Food Talk…again

(Updated September 3)

The topic of food keeps coming up in my classes. Though I do believe (or hope) it does so, because everybody is always interested in a topic so essential to everyday life and survival, it’s probably me being on a mission having read all these books and articles recently.

So here is a list of what I have been reading – in addition to the web sites linked to in my post on food pyramids: Continue reading

Would you stop working if you won the lottery?

Should you ever have forgotten your bag with all your teaching plans and materials at home, don’t panic, ask your group if anybody would stop working if they won a substantial sum of money that would exempt them from having to work for a living.

A variation on the theme is to consider how much money would be necessary in order to be able to stop working. And this is where the discussions sometimes get really interesting, and the topic touches upon all kinds of themes related to everyday life (and is thus also great for revising basic vocabulary.) Continue reading

Guess the Classic (3)

Did you recognize Classic (2)? Most readers remember the whitewash scene. There have been quite a few film adaptations and I must admit that one of my favorites actually is the German TV series made in the 70ies.

The next one is a little more recent than the first two; a novel from the first half of the 20th century of which there are two film adaptations as far as I know.

The Ministry of Truth — Minitrue, in Newspeak* — was startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, 300 metres into the air. From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party: Continue reading

Fluency versus Accuracy – Some Thoughts

What is more important: fluency or accuracy? I’m aware of the artificiality of the opposition. It makes no sense to set the two against each other. There is no either – or.

However, the two concepts do sometimes seem to linger in the minds of foreign language speakers. Every once in a while there are participants in class who hardly say anything. Now this may just be due to the nature of their personality: they are less imposing or more laid back, prefer to listen to others before they utter their own opinion etc. Continue reading

What is ‘Sollbruchstelle’ in English?

The translation you get from googling ‘Sollbruchstelle’ is predetermined breaking point. However, when I googled that phrase to find out more, not much came up. In English, as I eventually found out, the phenomenon of manufacturers intentionally limiting a products lifespan is called ‘planned obsolescence’. A ‘pre-determined breaking point’ in any case is just one means to an end of achieving what the wider term of planned obsolescence describes. So from a linguistic point, one is the sub-category of the other, i.e. the two terms stand in a hierarchical semantic relationship to each other.

The Pons dictionary definition of ‘obsolescence’ is: the state of becoming old-fashioned and no longer useful (=becoming obsolete). ‘Planned obsolescence’ as a term encompasses more than just the printer that stops working after so and so many pages, but also marketing strategies of short lived fashion design (e.g. clothes and cars). Continue reading