Why linguistic terminology can be useful and misnomers problematic

PART 1 Tense and aspect

What are tenses? And why is the answer not: all verb structures? How many tenses does English really have? And does it matter? What is the semantic relationship between verb form and time? What is time? What do we mean when we talk about time? How do we talk about time? And why should this be important?

In my introduction to the concept of the Verb Structure Circle I mentioned the technical definition of ‘tense’. Tense and aspect are two terms crucial to explaining, and in my opinion, understanding, the English verb structure system. I also noted that in ALL course books of English ALL verb structures are referred to as tenses and, as far as I can tell, ‘aspect’ is never used. Perfect and continuous forms are commonly related to as ‘tenses’ though they are actually referred to as ‘aspects’ in linguistic literature.

The reason I believe this issue to be important is because I believe understanding the difference could help understanding English verb structures better. Continue reading

Resources on Food, Diet, and Health

In this post I have listed some of the internet resources and literature I have read and looked at myself and would and can recommend for anybody interested in going into the issues of food and health more deeply. It is, of course, an incomprehensive list and totally selective.

Webpages

There are loads of pages specifically interesting for dieticians. One is an American magazine:Today’s Dietician. We read one article from this website that was, admittedly, a little difficult. Nevertheless I would recommend students of nutrition, diet and health to browse through this website, especially the articles archive. Continue reading

The Third Person Singular -s or: let’s talk about priorities

Recently I was shocked – if not really surprised – to hear that not much seems to have changed in some English classes of (German) schools. I learned about a fifth grader who was not doing very well in English. I asked what his problem seems to be and was told that he had made a lot of mistakes in his last test. Naturally, my next question was: well, what kind of mistakes, and was totally astonished as to the prime nature of his failure. Continue reading

Emails: Requests

An Example

These days I received an email from someone from a company that had asked me for a special English course. I had already spoken to someone else about the course and had a little background information. As I am quite busy, we will have to find a time that fits into my schedule, but I am interested in giving the course as it is a new company of a kind I haven’t taught at yet, so it could be an interesting challenge, and I am willing to squeeze it in. Continue reading

Decluttering

Last year, January 14, I wrote about one of my New Year resolutions: decluttering. Turns out, decluttering is a longer process than anticipated. Most difficult: to stop bringing new stuff in, though I believe I have gotten better. However, I have decided not to check in detail in case it turns out I have not been as successful as intended. I will just keep on trying. Continue reading

Order of Operations

Last week we had an interesting little debate about math education. It does happen every once in a while that we talk about maths, and I always find it interesting. I have quite a few mathematicians in my groups and in general like to know a little about my group participants’ fields of expertise. I also used to like maths in school before I had the wrong teachers. And yes, there is no doubt about it: your success in maths has little to do with your brain (or gender) and all with your maths teacher/s. Continue reading

WEF 2015: Income disparity tops list of global risks

Every year around 1 000 experts (700 in 2014) from industry, international organizations, government, academia and society are asked to give their assessment of a list of global risks. The results are reported on the WEF webpage, where you can also find the survey itself and graphic analyses of the results.

Here the link to this years WEF report.

Continue reading

BUZZWORDS Revisited

One of my favorite webpages, and one I can strongly recommend to teachers and students of English alike is www.macmillandictionary.com/buzzword, and here especially Kerry Maxwells collection of ‘BUZZWORDS’.

Buzzwords are newly formed or created terms that reflect upon different kinds of social phenomena or new fads and trends and thus are great for discussion. Additionally, from a language perspective, they offer insight into word formation processes. On the webpage is a whole list of new words and an archive going back several years.

Every once in a while I choose some I find interesting and believe (or hope) will trigger lively discussions. (see post May 2013) Continue reading

MHH Dietician’s Vocabulary Part 1 (The Body)

Update 2015, October

Last year I started listing the vocabulary students had noted down into their vocabulary notebooks and posted them here, adding links to pages for further study. I will keep this post here, as it could still be interesting for following courses. I chose the vocabulary notebook of one student as hers seemed to be the most representative.

Ms Hunter’s Vocabulary List – part 1

arteries   bladder   blood vessels   digestion   heart   intestines   kidney   liver   lungs   skull   spine   spleen  throat  thyroid gland

These are the words Ms Hunter noted down from our first session on ‘body vocabulary’. I had prepared some pictures of inner organs to be named by the group, and a more extensive list of inner and outer body parts for them to match with the respective picture of a human body. Continue reading

Make Me A German

Last week we watched a documentary from the BBC about an English couple who move to Germany to find out what living in Germany is like: Make Me A German. Justin and Bee Rowlatt, both journalists, move to Nuremberg where he takes on a job with a medium sized company (Faber-Castell) and she stays at home to be a good housewife and mother. The differences to their lives at home in England and the related problems they encounter offer great material for discussion.

See also bbc.co.uk/blogs/tv/posts/Make-Me-A-German