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Posts Tagged ‘poems’


Someone sent me this poem.. Thought it was good fun. 

 

We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?
Then one may be that, and there would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!
Let’s face it – English  is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
Neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren’t invented in England.
We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes,
We find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square,
And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write, but fingers don’t fing,
Grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham?
Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them,
What do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
 
Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English
Should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship…
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
While a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language
In which your house can burn up as it burns down,
In which you fill in a form by filling it out,
And in which an alarm goes off by going on.
And in closing……….
If Father is Pop, how come Mother’s not Mop

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I read a really interesting article on the BBC Magazine website about people becoming more and more irritated by Americanisms in British English. They listed the 50 most popular complaints and it made for some quite interesting reading.

I have a lot of Korean and South American students, who are all exposed to American English when they are learning, and they find it quite funny that the English aren’t too impressed by American vocabulary or spelling. I thought that doing a lesson looking at this in more detail would appeal to them and is also quite culturally appropriate.

I started the lesson with some extracts from different time period which showed the evolution of the English language. The texts ranged from Beowulf to a poem written in text speak. The students have to order the poems according to time which they should be able to recognise from the language.

We then looked at a reading from the BBC Magazine which was written by an American in reply to a British person’s disgust at Americanisms. We focused on some vocabulary and then a speaking exercise about the evolution of language and the link between culture and language.

I found a great video online with an American TV presenter and Britsh actor Hugh Laurie talking about American and British slang. I got the students to imagine what the slang could be, then we watched the video which had them in giggles at the word “Ba-donka-donk”!

Then we focused on some more specific English-American vocabulary and a cross word seeing as it was a Friday afternoon!

If you’d like to see the materials I used for this lesson, you can download them here:

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I have been thinking about creative writing and how to inspire students, rather than hearing groans when you tell them to pick up their pens.

We need students to see that writing isn’t a chore or a punishment, but can be a vital language exercise and help them with grammar, syntax and can help them widen their vocabulary.

Of course, as in most situations, the attitude of the student depends on how the teacher presents the subject. Simply telling the students to write about their holiday isn’t going to fill them with inspiration. So we need to give them some more interesting ways to explore this side of their language learning.

1. Music

Play the students a piece of classical music (I quite like the idea of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” or Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” as these seem to tell a story). Allow the students to write short notes on how they feel and potential stories etc… They could then write the story of the piece. Later, put the students into groups of 4 and get them to perform the story of the piece as a short play. This could turn into a project, complete with costumes, props and could even be filmed (and edited with the music as the soundtrack if you are technically minded!)!

If classical music isn’t your cup of tea, play the students the song which is the soundtrack to a film. The students should then write a synopsis of the film they imagine from the music and this could also be performed. Try to choose a song which isn’t too current or popular, as you don’t want them all writing the synopsis of the real film! That’s not being creative… that’s plagiarism!

You could them play them some of the film is came from to see how similar or different their interpretations are.

(Maybe use the music from some British films which may not have been very successful over seas… Hollywood blockbusters are likely to be recognised – how about The Full Monty, Billy Elliot, Trainspotting etc)

Pictures

A big poster of a film, with the title removed could allow the students to write about what they imagine the story to be. Or a more classical painting could give rise to romantic stories or days out

Poems

Give the students a poem. Find one that isn’t too cryptic, or one that has complicated word order or grammar so as not to confuse!  Pre-teach any vocab then have the students read it to themselves. Then read the poem aloud, paying attention to punctuation as this will help with understanding. Then put the students into small groups and let them discuss what they think the poem is about. Then have a group discussion to share ideas. The students should then mimic the poem, to apply it to themselves or to their interpretation.

I first came across this idea on another EFL teacher’s blog that I follow, and she has posted her take on this idea and a poem to get you started: http://evasimkesyan.edublogs.org/about/

Other ways to write poems would be to do a Haiku (3 line Japanese poem of 5 syllables, 7 syllables, then 5 again) – this will be challenging as the students need to choose the right words to get the correct number of syllables. A Tanka is the same idea as a Haiku but has more syllables (5-7-5-7-7).

Acrostic poems can provide a starting point for the students (where the first line of each word spells a new word). Students could choose  their own word, our you could give them all the way word and compare the differences.

Themes

One problem students have when doing creative writing is not knowing where to start. You could remedy this by giving them themes or titles for their story. Try to make them interesting (ie. NOT “my holiday” or “my town/school/country/family”).

These are just some basic ideas, please leave comments below to share how you have inspired your students when it comes to creative writing, and let me know if you used any of these ideas and if how it went! Good luck and have fun!

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