Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Milbix chez les Bretons

What a TERRIBLE idea. What a bunch of jokers. There I was five weeks into the Big Sleep (which the Fixed Term Parliament Act has condemned us to every 5 years – and forget the Phew it's over feeling; it's only just started*) thinking Miliband was a relatively Good Thing (given the ankle-nipping baseline provided by Cameron) when he goes and spoils it all by announcing his brilliant crowd-pleaser, the inverted metaphor. Maybe that's what the 2001 monolith was all about, Please God he doesn't get to inflict it on the Rose Garden at No. 10. (New readers may find it useful to look at this bit of background.)

But why did I just call it an 'inverted metaphor'? If you think about it it's fairly obvious, but assuming that my grandmother didn't know how to suck eggs, I'll spell it out:

Most metaphors take a concrete thing and make it represent an abstract one: grass-roots, where the rubber meets the road, high horse... Very occasionally you get a metaphor that works the other way – abstract to concrete, as with Titanic.  But even with this one, the concrete as a source is never far away (in either direction): in the past, 'of the Titans' (a concrete idea for people who believed in them); in the future (post-iceberg) 'all they're doing is re-arranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic'.

So anyway, most metaphors look back to something concrete. Some nincompoop in Labour Head Office, during the AOB section  at the end of a strategy meeting, said 'Hey guys, I'm just like thinking out loud here and expect to get shot down in flames yeah but I thought I'd  just run this up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes.... You know, like, when someone says 'It's not carved in stone' and they mean things might change. Well why don't we turn that inside out, and say 'What Ed says is carved in stone, and like carve it in stone!!!'

Milibix was tired. He'd been doing his blue-arsed fly impressions like the other party leaders  for the past five weeks,
I wonder what the carbon footprint of this campaign is...
and wanted a bit of kip, and there's this intern from the University of Dreamland trying to drag the meeting out: 'Yeah, whatever. Can we go', said Ed. And the next he knew they'd only gone and done it. The next day there on the agenda was Item 1: Choice of typeface for Edstone.

Well I've  got two words to say to that:

How do I vote now?


Update 2015.05.08.09:55 – Added this note:
* This made sense before David "Axeman" Cameron and his henchman George "Slasher" Osborne were given free rein to bring the country to its knees.

Update 2015.05.08.11:05 – Added this PS:

"And if I laugh 'tis that I  may not weep", as Byron put it (though not, I think, the morning after a General Election). In an  attempt to lighten the mood, here is my latest nomination for a TEZZY ('the prestigious Time-wasting Site of the Year Award', first mentioned here.)

The Submarine Cable Map is a brilliant interactive map (best avoided if you've got an imminent deadline. It explains paradoxes like the one I often meet during an #eltchat: 'Why does a retweet from someone in India reach me BEFORE a tweet originating in Greece?' (This is explained by the enormous bandwidth going West-East across the Mediterranean, when compared with the pitiful bottleneck running South-North across the Ionian Sea.)

Mammon When Vowels Get Together V5.2: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs. Now complete (that is, it covers all vowel pairs –  but there's still stuff to be done with it; an index, perhaps...?) 

And here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common pairs of vowels used to represent the /i:/ phoneme, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

I'm thinking about doing a native iBook version in due course, but for now Mac users can use Kindle's own (free) simulator.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this

Freebies (Teaching resources:  
Nearly 48,000 views  and  7,800 downloads to date**. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with nearly 2,650 views and over 1,050 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.

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