mic drop in question can be a literal ‘instance of deliberately dropping or tossing aside one’s microphone at the end of a performance or speech one considers to have been particularly impressive’, but it’s more likely to be figurative – or an exclamation to emphasize a particularly impressive point: Nuff said. Mic drop.

Mic drop has been added to OxfordDictionaries.com

If you want to describe something as excellent, you can use awesomesauce; on the other side of the coin, anything of a poor or disappointing standard is weak sauce. Weak sauce came first, and has a more comprehensible origin as a metaphor; an inadequate sauce would certainly let down an otherwise decent meal. Though awesomesauce clearly comes from the words awesome and sauce, the former is currently beating the latter in the Oxford English Corpus and Oxford Twitter Corpus.

Why say banter (‘playfully teasing or mocking remarks exchanged with another person or group’) when you can save a syllable with bants? (Be careful where you use it, though; the term might be recognized in the UK, but is likely to get bemused looks elsewhere.) And, speaking of brevity, the initialism NBDcan take the place of no big deal, while rly is handy textspeak for really. SJW stands for social justice warrior, which is also added in this update. It’s ‘a person who expresses or promotes socially progressive views’, but the word is used derogatively, usually by those who do not share these views.

You may remember mansplain from last year’s update. It’s now joined by the noun manspreading: ‘the practice whereby a man, especially one travelling on public transport, adopts a sitting position with his legs wide apart, in such a way as to encroach on an adjacent seat or seats’. If you’re a gentleman reading this on the bus … can we suggest you arrange your legs considerately? Rly.

Manic pixie dream girl has been added from the world of film criticism: find out more in our video post.

Other informal terms in this update include brain fart, bitch face, bruh, butthurt, fur baby, MacGyver, mkay, rando, and swole.

Mx, Grexit, and other words in the news

Among the additions in the August update, there are those that relate to recent news and events. The blends Brexit (British/Britain + exit) and Grexit (Greek/Greece + exit) were coined in 2012, relating to potential departures of the United Kingdom from the European Union and Greece from the eurozone (those countries which use the euro as their national currency).

Mx has been added to OxfordDictionaries.com

The honorific Mx has also been added to OxfordDictionaries.com. It’s used (in the same way as Mr, Miss, Mrs, Ms etc.) before a person’s surname or full name as a gender-neutral title. Katherine Martin, Head of US Dictionaries, recently spoke with the New York Times about the rising popularity of the term, which is first found in the late 1970s and has gained significant traction since.

Hangry?

Some fanciful words relating to food and drink are also included in the August update. Beer o’clock and wine o’clock are humorous terms for the (supposedly) appropriate times of day for having your first glass of either drink. You might need to start the meal earlier if you’re feeling hangry: a blend of hungry and angry, meaning ‘bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger’. Anything snackable will come in handy.

Hangry has been added to OxfordDictionaries.com

English often forms new words using existing suffixes, and the realm of food and drink shows several such innovations. From the –y ending comes cheffy (relating to, or characteristic of, a chef) and melty (melting or partially melted); from the –ery ending, we get cidery (a place where cider is made) and cupcakery (a bakery that specializes in cupcakes). The latter is a venue where you’re unlikely to have the option of cakeage, which is ‘a charge made by a restaurant for serving a cake that they have not supplied themselves’, and another word created by the inclusion of a common suffix. The word is modelled on the pattern of corkage, where the same rule applies to wine. And if you can’t bring yourself to have the finest things in life separately, there is now the option of a cat café, where café patrons can eat while surrounded by feline friends.

Cat café has been added to OxfordDictionaries.com

Edible additions to OxfordDictionaries.comfrom Australian English include Anzac biscuit, barmaid’s blush (typically red wine mixed with lemonade or beer mixed with raspberry cordial), battered sav (battered saveloy sausage), and lolly cake (a cake containing sweets, known generically as lollies in Australian and New Zealand English).

Gaming and the Internet

Whether you’re a Redditor, a YouTuber, or more used to handling physical meeples(playing pieces in certain board games), this update has terms that’ll come in handy. Some don’t show the finer side of the human character: rage-quit is a verb meaning to ‘angrily abandon an activity or pursuit that has become frustrating’, and is especially used in relation to video games.

Rage-quit has been added to OxfordDictionaries.com

One reason you might rage-quit is because you are being pwned: that is, utterly defeated by an opponent. This informal term is used more often in video gaming, and supposedly resulted from a common mistyping of own with this sense, as a result of the proximity of p and o on a computer keyboard. Along with pwn comes pwnage(and ownage), being ‘the action or fact of utterly defeating an opponent or rival’.

A Redditor is a registered user of the website Reddit; the word is formed on the pattern of editor, and the site relies upon user-submitted content, posted in subreddits(forums dedicated to specific topics). Users might well post content that they consider glanceable, shareable, and even snackable – which can refer to online content designed to be read or viewed quickly, as well as to food.

Other additions from the sphere of technology and the Internet include spear phishing (‘the fraudulent practice of sending emails ostensibly from a known or trusted sender in order to induce targeted individuals to reveal confidential information’), and blockchain (‘a digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly’). Nor are mobile phones left out: butt-dial and pocket-dialhave been added, denoting that awkward moment when you dial someone’s number by mistake while your phone is in your pocket.

Por quê eu não consigo aprender Inglês?

Muitas alunos me perguntam por que têm tanta dificuldade em aprender inglês. Eu sempre respondo que, a professora é só um dos meios de aprendizagem. Se não houver engajamento do aluno em estudar, ler, escutar músicas, assistir séries, conversar com nativos, esse aprendizado será mais difícil.

Segue um texto com excelente explicação sobre esse tema. Não deixem de ler.

A lista abaixo resume como o envolvimento com o idioma pode ser observado. Lembre-se de que os alunos também podem se engajar em maneiras que não são observáveis e, inversamente, podem fingir estar engajados para satisfazer o professor.

Critérios para identificar o envolvimento com a linguagem (EWL) (Svalberg, 2012: 378, adaptado de Svalberg 2009: 247)

Cognitivo

Quão alerta é o aluno?

O aluno parece enérgico ou letárgico?

Ele parece notar os recursos de linguagem / interação?

Como focado?

A atenção do aluno está na linguagem (como objeto ou meio) ou não?

A mente do aprendiz parece vagar?

Quão reflexivo? Quão crítico / analítico?

O raciocínio do aprendiz é indutivo ou baseado em memória / imitação?

O aluno percebe e reflete ou simplesmente reage?

Com relação à língua-alvo, o aluno compara, faz perguntas, infere / tira conclusões?

Afetivo

Quão disposto é o aluno a se envolver com a linguagem?

O aluno é retirado ou ansioso para participar?

Quão proposital?

O aluno parece entediado ou não focado na tarefa, ou estar focado?

Quão autônomo?

O comportamento do aluno é dependente ou independente?

Social

Como interativo

Interage, verbalmente ou de outra forma, com os outros para aprender?

Como apoiar os outros?

por exemplo. por comportamentos verbais ou outros?

O aluno se envolve em negociação e andaimes?

Líder ou seguidor?

As interações do aluno são reativas ou iniciadas?

© Universidade de Leicester

How engagement with language might be observed

The list below summarizes how engagement with language might be observed. Remember that learners may also engage in ways that are not observable, and conversely they can pretend to be engaged in order to satisfy the teacher.

Criteria for identifying engagement with language (EWL) (Svalberg, 2012: 378, adapted from Svalberg 2009: 247)

Cognitive

How alert is the learner?

  • Does the learner seem energetic or lethargic?
  • Does he or she seem to notice language/interaction features?

How focused?

  • Is the learner’s attention on the language (as object or medium) or not?
  • Does the learner’s mind seem to wander?

How reflective?; How critical/analytical?

  • Is the learner’s reasoning inductive or memory/imitation based?
  • Does the learner notice and reflect, or simply react?
  • With regard to the target language, does the learner compare, ask questions, infer/ draw conclusions?

Affective

How willing is the learner to engage with language?

  • Is the learner withdrawn or eager to participate?

How purposeful?

  • Does the learner seem bored or not focused on the task, or to be focused?

How autonomous?

Is the learner’s behaviour dependent or independent?

Social

How interactive

  • Does he or she interact, verbally or otherwise, with others to learn?

How supportive of others?

  • e.g. by verbal or other behaviours?
  • Does the learner engage in negotiation and scaffolding?

Leader or follower?

  • Are the learner’s interactions reactive or initiating?

O Poder dos Testes

Vivemos em um mundo onde as pessoas têm opiniões diferentes sobre a sociedade. Isto é especialmente verdadeiro quando se trata de entender onde está o poder e quem o exerce.

Leia os dois extratos seguintes dos livros que abordam a questão do uso social e político dos testes de linguagem.

Extrato 1. De Elana Shohamy (2000). O poder dos testes. Longman: Harlow, pp. 15-17.

“Os usos dos resultados dos testes têm efeitos prejudiciais para os participantes, já que tais usos podem criar vencedores e perdedores, sucessos e fracassos, rejeições e aceitações. As pontuações dos testes são muitas vezes os únicos indicadores para colocar pessoas em níveis de classe, para conceder certificados e prêmios, para determinar se uma pessoa será autorizada a continuar em estudos futuros, para decidir sobre uma profissão, para participar de aulas de educação especial, para participar de honra. aulas, para ser aceito no ensino superior e para obter empregos … Os testes são usados como um método de impor certos comportamentos sobre aqueles que estão sujeitos a eles. Os testes são capazes de ditar aos participantes o que eles precisam saber, o que aprenderão e o que aprenderão. Os candidatos estão dispostos a fazê-lo, a fim de maximizar suas pontuações, tendo em conta os efeitos prejudiciais que os resultados podem ter sobre suas vidas ”

Extrato 2: Glenn Fulcher (2015). Reexaminar os testes de linguagem: uma pesquisa filosófica e social. Londres e Nova York: Routledge, p. 155.

“Embora testes e avaliações pressupor desigualdade, é uma desigualdade de resultados, não de oportunidades. Kariya e Dore (2006) fazem uma distinção entre os ‘igualitaristas comunais’ revolucionários que distribuem a renda, o prestígio e o poder igualmente entre todos os membros da sociedade, e ‘igualitaristas meritocráticos que estão interessados principalmente na igualdade de oportunidades para competir por resultados que possam ser Embora o qualificador “vastamente” possa ser questionável em uma democracia moderna, é o que hoje chamamos de igualitarismo meritocrático que motivou a compreensão vitoriana da igualdade. Significava a remoção do privilégio, a provisão de tal educação que levaria ao sufrágio universal e oportunidade para todos na sala de exame, sujeita ao impacto inevitável do background socioeconômico (como a capacidade de pagar por aulas particulares). Em suma, essas foram as características críticas de uma sociedade democrática, e o teste é uma parte essencial do mecanismo que faz com que funcione. ”(Fulcher, 2015, p. 155).

In English

The power of tests

We live in a world where people hold different views about society. This is especially true when it comes to understanding where power lies and who exercises it.

Read the following two extracts from books that address the question of the social and political use of language tests.

Extract 1. From Elana Shohamy (2000). The Power of Tests. Longman: Harlow, pp. 15 – 17.

“The uses of test results have detrimental effects for test takers since such uses can create winners and losers, successes and failures, rejections and acceptances. Test scores are often the sole indicators for placing people in class levels, for granting certificates and prizes, for determing whether a person will be allowed to continue in future studies, for deciding on a profession, for entering special education classes, for participating in honour classes, for getting accepted into higher education and for obtaining jobs….Tests are used as a method of imposing certain behaviours on those who are subject to them. Tests are capable of dictating to test takers what they need to know, what they will learn and what they will be taught. Test takers are willing to do so in order to maximize their scores, given the detrimental effects the results may have on their lives”

Extract 2: Glenn Fulcher (2015). Re-examining Language Testing: A Philosophical and Social Inquiry. London & New York: Routledge, p. 155.

“Although testing and assessment presupposes inequality, it is an inequality of outcomes, not of opportunities. Kariya and Dore (2006) make a distinction between the revolutionary ‘communal egalitarians’ who would distribute income, prestige and power equally among all members of society, and ‘meritocratic egalitarians who are interested primarily in equality of opportunity to compete for outcomes that may be vastly unequal.’ While the qualifier ‘vastly’ may be objectionable in a modern democracy, it is nevertheless what we now call meritocratic egalitarianism that motivated the Victorian understanding of equality. It meant the removal of privilege, the provision of such education as would lead to universal suffrage and opportunity for all in the examination hall, subject to the inevitable impact of socioeconomic background (such as the ability to pay for private tuition). In short, these were the critical features of a democratic society, and testing is an essential part of the mechanism that makes it work.” (Fulcher, 2015, p. 155).

The Future of English

Here is a long but good text from an online course I am taking at University of Southampton. It is about the changes in English as a Lingua Franca and what to expect in the future.

What are your expectations Share with us.

A piece in the EL Gazette in October 2001 (p. 3) under the heading ‘It’s now official: English is hard’ announced: ‘you can now motivate your students by telling them that English is the hardest European language to learn’. It went on to report a study carried out at the University of Dundee, Scotland, which compared the literacy levels of British primary school children with those from fourteen European countries (Finland, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Denmark). Children with one year’s schooling had been presented with lists of common words in the mother tongue. It was found that all but the native English speakers were able to read 90 per cent of the word correctly, while the British children could only manage 30 per cent. The researchers concluded that the gap between the English-speaking children and those from the other fourteen countries was the result of difficulties intrinsic to the English language. And at a conference of the Spelling Society, held at Coventry University in the UK in June 2008, in which new research by the literacy scholar Marsha Bell was reported, the same point was made again, with English being described as the worst of all the alphabetical languages for children to learn.

Rather than ‘motivate’ learners, such difficulties could, if widely publicised, discourage them from attempting to learn the language at all. The difficulties divide into three main categories: orthographic, phonological, and grammatical. Spelling difficulties are of various kinds although all relate to the fact that English orthography can often not be predicted from the way in which a word is pronounced. There are, for example, several ways of pronouncing the sequences ‘ea’ (e.g. as in ‘bead’, ‘head’, ‘bear’, ‘fear’, ‘pearl’), and ‘ough’ (e.g. as in ‘cough’, ‘bough’, ‘tough’, ‘dough’, ‘through’, ‘thorough’). A large number of words contain silent letters, such as those which begin with a silent ‘p’ or ‘k’ (‘psychology’, ‘pneumonia’, ‘pseud’, ‘knife’, ‘know’, etc.), another group which end with silent ‘b’ (‘comb’, ‘thumb’, ‘limb’, ‘climb’, etc.), and a third with a silent medial letter (e.g. ‘whistle’, ‘castle’, ‘fasten’, ‘muscle’). Other problems are doubled consonants (e.g. ‘committee’, ‘accommodation’, ‘occasional’, ‘parallel’), and the spelling of unstressed vowels (e.g. the underlined vowels in ‘woman’, ‘persuade’, ‘condition’, ‘success’, ‘infinity’, all of which are pronounced as schwa in RP and many other, but not all, native accents.

As regards pronunciation, difficulties relate particularly to English vowels. Not only does native English have more vowel phonemes than many other languages (twenty in RP as compared with, for instance, five in Spanish and Italian), but it has a particularly large number of diphthongs (eight in RP) and makes extensive use of the central vowel, schwa, in unstressed syllables regardless of the spelling – as was demonstrated in the previous paragraph. In addition, many accent varieties of English including RP andGeneral American (GA) make copious use of weak forms in connected speech. That is, schwa replaces the vowel quality in words such as prepositions (‘to’, ‘of’, ‘from’), pronouns (‘her’, ‘them’, etc.), auxiliaries (‘was’, ‘are, ‘has’, etc.), articles (‘a’, ‘the’) and the like. There are also several other features of connected speech such as elision (loss of sounds), assimilation (modifications to sounds), and liaision (linking of sounds across words). All these aspects of English pronunciation conspire to make it more difficult both to produce and to understand than the pronunciation of many other languages.

Grammatically, difficulties relate very particularly to verb forms and functions. Firstly, English has a large number of tenses all of which have both simple and continuous aspect (present, past, perfect, past perfect, future, future perfect) and none of which have a straightforward link with time reference. Second, there are many modal verbs (‘may’, ‘will’, ‘can’, ‘should’, ‘ought to’, etc.) each with its own problems of form and function. Third, one of the most problematic areas for learner of English is that ofmulti-word (or phrasal) verbs such as ‘get’ (‘get up’, ‘get down’, ‘get on’, ‘get off’, ‘get over’, ‘get through’, etc.) and ‘take’ (‘take up’, ‘take on’, ‘take off’, ‘take out’, etc.). Each has several meanings both literal and metaphorical, along with complicated rules as to whether the verb and particle can or must be separated for an object, depending on whether the verb is classed as adverbial or prepositional.

Because of these difficulties, it would not be surprising if there was eventually a move to abandon English in favour of an international language with fewer complicating linguistic factors along with a slightly les obvious colonialist discourse attached to it (although we see strand 6 [in the book] for another possibility, i.e. that users of ELF will adapt English to suit their own lingua franca purposes rather than accept that they should acquire and use a native version). Spanish appears to be a major contender, with its simpler pronunciation, spelling and verb systems, and its increasing influence in both the EU and America. As Moreno-Fernandez and Otero (2008: 81) point out

The sum of native Spanish speakers and non-native Spanish speakers plus those learning the language gives a total figure of 438.9 million Spanish speakers according to the estimations based on the latest consolidated census information and on other sources such as the Cervantes Institute.

And according to an article in the Times Higher Education Supplement (14 December 2001, p.23), ‘Spanish is … the second international language of business as its importance in the United States grows’. In Europe, there is a massive increase in demand for Spanish, with the number of people travelling to Spain and sitting Spanish-language examinations rising by 15 per cent a year, according to the Instituto Cervantes (Spanish equivalent of the British Council). In addition, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Mexico are becoming increasingly popular tourist destinations, while the teaching of Spanish as a foreign language is spreading to many parts of the world. In this process, it is being ‘overtly promoted by the Spanish government as part of its aim to strengthen and enhance a pan-Hispanic community across the world’ as well as ‘a desire to consolidate a power bloc with some claim to compete with the overwhelming march of global English’ (Mar-Molinero 2006: 82). As Mar-Molinero continues, ‘[t]he Spanish language learning/teaching industry is thus a flourishing and expanding one’ and ‘whilst smaller in scale, in many senses it resembles the enormous EFL/ELT industry’.

Meanwhile, in the US there were found to be 50.5 million native speakers of Spanish in the 2010 census (see unit C1 [in the book]), making this the second largest L1 group in the US after English, and comprising almost a fifth of the total population. Already non-Hispanic whites are in a minority in California and there are also particularly large numbers of Hispanics in Arizona and Texas. However, it is not only a case of numerical increase: the US Hispanic community appears also to be experiencing ‘a resurgence of cultural pride and confidence’ (The Guardian, 8 March 2001, p.12), while politicians are beginning to pay far greater attention to the Hispanic community’s needs than they have done hitherto. Meanwhile, Latinos such as the Puerto Rican Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez have, respectively, topped world pop music charts and won important film awards, and still more recently, the Latin music of artists such as Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, and Molotov has been achieving worldwide popularity (see Mar-Molinero 2008: 39-40).

Further evidence that English may eventually give way to another language as the world’s lingua franca is provided by the internet. As Crystal (2006: 229-231) points out

[The Web] was originally a totally English medium – as was the Internet as a whole, given its US origins. But with the Internet’s globalization, the presence of other languages has steadily risen. In the mid-1990s, a widely quoted figure was that just over 80 per cent of the Net was in English.

However, as he goes on to say,

The estimates for languages other than English have steadily risen since then, with some commentators predicting that before long the Web (and the Internet as a whole) will be predominantly non-English, as communications infrastructure develops in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America.

He also cites a 2004 Global Reach survey which found that 64.8 per cent of a total online population of 801.4 million was in countries where English is not the mother tongue, and notes that Chinese is expected by most sources to become the majority language of internet users. And a few years later, this seems even more probable. In a table showing the top ten internet languages at the start of 2010 (Internet World Stats 2010, in Crystal 2011: 79), although English still has the largest number of internet users (496 million users, 27.5 per cent of all internet users), Chinese is catching up fast (408 million users, 22.6 per cent of all internet users).

The rapid increase in the amount of Chinese on the internet (1,162 per cent growth between 2000 and 2009, as contrasted with English’s 252 per cent growth) leads Crystal to believe it will soon replace English in the leading position on the internet. On the other hand, Graddol’s earlier point that ‘there remains more English than is proportionate to the first languages of users’ (2006:44) is still true. In other worls, a large amount of internet use in English is by NNESs [non-native English speakers] rather than NESs [native English speakers]. And we cannot discount the possibility that a sizeable proportion of NNESs may continue to use English on the internet as well as, or instead of, their L1, especially for intercultural communication.

Thus, although it is possible that English-medium internet use has passed its peak, it is by no means certain. Meanwhile, the implications for both the spread and type of English used in other forms of communication are as yet far from clear.

References

Crystal, D. (2006) Language and the Internet. 2nd edition. Cambridge: CUP

Crystal, D. (2011) Internet Linguistics. London: Routledge.

Mar-Molinero, C. (2006) ‘The European Linguistic legacy in a global era: linguistic imperialism, Spanish, and the Instituto Cervantes,’ in Mar-Molinero, C. and Stevenson, P. (eds) Language Ideologies, Policies and Practices. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Mar-Molinero, C. (2008) ‘Subverting Cervantes: language authority in global Spanish,’ International Multilingual Research Journal 2: 27-47

Moreno-Fernandez, F. and Otero, J. (2008) ‘The status and future of Spanish among the main international languages: quantitative dimensions,’ International Multi-lingual Research Journal 2: 67-83


Further information

Jenkins, J. (2015) Global Englishes. A resource book for students, 3rd edition, Abingdon, GB: Routledge

Further free resources from ‘Global Englishes’ by Jennifer Jenkins

Find this book (with a discount of 20% for users of this course, enter codeGEFL1 at checkout) on the Routledge website