The English Project: www.englishproject.co.uk

Howzit!*

*[Hello in Kitchen Table Lingo from South Africa]

A friend and fellow teacher, Prof. Edilson, has recently sent me this link to the English Project. I found it interesting enough to post it here. Their aim is:

…to promote awareness and understanding of the unfolding global story of the English language in all its varieties – past,  present and future. Our style is designed to be intelligent, entertaining, inclusive and interactive way so as to enrich people’s lives and enable them to make more of the exceptional cultural and communications phenomenon which is English. We intend to reach a broadly-based audience, globally, socially, ethnically and by age amongst English’s two billion speakers worldwide (that’s as a first or second language).

I found the section on Kitchen Table Lingo especially interesting, it deals with the fact that almost everyone loves playing with words and language in a way similar to what Lewis Carroll did in his JABBERWOCKY poem:

“Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.”

Lewis Carroll
(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

I know the concept of creating new words might not be particularly fascinating to elementary level learners, but hopefully it’ll be interesting enough to both teachers and higher-level students alike. I’ve envisaged a lesson on the reading subskill of deducing meaning from context: students would write a sentence (or a short paragraph using invented lexical items and the class (or small groups or pairs) would try and work out their meaning from context. For instance:

“Johny was looking for his school uniform in his floordrobe.”

Wait! It’s just occurred to me that this idea could very well be used at elementary  levels as a confidence builder and a way to increase their vocabulary: Students would write a short sentence or paragraph  using invented terms for the words they didn’t know. Then they would read their texts and collaborate towards a conventional English version.

I remember there was a friend at school whose English was terrible, so whenever he lacked an English word to express himself, he would make do with his own invented version. His hilarious utterances would sound somewhat like this:

“Do you pod me pass that kannett please?”

(Can you pass me that pen, please?)

Godspeed, everyone!

Fernando Guarany Jr

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