Monday, January 17, 2011

Appropriate Language

When teaching English as a Second Language, I have to watch my speech pretty carefully. Students who don’t yet fluently speak a foreign language can follow your speech only if you use simple words and sentences. This type of speech is called “appropriate language” here at the Blue School.

It’s not easy; you’d be surprised at how often you use complex sentences in your speech (Can you identify the dependent clause which makes that last sentence complex?).

What do you want me do to? LEAVE? Then they'll keep
 being wrong!
Even harder for me is keeping my mouth shut when I disagree. Dad always used to say “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” He still says it, actually, but when I learned the word “constructive” I figured that I’d found a loophole.


So for a while there, I was pretty sure I was being helpful when I told my teachers they were doing it wrong and here was why. And by “for a while there” I mean now and forever always.

My quote today is from Shakespeare’s King Lear. At the end of the tragedy, when the body-count is higher than the number of goals Lionel Messi could score against a team of 8-year-olds, Edgar stammers out that people ought to “speak what [they] feel, not what [they] ought to say.”

As much as I love the advice, I think I better to listen to Dad on this one.

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