Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The good is oft interréd with their bones - but not always

This morning in a trail for an Eartha Kitt program next weekend I heard this:
C'est si bon,
De partir n'importe où,
Bras dessus bras dessous,
En chantant des chansons
 And at the words bras dessus bras dessous a synapse clicked [There she was just a-walkin' down the street singing Doo wah diddy diddy dum diddy doo. Snapping her synapses...?]. It was not the tedious 'Aha, bras dessus bras dessous MEANS "arm-in-arm"' (the sort of knee-jerk 'equivalence' that often condemns learners to endless tongue-tied ratiocination - which I've summed up in this image:

I've probably uploaded this to TESconnect, but here it is anyway. )

My memory was of the mime performed by my French master 50-odd years ago. I've mentioned Cedric before, here. I can imagine his shade smiling down with a look of smug satisfaction (like the one he used to show the difference between 'No vacacies' and 'Complet').

At this time of year, teachers of all kinds may need the fillip of this post: if you're good, what you do (probably more than what you say) will let your pupils take away from your lessons much more than you think.

But I must get on with #WVGTbook; the OO section is taking ages (and the prospect of the even more voluminous OU isn't inspiring).


Update: 2013.09.10.16:16: Teensy stylistic tweak.
Update: 2013.09.11.11:30 Added this PS:

My last sentence (the whinge about OU) inspired me to do some Excel stuff and produce this graph:

The figures are crude. There is a lot of double counting: for example, for door there are 68  [PPPS: hits in the Macmillan English Dictionary for headwords that include the string door]. But they give a rough idea of relative frequencies.

Of the 25 vowel pairs, 16 have fewer than 1,000 hits – most fewer than 500, and about half fewer than 100. Of the remaining 9, 5 have fewer than 2,000. Of the remaining 4, OU is more than 1,000 hits ahead of the second-placed EA.

OU is daunting. But the U* pairs are much less so (and besides, I've done some of the work already for my submission to the 2012 ELTons.) Here's to the 2014 submission (deadline 22 November 2013).

Update 2015.05.01.15:10  – Added this PPS:

PPS This is something I wrote in the early days of the blog. I thought of it after an #eltchat earlier this week, which raised a controversy about L1 and L2;  keep an eye out for the Summary at the #eltchat site. It seems that, at DELTA level, attitudes to the use of the mother tongue are at variance with those espoused at CELTA level.

Update 2017.08.25.14:55  – Old footer removed.

Update 2018.03.20.15:35  – Added inline PPPS in red.

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