The new way to avoid checking your emails every ten minutes...

Welcome to my blog! On it I'm going to post all the things we cover in class (handouts, youtube vids, useful stuff in the library, revision notes....) so it'll be in one easy to find spot. If you want to ask me anything direct (and that incluldes you, parents) then don't bother emailing me at my gmail address, but do drop me a line at my school address.

Friday 24 June 2011

Language change - new words

Yesterday we looked at how new words are formed, and some of the technical terms used to describe these. A short PPT with these terms is available here - you might notice that you can edit this document; as part of your (many) homeworks next week I'm going to ask you to add a couple of examples.

We also looked at a couple of newspaper articles; in particular the Times article that summarised some of the words that have come to prominence over the Noughties - you can find that beast here, and you can also find the Telegraph article about word formation here.

Also, while I'm here banging on about word formation, then make sure you sure you check out the spiffing 'i love english language' blog (it's a lot more swish than this one, so get used to being directed there)- it's got a short piece from the Telegraph about the latest entries in to the OED.

Finally, if all of this looks far too serious and boring and blah blah blah, and you want to know what word formation is really all about, then I suggest you check out the Profanisaurus in Viz - after a few entries you'll soon figure out why I couldn't read it out in class...

Direct any problems / whinges about the reading list / fat cheques to the usual address, please!

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Your weekly update - 22/6/11

Morning folks! Thought I'd provide a quick update on what we've done, and where we are going next, so you everyone (including your folks) know what is what.
We started the language change unit today, looking at different types of semantic change, and also how language will always reflect the attitudes and values of the society that produced it - adverts are particularly good for showing this, and you can find all of the adverts that we studied here.
Next lesson we will be looking at all the ways that new words enter the English language, and the different ways that we can categorise them.

In the meantime however, I want you to watch and take notes on Melvyn Bragg's documentary called 'The Adventure of English'. You can start with episode 1, which you can find here. My advice? Saturday night, invite all your friends round, get some cream soda and some quavers, and settle down for all the thrills, spills, chills and kills that Mr Bragg can throw at you. Great stuff. Make a Facebook event out of it.

Homework (your notes from Episode 1: Birth of a Language) due in on the 29th June, please!

Finally - competition time! The first one of you to get one of your folks to leave a comment at the bottom of this post wins a delivered hot beverage of your choice plus muffin, served hot and fresh on Wednesday morning. Guaranteed.

Monday 20 June 2011


Bored? Miserable? Nothing to do?
No problem! Simply buy the new, thrill a minute coursebook for A2, and watch all your boredom disappear, guaranteed!*

*Not a guarantee. Your experience of boredom disappearing may differ. 

English Language @ SFX: The swag-curve model

English Language @ SFX: The swag-curve model: "Slang tends to spread in particular ways. First, a new slang term will appear in the language, perhaps coined by a smallish group of people;..."

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Reading - it's the future

I can see how impressed you all were today when I pointed out the reading you should be doing for the next year! Just to recap, here are the books that I pointed out today, under different sections. Ahem.

Books you have got to read, between now and January. No arguments, no moaning.

David Crystal - A Little Book of Language
                        Texting: The Gr8 Db8
                        Listen  to Your Child
                        The Fight for English
R.L Trask -      Language: The Basics
Bill Bryson -     Mother Tongue

Bonus books you can read for LOLZ, in case you finish all of the above. A little trickier, but still extremely useful:

David Crystal - The English Language
                         Words Words Words
Melvyn Bragg - The Adventure of English
Adrian Beard -  Language Change

And don't forget that David Crystal's Encyclopedia of the English Language is always there, although I certainly wouldn't recommend reading it from cover to cover. The link here is for a slightly older (1995) copy, which is a couple of pounds second hand - might be useful to have knocking around at home. There are copies of the newer, more expensive version in school; one in the library and one in the English office.

Don't think for a moment that I'm expecting you to buy any of these - I've included the links to Amazon just in case you are desperate to read a copy that someone else has, and they're on offer. Just to repeat - you aren't expected to buy any of these books. 

So, in other jobs - revisit Google Reader, and add this blog to the subscriptions, and also add the blogs that are listed to the right of this post (if you haven't already).

Show this blog to your folks - parents are always keen to know what their offspring are up to in lessons, and this will help them keep up with what you are meant to be doing.

Sally and James - click here

Happy reading!

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Morning, folks!

I hope you thoroughly enjoyed the extremely easy paper on Monday! I like, actually, literally LOLLED when I saw the language and gender question, and double ROFLD when I saw the language and power question. Too easy.
Anyhow, I thought I'd give you a bit a reading week in which you can settle down, relax and recharge your batteries before starting on A2, (which we are starting in a few days; the exam for that is in January).
So, thanks to the kindness of the powers that be, I've bought you a heap of books that will need reading before you sit down to your exam. They are living in the library at the moment, (and might not be on the shelves just yet, as Mrs Rogers needs to sort them out), but when they are, I seriously recommend that you get involved.
If the books aren't on the shelves yet, then not to worry - you can check out three articles from the blogs that you can click on to the right of this post! I'll be adding to these as we go along the course, as well as pinching heaps of stuff from them to study in class. Enjoy!