sister_luck: (grrrr)
I'm in a bit of a conflict regarding authentic English and using Denglish terms that are clearly translated from the German and turn up in all sorts of material for German students and teachers.

Here's the problem:

I've got to prepare my advanced students for their final exams in 2009. Discussing and analysing poetry is part of that. For some reason, there is quite a difference in the terms used in German and in English to do so. In German, the speaker of the poem is the lyrisches Ich. Rhymes can be Kreuzreime, umarmende Reime and Paarreime.

So, these terms get translated into English. I've got various books at home aimed at German students to help them prepare for their final exams that contain the phrase lyrical I - sometimes with a hyphen as lyrical-I. *shudders*

Here is a list describing rhyme scheme taken from one of those books:
rhyme pairs (aa); cross rhyme (abab); embracing rhyme (abba); tail rhyme (aabccb)

I've found both crossed rhyme and tail rhyme elsewhere, but with very different definitions.

I'm pretty sure that the above terms wouldn't be taught this way in a real English language school setting, either in the States, the UK, the Antipodes or elsewhere. On the one hand, I do want to use authentic English, on the other hand it looks like some of these words are very prevalent in German English teacher jargon and will thus be expected of the students. Also, I don't want to punish them for mistakes that others have made - so I'm currently offering alternatives to the words they use, but don't count them as a mistake.

Does that make sense? Am I right that these terms are bogus?

edited because awarding penalties doesn't mean what I wanted it to say
sister_luck: (Default)
Sometimes a pen is just a writing implement and not a verb meaning "to shut an animal or a person in a small space".

On the other hand, I would give extra points for creativity to someone who latched on to the double meaning and argued that by writing about someone with your pen you actually shut this person into a pen, because the words are limited to what you want to express about this person.

Am I a bad teacher for not anticipating this vocabulary problem?


Sep. 6th, 2008 07:46 pm
sister_luck: (rain)
I'm again battling cross rhymes and the dreaded lyrical I.

Sometime I question why our sixth form/high school English courses have to be so much about language analysis. I really enjoy doing Shakespeare and analysing public speeches or newspaper editorials, but what my students really need to learn is to use the English language confidently in an every-day context and in the business world. They go metaphor hunting in their German lessons anyway and while I have to make sure that they recognize the form of the Elizabethan sonnet, I'm not convinced that they're prepared for a telephone conversation in English that goes beyond booking a double room.

I make them do presentations in English, force them to speak English during groupwork (not always successfully) and of course, my classroom is mostly an English-only environment. At the end of the school year, they'll also be able to discuss problems of globalisation and genetic engineering, but I still doubt that this will help them in those situations when they're most likely to encounter English after school.

That said, I have absolutely no ambition of teaching Business English and I'm not qualified for that. I love it when my students passionately debate whether it's important to know who these people in the sonnets were or if it is of no consequence at all. I enjoy their discussions about the characters in the books we read and films we watch and when we talk about the American elections or immigrant life in Britain. Most of them are good at stating their opinions, developing their arguments and providing reasons for what they think. In a roundabout way, I hope that in a future business meeting they will be able to fall back on that and close the deal.
sister_luck: (smile)
Last week I was informed by one of my students that Shakespeare's famous sonnet 18 was written about a certain Marguerite. When I questioned that particular piece of information she said she had read it on the internet and that the site had looked trustworthy. Maybe she should have looked a little more thoroughly at that page, because it also clearly states that a certain Bacon wrote the sonnet. I had hoped to postpone the discussion of the various conspiracy theories about Shakespeare until a little later in the school year, especially as I had about eight lessons to prep them for the written exam on Wednesday and didn't want to mention the possible autobiographical aspects.

Today, I found the following "helpful German words and phrases":

Wie kostet es? for "How much is it?"
Welche Zeit ist es? for "What time is it?"
Flugmaschine for "airplane"

Nevermind, a German will understand what you want to say and just look at you a little strangely. He'll probably also think that you're a "Dummi", but that's what the website said in the first place, right?
sister_luck: (fernfronds)
So, in a break from marking I'm planning ahead for the lessons on Shakespeare's sonnets and modern love songs. Thanks again for your help with that. I'm making some progress, but the German teaching material I have contains vocabulary that I find pretty dubious.

So, here are some questions for those of you who did (English) literature in school and/or at uni. (I'm assuming that would be most of you.) Oh, being a native speaker of English would help, but I'm curious to know which terms you were taught in school in other countries.

Technical terms for poetry )

Are these assumptions correct?
sister_luck: (fernfronds)
At the moment I'm mostly preoccupied with school stuff - finding texts for exams, hunting for cartoons and so on. There's one project I haven't really started on and I could use your help. It's for my older students who are in their last year and one of the topics I'm doing with them is "Shakespeare's sonnets and modern love songs". Now, I've got Shakespeare's sonnets and a couple of lesson plans, but I'm still looking for love songs.

So, have you got any favourites?

I'm not fussed about the style of the music, but the lyrics should be fairly easy to understand which rules out mumblers like Bob Dylan. We will look at the text and analyse it, so it should be a bit more meaty than just "I love you" - though I could have one example of that kind of song.

Thank you!
sister_luck: (Default)
I've got bits and pieces of that very famous poem about daffodils in my head.

It needs to be rewritten to fit the experience of a female automobilist on her way back from work:

I wandered lonely as a cloud? )
sister_luck: (Default)
If you recognise a reference to a work of art without actually knowing the work in question, then it has truly become part of (popular) culture.
Spoilers )

Oh, and a quote from the popular culture section of the wikipedia article on the Ancient Mariner:
"The major themes of this epic poem are weaved throughout the film Serenity (2005) by Joss Whedon. Although never mentioned by name, the significance of the albatross is described by the main character Malcolm Reynolds."


sister_luck: (Default)

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