Language Articles

 

More Slang

Sir Winston Churchill once observed that Americans and the British are ‘a common people divided by a common language’ …

Never was that as true as when describing the Cockneys.

You’ve probably heard their accent, made famous in everything from movies based on Dickens and George Bernard Shaw novels, to computer-generated gekkos telling real gekkos how to go forth and sell car insurance. Linguists say that the Australian accent has its roots in Cockney culture, as they comprised a large percentage of prisoners, shipped there by the British when they viewed the Land Down Under as an ideal penal colony. Cockneys are the crafty characters from east London who admire those among their lot who can make a living simply by ‘ducking and diving, mate,’ which is their version of wheeling and dealing on a working-class level.

Read more: More Slang - Language Article

 Old cinema

From time to time I watch old films, classics from the 1950s or even earlier, and I am often surprised at the accents – the norm for the time presumably, but often the actors sound rather more middle or upper class than nowadays. Even the Queen seems to be speaking in a rather stilted way to the way she sounds in more recent years. Listen to a speech she made as a teenager during war time. Then listen to younger members of the royal family nowadays, such as princes Harry and William. Their accents seem very neutral and ordinary in comparison.

Read more: The English We Speak #2 - Language Article

Reading comprehension 

Looking for clues

If you remember from last month's article: ‘reading’ means understanding the author’s message, not just calling out words? If you cannot answer comprehension questions after reading a page, you have not truly read anything.

There are specific reading-comprehension skills that will help you understand what you are reading. Whereas the last article focused on Main Idea, Predicting Outcomes, Inferences, and Fact or Opinion; this article will cover Context Clues, Cause and Effect, Drawing Conclusions, and Sequencing.

When reading be sure to ask yourself questions that reinforce these comprehension skills.

Read more: Reading Strategy - Part Two - Question Everything - Language Article

 Are you really reading

Are you really reading?

If you read every word on a page, are you really reading it? It might seem a strange question to ask, but the answer is even stranger: maybe you are, but maybe you're not!

One definition of the verb ‘to read’ is, “to utter aloud written matter”.  By using this definition alone, of course you are reading, but there is another definition (there are several), which says “to understand or interpret”. After reading a page, if you cannot answer questions about the material you just read, you really just uttered the words out loud. Yes, you have shown you know how to say the words, but you also need to understand the author’s message behind the words. If you can do that, you know you are truly reading.

Read more: Reading Strategy - Part One - Language Article