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.

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Terry, Ferdinand and language change

"When someone calls you a c***, that's fine," Ferdinand said. "When someone brings your colour into it, it takes it to another level."

From following the John Terry trial, you'll find, summed up in one sentence, a fantastic example of how language (and associated attitudes) change, often within a generation. I remember watching 'Only Fools and Horses' when I was a nipper, and being a little surprised to watch both Del and Rodney describing a shop (and its owner) as a "paki" shop. What is interesting to see is how societal offence at racial insults has shot up in the last twenty years, whilst offence at the dreaded C word seems to be reducing - among professional footballers at least. 

While considering this increased aversion to racism, it might be worthwhile looking at what contemporary society does find acceptable to have a pop at. We looked at people with lower social economic status (when we looked at the Urban Dictionary definition of 'Meff', which I can't link to here), and you can find a great discussion of the word 'Chav' here, along with a lot more links that I'd like you to read through.

Just so you can use your brains - start looking at the 'Gypsy' series of programs on Channel 4. What might some people find offensive about these programs? What counter arguments might be made?

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Get going with Bragg - I'm not joshing, either...

Here you go kids - a quick update of things to be getting on with, plus a few useful links. 

First up, you'll need to watch and take notes on the documentaries from Melvyn Bragg about the history of the English language - they can get a little dry at times but it's really important that you understand the process of how English became English. Your homework for this week is to watch the first two (about and hour and a half all in) and take notes, which I'll ask to see on Tuesday 10th July.

Secondly, if you've got time, then have a look at this that I wrote a while back - it describes how a word starts off as edgy and cool and hip, and eventually works its way inwards (think of the circle model) until it is part of the mainstream, at which point young hipsters go off searching for other words that mark them out as being different from the uncool, un hip language of 'the man'. Man.  After you've done this, head over to the superior SFX blog and check out the article on development of the word 'Swag', which provides another model which we'll look at before the end of term.

As ever - any questions, comments etc etc, send them to the usual address.