Home » Words
Category Archives: Words
|From E-Learning V|
Offered as an Open Education Resource (OER) easily shared through Twitter and Facebook. Come on, let’s speak French like the French and not Ted Heath 🙂
And some wonderfully expressed and illustrated that we’ve made it into a party game at home. My wife is word-perfect having gone to a French-speaking school for a year age 13 in Canada. She always picks me up on the ‘r’ – maybe I can finally crack this.
I had elocution lessons as a boy age 7 as I couldn’t manage my ‘Rs’ in English, let alone the greatest challenge.
Brilliant. Wonderfully put and comprehensive.
Pilates for the British tongue. I still can’t quite manage ‘Bruno’ though – something about the mouth position for the ‘B’ to the ‘R’ – currently the equivalent of trying to do a standing backflip.
Thank you. L120 Team
P.S. Also the most charming way to learn how to say ‘tongue’ with a French accent
|From E-Learning V|
Fig.1. Pronunciations around the globe
Learning French with The OU I am finding the toughest task is to kill my British accent. I’ve been using Rosetta Stone too. There are certain words with combinations of letters that fox the English tongue.
You know you’re mastering French, for example, when you can differentiate between the subtleties of ‘de’ and ‘deux’. Do you want some croissants or two? You think you are saying you want two, they think you are saying some, they ask you how many, you repeat ‘some’ and you resolve the problem by holding up your fingers. ‘Trois’ and ‘quatre’ may flumox your British tongue too, so you perhaps go in wanting two of a thing, and end up asking for five, as ‘cinq’ is far easier on the English tongue. You then hide or eat the spare three croissants on the way back to the campsite?
As I’m working with the written and the spoken word and I’m used to Googling everything I was delighted to come across a website that purports to help you correctly pronounce anything.
I was toying with words such as ‘Victoire’ and who wouldn’t get their tongue tied with ‘Hesdigneul.’ This has to do with the FutureLearn Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) ‘Start Writing Fiction’ that I’m using to galvanise my writing once and for all … the trend is good, in ‘Write a novel in a month’ I’m on course to complete at the end of November.
The ‘grin from ear to ear’ fun came when I looked up ‘Bruno’.
I had a French friend in my teens called ‘Bruno’ and I could not, for the life of me get his name right. It always sounded like Bruno, as in ‘Frank Bruno’, the name you’d give to a bloodhound as it is so droopy. In French ‘Bruno’ is perky like a sharp dig in the ribs.
What this site does is it gives you sixty versions of how ‘Bruno’ is pronounced all over the world. Click on the UK, then somewhere in France and you’ll see what I mean.
I laughed even more when I put my own name in, to hear ‘Jonathan’ said in a Swedish, Taiwanese, American, French and German accent.
Writers have the details at their fingertips
|From E-Learning V|
Fig.1 Moon phases in May 1917
Studying with the OU for the last four years it soon become natural to conduct online niche searches for books and papers related to course work. You learn also how to tag, store and gather the information and ideas that you find: this is one answer to that, a blog that serves several purposes, not least as a learning journal and e-portfolio.
Searching for the obscure, that essential detail that forms such a vital part of the sensory palette used by the writer, is as easy to find and just as necessary. This morning I stepped out one May evening in 1917 and wanted some hint of what I’d see, hear and feel: a few searches and I can see a waxing moon at 10.00pm on a cooling evening as the temperature dips below 12 degree C, and the noise, in this instance of thousands of men in Nissen huts around a camp soon giving way to a robin trilling and burbling in the trees and the sound of the sea washing against the Channel Coast.
These details are far more than accessories that overlay character and plot; they are what gives it credibility. Writing on and as the Great War rages requires significant care. The wrong detail will throw a reader, worse I’ll end up in a conversation about my claims. Posting a piece of fiction some years ago an irate reader told me what I’d said was rot and went on to correct me – I had been writing fiction. I’d said that a character called Gustav Hemmel changed his name to George Hepple and fakes his own death – the reality is that he went missing over the English Channel in his plane.
THREE HOURS working on writing fiction, five days a week, is the goal . The OU will have me for TWO hours a day (averaged with longer stints at the weekend). That’s the plan.
‘The apples were black, the table top like tar, the carpet a mass of grey patterns, even the flames in the grate were black and when he caught himself in the mirror above the fireplace it was a silhouette. There was no colour in his face, no colour in his arms and through the window every spring plant looked stiff and cold. He held himself so still, so steady that he began to rock, just a gentle swaying back and forth. He heard his heart beat. How it thumped and thundered and would not stop. Bang it went! Bang. Bang. And the clock joined in. Bang it went. And Bang again. ‘Your time is up’, it said. Bang. Bang. Bang. This time yesterday she’d been alive’. He thought.
Week Two with Writer’s South East at the Writer’s Place, Brighton yesterday evening.
I’m enjoying how these sessions work. Sixteen or so of us. A little talk, a bit of doing, then sharing in pairs or small groups doing what we’re here to learn to do, or to find the confidence to do. ‘Bereavement’ was the second word of the second exercise. In our group of four we each took it in turns to read out what we had spent six or seven minutes writing.
I’d thought I’d struggled with the previous word. These we took from a bowl (I have them all to work on today as a series of exercises).
Whatever I do is for characters and events that are long-established in my head; I have the story, just in need of a way to tell it.
What was my word here?
‘If she could wash his skin without disturbing a hair’
‘She washed the young soldier’s body as if she were painting a picture in smoke’.
‘It was like picking eggshell out of a froth of meringue’.
‘It was like … ‘
‘She remembered how she’d once … ‘
‘It was like removing hair from someone’s eye, then having to do so over and over again and again. Each time she’d clam her breathing, steady her hand, then reach over the wound in the soldier’s chest to remove another piece of shrapnel’.
‘Her caress was warm, like a halo’.
This week the theme was ‘Show and Tell’
Before we got started some ideas were shared on how to build a profile for your character – last week was on plot and character … or that plot is character. Ideas were shared on answering the what, where, why, how and when questions, on writing a diary in character (or blogging it perhaps?). This is necessary to know how your character is going to respond.
When it comes to ‘showing not telling’ my immediate thoughts went to Alfred Hitchcock – he notably said that talk on camera was no different, nor more important than music. I thought of how scripts are written putting onus on the visual and just the other day John Hegarty (he of Bartle Bogle Hegarty) saying that words got in the way of communication. From this, I conclude that text should aim to compensate for the visual, to allow the reader to create an image in their mind’s eye. Novels were the early movies.
‘Showing’ matters to create empathy, to increase reader participation.
It should be:
- Body Language
We were asked to imagine what a character might have in their pocket. I came up with:
- A ticket to an airshow in June 1911 featuring the aeronaut Gustav Hamel
- An elastic band attached to a short wire hook
- A pair of elegant/expensive delicate (I should have said female) kid gloves
- A penknife with a bradawl and hard carved handle. The blade well used and sharp, the bradawl as sharp as a knitting needle.
- And a handful of pennies, farthings and thrupenny pieces sticky and smelling of beer.
- And a policeman’s whistle.
This failed to reveal that ‘Ettie’ is a young woman. What in her pocket would reveal that she was female? Well, the pocket would have been in a smock or skirt. Research required. What did young girls have in their pockets in 1911!!!
Positive and negative feedback, especially if constructive, sends a shiver through my bones.
Just ten minutes. A live online presentation. Why for me should it be such a big deal?
I said to my wife that I have not problems delivering other people’s words (acting) and I have no trouble writing words for others to speak (speech writer, script writer), but what I loathe and struggle with is delivering my own words on any kind of platform.
Big fails on this count, emotionally at least would include:
- My grandfather’s funeral
- My groom’s wedding speech (I was pants at proposing too)
- My father’s funeral
- My mother’s funeral
Because it matters to me far too much when, and only when, the words that I give seem to emanate from my soul.
Let me blog, let me write letters, let me smoulder from my ears into the atmosphere with no expectation of feedback.
Both positive and negative feedback, especially if constructive, sends a shiver through my bones. Why is it that I crave confrontation, that I want to be mentally smacked around the head, then kicked up the arse and sent back into the fray to deliver some amazing show of ability?
We are all so, so, so very different, yet how we are taught, or expected to learn seems so very contrived, so set by context and numerous parameters.
I would prefer to be stuck in a cabin for a couple of weeks with an educator who hasn’t a clue about the subject, but is a natural educator, than someone who has ticked a collection of boxes in order to obtain their position. The natural educator can teach anything. The subject matter expert thinks they know everything.
eLearning can be the subject matter expect – ‘IT’ (literally) thinks it knows it all.
So, connect me, and for me connect students and educators – worry only about the desire and ability to teach or transmit and mange those hungry to gain knowledge, and for students concentrate almost entirely on motivation. If they want to learn pores will open up in their skull so that you can pour in the information and they’ll never be satiated.