Renewing Access Access toto Renewing International English nternational English by Richard Burgess
Have you heard the one about the Brit, the American and the Canadian in a hotel lift, together with a pretty girl in a short skirt? Well, suddenly there is a power cut and the lights go out. A loud slap is heard. When the lights go on again the American has a big red slap mark on his cheek. “These damn North Americans,” the Brit thinks, “they simply don’t know how to behave!” “These damn Canucks,” the American thinks, “they’re just a bunch of hicks, and I get the blame!” The Canadian thinks: “I hope there’s another power cut soon so I can slap the Yank again!” No, not a real-life anecdote from a Cappelen Damm work session on the new Access to International English book. But conﬁrmation, as if conﬁrmation were necessary, that the national stereotypes are all there waiting to be put to use.
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The Canadians resent the Americans, the Americans disparage the Canadians – and the British still haven’t learned to differentiate between the two! Of course, it hasn’t been like that between us three writers. Far from it – Robert Mikkelsen (the Yank), John Anthony (the Canuck) and myself (the Limey) have worked together on the new edition of Access to International English in a spirit of equality, cooperation and amiability. (After all, it must be difﬁcult enough for them not being British without me adding to their burdens!) Three ex-pats with, between us, several decades of experience of writing textbooks in Norway. You would think, then, that we would be used to the process and prepared for its challenges. But, strangely, each book is like a new expedition into the unknown in which you make exactly the same discoveries as last time, but are equally surprised by them. Such discoveries include:
s and the the in shackle seen on g a man phone is depictin a mobile in Egypt along with A mural logo and n of Helwan Facebook 1 revolutio University orating the 201 wall of the mem com k. als other mur ew Hosni Mubara rthr ove t tha
• how much time there seems to be at the beginning of the expedition. • how little time there seems to be at the end. • how it is perfectly possible to spend several hours writing one short paragraph. • how it is equally possible that that very paragraph is the one that gets axed by the editor, Butchering Birger. An expedition is one metaphor for writing a textbook, but there are also others. Pregnancy, for example. Not perhaps an immediately obvious one when the three writers are all middleaged men, but it’s nonetheless apt: the long period of gestation, the regular check-ups to see that the foetus is developing properly, and ﬁnally the difﬁcult birth itself, when Butchering Birger becomes Benign and Benevolent Birger, providing encouragement (“just one more push!”) and laughing gas (i.e. three-course restaurant meals) as requ required. Fortunately, on this occasion, we aat least don’t have to argue about wha what to call the infant. She will be nam named after her elder sister … A ra rather more macabre extension of the birth metaphor is found in a term fam familiar to all textbook writers, namely “kil “killing one’s babies”. This refers to the process necessitated by a littlekno known law of physics, closely related to Sod’s Law, which states that “t “the optimum number of pages of a te textbook equals the total number of ppages of the ﬁnal draft minus one ﬁfth” (often formulated as
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x = y – y/5). This means that not just ? sentences but whole exercises, indeed whole texts have to be thrown out at the Introduction: Media in Mot ion last moment. In the old days these poor rejected texts, like stillborn children, would live out a sort of shadowy existence in the Teacher’s Book – a real book, but one rarely opened (and invariably printed on inferior paper). Today the advent of the internet has made the Teacher’s Book, like Purgatory, a thing of the past. Now any rs text that doesn’t make it past Birger’s axe may be permitted a virtual existence at access.cappelendamm. es no, along with all the other resources to be found there. This not AGE LANGU RMAL D INFO AL AN M only saves the writers from the R E 3: FO OURS AGE C LANGU trauma of literary infanticide, it also means that textbooks now come with a wealth of “free extras” – at least, as long as the websites are free, as they are at Cappelen Damm.
Read the first paragraph below and then make a list of the forms of media you have access to on a daily basis. Which of these are most important to you? Compare your list with a fellow student’s.
In this chapter we are going to be looking at international English and the “media”. But what does “The Media” mean? The roots of this term go back to the 1800s, when newspapers were the first “medium” through which information could be conveyed to a mass audienc e. In the 1920s the term became plural – “media” – to cover the inventio n of new channels of mass communication such as radio and movies. Today, the term refers to a bewildering array of communication channe ls, including TV broadcasting, cable networ ks, online news website s, blogs and much, much more which we will touch on in the coming pages. These are sometimes referred to collectiv ely as a single entity as in “The media will be covering the election closely.”
There is no doubt that the most important media develop ment of the last decades has been the rise of the internet. The growth and development of the “web” has been breathtaking. In 1989 it became a system open to anyone with a comput er. By 1995 there were about 15 million persons online. By 2000 that number had explode d to 361 million users. Ten years later there were more than 2 billion people online – 30% of the population of the world – and the growth showed no signs of stopping. Oliver Field from Los Angeles video chats via Skype with his girlfriend, Elizabeth Chamberlain, a student in Tacoma, Washington. Skype, the internet video conferonfer encing service, has been a godsend for parents with children away at college, for far-flung relatives keeping tabs on one another, and, of course, for long distance lovers.
to convey å (over)bringe, å meddele / å formidle, å kunngjere plural flertall (gram.) / fleirtal (gram.) bewildering forvirrende/ forvirrande array samling, rekke entity enhet/eining
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Why is a new edition necessary? The need for a radical rewrite – and it is a rewrite rather than just an update – is twofold; for one thing, the world is a different place to whatt it was in 2007 when the old book was published. The Great Recession,, the Occupy Wall Street movement, uity WikiLeaks, the Arab spring, the ubiquity me of social media – these are just some of the events and developments that have changed the world we live in and that demand the attention of a textbook writer trying to take the pulse of the English-speaking world. If I might be permitted a little trumpetblowing, feedback from present users of Cappelen Damm’s books for English at videregående level suggests that the quality of the main “focus texts” of our chapters is still seen as one of our chief strengths. While some argued that the internet and its revolution in accessing information would somehow make such texts superﬂuous, we have always believed that the opposite is true – that the sheer volume of information available, and the overwhelming cacophony of voices it represents, makes the role of a focused, explanatory text more important than ever. In the new Access to International English this role has been deepened and broadened by drawing in other source texts and embedding them in the focus
THE WORLD AT YOUR DOORSTEP
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2 MAIN IDEAS
Work in groups: m (see page a Look for examples of ethnocentris find and 100) in this excerpt. Note any you can in your compare your results with the others group. andings, b Culture clash is defined as “misunderst interanxieties and conflicts arising from the values”. action of people with different cultural Do you think Tarquin Hall will experience Lane? culture clash when he moves to Brick Give reasons for your opinion. any c+ Does the bar chart on page 110 give just grounds for the taxi driver saying “There’s too many of them. Britain’s getting swamped”? Why does he say this, do you think? the description d+ Do you think the narrator trusts driver of the Cockney East End that the taxi opinion gives? How does the author convey his any about this to the reader? Can you find clear? phrases he uses that make his attitude
notes to help you answer the questions.
– We was like one big ’appy family. – Naa! It’s no good, is it?
ferences similar to those found in or language? example, were any causedORbyLDSincome ING OF areWmajor differences in there say Would you MEET 150 A culture in your local milieu?
and keeps misA classmate is having a very bad day correcting his understanding the text. Help him by statements and questions. enough to lucky was Hall Taquin a Apparently, ble taxi driver. knowledgea very a get a ride with part of b I guess the East End is a very posh London? Cockneys, c And Banglatown is the home of the right? End over the d Not much has changed in the East decades. last few
than – better e verbs t will us rmal tex s an info nouns: Wherea … al ed that an verb more th ors recommend ite Inspect e non-fin ): use mor see p. 90 ll likely text wi rticiple, al pa tex soc g , rm al -in est fo rm e Halden . ter 4) A ons (th 1) A fo , I find love, in revision cti on y, er nd tru tor rth Lo cons (e.g. his ok requires fu been to Having t will The bo ll. rmal tex ng info rather du e greater spondi will mak s a corre t noun: al text Wherea ac inform ons: book. str e an ab th s e ise th lden cti Wherea replace thor should rev find Ha constru I ite so , fin ndon The au use of voice en to Lo e passive I have be ll use th ll. wi du t rds of rather rmal tex tice. more wo 2) A fo days’ no ely use en three more: t will lik s were giv rmal tex tive d with Tenant 5) A fo rench origin: e the ac initiate will be tin/F ts will us La on tex ati al nt s inform Impleme effect. days’ Wherea e: te ts three or e tenan immedia e more voice m dlord gave th t will us origin: The lan rmal tex on a info ic/Anglo gl -Sax . reas an he al notice. W rb ht away rman ve e more s: s of a Ge to do this straig us rb rd ve ely wo of ll lik ing out e are go al text wi that are made W rm n fo tio 3) A 151 . nouns a recommenda i.e ORLDS s, W OF e ING noun A MEET tasks: Interactive ors mad Inspect www.access.cappelendamm.no that … London
d in rmal an r into fo g furthe t nouns Lookin e abstrac or m s e text t may us iety):
seems e+ The Truman Buxon Brewery area ent from the rest of the East End. How?
This exSee page 279 for an explanation of irony. from an Engcerpt ends with the following quote East End lishman who had moved to the Cockney of the 1930s: society whose “I felt that I had stumbled on a secret one another by members were communicating with lost on me. I signs whose significance was entirely strange was in a strange land inhabited by a people.” compared a Why is this an ironic remark when about with the information given in this excerpt End? the people now living in the New East without b Irony is often used to make a point author actually stating it. What point is the making here? in this c+ Try to find other examples of irony author excerpt. What points (if any) does the make by using irony in these examples? 5 VOCABULARY
East Look at the following sentences in Cockney with them End dialect and identify what is wrong spelling in terms of “proper” English expressions, and grammar. or – ’ardly a day goes by without a knifing shooting. – Terrible it is.
but even so he a Tarquin Hall grew up in London, he arfelt like a stranger in a strange land when had such rived in the East End. Have you ever person an experience? Write a story in the first (see page 278) about this experience. with. Now b + Pick a place you are well acquainted it as if you write a two-paragraph description of first were a foreign reporter seeing it for the nationality time. You can choose your reporter’s as as you wish. Make your description sound to odd as possible. For example: “Compared seems New York, Oslo is a city where everyone are all to wear a backpack. It appears as if they the prepared to head off to the woods in dinner evening to set up their tent and cook over an open fire …”
Answer individually: the London a How long has the carnival been on calendar? b What are the roots of this carnival? are promiculture Caribbean of c What aspects nent during the carnival? d When does the carnival take place? remember if to “don’ts” and “dos” the are e What you are planning to go to the carnival? Answer in pairs: most if the to forward look you would f What you went to this carnival? overcome g+ How can a carnival like this help stereotypes? cultural to such h+ Are there any dangers or drawbacks carnivals?
7 QUICK RESEARCH
Choose one task: including a Write a brief report about Brick Lane today and a short history, pictures of the street there. information about present day activities in b Find the origins of “Cockney culture” of it. London’s East End. Give some examples Has it died out completely? as one of its c+ The London Olympics in 2012 had has hapaims to rejuvenate East London. What held? pened to the area after the games were
CARNIVAL 8 LISTENING: THE NOTTING HILL
East End, there As we have seen in the text from the culcan be conflicts and mistrust when different Notting Hill tures interact in an urban setting. The issue. It is a Carnival in London addresses just this specifically celebration of Caribbean culture started whites and to replace racial hostility between local l fun. Now Caribbean immigrants with multicultura outside Brazil! it is the biggest carnival in the world Take Listen to find out more about this carnival.
Glossary for task 8: hostility fiendtlighet/fiendskap mayhem kaos prior to før oppressor undertrykker/ undertrykkar to repeal å oppheve tension spenning
murky mørk whiff antydning, pust / aning, pust nibble godbit sense of direction retningssans casual her: ikke penklær / her: ikkje finklede
A MEETING OF WORLDS
A MEETING OF WORLDS
text. The result is, if you will pardon the buzzword, a sort of “polyphonic” narrative – where explanation and exempliﬁcation are combined – that we hope will both clarify and inspire debate. The other need for a rewrite calls for a dose of humility on our part; the last book was the ﬁrst of its kind for an entirely new course. After it had been used for a year or two it was clear, not least from teachers’ suggestions to
our surveys, that there was room for improvement. One important issue here was the focus on language. While the curriculum for Internasjonal engelsk has important competence aims concerning culture, society and literature, it is nevertheless ﬁrst and foremost a language course. By the end of the year, students should be able to feel that, as well as gaining insights into the world of international English, they have raised their game in the language itself. The old book wasn’t
systematic enough in its approach to improving linguistic competence, neither in terms of students’ own written production nor in what the curriculum refers to as “kunnskap om språkets oppbygning på setnings- og tekstnivå og bevissthet om språklige virkemidler i ulike sjangrer”. Teachers have pointed this out – and we have now had a chance to do something about it. New courses To remedy this we have made some signiﬁcant changes and additions to the book. At the end of each of the book’s six chapters there are two new units – a Writing Course and a Language Course. The Writing Course aims to give students a helping hand in some of the basics of writing well – crafting good sentences and paragraphs, making texts hang together. We don’t give neat recipes for good texts – such things don’t exist. Writing is a creative process and as such can never be completely systematised. The focus is on practical work with texts, looking at examples of good usage as well as typical pitfalls and how to avoid them. Essays get special mention, since this is a demanding genre that students often wrestle with. This is not surprising, really. It always strikes me as a paradox that for decades Norwegian students have to a large extent been evaluated in both Norwegian and English in their ability to produce a genre that they hardly ever read – except for their own fumbling attempts. While the Writing Course is directed towards language production, the Language Course is directed towards analysis. The aim of the course is to provide students with some of the terminology and tools with which to manage the sort of linguistic analysis that exam questions increasingly demand: looking at how texts achieve their effects, comparing texts for style and intention. The six units deal with everything from the basic concepts of grammar to such topics as formal/ informal language, literary devices and analysing genre. We believe that the course will enable students to tackle a
wide variety of analytic tasks. In both the language course and the writing course the focus is on examples and exercises. There is a world of difference between telling somebody how to do something and showing them how to do it. We try to do the latter as much as possible. A world of literature Another signiﬁcant addition to the new book is the ﬁnal literature chapter. There are basically two ways of using literary texts in a textbook like this. One way is to tie them to the themes
dealt with in the chapters and select them primarily for their ability to throw light on these themes. To be honest, it always feels like a rather unsatisfactory way of treating literature, since it often involves compromising quality for relevance. Good short stories and poems about particular topics are often difﬁcult to ﬁnd. The alternative is to choose literature for its own sake. In the new book we shamelessly use both strategies. That is to say, there are literary texts in the ﬁrst ﬁve chapters, chosen for their relevance to the issues discussed in the main text. But we have also included a whole chapter of literature that is chosen for what it can tell us about its own world – the world of literature.
The literature chapter can be used in two ways: either as a store from which to pick stories and poems at random, or as a separate and continuous “literature course”. If you choose the latter, you get a structured review of some of the key elements of literary analysis – plot and theme, point of view and irony, characterisation and setting, each element discussed in the light of a story in which this element is especially important. Poetry is, of course, also given its due. Some teachers may be surprised to ﬁnd that we present students with our own y of texts. We make no apologies analysis for this. It is part of our belief in the importance of showing rather than just telling. Anyway, it doesn’t leave the students idle. Far from it – each analysis deals w with one aspect of the text, aand as the chapter progresses aand new elements of literary aanalysis are dealt with, the sstudents are invited to look ba back at earlier texts (and texts el elsewhere in the book) and put th their new insights to the test. At the time of writing this, the wr writers are slogging through a sec second round of proofreading. Soo Soon the fruit of our loins, if you you’ll pardon the expression, will see the light of day, delivered from the printers in all its illus illustrated, multicoloured glory (com (complete, no doubt, with a ridiculous error that inexplicably survived ﬁve rounds of proofreading and made it into the ﬁnal text, only to be discovered, triumphantly and noisily, by a participating teacher at a Cappelen Damm book presentation who always preferred Aschehoug anyway). Soon we can look forward to a time without deadlines, a time when Birger, if he appears in our dreams at all, will appear as Bountiful Birger, without his axe, but dressed in white, holding a ﬂower in one hand and a large cheque in the other. Soon – but not yet. For after the Birth comes the Afterbirth – the book presentations, the answer key, the website. Alas, paternity isn’t the carefree business it used to be …
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