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A little webmag on culture and it’s many aspects‌

By Nanna, Troels and Niels


Us, We and Them I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together. - I am the walrus, The Beatles.

In one way or another, whether we like it or not, we are all in this world together. We have all got one thing in common and that is our basic humanity. Everything else is different. We might think that because we are different, we are all unique little snowflakes, but we are not! Everything we say and do is influenced by something, or someone else, in our culture. So we might not be that different after all. Why is that? It is because we share a culture with someone else. It might not be our next door neighbour, it might not be our parents, and it might not even be our flatmate (though it probably is). We share our culture with whomever we want. We share it with everyone we want to share it with, because nowadays culture is no longer defined by national boundaries. It used to be that one’s culture was confined within national boundaries. Concepts inside the national boundaries were something we had in common with the people that lived there, and people outside our national boundaries had something else in common. Culture resided in a country. Culture was the country. Culture decided how people inside a boundary had to live their lives. How to act. How to speak. When and where not to belch, or when and where to belch. It is no longer possible to maintain that view because people move across boundaries. Some people cross these boundaries on their holidays for example. Some people cross them for jobs, or simply to survive. People mix so much with each other that it is almost impossible to find boundaries between different cultures anymore. The lines are blurred. It has never really been possible to maintain the definition of culture within national boundaries, because there have always been huge cultural differences within a single country. But we have learned to call these cultural differences social differences. They are an entirely different beast. In reality we are not as alike in a country or nation as we would like to think. As John Gulløv Christensen, anthropologist, explains it, things like our nations flag, currency and, in the case of Denmark, the royal house are actually just an outwards cover-up of the differences we have within our nation.


So, if culture is no longer defined by borders, nationalities and flags, what is culture? According to Wikipedia, Culture is the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group. So it’s something we’ve got in common, right? Actually it’s all the things we’ve got in common. Every single person in this world has got attitudes, values, goals and practices. It is when we share these characteristics with an entire group that we can be said to share a culture. It is no longer an issue not being physically close to each other. We can share a culture even if we don't know each other. How? Via the internet and via word-of-mouth. Living in a globalized world means that people, knowledge and ideas travel faster across countries and continents thus exposing local culture to a host of new ones. The breach in the dam began as a crack, which became a hole when technology advanced and made travel easier. With the advancement of telecommunications and the arrival of the internet, the levies broke. This has led to concern among conservatives, and traditionalists especially, who fear that their culture may be 'watered down' in the tsunami of foreign influence. Others rejoice at the possibilities this broken levy has presented. They find that sharing ones {*} culture with others makes for a more varied and interesting life. But how can we do this? What do we need to know and do to share and understand other cultures? According to Karen Risager three points are important to consider when we are dealing with the sharing of, and participation in, culture - Knowledge We need to have basic knowledge of the culture we are about to participate in, as well as the culture we are currently sharing with others. This knowledge could be facts ranging from common knowledge such as geography and modes of dress to deeper social aspects like the importance of the right to strike or vote. - Attitudes We also need to know and understand the feelings and attitudes that different cultures have towards subjects like values, ethics and morals. Also included in attitudes are knowledge and understanding of prejudices and stereotypes. In other words we must develop a sort of cultural empathy. - Behaviour Lastly we should familiarise ourselves with the rules and conventions in a certain culture. These involve, amongst other things, communication, clothing, eating, sex(es) etc. All three aspects are interlinked to such a degree that we must have at least a minimum of knowledge of all three, before we can even begin to understand another culture, let alone our own. However no matter how much we know or think we know about a culture there is always the possibility that we can be blindsided by people or phenomena that do not fit our world view or our view of a certain culture. This is, more often than not, because said person or phenomon is actually a part of a subculture within the culture we are currently observing or a participating in. The term subculture was an attempt to understand the differences within a national culture, but seeing as the idea of national culture is waning it


is now a term used to define a distinct part of a larger culture. The problem with the term subculture is that if you can divide culture into subcultures, those subcultures can then be divided into smaller sections, and so on, and so forth. It will never end. So let's try it on for a size. Realizing that culture is such a complex idea one must grasp any possibility given to meet new cultures, gain knowledge of them and participate in them. Thereby we can use culture, not only as a term, but as a tool we can use to understand ourselves and the differences between not only nationalities and other larger groups of people, but also subcultures and individuals.


Summary of Shakespeare in the bush by Laura Bohannan Laura Bohannan is an American anthropologist who goes to visit an African tribe called the Tiv. She brings with her Shakespeare’s Hamlet to prove to an English colleague that the points therein are universal and can be understood by anyone. The Tiv spend a lot of time drinking and telling stories, which is an art form in their culture. So she is nervous about telling Hamlet to them, but they are very eager to hear one of her stories. But they often interrupt her and become frustrated with her storytelling because they believe she doesn’t know the true meaning of the story, which they think they do. They don’t understand concepts like ghosts; they only know zombies and they don’t think that a person can drown because they believe water is good. The point is that the story of Hamlet loses its meaning when the listener feels differently about central points of the story. Like the Tiv think that it is OK that Claudius marries his brother’s wife, an acceptable custom to them, but this is meant to be understood as a wrong choice in order for the story to work. Bohannan learns that no values are truly universal, because the way you understand things is different in different cultures. In the end the Tiv see her as uncultured and they want to teach her properly so that she can go back and show “her own elders” that she has been with wise people and not with fools in the bush.


India One of the things we’ve worked on is a text by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (born Ruth Prawer) called Myself in India. R. P. Jhabvala was born in Germany May 7, 1927 to Jewish parents Marcus and Eleanora Prawer. Both her parents were well-educated. The family fled from the Nazis in Germany to the UK in 1939. In 1948 she became a British citizen. The year 1953 was an especially notable year for R. P. Jhabvala, because she not only received her MA in English literature from Queen Mary College, University of London , she also married Cyrus H. Jhabvala, an Indian architect, and moved to India. Ruth and Cyrus had three daughters. In 1975 Jhabvala moved to New York and spent her time writing both there and in India. In 1986, she became a naturalized citizen of the United States. R. P. Jhabvala has won several awards for her work and has also been nominated for some of it. The most notable awards are: Man Booker Prize 1975 Heat and Dust Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay 1986 A Room with a View 1992 Howards End BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay 1982 Heat and Dust NYFCC Award for Best Screenplay 1990 Mr and Mrs Bridge w/ Cyrus Jhabvala * We think that Ruth Jhabvala would have chosen as an elephant as the animal that sums up India, simply because it is an enormous animal. Because it is an animal you associate with India. It moves slowly like its lazy and sick. From the description Jhabvala gives in the text we get the feeling that India is a horrible and uncontrollable place. The country moves in a bad circle which you can’t change. She uses the metaphor of an animal to give us just this idea. In the text Ruth also describes how to adjust to India. She thinks that the best way to adjust is to be a strong person, who plugs in and does what he can as a doctor or social worker. The best way is to be attached to some mission. Another way is to accept India’s conditions. India is often seen as poor and backward. A huge number of Indians doesn’t get enough to eat. People are dying on the street of starvation and children are kidnapped to be sent out as beggars. These are just some of Indians conditions. But Indians seem to accept these conditions maybe because of their belief in reincarnation. If things are not like you want them to be you get another chance in your next life. But if you don’t believe in reincarnation this way of acceptance is not an option for you.


Jhabvala does her best to live in an agreeable way, but something is not like she wants it to be. She is cut in half between wanting to adjust to India and on the other hand want to close her eyes and live her life like a Westernized Indian woman. As a Westernised Indian woman Jhabvala says she ought to have a lot in common with the kind of woman described in the text. The kind of woman who has been to Oxford, Cambridge or another fancy British university. She speaks flawless English with a charming accent. She has a degree in economics, political science or English literature. She comes from a good family. Her parents also have a high education. They have always lived a Westernstyle life. But now the daughter (the woman) feels one should be more deeply Indian therefore she wears handloom saris and traditional jewellery. She has also painted a large vermillion mark on her forehead. If she is rich enough she has married into one of the big Indian business houses. She will go to a lot of parties, with both Indians and Europeans where they will discuss a lot important stuff. And whatever the subject of a conversation is she has some important opinion about it. But Jhabvala would not like to have such a friend because all she says sounds false to Jhabvala; “Everything they say, all that lively conversation around the buffet table is not prompted by anything they really feel strongly about but by what they think they ought to feel strongly about”. Jhabvala says the social life lived by Westernised Indians is “synthetic”. I think she means the social life lived by them is based on lies. She thinks that Indians doesn’t really have a social life. They hate to be alone, so they always sit together in groups. But these groups are clan-units. It would say the groups are family members. They enjoy each other’s company but that is also a different version of the term than the European. They just sit together without doing or saying anything. The pleasure is only to have the company of other people, but there is also silence. They enjoy the air together and look forward to the next meal. Jhabvala says that she actually enjoys this kind of socializing, but after a while something in her revolts against such lassitude. She can’t just be! She doesn’t feel challenged enough; she wants to do something difficult. She hesitates to seek other European women who are married to an Indian, because she says that “people suffering from the same disease do not usually make a good company for one another”. Jhabvala loves to have visitors from Europe, hear about their lives and all they can tell her about their country. But when they ask her about India, she doesn’t want to tell them. But she does it anyway,{*} it is like she is ashamed of India and after she has told them about the country, she wants the visitors to disappear. She says that religion is so important in India because life is terrible. The only way they can accept their life, is to believe in something larger than themselves.


Her problem about Indians is that they can see God in a cow and that she is not really Indian herself. She feels like she knows better, that the Indian are naïve and she doesn’t want to be it herself. She feels like she is giving herself up if she gives in and believes that you can see God in a cow. It is not a question whether she should become Indian - time will answer that question for her. She will in time become more and more Indian. Even if she wanted too that she couldn’t become 100% Indian. Her feelings toward India are divided and one hand she hates India and wants to live a European life, but on the other hand she likes the Indian lifestyle she is just afraid of admitting it. *Biography from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Prawer_Jhabvala


Dear Editor,

Last week I had the good fortune to participate in a viewing of the film East is East by Damien O’Donnell. This was a rather interesting film because the subject matter is prevalent in almost all aspects of my work as a teacher in a multi-ethnic school. Multicultural differences pop up everywhere, but, in my opinion, nowhere more so in school. Because of my knowledge of these opposing ideas and paradigms it quite upsets me, when I read the review by Tobias Peterson on popmatter.com where he says that the film "...tells its story not in broad, stereotypical strokes, but in the fine, complex touches of reality..." While the film does use complex touches of reality, I find that the portrayal of the majority of the characters does use broad, stereotypical strokes. As an example, Mr Khan is not only stereotypical but archetypical. He is the epitome of how a patriarch in this kind of culture behaves. Ruling the family with an iron fist, and in general being backwards and lacking in understanding of the culture he's currently in. Stella’s father is another example of how the film makes use of stereotypes. He's the British counterpart of Mr Khan. He is just unreasonable and patriarchal, and stubborn to boot. These are just two examples of how wrong Mr Peterson is when he chooses to understate the use of stereotypes. I would like to make a play for the continued use of stereotypes in film and TV, as they are the easiest way to get a point across, and they are usually universally understood. Mr O’Donnell makes excellent use of these and keeps the narrative tight as well. Keep up the good work, Mr O’Donnell, I’d like to see more, and so would the children in my class! Yours sincerely, Jane D. Oe


The following texts are the winning entries to our fiction competition that ran last week. The object was to rewrite a part of a well-known story. Can you spot which one it is? The Chickens Disaster - Rewritten by Nanna Hauge The incident happened so fast; I heard Mr Watson yell to his wife that the children had been in his henhouse again. Owing to Mr Watson´s tone of voice you could tell that he was about to lose his temper. I knew that Mr Watson had found the broken eggs. This time he was really angry. There had been so many incidents lately, so this made his temper go nuts. Mr Watson went through the opening in the white fence, across our yard and into our house. While he and my mom had their fight, I got into the room behind my mom. Mr Watson looked at me, and because of my sad expression and the tears fallen down my cheeks he knew. He didn’t say anything while my mom called him all sorts of things and told him not to blame her kids for every incident on the street, he just went back to his place, but I could feel that he knew that I was the one, who had broken Maria´s eggs. Mr Watson never confronted me about the broken eggs, and I was pleased about that. I was so embarrassed; it had never been my intention to break the eggs. I was just so curious about, when they would hatch into chickens. I will never forget this particular Sunday. In my memory, this day will always be remembered as the day of the chicken disaster.


The day started like all other Sundays. The Watson´s our neighbours were on their way to their usual picnic. They drove off every Sunday after morning church. I liked the Watson´s; they were always friendly towards me and willing to answer all my questions, when my curiosity became overwhelming. Especially their henhouse had my interest; I could not always control my enthusiasm. I asked a lot of questions about, when Maria´s eggs would hatch into little chickens, and if there was something we could do, to help Maria hatch them a little quicker. This Sunday when the Watson´s took off, I decided to go check on Maria and her eggs, so I climbed the white fence and ran to their henhouse. The latch was locked but I just had to see Maria and her eggs, so I managed to unlock it and went inside. Maria was on top of her eggs. I lifted her carefully away, so I could see the eggs. None of the eggs had hatched yet, so there were still eight of them. The disappointment ran through my body. I lifted six of the eggs up into my hands, maybe I could help Maria warm up the eggs, so it wouldn’t take so long for them to hatch, but the eggs broke in my hands. I got so afraid and upset; I didn’t know what to do, so I placed the eggs and Maria back where I took them and ran home. I was hiding in my room the rest of the day with the excuse of having the flu. When I heard our neighbours´ car, I got really nervous. I was so ashamed about what I had done. If Mr Watson could just understand that I was just as upset as he would be when he found out, if only I could control my curiosity, it would never had happened. I would like to have told Mr Watson the truth, but I was too young and afraid of what might happened if I told him. After the chicken disaster, I didn’t climb the white fence to the Watson´s as much as I used too before the incident, but after a while everything was back to normal and I was pleased about that, because I liked to be at the Watsons´.


The Chickens Disaster Rewritten by Niels Egense I guess it was my curiosity that got me into to trouble this time. I always wanted to play around with Mr Anderson’s chickens, especially the cock, but I never had the guts to do it. This Sunday I did. My curiosity got the better of me, I think, and I jumped the fence. I walked over to the henhouse, no need for sneaking because the Andersons were at church. I unlatched the door and went in. In the murky light from the halfcovered windows I could see most of the hens scraping about for seed, but only one was staying in the hay. That was the one with the eggs. It had to be. I picked her up, gently, and sat her down on the ground. She wasn't too scared, just clucked a little. And there they were. The eggs. And they were moving! A couple of the even had small cracks in them. The eggs were hatching. I didn't know what to do, so I picked up a few, and started to help the chicks get out. And then it happened. I dropped them. The little fuzzy chicks, not even out of their shells yet, dropped from great height, onto a hard-packed dirt floor. I was sure they would break into a million pieces, but they didn't. They just lay there – silent - not moving. After being stunned at that, I quickly picked up the chicks, or what was left of them, and put them back into the hay. And then I ran. Fast. Later that same Sunday I heard the Andersons come home. I ran and hid in my room, because I didn't want Mr Anderson to see me. I was sure he would've been able to see, it was me who'd killed his chicks. I stayed in my room all day, looking out of the window, checking to see if Mr Anderson had found out. And boy, did he? I never saw what actually happened when he came storming over to the fence, but he hit my brother, and then Mother really told him off. He didn't return till much later in the day. The knock on the porch door nearly scared me half to death. I had been reading a bit, but couldn't think of anything but the dead chicks and Mr Anderson. Amy answered the door, and she was really cold. - Go away, Mr Anderson, she said. You're not our friend any more. - I'd like to talk to Bobby, please, Mr Anderson answered. Mother came to the door and raged at him: Haven't you done enough for one day? - I've come to say sorry, Mr Anderson said rather meekly. - Well the harm has already been done, Mother yelped. - Well can I at least come in, Mr Anderson asked. Finally Mother caved and let him in with a scolding. - My kids know not to go near your henhouse, Anderson. And they haven't! They know better than to disobey me, because they really aren't bad kids! Why are you always blaming them for things they haven't done? There is absolutely nothing wrong with my kids! I bet it's those kids on the other side of the street. They always come sneaking over when you go to church. That's when I decided to go out of my room and tell them all the truth. I went into the passage behind Mother, and then i froze. She was so angry i could see her shoulders shaking. And Mr Anderson was


completely flabbergasted by her. Then he noticed me! I almost panicked and ran out, but I didn't because he just looked at me funny. Then he smiled at me, and nodded, like everything was okay. I couldn't take it anymore, so went back into my room, lay down on my bed and cried. Everything was going to be okay.


The chickens disaster Rewritten by Troels Hald Asp “Oh blast all that Timmy! You can't honestly expect me to believe that is what you want me to write? I mean, it's a load of …” Thomas cut him off with one of his infamous glares. Most of his employees had been on the receiving end of it at more than once, yet it always worked. Dropping his gaze as if he were a child who had upset its parent, Brent mumbled something in the area of “'Scuse me sir. I..it wasn't..”. Again James cut him off, this time using his studied, deep, fatherly voice. “ Your opinion, Mr. Delylie, has been heard and will be taken into account. For now, if you would please carry on with the task at hand. Thank you”. Turning on his heel and starting off towards his office at a brisk pace, James kept a stern face. Upon reaching his sanctuary in the far corner, he sighed in relief. How did he end up peddling smut for the Wellington Chronicler? Christ in a handbasket, Brent was right, but he had to learn to do what he was told. He was wasting his talent on cats' fashions shows and misspelled titles on the cinema. Still he felt that he might have been too hard on Brent A hen house suddenly appeared in his memory. Like in a cerebral movie theatre. ' tonight showing – The Chickens disaster – starring Thomas Hiroshima '. He chuckled to himself as his thoughts sought backwards. Now it seemed so silly. He'd only been curious as to how young chicken looked in their eggs. In the mind of an innocent child they were wondrous creatures. In his mind he imagined them in little pyjamas tucked in nice and cosy under duvets. Then one day a thought buzzed into his head. How could you lie in a shell with no holes breathing and then just pop out alive one day? Thomas had thought about this and then tried to hold his own breath as he counted the seconds. When he had done it ten times and only reached 31 seconds in his best attempt, he became frightened. The chicken were in there for days on end! Something had to be done. And so he hatched a plan to feign sickness come Sunday next, when his family would go and pick maize and the Macks' would be on picnic. Carefully, he had slipped out of bed and waited under the Jacks' window until he became certain none remained in the house but the cat. To think of how much effort had gone into the planning and execution of this still made him smile to himself. All the excitement and tension he had built up culminated when the chicken didn't pop out their tiny heads and gasp for air as he'd imagined they would. They didn't even look like chicken but more like little pink lizards. In the blink of an eye he was back in bed, sweating, shaking, trying to grasp the gravity of his actions. There he sat until both families had returned. This waiting, solemnly contemplating the deed, the scolding and the very possible hiding sure to follow, was worse by far than anything. The fact that he didn't receive any punishment and that Henare did wore him down, but he could never bring himself to speak {*}the Macks again. The guilt dogged him for years, and eventually drove him to run away. Thomas twiddled his thumbs, elbows on his desk. Then got up, picked cigars from the good box. Glancing out at the lad hard at work in his cubicle as he cut them at the end. “Time you said sorry{*}{*}someone” he whispered to himself as he opened the door to the bull pen.


Mock Exams English as a means to an end By Niels Egense Last year a North-Korean diplomat supposedly asked his South-Korean counterpart in English, “Why do we have to speak this bastard whore-son of a language when we both speak Korean?” Pointing at the U.S diplomats present, the South-Korean answered, “So that they can understand us. And I don’t really trust your Korean well enough to continue our talks without an interpreter.” This anecdote was told by Stephen Bosworth, Senior US Representative to North-Korea, in a television special about the peace-talks on the Korean Peninsula. The North-Korean’s choice of words aside, the anecdote is quite telling about what happens when communicating across the global community today, and has been happening for a while. Almost everyone defaults to English whenever they need to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak their language, as well as they do. The English linguist David Crystal states in The Cambridge Encylopedia of the English Language that English “… is the chief language of international business, and academic conferences, and the leading language of international tourism.” Now, hands up; : who’d disagree? The millions of people who speak Spanish? The more than one BILLION people who speaks Chinese? Perhaps they would, but I don’t think that any of them would disagree with that fact that as people living in an increasingly smaller world, we need to be able to communicate across borders; intellectual, commercial, political, regional and physical. English is the de facto world-language, and it is therefore only natural that as many people as possible should learn to understand and speak it. Because of its de facto status, English is also, on an entirely different level, quite simply, extremely convenient. I can’t count the times I’ve been standing in a shop, in a foreign country, flipping frantically through a travel-book, trying to find the local phrase for “Can I have two loaves of white bread, please?” only to have the clerk ask, “Can I help you, sir?”. And a feeling of relief washes over me… Not that I mind learning new languages, I really don’t, but it’s just so easy to revert to what I know will work best. Even though I’m not a native English speaker, I’m Danish, I find that English is my default tool of communicating with anyone not Danish. When I, once in a blue moon, I end up somewhere where people don’t understand my native Danish or my Queen’s English, there’s always the Brand Name’s Guide to Wherever travel-book and hand-signs to resort to. English as a means of understanding the world is also a thing not to be underestimated. The wealth of knowledge stored in English is astounding. David Crystal states that “… over 80 per cent of all the information stored in electronic retrieval systems is in English”. This means that if you wish to know something via the Internet, or other such source, there’s an 80 per cent chance that you’ll have to do it in English. Who’d want to miss out on 80 per cent of the world’s knowledge? No scholar, diplomat or businessman would. Here in Denmark we are taught English as a second language from the age of about 10, simply because we don’t


want our children to miss out on the multitude of opportunities it gives. All kinds of education involve English. Understanding English today is almost a basic necessity of life. At least if you want “to make it”. When we teach our children English, we teach them both British English and American English, more often than not it’s a bastard hybrid of the two. I even do that it in my classes. We do that it because no one with authority has really defined what kind of English we should teach them. But what kind of English is that really? Is it the Euro-English as defined by Jennifer Jenkins in World Englishes? An English where we, as Europeans, have a clear definition of who we are and what we wish to accomplish, and how we express it in English in an English-speaking Europe? Not quite. It’s neither British English, nor Danglish. It’s not yet EuroEnglish. Will it ever be? I hope that, at some point in the near future, our politicians in The EU will come to an agreement that (some kind of) English will be the official language in Europe, and that this new EuroLanguage will be taught to every child. With this kind of uniform practice, life in The EU will be so much easier for us all, because we’ll be able to go anywhere and speak to anyone about anything we like. Knowledge will be free of national constraints, education will be much easier to get and we’ll be ready for a United States of? Europe. Language is just a start. A United Europe. But why? We are Danish, Swedish, and French, and so on and so forth. We’re not the same. We can’t hold on to our national differences if we speak the same language. I say we can. The Swiss have two languages. German and French are both prevalent in Luxemburg. For many years the Scandinavian countries spoke a mix of Danish, Swedish and Norwegian. These countries don’t seem to be at a great disadvantage in the socio-economic strata of Europe. If a country is truly united in itself, nothing as “trivial” as a second language can take away its sense of difference, its sense of nationality away from it. So I say, “There’s nothing to be scared of”. “Take the plunge, and adopt English as a second language”. We’ll all be better off. We will all be able to, truly, take advantage of the enormous resources that lie in a united Europe. We’ve got some of the finest scholars, the best engineers, the most cutting-edge know-how and some of the most precise and effective manufacturing plants in the world. We just can’t quite seem to get it to work together to re-establish Europe as the centre of the world. “If we could, we would” is almost a valid argument. But can we? Not without some sort of unifier, we can’t. I propose English as that unifier. I say that English as a common language in Europe will build a better world for our children. It will give them a bright(er) future, and it will give them, and us, the means to better our society. The points on language stated here can be transferred to almost any region in the world where there is strife, be it political, economic or social. Language, and not just English, is the great unifier and equalizer. It is up to teachers of language teachers to take up the gauntlet and create a better world, not just in Europe, but everywhere. We can do this by teaching languages and in that teaching seeking to incorporate knowledge, understanding and acceptance of other cultures and ways of life into our language teaching. If we do that, if we are given the opportunity to do that, if we take that opportunity, we can help change the world. Task C1 I chose Task A, because the idea of writing an article about my future profession, and for my future colleagues appeals to me. Since I have got a mix of some rather bland ideas about language use and some more radical ones, I hope to have presented them in an interesting fashion for the readers. I’d really like for other teachers to think


about both types of language use, because they are both important. I have a nagging feeling that some teachers only focus on the more mundane uses such as tourism and IT use. These teachers, however, might not be the ones to read this kind of article in the first place. So am I preaching to the converted? Maybe. Is it worth a shot? Definitely! My target audience will have a very good grasp of English and many of its chunks and quirks. I have therefore tried to keep the language and grammar fluent and shifting, and at a slightly higher level than I would have used in, let’s say an essay or in class with regular students. I would have done the text no favour if I had chosen to use regular, everyday English. In the instances where I have used every-day English or even spoken English, it is often in the form of questions to the readers, questions that I would like the reader to ponder about for just a second before, hopefully, agreeing with me, and then reading on. Considering the given texts from which this exam-paper is constructed I think I use them sparingly, but in the right places. Quite a few of my points are common knowledge, and the ones that aren’t are used in conjunction with quotes from the hand-outs. I wish that there were room for more quotes, room to use a few more, but not from other texts than the ones I already have, I don’t feel there’s enough room for any more texts. An article as short as this shouldn’t lean too heavily on the works of others. One might end up with ten lines of regular, self-produced text, interspaced with heavy blocks of quotes. I feel that this would ruin the flow and general reading experience of the article. Task C2 The feedback procedure(s) we’ve been through in class has been well directed and well thought through, at a level as one might expect from the level of writing we are doing at the moment. We’ve had every opportunity to catch mistakes and do constructive revision, and the time has really been ample enough for this kind of work. I do, however, feel that the group I’ve been in have put too much effort in the wrong areas of the procedure. We have barely touched coherence and cohesion other than with a small comment here and there. It’s been more of a “that’s O.K, mate” kind of way when we talked about those points. We talked way too long about lead-ins and conclusions, without really coming to any conclusions. Our quotations were discussed at great length, too great a length. We weren’t focused enough at all. All talk and no walk. Well, all talk and not nearly enough writing that is. This aspect of the feedback procedure is something I would very much like to correct next time, and I’d dearly like to work with the same people again. They are good students, a joy to work with, but we all need to do this again, and properly this time. I have got some issues to work with regarding the feedback, as do the rest of the group. I think Atle said it best when he said “…But Elsebeth, they are being too nice!” He’s right. I am too nice. Perhaps scared of being too harsh? I don’t know. But this is a point worth talking over with Atle, Troels and Nikola next time we do feedback. If we do that, things will be better next time, I’m sure of it.


Mock Exams Nanna Task A: World Englishes.

The English language is all over the world, but what do we need an international language for? Politicians and other people who want to get in contact with politicians or other people from foreign countries just need to learn the foreign language in able to communicate with each other. But that should not be a problem.. Right. Anyone can learn a foreign language in no time. It would be interesting to learn all sorts of different languages, but it would also be extremely hard, so instead we have an international language and that is English. The language is already spread all over the world. According to David Crystal in the, Cambridge Encylopedia of the English language (1995), between 320 – 380 million people speak English as their mother tongue, 150 – 300 million people have English as their lingua franca and between 100 – 1000 million people recognize the importance of the English language, and the language is in these countries taught as a foreign language. So living in a small country like Denmark where do we fit into all this? Denmark has to be seen in a larger perspective, in a European perspective. English is Europeans’ lingua franca, which means that it is a common language for communication between people without the same mother tongue. As the English language continues to develop, and it will continue, there have to be some considerations about the pros and cons towards this international language. All kinds of practical reasons are pros for learning the English language, take for instance most of the technical information, nowadays, huge parts of it is written in English. Other pros could be political, economic, tourism and entertainment reasons. Many things would definitely be a lot easier if everyone could speak and understand English. The con against the language is the loos of identity. If a person forgets that his or her mother tongue is unique and instead uses English all the time, or if the person forgets how his or her own culture is unique there is a loos of identity. There are two different writers who have each their own opinion about this subject, about pros and cons for the English language. One is the Nigerian writer and Professor Chinua Achebe. He chose to write his essay in English to get his message out to the world and not just Africa. He thinks that it is an advantage to be able to write in English so you can get your message out to the world, but he also thinks that it is good for writers to sometimes write in their mother tongue. He ends his essay with the words, “I feel that the English language will be able to carry the weight of my African experience. But it will have to be a new English, still in full communion with its ancestral home but altered to suit its new African surroundings”. He accepts using the English language, but he also knows that it cannot be the original English if it has to express his experiences in Africa. The other writer is the Kenyan writer Ngügï wa Thiongó. In his article, he writes about how the English language was forced into the Kenyan schools when England made Kenya an English colony back in 1952. In the end of his article he writes,


“Thus language and literature were taking us further and further from ourselves to other selves, from our world to other worlds. What was the colonial system doing to us Kenyan children? What were the consequences of, on the one hand, this systematic suppression of our languages and the literature they carried, and on the other the elevation of English and the literature it carried?�. Thiongo thinks of the English language as something he has been forced to learn and maybe could have lived without. He is afraid of what the suppression of their mother tongue will bring in the future; that the Kenyan children cannot be proud of what they originated from. Thiongo is also afraid of the new language and what its culture will bring along. As an English teacher in a Danish school, I have to teach the students the English language and all that brings along, and believe me, our students today are willing to learn this language. Maybe because they do it by their own free will, it becomes so interesting. Most of them are so willing to learn this language that I sometimes have to remind them of their own mother tongue is unique and they have to stick to that sometimes. In a world like ours, it is important to be able to express yourself in English both orally and on paper. But no one says that you have to do it all the time; it is still important to be able to be proud of where you originated from and all the things that culture brings along. As a teacher in Europe, there are some challenges you have to face because the students today are willing to learn the language. The students are always updated on new codes and slang. Especially young Europeans invent their own slang, where they mix their mother tongue and the English language; for example drogenfreak which is half German and half English. This shows that there is a development where British or American English are no longer the only English; some speak of Euro-English. So what kind of English should we as teachers teach the students? The world needs an international language, and right now that language is English. No one knows if it stays that way, but right now we have to accept the English development, follow it and take all the advantage of it as we can. The English language is a great language, and it is awesome to be able to communicate with people from parts of the world without having to learn their language first.

Task C1: I have chosen to write without any contractions to keep a formal kind of text. It is the intention that the lead and the conclusion fit together. In the lead there is a question of the need of an international language, and a statement about that we don’t need the English language to be an international language. In the conclusion there is a statement about, that the world have the need of an international language and we have to accept the English language as our international language. After the lead there are some numbers of English speaking people, to give an insight into how many people on earth who are involved in some way or the other with the English language and that English is no longer only connected to England. Denmark is a small country and to get others than Danes to read my text I have chosen to put Denmark into a European perspective and write a small part about what lingua franca is.


In the text there is a long part with the pros and cons towards the English language, and that is an attempt to write an objective text without too many personal feelings, but I still try to get my message out. I use the two African writers Achebe and Thiongó to underline the pros and cons, and get my own opinion through, which is, that the English language is a good thing and the development can´t be stopped. I only once mention that I am a teacher in Denmark, so other teachers from other countries don’t read the text and think that it doesn’t concern them. I write some about the challenges that follow with the profession as an English teacher in Europe; I don’t say what to do about these challenges because I don’t feel competent enough to answer this yet. Task C 2: The development in my three different mock exams shows in the first mock exam that I have not given any thought towards the layout of my text. I do actually not have a lead in in the beginning and I also do not have a real conclusion in the end. The first mock exam is a lot of thoughts written down with no coherence and without a train of thought. In my second version of the mock exam there is an attempt of a lead in and a conclusion, but my message does not come through the way I expected it. The lead in gets too provocative and in worst case the reader will be too angry with me as a writer, so he/she will not read the rest of my text. The third mock exam I manage to get coherence in the text. The text starts with a lead in and ends with a conclusion. The actual text has three subjects instead of the first mock exam which had A LOT of unfinished subjects and statements. The most important thing for me when writing a text is the structure of the text. I have to remember not just to write down a lot of thoughts but make it into a certain kind of text with a lead in and that kind of stuff. There are certainly also difficulties from a linguistic and grammatical point of view but I see the problem about structure as the main problem.


Mock Exam Troels Task A: World Englishes The English language is widespread all over the world, but what do we need an international language for? Politicians and other people who want to get in contact with politicians or other people from foreign countries just need to learn the foreign language in able to communicate. But that should not be a problem... Right. Anyone can learn a foreign language in no time. It would be interesting to learn all sorts of different languages, but it would also be extremely hard, so instead we have an international language and that is English. The language is already spread all over the world. According to David Crystal in his text Excerpt 1, from the “Cambridge Encylopedia of the English language 1995”, between 320 – 380 million people speak English as their mother tongue, 150 – 300 million people have English as their lingua franca and between 100 – 1000 million people recognize the importance of the English language and the language is in these countries taught as a foreign language. So living in a small country like Denmark where do we fit into all this. Denmark has to be seen in a larger perspective, in a European perspective. English is Europeans lingua franca, which means that it is a common language to communication between people without the same mother tongue. A language can only be the lingua franca if it is a foreign language for both parts. As the English language continues to develop, and it will continue, there has to be some considerations about the pros and cons towards this international language. All kinds of practical reasons are pros for learning the English language, take for instance most of the technical information nowadays, huge parts of it is written in English, other pros could be political, economic, tourism and entertainment reasons. Many things would definitely be a lot easier if everyone could speak and understand the English language. The cons against the language are the lost of one’s identity. If a person forgets that his or hers mother tongue is unique and instead uses English all the time, or if the person forgets how his or hers own culture are unique there is a lost of an identity. There are two different writers who have each their own opinion about this subject, about pros and cons to the English language. One of them is the Nigerian writer and Professor Chinua Achebe, he chose to write his essay The African writer and the English language, in Jennifer Jenkins “World Englishes”, Routledge 2003, in English to get his message out to the world and not just Africa. He thinks that it is an advantage to be able to write in English so you can get your message out to the world, but he also thinks that it is good for writers to sometimes write in their mother tongue. He ends his essay with the words I feel that the English language will be able to carry the weight of my African experience, but it will have to be new English, still in full communion with its ancestral home but altered to suit its new African surroundings. He accepts to use the English language but he also knows that it cannot be the original English if it has to express his experiences in Africa.


The other one is the Kenyan writer Ngügï wa Thiongó, in his article The language of African literature, in Jennifer Jenkins “World Englishes”, Routledge 2003, he writes about how the English language has been forced into the Kenyan schools when England made Kenya an English colony back in 1952. In the end of his article he writes, Thus language and literature were taking us further and further from ourselves to other selves, from our world to other worlds. What was the colonial system doing to us Kenyan children? What were the consequences of, on the one hand, this systematic suppression of our languages and the literature they carried, and on the other the elevation of English and the literature it carried? Thiongo thinks of the English language as something he has been forced to learn and maybe could have lived without. He is afraid of what the suppression of their mother tongue develops too, that the Kenyan children cannot be proud of what they originated from. Thiongo is also afraid of the new language and what its culture will bring along. As an English teacher in a Danish school I have to teach the students the English language and all that brings along, and believe me our students today are willing to learn this language. Maybe because they do it by their own free will, it becomes so interesting. Most of them are so willing to learn this language that I sometimes have to remind them about that their own mother tongue is unique and they have to stick to that sometime. In a world like ours today, it is important to be able to express yourselves in English both oral and on paper. But no one says that you have to do it all the time, it is still important to be able to be proud of where you originated from and all the things that culture brings along. As a teacher in Europe there are some challenges you have to face, because the students today are willing to learn the language so badly. The students are always updated on new codes and slang, especially young Europeans invent their own slang, where they mix their mother tongue and the English language, for example drogenfreak which is half German and half English. This shows that there is a development where the British or American English are no longer the only English, some speak of Euro-English. So what kind of English should we as teachers teach the students? The world needs an international language and right now that language is English. No one knows if it stays that way, but right now we have to accept the English development, follow it and take all the advantage of it as we can. The English language is a great language, and it is awesome to be able to communicate with people all over the world without having to learn their language first.

Task C: I have chosen to write without any abbreviation to keep a formal kind of text. It is the intention that the lead and the conclusion fit together. In the lead there is a question of the need of an international language, and a statement about that we don’t need the English language to be an international language. In the conclusion there is a statement about, that the world have the need of an international language and we have to accept the English language as our international language.


After the lead there is some numbers of English speaking people, to give an insight into how many people on earth who are involved in some way or the other with the English language and that English is no longer only connected to England. Denmark is a small country and to get others than Danes to read my text I have chosen to put Denmark into a European perspective and write a small part about what lingua franca is. In the text there is a long part with the pros and cons towards the English language, and that is an attempt to write an objective text without too many personal feelings, but I still try to get my message out. I use the two African writers Achebe and Thiongó to underline the pros and cons, and get my own opinion through, which is, that the English language is a good thing and the development can´t be stopped. I only ones mention that I am a teacher in Denmark, so other teachers from other countries don’t read the text and think that it doesn’t concern them. I write some about the challenges that follows with the profession as an English teacher in Europe; I don’t say what to do about these challenges because I don’t feel competent enough to answer this yet.

All photos from freedigitalphotos.net

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