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ISSN 2228-0847

EATE Estonian Association of Teachers of English

The EATE EATE Journal Journal Issue Issue No. No. 53 55 August August 2018 2019 The PRINCIPLES OF GOOD LANGUAGE LEARNERS AND GLOBAL LEADERSHIP Andre Boyer











EATE Annual Conference Tartu, 24 October 2018

Our honorary member Nora Toots and the current chair Erika Puusemp

Before the beginning

The new issue of OPEN! is read with interest

Photos by Reet Noorlaid and Krista Ummik

Paul Braddock spoke about British Council's teacher developement programme

Nikki Smedley's dramatic performance

The audience listening to Nikki Smedley

Estonian Association of Teachers of English Chair Erika Puusemp

Editor of OPEN! Ilmar Anvelt

Current account EE331010152001597007 in SEB

PRINCIPLES OF GOOD LANGUAGE LEARNERS AND GLOBAL LEADERSHIP Andre Boyer English Language Fellow at Narva College of the University of Tartu

Introduction Language learners like to know approaches, techniques, and methods to improve their acquisition and learning of a second or third language. Many times, they have much information already and they ask for confirmation of the ways to increase their fluency and accuracy of using the language. On the global stage, English is the language used to conduct business, and learners who desire to use it in an international setting require skills and principles not only to speak the language, but also to apply it when accomplishing organizational and individual goals. This paper will provide English Language Learners (ELLs) strategies to help with their quest with a connection of using English as a leader/manager in a global setting. Specifically, it gives a definition of learning, provides some principles on learning and leadership and employability skills, connects learning and leadership, and covers some techniques for ELLs to become better language learners and leaders/managers in the 21st century. In addition, it uses research on 10 employability skills, 14 language learner principles, and 11 leadership principles to aid in their application of being a good learner and leader/manager. Moreover, it lists some observations of students with suggestions on improving their language learning and leadership skills. A discussion of learning follows. Learning Defined According to Brown (1993 as cited in Boyer, 2004), learning is the acquisition or getting of information. We can acquire it through experience and formal means such as academic institutions. It includes the retention of information or a skill and active and continued reinforced conscious and unconscious practice which can lead to a change of behavior. More important, language learning does not occur as a result of the transmission of facts about language or from a succession of rote memorization drills. It is the result of opportunities for meaningful interaction with others in the target language (Walgui, 2000 p. 2 as cited in Boyer, 2004, p. 16). As a leader/manger, learning and its ways are critical for one to perform one’s job and responsibilities. Because we learn and acquire “what” and “what not” to do from others as individuals, we have developed many tools or skill sets in our toolbox. We use and demonstrate this knowledge through interactions with others, thus we influence them to “action” or “inaction” which is the essence of leadership. And it is defined as “…the process of influencing others to understand and agree about what needs to be done and how to do it, and the process of facilitating individual and collective efforts to accomplish shared objectives” (Yukl, 2011, p. 8). It is “how” and “when” one interacts and influences others with one’s learned behavior that can make a difference which is the connection of learning to leadership. Moreover, through academic learning or acquisition and lived experiences or learning one gains leadership and management skills. Connection of Learning to Leadership Individuals already have many skills and behaviors from learned and lived experiences. It is the use and demonstration of this learned or acquired knowledge with others when one is using leadership/ management. Moreover, according to one business expert in the United States of America, in part

because skill set demands are always changing and technology is evolving at a rapid rate, an appreciation for and investment in lifelong learning are also keys to employability (Jaffee, 2001). An article in The International Journal of Management Education (Maxwell, Macfarlane, & Williamson, 2010) summarized the results of an employability study conducted in the United Kingdom in 2006 and concluded that employers of university graduates are looking for applicants seeking positions … to have developed the following ten core skill sets by the time they graduate… • communication skills, • decision-making skills, • independent working skills, • information retrieval skills, • leadership skills, • numerical skills, • personal learning and development skills, • problem-solving skills, • strategic skills, and • team working skills (p. 8). Thus, attendance, participation and enrollment in colleges and universities can help develop one’s leadership/management skills to become better leaders/managers. This means that continued learning is a must in order to improve on how to apply it to be effective leaders/managers in the workplace. Brown (1993 as written in Boyer, 2004), described 14 “good” language learners’ characteristics in terms of personal characteristics and learning styles. I have included questions after each characteristic to ask oneself to critically think about its application to one's learning. According to him, good language learners: 1. Find their own way of taking charge of their learning. What does this mean? How can you do it? 2. Organize information about language. How do you organize information about your first language? Why is it successful? 3. Are creative, developing a feel for the language by experimenting with its grammar and words. How do you make up new words in your first language? How can this be done in a second language? How does it help? 4. Make their own opportunities for practice in using the language inside and outside the classroom. What are the opportunities? Where can you find them? 5. Learn to live with uncertainty by not getting flustered and by continuing to talk or listen without understanding every word. When will I be able to understand all words? How do I listen? What should I listen to? 6. Use mnemonics and other memory strategies to recall what has been learned. What do you do in your first language? How do you make connections? 7. Make errors work for them and not against them. Why am I afraid of making mistakes? How do I know when I am making mistakes? Does anyone really care? 8. Use linguistics knowledge, including knowledge of their first language, in learning a second language. What is the grammar structure for English? How can it help you? 9. Use contextual cues to help them in comprehension. What does content mean? How can know when I am using something out of context? At a bank, I can use the situation there to help with its understanding. Using a direct translation of a word that may be grammatically correct but does not fit the situation. 10. Learn to make intelligent guesses. How can I guess? What can help me? 11. Learn chunks of language as whole forms and formalized routines to help them perform beyond 2

their competence. When do I memorize passages? How can chunks help? 12. Learn certain tricks that help to keep conversations going. What are some tricks? How do you keep a conversation going in your first language? 13. Learn certain production strategies to fill in gaps in their own competence. What is a gap? How can I fill it? Ask questions. 14. Learn different styles of speech and writing and lean to vary their language according to the formality of the situation. What does this mean? What are speech communities? Based on the principles and questions, an effective leader/manager could extrapolate key points and add them to one’s leadership toolbox, for as one leads others, the principles can be another foundation in getting to know the employee, on a professional and personal level. It is incumbent on the leader/manager to “lead” the employee to accomplish organizational and/or personal goals. In my classes and in life, I remember these points when students and those I lead struggle by first, setting the environment ripe for learning and individual growth. Second, allowing for mistakes and improving from them. Third, having participants take responsibility for their own learning and holding them accountable for their actions and inaction. Fourth, setting the example. Moreover, attention can be given to other leadership principles to aid one in the global environment. These principles come from the United States Marine Corps training on leadership. This branch of the military is known for its process of training and developing men and women into effective leaders They are called the 11 Principles of Leadership: 1. Know yourself and seek self-improvement. 2. Be technically proficient. 3. Develop a sense of responsibility among your people. 4. Make sound and timely decisions. 5. Set the example. 6. Know your people and look out for their welfare. 7. Keep your people informed. 8. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions. 9. Ensure assigned tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished. 10. Train your people as a team. 11. Employ your company/department/unit in accordance with its capability. (Leading Marines, MCWP 6-11, November 27, 2002) The principles are specific to a military unit; however, the premise applies to being an effective leader and learner, for they can be applied to many settings. In addition, after conducting much research and personal experience in leadership/management, these 11 principles fit across the spectrum of leadership theories and principles. The next section reveals the commonalities between and across the 10 employability skills, 14 “good” language learner principles, and 11 leadership principles and provides some techniques to help with their application to be a good language learner and an effective global leader. Techniques for Effective Learning and Global Leadership All the skills and principles are important, and there is some overlap among them; however, through an analysis of them, four areas were uncovered that could be used for one to be a more effective learner and global leader. In addition, they are not mutually exclusive categories. The four areas are: 3

communication skills, personal learning and development skills, problem-solving skills, and effective teamwork skills. First, communication skills (10 employability skills). Effective learners and leaders constantly communicate with, through, and to others. Learners learn to live with uncertainty by not getting flustered and by continuing to talk or listen without understanding every word (14 language learner principles). They can use linguistics or prior knowledge, including knowledge of their first language, in learning a second language (14 language learner principles). For example, the grammatical structure of Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) can be used. Effective learners and leaders learn certain tricks that help to keep conversations going (14 language learner principles), such as using questions to help. Learners and leaders also learn different styles of speech and writing and vary their language according to the formality of the situation (14 language learner principles) to be effective. For example, in a formal setting, one could use other words and phrases than in an informal one. With leadership and learning, an effective person uses communication to keep one’s people informed and ensure assigned tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished (11 leadership principles) through it. One can repeat thoughts and ideas, use non-verbal communication to help with their understanding, and follow-up on assignments. Second, effective learners and leaders are persistent with their personal learning and development skills (10 employability skills). They find their own way of taking charge of their learning (14 language learner principles). They know their selves, seek self-improvement and responsibility, and take responsibility for their own actions (11 leadership principles). They scan the environment for different ways to learn and lead. They use multiple means for self-improvement such a reading books, listening to programs, and speaking at each opportunity. Third, effective learners and global leaders are creative problem solvers with advanced problemsolving skills (10 employability skills). They develop a feel for the language by experimenting with its grammar and words and make errors work for them and not against them. They learn from their own mistakes as well as those of others. They learn to live with uncertainty by not getting flustered and by continuing to talk or listen without understanding every word (14 language learner principles), which can help them be technically proficient (11 leadership principles) and make intelligent guesses. Fourth, global leaders and learners, use effective teamwork. They work with and through others by developing a sense of responsibility for and among them through getting to know others on a professional and personal level and look out for their welfare. In particular with leadership, they ensure assigned tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished, train their people as a team, and employ their company/department/unit in accordance with its capabilities (11 leadership principles). In addition, a good language learner and leader collaborates and cooperates with others through the sharing of ideas and thoughts. Learning is enhanced and sometimes accelerated by actively participating in a group. Studies reveal that “cooperative learning significantly promotes greater individual achievement than do competitive or individualistic efforts” (Merriam, Caffarella, Wlodkowski, & Cranton, 2003, pp. 179–180). Furthermore, creating and supporting ways for others to work and learn collaboratively is crucial in today’s environment (Taylor, Marienau, & Fiddler, 2000; Zhan, 2008). An effective learner and leader realizes that one’s individual efforts combined with the work of others can make a better process and end product. Continuing to communicate, being a lifelong learner, developing creative problem-solving skills, and working well within a team are tools to add to one’s leadership and learning toolbox. Five Rules for Effective Learning From my own personal research and experience in teaching over many years, I like to keep learning simple and derived five rules which are called Dr Boyer’s rules. First, enjoy learning. Smile and have fun with the activities. Do something with the language that you enjoy or use it which is second and make it meaningful to you which is third. I like cooking, traveling, and playing table tennis, so when I am learning another language, I try to make it a habit to practice my use of the language in these activities. Thus, I am following my second rule of using it. Moreover, I try to use it as much and whenever I can. I try to engulf myself in all types of input and output. It does not matter if I understand it or not. The process of being in it can help with acquiring and learning the language which is part 4

of my third rule. Fourth, do not be afraid to say the wrong word, pronounce something incorrectly, or use inaccurate grammar. Learn from the errors and keep going. Fifth, as you are having fun, using it in a meaningful way, and learning from mistakes, the ultimate result is to be understood and understand or to be comprehensible in fulfilling some type of need for its use. If and once you get your goal accomplished through a mutual understanding between others, you move from being a language learner to a language user. Three Observations of Language Learners for Effective Learning and Leadership I have taught EFL/ESL at different educational institutions, universities, schools, and learning centers to students and adults at various levels for over 30 years and lived in over 20 countries. Throughout my career and life, I have gleaned some differences between learners based on cultural factors such as uncertainty-avoidance and individual-collectivism and pedagogical practices with the teacher-centered method versus the student-centered approach. For example, in Asian countries, the students were more reluctant to participate because of the cultural identity of “fear of losing face” (uncertainty-avoidance) and were focused on their role in the group (collectivism). Whereas in nonAsian societies, teachers are the providers of information (teacher-centered method) and students prefer to sit quietly and listen to due to their learned norms of behavior (Boyer, 2004). However; from my experience, despite the differences, I have found more similarities among all students no matter the culture, for instance, students do not like homework, they do like to take shortcuts, they want fast results, and they have to learn how to learn. More specific, from my lived experiences, I have observed three points which might be helpful with students’ acquisition or learning of English and to be an effective global leader. First, learn to listen: Many times, a question is asked; then the speaker does not wait for an answer. The speaker is already ready to say his/her opinion. Being a good listener is similar to being a good follower. A great leader knows when to lead and when to follow as well as get out of the way. Second, learn to be patient with listening and learning; this includes waiting for the speaker to finish his/her thoughts and being an active listener. This applies to being a global leader as well, for taking some time to reflect before taking action or waiting to get more information can help one with decision making. However, there are times when one can make a decision with 80% of the information. Moreover, learning does take time and do not expect overnight success. One can enjoy the process and practice, practice, and practice! Third, do not always expect someone to “tell you” your mistakes. Listen to recast from others, and this can help one take ownership of one’s learning. And with leadership, one uses many tools to help with correction, not only one means of feedback. As one takes ownership, one can learn how to ask for and get feedback from others. Effective leaders do not have always have to wait for someone to say something is wrong, they can scan the environment, observe others, and take action on their own. Conclusion This paper presented principles of learning and leadership, discussed some rules to become a better language learner and effective leader, and reviewed some ideas applicable to ELLs. Now, it is your turn. What is your plan to be a good language learner and leader? Think about what you can use to develop your learning and leadership skills. Think about how you can use it to improve your personal and/or professional life. REFERENCES Boyer, A. L. 2004. The Effects of Japanese Cultural Norms, Values, and Traits, on Japanese Adults’ Preferences for Listening and Speaking Methods and Techniques and Perceived Learning Outcomes in the Japanese Adults’ Acquisition of English. San Diego, CA. Jaffee, C.L. 2001 Winter. Building the skill set for the new economy. Employment Relations Today, 27(4), 9. Leading Marines, MCWP 6-11, November 27, 2002. Maxwell, G., Scott, B., Macfarlane, D., Williamson, E. 2010. Employers as stakeholders in postgraduate employability skills development. International Journal of Management Education, 8(2), 1-11. doi:10.3794/ijme.82.267 Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S., Wlodkowski, R. J., Cranton, P. 2003. Adult learning: Theories, 5

principles and applications. (University of Phoenix ed.) New Jersey: Wiley. Retrieved from the University of Phoenix E-book Collection. Yukl, G. 2010. Leadership in Organizations (7th ed.), New Jersey: Prentice Hall.


Vineland, Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada

“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.” Bill Gates In 1994 teachers everywhere were starting to recognize the value of computers in the classroom and also for personal use. In Pärnu, that same summer and the next, I instructed Estonian teachers of English as part of a team of eight Canadians from Ontario and eight Estonian teachers of English. The initiative was to encourage a methodology that was more student-oriented. We had a most productive and fun time working together on a project that we recognized to be of great importance. There were significant changes underway in the profession, as computers were being introduced to classrooms in Ontario, where I live, and in Estonia. In Pärnu we were determined to be part of that movement and make all necessary changes to the curricula. Under the leadership of President Lennart Meri, Estonia was undergoing “The Tiger’s Leap” (Tiigrihüpe). This project was very ambitious, with focus on providing computer technology and access to the Internet to all schools in Estonia. A similar project was underway in Ontario. For most teachers at that time, computers were quite alien and required a new approach to learning, both personal and in their classrooms. I liked to think of the process as dedicated play, rather than a difficult chore. Few people had computers at home and many Estonian teachers did not yet have them at their schools. However, it did not take long. By the close of 1995 many had embraced the new technology and were using email in their classroom and at home. Fast forward to 2019 and the scene has markedly changed. Today whatever would we do without our laptops, tablets, or Smartphones? They keep us in touch with each other and better informed about the world around us. Time to ask: How have we revised our thinking and methodology to include this marvellous new technology into our classrooms? Time to pay attention to the good, the bad, and the ugly of this remarkable tool now at our disposal in the classroom. What is our new role? Has it diminished? Disappeared? Or perhaps enhanced? Computers have been with us for over two decades now. However, there has been a mixed response in classrooms that have persisted with orthodox learning models. Cramming computers into existing learning models has proven incompatible in today’s world. A ‘blended learning model’ will comprehensively redesign the learning environment and individualize learning for each student through the use of technology. The altered model matters more than the technology itself. 6

Computer-assisted learning provides an integrated experience whether the computers are located in the classroom or congregated in a school lab. Initiatives that have provided computers to each student in the class have not improved learning outcomes more so than those congregated in computer labs. To repeat: one has to focus on the learning model first, followed by the technology. How does a blended learning model change the century-old model of education and how to implement it? It provides competency-based learning, i.e., the students advance at their own pace. It provides ‘anytime and anywhere’ learning, as technology increases opportunities that extend well beyond the classroom and into the World Wide Web. Practical Classroom Changes and Possibilities Station Rotation: Provide learning stations in the classroom that allow the student to rotate through stations, one of which will be the computer. Another may be online learning. This model may require modifying the class layout. Students should be involved in this process. Lab Rotation: provides a fixed schedule for groups of students to learn, perhaps online, in the school computer lab. Individual Rotation: will be scheduled for individual students to rotate through a variety of stations, including the computer, based on their individual needs. Flex: This model is essential as students advance through a variety of learning activities, some of which may be online based. Progress will be at their own pace and within a fluid schedule. This model provides the student with a measure of control over their learning. Each blended model differs greatly from the traditional classroom. It involves a unique choreography with teacher and students, whether it be rotations, small groups, or one-on-one. At times the teacher will become somewhat of a magician, innovating beneficial changes within the constraints of the physical classroom and budgetary considerations. The Good, the Bad… Computer-assisted learning develops skills with immediate feedback for student and teacher. However, the computer can never replace the teacher. The computer is not a panacea, just as the television is not for the parent. Today the teacher is all the more important in making appropriate use of the technology and personalizing it for each of her students. Technology is not the lesson but is there to enhance it. Teachers are not redundant. Rather they will continue to lead, guide, facilitate, mentor, inspire, and help students reach their goals. Personalized and technology-infused learning is the future. “I think it’s fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we’ve ever created. They’re tools of communication, they’re tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user.” Bill Gates Resistance to change remains a problem. Some teachers resist leaving their ‘comfort zone’. This problem needs to be addressed at the school level by providing professional development, workshops, and, perhaps, on-staff mentoring. This is cost-effective yet teacher confidence can build quickly. Otherwise the tendency for some teachers would still be to use computers in the class as some parents do with television in the home: to entertain the child and provide much-needed downtime for the adult. Smartphones, tablets, computers all provide tools essential for the 21st century: 7

● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Personal and social responsibility Planning and critical thinking Strong communication skills Cross-cultural understanding Decision-making Knowing how and when to use the technologies Ability to choose the right tool/App

To implement the above, the teacher (guide & facilitator) needs to provide: ● ● ● ●

Active engagement Participation in groups Frequent interaction and feedback Connection to real-world experts

This approach has been shown to provide positive achievements in content-area learning, promotes higher-order learning, and increases problem-solving capability. The blended-learning model is not dependent on rote learning and better prepares the student for the future and the workforce. … and the Ugly Spending so many hours at an electronic device of any kind creates a sedentary lifestyle to which young people and adults are both prone. In North America, there has been an alarming increase in obesity, given the excessive time spent at a computer screen, playing video games, or on a Smartphone. A conscious effort should be made to engage the student in physical activities during the school day. Many of today’s youth also lack basic social skills and manners, as they spend much less time in face-to-face communication with adults or peers. We are raising a generation of socially disconnected citizens with little sense of sharing or of community. Today the extended work week limits family time as well. Parent-teacher interviews can focus on this problem and offer possible coping options. Most importantly, a conscious effort should be made to engage the student in physical activities during the school day and to encourage team or group sport activities in the community. Video Games: Advantage, Affliction, or Addiction? The student can learn by playing a video game and attain increased creativity as well. But this can be better done on a computer or by reading a good book. Outdoor and reading time will be limited by excessive playing of video games. We need to provide students with a variety of different and meaningful ways of learning and being creative. Unfortunately, many video games can become addictive as they offer a variety of experiences that include animation, vivid colour, fantasy, and escape from reality. Some games create a flight-or-fight set of circumstances, depending on how violent the content. This situation can disproportionately stress the child. It has been noted that the young brain is affected, and short currents are set up in the brain’s frontal lobe. Some children can become hyper-aroused and develop poor impulse control. The effects of extended video game time can compound, leading to cognitive and behavioural issues, with possible violent behaviour as well. This can be avoided by varying students’ activities and introducing other ways to occupy leisure time. “It’s not realistic to expect the brain to adapt to intense and artificial stimulation it was never meant to handle. It’s also not realistic to expect a child with still-developing frontal lobe to control their screentime, whether that means managing how long they play a game, how they use or misuse social media, or how they behave afterward.” Dr Victoria L. Dunckley, child and adolescent psychiatrist.


Signs of Video Game Dependence ● Excessive time spent on video games to the detriment of other activities. ● Less time spent on socializing with friends and on outdoor activities. ● Aggressive behaviour and/or bullying depending on subject matter of the games. Facebook and Social Media Social networking can play a positive role for most young people, permitting them to be in touch with those of their own age in other countries and cultures. However, recent surveys have found that high use of social media can have a negative impact on youth self-esteem: ● Two-thirds of teens become insecure and may feel a need to improve their appearance, given peer pressure on social media. ● Nearly half (42%) check out social media in bed before sleeping. ● Nearly one-third of youth have been bullied online. ● 15% have been approached by strangers, which is very alarming. ● Only 60% of parents monitor their children’s social media account. Teachers can help parents, as well as their students, learn to navigate the online social networking world. Parents need to know how involved their teens are in social networking by visiting social media channels with their teens and browsing their online postings. Our digital age challenge Our challenge is to harness the advantages of the new technology in the classroom by altering our methodology to include a blended learning model. It is essential to realize the limitations of computer technology in the classroom and the ongoing but increased role of the teacher as mentor and guide. Educators should be made aware of the consequences on the young of total immersion in the digital age: sedentary lifestyle, poor communication and social skills and, for some, addiction to video games. This is an exciting time to be in education, have access to and harness the challenge of the digital age in the classroom. Edu! Bon chance! Good luck! Closing Thoughts & Quotations “Technology is the campfire around which we tell our stories.” Laurie Anderson “Before you become too entranced with gorgeous gadgets and mesmerizing video displays, let me remind you that information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight. Each grows out of the other, and we need them all.” Arthur C. Clarke “It doesn’t stop being magic just because you know how it works.” Terry Pratchett “Books don’t need batteries.” Nadine Gordimer And finally… “May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” Neil Gaiman Carol M. Kahar is a retired computer coordinator and teacher with fond memories of all grades from kindergarten to ​university. She has lived and taught in several Ontario cities in Canada and ​in ​Estonia. 9

REET NOORLAID has been diligently photographing EATE events since 2004, i.e. for 15 years. We present a selection of her photos from these years.


EATE Committee members in front of Pärnu Mud Baths, 2004

Laine Hone (1926–2005) and Nora Toots, two founding members of EATE. Photo from 2004.

Members queueing up for the EATE 25th anniversary cake. Pärnu Kuursaal, 2016.

Allecto booksellers, Marika Vahter on the left. Photo from 2016.

Committee members preparing materials. Photo from 2015.

Our Summer Seminars always end with a lottery. Lottery prizes from 2009.

EATE also congratulates Reet Noorlaid on her 75th birthday, which was in February. We wish her health and happiness and many fabulous photographs in the future.

Annual Conference in Miina Härma Gymnasium in 2006. Doing gymnastics under George Pickering’s direction.

Groupwork at the Annual Conference of 2017.

Dialoog booksellers with Nadezhda Valk on the left. Photo from 2018.

Lunch in the open air at Pärnu Summer Seminar. Photo from 2018.

Steve Lever has been our most consistent foreign presenter. Photo from 2015.

Two long-time chairpersons of EATE – Juta Hennoste and Leena Punga. Photo from 2014.



In November 1996, nine Estonian educators visited Toronto for professional development and to study the Ontario education system first-hand. They included senior administrators – Ants Eglon, Kristi Mere and Enn Siim – and six English teachers – Päivi Aljamaa, Esta Hio, Reet Kruusement, Sirje Priks, Leena Punga and Milvi Tikka. “The Ontario system is a model we have chosen to emulate,” Enn Siim, Head of Teacher In-Service and Teacher Training Centre, explained to a group of Ontario educators. The Ontario teaching methodology was a focal point for changes in Estonian classrooms. The Estonian government considered education an essential component in democratic reform. The reform was essential for people who had lived under a repressive Communist regime for 50 years. On 15 November, the Estonian educators arrived in Toronto after 15 hours of travel time. Exhausted? Yes. Ready to sleep? Not at all. We congregated, shared a meal, exchanged gifts, chatted and then sang Estonian folk songs late into the evening. Rest was not on the agenda. The next day, we headed to the annual Estonian-Canadian teachers’ conference and in the evening to a concert at Roy Thomson Hall. Although jetlag must have kicked in by Sunday, nobody noticed. The Estos rushed off, cameras in their hands, to Toronto’s annual Santa Claus parade. At some point, we did rest, and all of us appeared fresh and energetic at the Monday welcome luncheon and tour at the North York Education Centre. The two-week visit had officially started. And how did it all begin? It all began in North York, Ontario, with two teachers – Phyllis O’Brien and Aino Uus. Aino visited Estonia, her birthplace, in 1990 and then shared her observations and concerns with Phyllis. The two teachers thus began their quest to establish support for Estonian educators. By the winter of 1991, a proposal for teacher-training had been presented to both CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) and the Estonian Ministry of Education. And ‘English to Estonia’, the jointly funded five-year project, was born. Two years later, similar projects were set up in Latvia and Lithuania. Aino Uus said to a local newspaper, “In 1992 we started with 10-day-long courses in Noarootsi and Tartu. The next year English teachers gathered in Tallinn, in 1994 at Värska and the last two years in Pärnu. There were about 140–160 participants each summer. The project, which started CanadianEstonian cooperation widened to Canadian-Baltic Partnership Project.” Who could attend the courses led by 16 Canadian teachers? Mainly primary school teachers who had 12

to teach English starting from grade 2 or 3. They were not all fluent in English, which also caused some difficulties. Starting from 1993, some Estonian teachers of English were also involved to organise more classes and give some useful tips for teaching younger students. The days were long, starting at 8:00 and finishing at midnight, filled with all kinds of activities. The topics covered a broad spectrum: creative writing, learning styles, storytelling, English idioms, making inexpensive teaching materials, creativity, music games in the classroom, and computer workshops. These workshops also provided an opportunity for the participants to improve their spoken English. For the last two years of the project, the Ministry of Education Carol Kahar and Reet Kaarmaa chose Pärnu where the instructors and students were accommodated at Pärnu Vocational Education Centre, which was excellent for this purpose. The daily programme included four workshops with optional evening sessions after dinner. Most chose to attend the more informal evening gatherings and seldom disengaged even during coffee breaks or meals. The new topic was the computer workshop as the school was well equipped with IBM compatible computers. This workshop was extremely popular among students. The English proverb says, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” So, in the evenings we congregated in the common room for snacks and socialising. This ritual always included a singsong. Everybody was able to join in, as song books were supplied. At midnight, the closing song was “Head ööd” (“Good Night”). The Endla theatre also offered some fabulous plays to see. During the last two years, the project had expanded from two Estonian instructors to sixteen (8 Estonians and 8 Canadians). On the final night of the course, the auditorium was full, almost 200 people. Certificates were distributed, as successful completion is instrumental in assuring TESL positions. Cameras flashed, bouquets appeared, addresses were exchanged. We sang and sang. What good friends we had become, and now it was time to say goodbye. Session two concluded a week later with more flowers, songs, photos and tears.

In Pärnu, August 1995

Everybody took home many addresses, including those of the ten regional centres for teachers. These centres housed professional books, equipment and teaching materials. They were used for conferences, professional development and, naturally, networking.

When a visit to Ontario was spoken about, Sirje Priks, an English teacher from Kehtna, exclaimed, “It will never happen!” That was all the challenge Team Canada needed. They were eager to have the new Estonian friends see the Ontario model in action. As a rule, classroom teachers are rarely considered for international development. 13

In September 1996, the Canadian teachers began exploring every possibility. CIDA came to the rescue again with airfare funding, and the Estonian-Canadian group donated some of the much-needed money. Team Canada organisers offered accommodation and transportation, professional development arrangements and sightseeing plans. The North York Board of Education agreed to be the official host. The neighbouring school boards, ECOO, ENO (Education Network of Ontario) and FWTAO (Federation of Women Teachers’ Associations of Ontario) proposed interesting and varied professional development opportunities.

Closing ceremony of the project in Pärnu, August 1996

Sue Butson, a Halton board teacher, organised a tour of Joseph Gibbson and Stewarttown elementary schools and the Milton City Hall. The Estonian team was also invited to an informal meeting with Halton WTA president Erica Andrew and her executive. The informal gathering was followed by a dinner and the presentation of many wonderful gifts. The Estonians received a warm welcome at several Durham schools. The Durham in-service session included literaturebased reading and current trends in the TESL classroom – a most productive day.

Visiting an Ontario school, November 1996

Maret Sädem-Thompson, FWTAO Vice President, invited the visitors to FW’s Bay Street Office. Maret, an EstonianCanadian herself, personally welcomed the visitors to an afternoon brainstorming session with Executive Assistant Mary Bruce. The Estonian educators shared their aspirations for a national professional organisation, as at that time there was no single national of umbrella group to act on teachers’ behalf. “I have great respect for FWTAO and what it has done for women teachers in Ontario. We need a strong teachers’ union in Estonia,” Esta Hio commented at the meeting. Toronto Estonian House gave us a warm welcome.

In Estonian House in Toronto, November 1996: Reet Kaarmaa, Leena Punga, Milvi Tikka, Aino Uus, Enn Siim

The generosity of Ontario educators comprised informative meetings and round table discussions 14

interspersed with congenial dinners and luncheons. The invitation of Chris Stephenson, ECOO President, included both: a round table discussion and a luncheon with her Executive. The visitors met with the ECOO Executive to discuss the present and future role of new technology in education. “As the Estonian government allotted 35 million EEK to provide our 700 schools with computer technology by the year 2000, President Lennart Meri called the initiative the “Tiger Leap”,” Ants Eglon told a group of computer resource teachers. Members of the ECCOO Executive were impressed by the “Tiger Leap” and the Estonian government’s substantive commitment to the educational reform and integration of curricula with computer technology. The Estonians also described their observations of computer integration in Toronto-area schools. “We have seen kindergarten students working on computers in your schools. How wonderful to be computer literate at such a young age. Our computer classes are scheduled for older students only,” Milvi Tikka told Paul Ryan, past President of ECOO. “Computer technology encourages creativity, self-confidence, good work habits and independent thinking. No educational reform is possible without the incorporation of this technology,” Reet Kruusement asserted. Deborah Sterrith, CEO and VP, Corporate Development for CCT Software, participated in this convivial and informative discussion. She also provided the visitors with gifts of much-needed computer software. ECOO made presentations of classroom resource materials, and Holf Software distributed copies of their Object-Oriented Turing Software to the visiting teachers. “Father Christmas has arrived early!” exclaimed Leena Punga who taught and resided at her rural school in Puka. The trip to Niagara Falls was impressive, the immensity of Toronto fascinated us, everybody had personal memories of polite, tolerant, open and helpful Torontonians. The same atmosphere pervaded Ontario classrooms. The teachers in Ontario schools were so cooperative and sharing. In Estonia, there was still a clearly defined line between administrators and teachers, the teachers from Estonia acknowledged. The visiting Esto teachers got a strong boost to provide teacher in-service training at ten regional resource centres. In addition to classroom obligations, they also collaborate on the integration of new curricula and methodology. This experience enabled the visiting Estonians to broaden their experience and increase professional networking. Two of the Estonian team, Päivi Aljamaa from Kaiu school and Milvi Tikka from Kärdla are still active in teaching the students and teachers, while the others are retired. What did we – the Estonian teachers – learn from the project?

• Integrated computer use in the classroom from an early age enables students to cope with the social impact of the new technology.

• Canadian students seemed more responsible for their own progress and achievements. In Estonia the teacher took on this responsibility unilaterally.

• The friendly and supportive atmosphere found in the Ontario classroom was conducive to the 15

development of the student’s potential to be a life-long learner.

• Integration of subjects, such as geography and history, makes their interdependence more apparent to the student.

• Students must be stimulated and challenged, for only then they will learn to take pride in their accomplishment.

Over the years, the project involved 26 Canadian and 12 Estonian teacher trainers. It showed that classroom teachers can be considered very valuable for international professional development. We would like to thank the Canadian government, CIDA and all the wonderful teachers who volunteered in this project giving a helping hand at the beginning of the reform of teaching Estonian in Canada. Reet Kaarmaa (Kruusement) graduated from Tallinn Pedagogical Institute in 1966 and taught languages and music at many places. In 1994, she was invited by Aino Uus to join the Esto-Canadian team in Värska and returned for the last two summers in Pärnu. Instructors in the project “English to Estonia” 1992–1996 The Canadian team: Phyllis O’Brien, Michael Crawley, Maria Estis, Kaarina Gentle, Preshiel Gorind, Ron Hagan, Merike Hansen, Simon Hauser, Carol Kahar, Viiu Kanep, Maret Kapp, Stig Korjus, MarjaLiisa Lausmaa, Vivian Napp, Jenny Ophek, Kati Otsa, Alan Seim, Hillar Sõrra, Tiina Timusk, Marju Toomsalu, Lea Usin, Aino Uus, Elizabeth Veale, Ruth Veskimets. The Estonian team: Päivi Aljamaa, Ants Eglon (Min. of Ed.), Esta Hio, Reet Kruusement-Kaarmaa, Janne Kallasmaa, Härda Kurtna, Tiina Lehtmets, Kristi Mere (Min. of Ed.), Sirje Priks, Leena Punga, Enn Siim, Milvi Tikka.


Language school InterLink, Narva, Estonia

PART I. RECONNECTED Why and how English belongs to the Indo-European language family ‘Eluding mortal sight, pervade, attract! Sustain th’ effulgent whole, unite, impel, dilate!...’ Sir William Jones In this article I’d like to present an overview of how the English language is connected with Sanskrit in the Indo-European (IE) perspective, with essential linguistic and historical data on correlation of these IE tree branches, and also share some of my own experience. Long ago, as a teenager, I was captivated by the idea of the ‘original Logos’. A lot of reading might bring about this kind of calamity which affects your whole life. After all, language is an idea and not only grammar and vocabulary. Thus, I’ve become a sort of language ‘idealist’. Having Finnish roots, I was born in St. Petersburg – my ancestors had come to the land of Ingria from southwest Finland in the 17th century, even before the great cultural city was founded. I feel lucky to have been born there and grown up with the English language as a special subject at my school. It was much longer distance from home to my ‘English’ school than to a nearby ordinary school and I had to catch crowded buses every day, but it was worth it – English has become my 16

lifelong companion. I’m grateful to my parents and my school English teachers. I had several pen pals in English-speaking countries (there was no Internet then!) and loved to send and receive books by post. For instance, I remember my delight of receiving some photocopied parts of Ulysses by Joyce in a parcel from my Irish mate in Dublin. Later we even met and enjoyed discussing connotations attributed to ancient sources, rapid change from one writing style to another, controversial ethics of the modern man and, certainly, the ‘stream of consciousness’ in Joyce’s monumental literary work. Samuel Beckett remarked about Joyce’s style in one his essays, ‘form is content, content is form’ (Beckett, 1929). I liked Joyce’s attempts to connect modern and ancient and I admired his idea that what you say is absolutely inseparable from how you say it. Clearly, the text of Ulysses is not an easy one, but as a young traveller in the world of knowledge, I was open to anything intriguing, especially related to languages, fine arts and old cultures. Then I feel lucky to have studied from gentle and respected professors at the university (philological faculty). They taught to always be attentive and respectful to words, their origin and usage. In the difficult 1990s, I decided to explore the world and live in other countries. I was living for some time in Sweden and later was off to India in pursuit of my curiosity about ancient languages and philosophy. At the time of global political changes, I was glad to see the oppressive Soviet ideology collapsing and people getting a chance to freely move around. I chose then to be open to the whole world, as freedom is the wonderful asset and right of Language birds build their nests in books. Photo: human beings. Interest in ancient languages and cultures in my younger days brought me to India and it became a life-changing experience. It was a much further distance to India than to Finland, the land of my ancestors, but it was worth trying to experience the ‘core’ of the Oriental world. I lived for a fairly long time in Eastern India, mostly in the area of Calcutta and other places in West Bengal, which was the stronghold of the British Empire in India. I travelled a lot across the whole country, learning about cultures, traditions and languages. It’s still amazing for me how a ‘northern’ person could spend a significant part of his life in a far-away tropical land beyond the Himalayas, in a totally different environment. After India I was back to St Petersburg, worked as a tutor of English and translator, studied at the university (oriental faculty) again and then spent quite some time in Finland. Lately, I’ve been involved in teaching English here in Estonia, and it’s also a new experience for me. Looking back, I feel grateful to destiny for carrying me around this way. Living in other parts of the world broadens the mind and is a good opportunity for further education and personal development. While in India, I worked as an interpreter/translator, travel guide, relief programs volunteer and periodically as a teacher of English for kids at a local school. Living in the language environment, I learned the local languages, studied some Sanskrit from books and from brahmins in Eastern India and later at a A quotation from Mahabharata in Sanskrit, Hindi and traditional school in Varanasi (Banaras), a English (‘Quotations from Mahabharata,’ 2003, Delhi very ancient town by the Ganges. In such Sanskrit Academy) special places like Varanasi, Sanskrit is still very strong, and you may hear brahmins speak it among themselves, which is nowadays rare even in India. By and large, Sanskrit holds the same scholastic status like Latin and ancient Greek in the western world and it’s not expected to be a spoken language. Nevertheless, in Varanasi I once found a course of spoken Sanskrit, which was an interesting experience: for the whole course, no other languages were allowed to speak, and 17

no phones or Internet were allowed to use. The students from India and Europe were immersed in the atmosphere of learning Sanskrit only with the help of Sanskrit. To speak this ancient language is a tough goal, and I should say that my study of Sanskrit over the years wasn’t very intense or consistent – I simply enjoyed reading old texts, dictionaries, at times getting in touch with brahmins who knew Sanskrit. In India, I mostly spoke English and ‘new’ Indian languages (Bengali and Hindi), and I always had excellent opportunities to see the cultural and language discourse in daily life. This introduction about myself was just to give an idea how the English language and the concept of an original Indo-European ‘Logos’ have been intertwined for me since my youth. With my interest in the English language and at the same time in oriental cultures and philosophies, for me to live in India was a perfect match, especially in Eastern India and Calcutta, where the British have left obvious traces of their former presence. This part of my article is called Reconnected, because English and Sanskrit have the same Indo-European origin. Evidently, it was very long ago, in the prehistoric era (from early to late Neolithic or roughly from 8th to 4th millennium BCE, according to different theories and research data). Much later, in the 17th century AD, the British came to India and stayed there for about 300 years (at first, as the East India Company and from 1858 till 1947 in terms of the British Raj/rule). Keshub Chunder Sen, a philosopher at the time of Bengal Renaissance movement in the 19th century, reasoned in 1877, ‘While we learn modern science from England, England learns ancient wisdom from A teacher’s seat and whiteboard. Sanskrit grammar lesson. India. … In the advent of the English nation in Photo: Jari Lutta India we see a reunion of parted cousins, the descendants of two different families of the ancient Aryan race’ (Sen, 1877). So, by speaking about the ‘meeting of two cousins’ he referred to the reconnection of English and Indo-Aryan languages like Sanskrit through common Indo-European roots. Before the British came to India, there hadn’t been a clear idea about such connections. No doubt, the initial motive of the British was to conquer new lands, enlarge the Empire and enjoy the acquired riches. Being the most valuable British colony, India immensely increased the might of the Empire. Despite the negative impacts of the colonial policy of the Imperial government, the best British minds of those times developed a great cultural and scientific interest in the ancient heritage of India. Thus, unexpectedly, the British obtained the riches of another kind – first of all, the knowledge about the origin of their own language. Sir William Jones (1746-1794), a brilliant English philologist employed by the Imperial government and the East India Company to learn more about the culture, language and laws of the ‘natives’ in order to control them, was one of the first to get such knowledge through his studies and become a passionate admirer of the Sanskrit language and literature, like Henry Colebrooke, Horace Wilson and others in later times. With the help of Bengali brahmins, William Jones commenced his studies of Sanskrit, the ancient ‘perfect’ language, and discovered its striking similarity with European languages. A true philological genius born in London, Jones lived many years in Calcutta, where he worked as a judge and was immersed in his studies. After the numerous important publications by Jones, the world’s view of India and its heritage changed completely (Benoit, 2010). Sir William Jones (1746-1794), engraving after a painting by Joshua In 1786, in the annual announcement to the Asiatic Society of Reynolds Bengal founded by him, Sir William Jones made this famous 18

statement: ‘The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar, than could possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer [sic] could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source, which, perhaps, no longer exists: there is a similar reason, though not quite so forcible, for supposing that both the Gothic and the Celtic, though blended with a very different idiom, had the same origin with the Sanskrit’ (Jones, 1786, in Sir William Jones: Selected poetical and prose works, 1995). While in India, I was mostly in its Eastern part where the British arrived first in the early 1600s and established trading posts, then built their Fort William in 1696 (named after King William III) in the area of three villages purchased by the East India Company. Later, that area developed into the mighty capital of their colony. Sometimes, roaming around in Calcutta and suburbs, I thought it would be interesting to see India with the eyes of a British person of those times. How did the British view that totally dissimilar lifestyle and mentality of people? How did they feel and what did they expect in their interactions with local people? Let’s imagine how an average Englishman of the 17th or 18th century gets off a ship onto unknown Indian soil and starts getting acquainted with a completely new environment, so much different from that of Britain. It should have been something like getting to another planet. I was discovering and researching India in a somewhat similar way, often amazed and excited, at times frightened and perplexed. If you’ve been to India and looked into the core of things, you can be aware of the fact that India has not changed much from the times when the British came. Except for some modern features like mobile phones, electricity, trains and cars, basically the customs, climate, people, mentality and traditions remain almost the same as they were 300 years ago and much earlier. As I can see it, Calcutta is a special place in the world. An extremely crowded megalopolis with rich and poor, new and old areas, with amazingly kind and witty people, with hot climate, with that special traditional atmosphere mixed with some British flavour. English is the second national language with a special status in India. Many people speak it among themselves, often mixing it with their own Indian languages. In Calcutta you can hear English everywhere and not only from young people. English in India and particularly in Calcutta/West Bengal will be discussed in the next part of my article. Nevertheless, I cannot avoid mentioning that special connection of Calcutta with the English language. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve been in love with Calcutta, though many who visit India do not feel this city and visit more ‘popular’ places. Calcutta is regarded as the ‘cultural capital’ of India and is sometimes called a ‘City of Joy’. I’d like to mention here just one of my favourite spots in Calcutta – College Street with its famous book market, where one can observe many bookstalls selling all kinds of old books. The stalls are rather chaotically arranged (which might make you feel lost at first, as it often happens in India, but then you get tuned in to the chaos around you). It’s only a few stops by metro from the very centre – via Park Street, Esplanade and Chandni Chowk, and then you get off at Central and go down Central Avenue towards Calcutta University, which is on College Street. Since my very young days, I’ve kept this passion for old editions of books, and sure The High Court of Calcutta, 1862, in Gothic Revival style (the same enough, every time in Calcutta I couldn’t as Royal Courts of Justice and Westminster Palace in London). It just pass by such a place. It seems that was designed by Walter Granville, one of the most successful British at College Street book market you may architects working in India during the Victorian period. He also find almost any book. The presence of the designed the buildings for the Indian Museum and the General Post British in India until the mid-20th century Office in Calcutta. Photo: Jari Lutta is one of the reasons for that – their books 19

accompanied them to India. At the book market you just have to say what you want and bookwalas will start asking each other if it’s available, then you will get that book for an affordable price within a short time or next day. At that place I used to get some old British editions of the authors and some rare Indian books. In this digital era, people seem not to be very much divided by continents; inhabitants of one land know well about other lands. In many ways, the distances and difference of cultures are not as frightening as they were in the days of yore. Still, there’s so much more to learn and realise, as the boat of Reason and Research has not reached the ultimate shores of the vast Ocean of Knowledge. In the 16th century, it was not clear about ‘Indo-European’ at all, but today, owing to the great work of William Jones and other British/Western philologists, it’s a well-known fact that the English language belongs to the Indo-European family of languages: English > Anglic > Anglo-Frisian > West Germanic > Germanic branch > IE. The IE language family includes 585 languages. In comparison, other largest language families are: Austronesian 1,276 languages; Niger-Congo 1,544; Sino-Tibetan 472; Atlantic-Congo 432; Afroasiatic 372; Trans-New-Guinea 315; Pama-Nyungan 240. The IE language family has the following subgroups: Hellenic/Greek, Italic (Latin and Romance languages), Indo-Iranian (Indo-Aryan with Sanskrit and its descendants; Iranian/Avestan; Nuristani), Germanic (English, Frisian, German, Dutch, Swedish, etc.), Celtic (Welsh, Cornish, Breton, Scots Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, Manx), Baltic, Slavic, Armenian, Albanian, Anatolian and Tocharian (Glottolog 2.4, 2019). Nowadays, IE languages are spoken by almost 3 billion native speakers across the world, by far the largest number for any recognised language family. Of the 20 languages with the largest numbers of native speakers, ten are Indo-European: Spanish, English, Hindustani, Portuguese, Bengali, Russian, Punjabi, German, French and Marathi. Additionally, hundreds of millions of persons worldwide study IE languages as secondary or tertiary languages – around one billion L2 learners of English alone. The majority of the global population speaks at least one IE language and the overwhelming majority of languages used on the Internet are IE, with English continuing to lead the group (Ethnologue, 2019). Now let’s see how and when the very concept of ‘Indo-European’ started. In the 16th century, even before William Jones, European visitors to India became somewhat aware of similarities between Indian and European languages. For instance, in the 1580s, Thomas Stephens, an English Jesuit missionary and scholar, noted similarities between Indian languages and Greek/Latin. About the same time, Filippo Sassetti, a traveller from Florence, reported of ‘striking resemblances’ between the ancient language Sanskrit and Italian. Those observations didn’t lead to further scholarly research. In the middle of the 17th century, Marcus van Boxhorn, a Dutch scholar, proposed the existence of a common language he called ‘Scythian’. He included Dutch, German, Latin, Greek, Persian and also the Celtic, Slavic and Baltic languages in its descendants. Van Boxhorn wrote about assigning languages to genetic groups. Nearly at the same time, Johann Elichmann, a Silesian physician, used the expression ex eadem origine (‘from a common source’). He related European languages to IndoIranian languages (which include Sanskrit). In 1713, William Wotton, an English theologian, classical scholar and linguist, suggested an idea of reconstructing a proto-language based on IE cognate words. In the 1760s, Coeurdoux in France and Lomonosov in Russia compared different languages of Europe with ancient Sanskrit and suggested a relationship among them and a ‘common source’. But the systematic IE studies of William Jones opened up a fascinating area in the history of European languages. In 1786, Jones postulated a ‘proto-language’ with six branches: Sanskrit (IndoAryan), Persian (Iranian), Greek, Latin, Germanic and Celtic. In his work The Sanskrit Language he erroneously included Egyptian, Japanese and Chinese in the IE languages, while omitting the Slavic and Baltic languages and even direct descendants of Sanskrit like Hindi and Bengali. Nevertheless, Jones was a pioneer in this field, and his research work was a breakthrough in the world of IE Linguistics. Thus, in the 18th century, when Britain was gaining strong positions in India, British scholars used that opportunity to advance in understanding of IE connections. The previous attempts to connect European languages to some other origins gradually vanished. In 1822, the German philologist Jacob Grimm enunciated ‘Grimm’s law’ in relation to systematic sound shift or correspondence of consonants between the ancestral PIE language and its Germanic descendants. In 1875, the Danish linguist Karl Verner came up with ‘Verner’s law’ on the basis of his sound shift 20

research. These discoveries were essential in further development of IE Linguistics. The most distinguished scholars who continued research in IE Linguistics in the 19th century were Rasmus Rask (Denmark), Franz Bopp, Otto von Böhtlingk (Germany), Max Müller (German-born who studied and lived in Britain for most of his life), William Whitney (USA), Ferdinand de Saussure (Switzerland). In the 20th century: Ferdinand Sommer (Germany), Julius Pokorny (Austrian-Czech), Bedrich Hrozny (Czech), Franklin Edgerton (USA), Manu Leumann (Switzerland), Marija Gimbutas (Lithuania, USA), Manfred Mayrhofer (Austria), to name just a few (Clackson, 2007). The origin of IE languages is still a great puzzle and controversial matter for scientists. In modern historical linguistics, there are several hypotheses on the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) language and its Urheimat (the area of origin). The most accepted is the ‘Kurgan’ (or ‘Pontic Steppe’) hypothesis suggested by Marija Gimbutas, a Lithuanian-American archaeologist and anthropologist of the 20th century. According to this theory, the Eurasian nomads, particularly the people of Pontic-Caspian steppe north of the Black Sea (called ‘kurgans’ by M. Gimbutas), expanded to other lands by the early 3rd millennium BCE. Among other prominent PIE theories are the ‘Anatolian’ hypothesis, the ‘Palaeolithic Continuity’ theory and the ‘Indigenous Aryans’ theory (or ‘Out of India’ theory – OIT). The latter suggests that there was no Aryan invasion to Indostan from outside, and the origin of PIE is to be searched in Aryavarta, i.e. northwest India, from where it expanded to other lands. Nowadays, there are many proponents of this theory especially among Indian scholars (Rajaram, 1993; Talageri, 1993; Lal, 2002; Chavda, 2017). They present various arguments against the ‘Aryan invasion theory’ (AIT) started by some British indologists of the 18th century and later postulated by Max Müller with the term ‘aryan’ (unfortunately, later misused by the Nazis). AIT has become the mainstream doctrine taught in history textbooks. In the future, it would be interesting to see the results of the scientific battle between AIT and OIT. Anyhow, in the world of science it can be seen that previously well-established or ‘mainstream’ theories may change (‘paradigm shift’), just like it happened in the 20th century in geometry, physics, chemistry, biology, etc. (Kuhn, 1996). In this regard, I’d like to quote Thomas Jefferson who said, ‘Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.’ With modern rapid development of technology, who can say what will be discovered after 50 or 100 years?... In ancient history and historical linguistics, particularly on the issue of PIE, many more surprising findings are expected in the future (Mallory, 1991; Mallory, Adams, 1997; Anthony, 2007, 2015; Auroux, 2000). Using statistical models, Prof. Mark Pagel (University of Reading, UK) has traced back a common root of all Indo-European languages to a proto-language that was, according to his opinion, spoken about 15,000 years ago in and around the area of modern Turkey, and up to Iraq, which was then known as Mesopotamia (Pagel, 2013). It can be comparable to M.Gimbutas’s ‘Steppe’ theory, where the origin of PIE is supposed to be found in the area north of the Black Sea. According to the hypothetical features of the PIE language reconstructed on the basis of different ancient IE languages, the following cultural and environmental traits have been proposed: 1) ProtoIndo-European people had domesticated cattle, horses and dogs; 2) they had agriculture and cereal cultivation with the help of tools such as plough; 3) they knew snow – the reconstructed PIE word is sneigh (Germanic sniwana, snee, schnee, Avestan snaezhati, Latin ningit, Sanskrit mihika, hima (snihyati – sticky), Celtic snigyeti, Slavic snieg, snih, sneg, Lithuanian snigti, Tocharian sinche, snigven; this data can be matched with PIE ‘Steppe’ theory, further northward PIE theories, and even OIT theory, because the northern parts of India are in the foothills of the snowy Himalayas, and the author of this article visited those places too and saw snow in India with his own eyes; 4) PIE people had transportation by water; 5) they had solid wheels; 6) they had woven textiles; 7) they had bronze, silver and gold; 8) they worshipped a ‘sky god’ (Sanskrit Dyaus Pitr (‘sky father’), Greek Zeus Pater, Illyrian Deipaturos); 9) they had oral heroic poetry or song lyrics; 8) they had a patrilineal kinship system (Anthony, 2015; Watkins, 2000). Historical science hasn’t yet understood what was happening in India (endonym: Bharata-varsha or Bharata) before 3200 BCE, the assumed time of birth of the Indo-European civilisation in the Indus valley. The indologists do say that ancient India is very complicated for studying, because not many mundane historical records have been left from those times, unlike the records in ancient Puranas 21

and Itihasas which give genealogical narratives about kings and sages tracing back for millions of years (Childe, 1926; Daniloff, Kopf, 1986). A more detailed study of the inscriptions from Harappa showed that the civilization which spoke archaic Sanskrit had existed much earlier than 3500 BCE (Jha, 1996; Jha, Rajaram, 2000; Kak, 2003, 2004; Kalyanaraman, 1995; Kenoyer, 1996). Sir M. Monier-Williams, Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University in 1860–99, compiled the extensive Sanskrit-English dictionary (based on Petersburg Sanskrit Lexicon) and, in one of its tables, he showed the development of Brahmi script into Devanagari (Nagari) alphabet of Sanskrit and how this script could have travelled out of India westward to form Phoenician, Greek and Roman alphabets. Brahmi script is the oldest writing system of the Indian subcontinent in ancient times. James Prinsep (1799–1840), a British scholar and orientalist, once said that the oldest Greek was a ‘topsy-turvy’ version of an ancient Indian language (Salomon, 1998). As one of the oldest documented members of the IE family of languages, Sanskrit holds a prominent position in the IE studies. According to mainstream Indology, Sanskrit is traceable to the 2nd millennium BCE in a form known as archaic or ‘vedic’ Sanskrit, with ‘Rigveda’ as the earliest known composition. A more refined and grammatically standardized Classical Sanskrit emerged in the mid-1st millennium BCE with the ‘Ashtadhyai’ treatise of Panini (the 5th century BCE), which formulated about 4,000 complex rules of Sanskrit morphology, syntax and semantics. Samskritam means ‘perfect, cultivated’. Lifetime wouldn’t be enough to read all ancient Indian literature. Just the main 18 Puranas (legends), the most voluminous division of the ancient Indian literature, contain over 400,000 verses in Sanskrit. There are also Itihasas (epics), Dharmasutras (laws) and a large corpus of original scriptures called Shruti written Brahmi script development theory by in archaic Sanskrit. Shrutis include philosophical treatises Sir M. Monier-Williams (from Sanskrit-English known as Upanishads, which were inevitably noticed by Dictionary, Monier-Williams, 1899) many distinguished Western philosophers and writers after the discovery of India. No doubt, when British scholars of the 18–19th centuries started getting a clue of that level of knowledge, they couldn’t possibly continue to think this was a literature and language of savage or primitive ‘natives’. The Indian cosmology is mind-blowing: huge cyclic time periods of four repeating ages and repeating creation, maintenance and destruction of universes. Similar to cognate words of Sanskrit and English, the Indian legends and mythology have their counterparts in European and Biblical stories – for example, with Greek and Celtic legends or the story of Noah and the great flood, which correlates with Hindu stories of regular cosmic floods in each of countless universes (brahmanda, universe = brahma+anda, ‘Brahma’s egg’). The 10-digit system in mathematics came to Europe as ‘Arabic’, but originally it had existed in India (Birodkar, 2001). Prof. Carl Sagan of Cornell University in New York, a famous astrophysicist and astronomer, stated that in very ancient times only Indians had been able to determine the age of our universe in some miraculous way (Sagan, 1993). Such a brilliant intellectual game as chess originates in India, and it came to Europe via Persia. Indian chess was called chaturanga with king as raja, queen as senapati (counsellor), rook as ratha (chariot), bishop as gaja (elephant), knight as ashva (horse) and pawn as padati (infantry) (Murray, 1913). The old Indian science of logic (nyaya) is also impressive, as well as ancient Indians’ knowledge of mathematics, astronomy, construction, medicine and other subjects. These are just several examples of what level of knowledge the speakers of Sanskrit had and why Sanskrit is such a logical, beautiful and complex language. The connections between Asia and Europe were not only trade connections but also connections in different fields of knowledge. Isn’t it paradoxical that modern descendants of the British colonists get a deep interest and easy access to richness and mellowness of Sanskrit language and ancient Indian literature? This is, to a 22

great extent, the result of British and other Western scholars’ painstaking work over the last centuries. (Sure enough, the ‘Indian heritage’ is not to be mixed up with shabbiness and poverty in Indian streets, Bollywood film industry and pop-culture, Goa beach tourism and other external or superficial things related to ‘Indian’). A due respect to teachers has always been one of the most important principles of learning process in India. Without such respect, the process of receiving knowledge is considered defective or impossible. Any kind of knowledge is regarded in India as having a ‘sacred source’, and, for that reason, in traditional Indian homes you cannot, for example, see any books in an impure place like the lavatory. This is just a small peculiar illustration from Indian daily life to what the differences between western approaches to knowledge and oriental ones are. Now, let’s look at some fundamental Proto-Indo-European (PIE) words and roots, taking cognates in English (Old English – OE) and Sanskrit (S), which are among the most important of PIE descendants. Kinship: mother OE modor, S matri; father OE faeder, S pitri; brother OE brothor, S bhratri; sister OE sweostor, S svasri; son OE sunu, S sunu; daughter OE dohtor, S duhitri; nephew OE nafa; S napat. People: man (as hero) OE wer, S vira; woman/wife OE cwen, gwen, S gna, jani. Pronouns: me OE me, mec, S mam, me; you (nom. sing.) OE tu, S tvam; you (nom. pl.) OE ye, ge, S yuyam; my, mine S mama; (one)self OE seolf, S sva; not, un- OE un, S a-, an-. Numbers: two OE twa, S dva, dvi; three S tri, trayah; four OE feower, S chatvarah; five OE fif, S pancha; six OE siex, S shash; seven OE seofon, S sapta; eight OE eahta, S ashta. Body parts: knee OE cneo, S janu; nose OE nosu, S nasika; mouth S mukha; foot (podium, podiatry, pedal, pedestrian, tripod) OE fot, S pada. Animals: cow OE cu, S go/gava; goose OE gos, S hansa; serpent S sarpa; pig – sow OE su, S sukara; mouse OE mus, S mush. Agriculture: field – acre OE aecer, S ajra; plough S hala; honey OE mead, S madhu; yoke OE geoc, S yuga. Bodily functions: sleep OE swefn, S svapna; sweat OE swaetan, S sveda; to eat OE etan, S atti; to grow OE weaxan, S ukshati. Other: same OE sam-, S sama; together OE sam-, S sam-; wit (intelligence) OE witan, S vetti / vidati; to ask OE fregnan, S pricchati; star OE steorra, S tara; tree OE treo, S taru; warm OE wearm, S gharma (heat); far OE feorr, S pari (forward); over OE ofer, S upari (above, beyond); off S apa (away); middle OE middel, S madhya; light (not heavy) OE leoht, S laghu; red S rudhira, rohita; young S yuvan, yuna; naked OE nacod, S nagna; door OE dor, S dvara; to sew S syuta (sewn); work OE weorc, S varchas; is (3rd p. sg. of be) S asti; to be OE beon, S bhavati; to sit OE sittan, S sidati; to stand S stha, tishthati; to come OE cuman, S gamati (go, move); to bear OE beran, S bharati; yesterday OE geostra, S hyah; night OE neaht, S nakta. This is just a tiny part of cognates which are given in the brilliant voluminous work by Julius Pokorny, who was a great researcher in the field of the Indo-European philology. (NB: The words are given here without diacritical marks. Please refer to: Pokorny, 1959) I’d like to present to respected readers’ attention some more English words and their cognates in Sanskrit, which I’ve been collecting as my own ‘Indo-European illuminations’. The root jna/gya/ gna/gni is one of my favourites. English: cognition, recognise – Sanskrit: jnana / gyana (knowledge). It can be compared with Greek gnosis, Gothic kunnan, Celtic/Old Irish gninaim (wise), Avestan/ Iranian zanat, Old Prussian zinatun, Armenian chaneay, Old Slavic znati, Lithuanian zhinoti, Tocharian knanmam. Obviously, the word ‘cognate’ has got the same root gna. Some more cognates in English and Sanskrit : paradise – paradesha (another land, supreme land); end – anta; vehicle, wagon – vahana (carriage, carrier); ignite – agni (fire, god of fire); bond, bind – bandhana (tying, binding); path – patha (road,

A few word entries from ‘The Concise Sanskrit-English Dictionary’, V.Apte, 2002. M.B. Publishers, Delhi 23

way); myth – mithya (false, lies); new – nava; sugar – sharkara; mix – mishra (mixed); mal- (e.g. malicious, malpractice) – mala (dirt, impurity); saint – santa; same – sama (equal, same), divine – divyam (divine), deva (god); ambrosia – amrita (nectar, immortal); monk – muni (sage); mortal, murder – mara (killing, death), mrityu (death); vicious – visha (poison); man – Manu (Progenitor of humans) manava/manushya (human being); heart – hridaya; vocal, vocabulary – vachas (word), vachaka (speaker); word – vadati (to say); service – seva/sevana; moustache – shmashru; to cut – kartati; priest – purohit; thirst – trishna; that – tat; corner – kona; hand – hasta; name – nama; no, not – na; mind – manah; navel – nabhi; percent – pratishat; vision – vikshana (eye, glance); widow – vidhva; sound – shabda; prayer – prarthana; to create – kriya (action); person – purusha; behaviour – vyavahara. No wonder why in previous times European classical gymnasiums with high academic standards taught Latin, ancient Greek and Sanskrit along with the country’s national language. The credit for that also rests with Sir William Jones and other British/Western indologists. Apart from cognate words, there are many borrowed words in English, which are used in modified form, via Latin and Greek, but are derived from Sanskrit (for example, cent- (as in century, centenary) – satam; dental – dantam (tooth); domestic (Lat. domus) – damah, etc. The word juggernaut (‘unstoppable force’) is a distorted form of the Sanskrit name ‘Jagannath’ (jagata + natha), which means ‘Lord of the world’, a Hindu deity carried once a year in a festive chariot by masses of people in the state of Odisha. The word juggernaut in English is more of a negative meaning, though the deity looks rather cute, with big round eyes and smile. Perhaps it was the huge size of the chariot pulled by hordes of people with passionate and noisy religious zeal that happened to become something frightening for the British onlookers of the festival. The word pundit (knowledgeable person) comes from Sanskrit pandita (learned brahmin). The word zero also has its origin in Sanskrit. Once, the oriental notion of zero caused a significant change in European mathematics. Zero came into English via French from Italian zero, a form of Venetian zevero and Arabic sifr. In the meaning of zero the word sifr was simply a translation of the corresponding Sanskrit word shunya (empty place, naught). The first known English use of zero was in 1598, and it took time for this word to be accepted in English (Harper, 2011; Menninger, 1992). The word sapphire came to English from Old French saphir < Latin sapphires < ancient Greek sappheiros < ultimately from Sanskrit shanipriya, ‘dear to Shani/Saturn’ (Monier-Williams, 1899). The word aubergine (came to English in the late 18th century) < French aubergine < Catalan alberginera < Arabic al-badinjan < Persian badingan < Sanskrit vatingaṇa/vatigagama (Harper, 2011). Thus, the etymology of English words doesn’t stop ultimately at Old Germanic, Latin and Greek – some words can be traced to Sanskrit. At the same time, it is clear that English and Sanskrit belong to different branches of the IE family, and there simply cannot be similarity and correspondence in everything. Some words in English originate in ‘new’ Indian languages like Hindi and Bengali (called prakrits of Sanskrit): pajamas, bangle, cowrie, bungalow, mongoose, crimson, jungle, curry, ginger, shampoo, dinghy, punch, cot, etc. Some popular words like karma, yoga, nirvana, mantra, avatar, guru, samsara have come directly from Sanskrit without any change and nowadays are used in all kind of meanings. Sanskrit is the perfect ancient IE language for comparative linguistics as it has been well-preserved because India has retained its own culture – even now, Sanskrit is the language of certain branches of knowledge and religious scriptures. For example, the Anatolian (Hittite, Lydian, Palaic, Luwian) or Tocharian languages are extinct, and not many texts in these languages have been found. Of the modern European languages, Lithuanian is the closest to Sanskrit. There is also a large number of cognate forms in German, Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian and other Slavic languages. (Trubetzkoy, 2001; Clackson, 2007) In the discussion of this topic, it should be mentioned that nowadays there are different types of 24

misuse and speculation of the terms like ‘Sanskrit’, ‘Aryan’, ‘noble’, etc. Biased and pseudoscientific approach to comparative linguistics cannot but bring about jumbles of fantasies backed up by fragmentary, distorted or questionable data presented as ‘facts’. There are different types of etymological fallacies, e.g. when someone tries to compare a word to another word which sounds similar but has a completely different meaning. Comparative linguistics only deals with real and not imaginary links between words. In conclusion, it wouldn’t be out of place to say a few words about one of the eminent British orientologists who continued IE research work in the 19th century. Dr. Arthur Coke Burnell was born in 1840 in Gloucestershire, studied at Bedford School and then at King’s College in London, where he met the distinguished scholar of Sanskrit and Pali, Prof. V. Fausböll from Copenhagen, who seems to have turned him towards Indian studies. Arthur’s father was an official of the British East India Company, and in 1860 Arthur went out to Madras as a member of the Civil Service. He acquired or copied many Sanskrit manuscripts and presented his collection of 350 manuscripts to the India Office Library in London. Due to poor health, overwork and tropical climate, Burnell didn’t live long – he came back to England and died at the age of 42. His constitution, never strong, broke down prematurely, and he died in 1882 at West Stratton, Hampshire. In 1874, Burnell published A Handbook of South Indian Palaeography, highly regarded by Max Müller. Burnell was also the author of many translations from and commentaries on various Sanskrit manuscripts. He translated several ancient books from Sanskrit into English (The Ordinances of Manu, Samavidhana Brahmana, Samhitopanishad, etc.). Along with his research activities, he served as a District Judge in various places and travelled extensively in India and other oriental countries. In addition to his exhaustive knowledge of Sanskrit and Indian vernaculars, this many-sided scholar had some knowledge of Tibetan, Arabic, Javanese and Coptic. Together with Sir Henry Yule he compiled an extensive compendium called HobsonJobson (The Definitive Glossary of British India) which was first published in 1886. It’s a historical dictionary containing Anglo-Indian words which came into use during the British rule of India (Chisholm, 1911; Yule, Burnell, 1886). Rhyming reproduction or the ‘echo word’ phenomenon is often observed in South Indian languages, and the term ‘hobson-jobson’ was supposed to mean ‘a native festal excitement’, following a certain phrase used in India during festivals. Hobson and Jobson were stock characters of Victorian times, and so Burnell and Yule decided to use those names for a joking word play in the title of their dictionary, in spite of the fact that their compendium was a serious academic work. The term ‘law of Hobson-Jobson’ is sometimes used in linguistics to refer to the process of phonological change by which loanwords are adapted to the phonology of the new language (OED, 2019). Arthur Burnell is just one of many British scholars who went through many hardships to study Indian languages, history and literature for the benefit of later generations. The respected reader may see an amazingly great number of such British scholars listed in the database of Dr. Klaus Karttunen, Professor of Indology in the University of Helsinki (Karttunen, 2017). Some well-known British writers were born and lived in colonial India, and I believe they had great experiences in that wonderful country. William Makepeace Thackeray was born in 1811 in the capital of British India, Calcutta; Rudyard Kipling – 1865, Bombay; Hector Hugh Munroe (Saki) – 1870, Akyab (Burma, then a province of British India); George Orwell – 1903, Motihari (Bihar province); M.M. Kaye – 1908, Shimla (Himachal Pradesh province); John Masters – 1914, Calcutta; William Mark Tully – 1935, Calcutta. The topic of IE connections is vast, and my renderings should be paused at this point. Searching for ‘Logos’ is really endless, since language is a phenomenon

Arthur Coke Burnell (1840-1882), one of British scholars in the Sanskrit language and literature who lived in India 25

of eternal beauty. Atraiva kutrachit syat. Anveshanam kurmaha. ‘It will be somewhere here. Let us search for it.’ Or at least let us contemplate a bit about the origins. REFERENCES Anthony, David W.; Ringe, Done. 2015. ‘The Indo-European Homeland from Linguistic and Archaeological Perspectives’. Annual Review of Linguistics. doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-linguist-030514-124812 Anthony, David W. 2007. The horse, the wheel, and language: how bronze-age riders from the Eurasian steppes shaped the modern world (8th reprint. ed.). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. Apte, V.S. 1977. Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Poona: Prasad Prakashan. Auroux, Sylvain. 2000. History of the Language Sciences. Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter. Beckett, Samuel. 1929. ‘Dante… Bruno. Vico… Joyce’. Our Exagmination [sic] of Work in Progress. London: Faber and Faber. Benoit, Madhu. 2010. The Intellectual Adventures of William Jones (II): The Justinian of India. William_Jones_II_The_Justinian_of_India Birodkar, Sudheer. 2001. Ancient India’s Contribution to Our World’s Material (Temporal) Culture. Böhtlingk, О. 1879-1889. Sanskrit Wörterbuch. St. Petersburg: Böhtlingk und Roth. Chavda A.L. 2017. The Aryan Invasion Myth: How 21st Century Science Debunks 19th Century Indology. Childe V.G. 1926. The Aryans. A study of Indo-European Origins. New York: Alfred A.Knopf. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. 1911. ‘Burnell, Arthur Coke’. Encyclopædia Britannica, 4 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. Clackson, James. 2007. Indo-European Linguistics. An Introduction. Univ. of Cambridge. Daniloff, R., Kopf, C. 1986. ‘Digging up new theories of early man.’ U.S. News & World Report. September 1. Emeneau M. 1956. India as a linguistic area. (Language, v. 32). Reprinted in: Emeneau, M. Language and linguistic area. Anwar S.Dil (Ed.) Stanford: Stanford University Press. 1980. Ethnologue. 2019. ‘List of language families’. Glottolog 3.4. 2019. - Retrieved on 04.04.2019 Harper, Douglas. 2011. Etymology Dictionary. Jha, N. 1996. Vedic Glossary on Indus Seals. Varanasi: Ganga-Kaveri Publishing House. Jha N., Rajaram N.S. 2000. The Deciphered Indus Script: Methodology, readings, interpretations. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Jones, Sir William. 1883. The Selected Poems of Sir William Jones. Calcutta. Jones, Sir William. 1786. Sir William Jones: Selected poetical and prose works. Michael J. Franklin, ed. 1995. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. Kak, Subhash. 2003. ‘The Mahabharata and the Sindhu-Sarasvati Tradition.’ Perspectives in VedicHarappan Relationships. Louisiana State University, 2004. Kalyanaraman, S. 1995. Saraswati-Sindhu Civilization. Karttunen, Klaus. 2017. Persons of Indian Studies. Kenoyer, J.M. 1998. Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization. Karachi: Oxford University Press. Kuhn, Thomas S. 1996. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 3rd ed. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Lal, B.B., Prof. 2002. The Homeland of Indo-European Languages and Culture: Some Thoughts. Bharatiya Pragna. Mallory, J. P. 1991. In Search of the Indo-Europeans. Thames & Hudson. Mallory, J. P. 1997. ‘Proto-Indo-European’. Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Adams, Douglas Q. eds. London and Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. Menninger, Karl. 1992. Number words and number symbols: a cultural history of numbers. Courier 26

Dover Publications. Monier-Williams, M. 1899. A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1960 Murray, H.J.R. 2013. A History of Chess. Oxford University Press. OED – Oxford English Dictionary. 2019. Oxford University Press. Rajaram, N.S. 1993. Aryan Invasion of India: The Myth and the Truth. New Delhi: Voice of India. Sagan, Carl; Druyan, Ann. 1993. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: A Search of Who We Are. New York: Ballantine Books. Salomon, Richard. 1998. Indian Epigraphy: A Guide to the Study of Inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and the other Indo-Aryan Languages. Oxford University Press. Sen, Keshub Chunder. 1877. Keshub Chunder Sen’s lectures in India. London: Cassell, 1901. Talageri, S.G. 1993. The Aryan Invasion Theory: A Reappraisal. Foreword by S.R. Rao. – New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Trubetzkoy, N.S. 2001. Studies in General Linguistics and Language Structure. Anatoly Liberman (Ed.), transl. by Marvin Taylor and Anatoly Liberman. Durham and London: Duke University Press. Pagel, M., Atkinson, Q. D., Calude, A. and Meade, A. 2013. ‘Ultraconserved words point to deep language ancestry across Eurasia.’ PNAS of the USA. content/110/21/8471 Pokorny, Julius. 1959. Indogermanisches-Etymologisches-Wörterbuch. Bern, Munchen: A.Francke. English translation: Watkins, Calvert. 2000. ‘Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans’, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed., 2009), Houghton Mifflin Company. Yule, Henry; Burnell, A.C. 1886. Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases. London: John Murray. mode/2up

How well do you know the province of Ontario in Canada? (Pictures on p. 56) 1. The Canadian Parliament Buildings in Ottawa contain the House of Commons, the Senate chambers, offices of MPs (Members of Parliament), and administrative offices. While the tower of the British Houses of Parliament is called Big Ben, the Canadian Parliament has the Peace Tower. 2. Queen’s University in Kingston is Canada’s oldest university; it was established in 1841 by Royal Charter of Queen Victoria. 3. Casa Loma is a Gothic Revival style mansion and garden, located in Toronto, and is now a historic house museum and landmark. It was constructed in 1913 as a residence for financier Sir Henry Pellatt. 4. Tartu College was designed by the Estonian architect Elmar Tampõld and built in 1970. It was named after Tartu, Estonia, and is an undergraduate student co-op with a library, archive, and study centre serving the Estonian-Canadian community. 5. Ontario Provincial Legislative Building, built in 1892, is located in Toronto, Ontario’s capital. The provincial government is responsible for matters that affect the province as a whole, such as education, health care, the environment, agriculture, and highways. 6. Niagara Falls consists of three waterfalls on the border between Ontario, Canada, and New York State, USA (the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls on the American side, and the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian Side). Canadian Horseshoe Falls (in the picture) is famed for its beauty and as a valuable source of hydroelectric power. Length: 792.4 metres, height: 50.9 metres.



Department of English Studies University of Tartu

In recent years the dictionary scene has witnessed significant changes. On the positive side, the empirical evidence that supports the dictionary data has grown considerably over the years. In the case of COBUILD 9, published in 2018, the dictionary text is supported by a database of 4.5 billion words. By comparison, it is worth remembering that at the time when the first edition of COBUILD was published in 1987, it was based on a corpus of 20 million words. On the other hand, a few years ago, when you bought a new print dictionary, it came with a CD-ROM or a DVD that had extensive possibilities to search the dictionary by means of various filters and thus provided great value. Not so anymore. The sales of print dictionaries have been on the decline, and the CD-ROM and DVD formats have gradually disappeared. What I miss is many search options that these formats offered. For example, you could use wild cards, such as the asterisk, which enables you to explore righthand word parts. It was also possible to filter out, for example, informal vocabulary, Australian words, grammar patterns, or even speech sounds. At present, many new computers do not have CD-ROM and DVD drives; thus, students cannot use them anyway. More importantly, dictionary skills have changed together with the new situation, and the students have to be taught accordingly. As noted, the new COBUILD has no CD-ROM of DVD; instead now the cover of the printed edition informs you that the electronic edition of the dictionary can be found at It is free for everybody to use; however, you’ll notice immediately that it comes at a cost; namely, you cannot avoid numerous advertisements that divert your attention. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the online dictionary sites? Because there are no space limitations, the publishers of monolingual learners’ dictionaries have invested heavily in the development of their online dictionary sites. The current publishing trend is to offer the dictionary user not one dictionary but a whole collection of interlinked monolingual, bilingual, and multilingual lexicographic resources. This trend is followed by all the major dictionary publishers. When you visit, the first thing that strikes you is that the site is promoted as “the home of living English, with more than 725,000 words, meanings, and phrases”. This figure is a surprise because COBUILD 9, which is a single-volume print dictionary, cannot simply list so many lexical items. Moreover, COBUILD has struggled for years with the dilemma that the dictionary was originally designed as a corpus-driven electronic dictionary (the first edition of COBUILD was published in 1987), but single-volume printed editions had to be published as well. The number of pages of a single-volume print dictionary can usually reach about two thousand pages (COBUILD 9 has 1872 pages). The lexicographic community is well aware that printed editions of COBUILD listed 20–25 per cent less entries than similar dictionaries published by the competitors in the field. The reason for this situation is that COBUILD uses full-sentence definitions and corpus examples, which take up more space; for example, the verb pattern ‘fish for sth’ is defined as follows: 28

If you say that someone is fishing for information or praise, you disapprove of the fact that they are trying to get it from someone in an indirect way. He didn’t want to create the impression that he was fishing for information… ‘Lucinda, you don’t have to talk to him!’ Mike shouted. ‘He’s just fishing = angle This defining style has several advantages because the definition provides typical collocations of the verb pattern as well as pragmatic meaning (disapproval). Now this weakness can be overcome by the fact that digital editions have no space limitations. However, good dictionary websites have a number of other strengths. In fact, you can search across a collection of dictionaries available at the website. For example, COBUILD 9 covers bromance, selfie stick, and ego trip, but should you look up ego surfing, ego boost, or -aholic, which are not listed in COBUILD 9, you’ll be referred to other dictionaries. A recent feature of the online edition is the possibility to watch and listen to video pronunciations by means of a YouTube link. It is helpful in those cases when there is a need to work on the pronunciation of a word, such as drought, tomato, or advertisement. Unfortunately, as of today video pronunciations of only British English are available, and such British place names as Gloucester and Reading are not covered by this feature. Another useful feature concerns usage trends, which sums up the history of recorded evidence for a word. For example, we are told that African-American is “one of the 10000 most commonly used words in the Collins dictionary” and its usage increased considerably starting with the 1980s. In contrast, while Negro also belongs to the 10000 most commonly used words, its usage peaked around 1928, 1948, and 1968 and then started to decrease. Dictionary websites also offer translations of meanings into dozens of other languages. The list of available languages will probably increase and could reach a hundred in the coming years. At present Collins offers bilingual online dictionaries for the language pairs English and Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Translations of individual words and their pronunciation are available for 27 languages and their varieties, including Finnish, European Spanish and Latin American Spanish. It is tempting to ask if the printed edition of a dictionary is needed at all. Are there any reasons to justify its existence? It’s a good question. For the time being there is still some diversity in dictionary formats, but it seems that the future belongs to online editions.

EATE congratulates Ursula Roosmaa, Director of British Council Estonia, on becoming a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. We hope that our excellent cooperation with the British Council and Ursula in person will flourish and continue.



Editor of OPEN!

The first lecturer in English at the University of Tartu as the national university of the Republic of Estonia was Jenny Leidig. On 3 September 1919 she submitted the following application (palwekiri in the old-fashioned Estonian of the time) to the Rector: “As the need for learning English is very great, please appoint me to the post of the English lecturer at the University of Tartu until someone else comes from England. Respectfully, Jenny Leidig.” Her full name was Jenny Rosalie Auguste Leidig. The baptism certificate (Taufschein) written in German shows that she was born at Pärsti manor in Viljandi County (auf dem Hofe Perst zu Fellinland) on 23 August (4 September New Style) 1863. Her parents were manor bailiff Hermann Leidig and his wife Rosalie, née Koch. The Geni database also gives Pärsti as the birthplace of Jenny’s brother Hermann Paul Jacob Leidig (b. 1865). Geni does not show the exact birthplace and time of her other brother Wilhelm Leidig. The National Archives of Estonia store two personal files of Jenny Leidig – about her work at the university (EAA 2100.2.522) and at Hugo Treffner Gymnasium (EAA 2022.2.218). Documents about her can also be found in the file of the University of Tartu “Applications, decisions and acts on lecturers of English” (Avaldused, otsused ja aktid inglise keele lektorite asjus, EAA 2100.5.263). The personal file about Jenny Leidig’s work at the university includes her biography written in her own hand (Õpetaja Jenny Leidig’i elulugu). It has been written in violet ink with corrections in black ink and pencil. In her biography, Jenny Leidig writes about her parents: “My father’s grandfather came to Haapsalu from Bavaria two hundred years ago, and the Leidig family lived there until my father went to the country. I am Estonian on my mother’s side, as my mother’s father was Koch or Kokk, köster (pastor’s assistant) at Vändra.” This was Reinhold Martin Koch (b. 1798), köster at Vändra until 1842, who is considered the prototype of Mr Kokk (Koka-isand) in Ernst Särgava’s novel Lähme linna kirjutama, oma elu kergendama. (Geni). R. M. Koch’s brother was Wilhelm Andreas Koch whose 30

Jenny Leidig's job application

daughter Anette Juliane Emilie married Johann Voldemar Jannsen, thus being the mother of the famous poetess Lydia Koidula. The article published in Postimees newspaper on Jenny Leidig’s death, “Bishop buries Koidula’s friend” (20 June 1935), states that Jenny Leidig grew up together with Koidula and was the first to read many of Koidula’s poems. As Koidula (born 1843) was 20 years older than Jenny, she could have been a childminder rather than a friend. Growing up together with Koidula also sounds dubious, as the Jannsens lived in Pärnu and moved to Tartu in December 1863. Naturally, as relatives, they may have visited each other. It is known about her family on her father’s side that Carl Friedrich Leidig (1823–1878) was mayor of Haapsalu from 1874–1876 (Haapsalu teadaolevad valitsejad). His brother, Herman David Philipp Leidig, Jenny Leidig’s father, figured in the list of citizens of Haapsalu in 1834 (EAA.1864.2.VIII-161); he was eight years old then. Thus, at the time Jenny was born, Hermann Leidig must have been 37, which is entirely probable. Coming from a mixed Estonian-German family, Jenny Leidig Jenny Leidig considered herself Estonian. This can be seen in the copy of her identity card and her service record at the university where her ethnicity is marked as Estonian. On the sheet where she had listed her diplomas, she had also considered it necessary to add in black ink “Estonian by ethnicity”. Postimees (3 September 1933) writes on Jenny Leidig’s 70th birthday that she was not influenced by the Germanisation wave in her youth and remained true to Estonian ideals. Jenny Leidig was educated at her parents’ home in the country, later in Tallinn where her father had found a job and at St Petersburg Conservatoire. Thereafter, she taught languages and music at secondary schools in Moscow. She writes in her biography: “After four years, I found a job with Mrs Crawshaw as a governess. I worked there for five years. I attended the senior classes of High School in Birmingham in England and received a schoolteacher’s certificate.” The word “schoolteacher” has later been crossed out in black ink. Although it has not been said explicitly, it can be supposed that Leidig got acquainted with Mrs Crawshaw in Moscow and went to England with her. Jenny Leidig continues: “I quit this job when Mrs Crawshaw’s children had grown up and her daughter married an American.” The above-mentioned school was Gravelly Hill High School; the copy of the certificate states its location as ‘near Birmingham’. At present, Gravelly Hill is one of the districts of Birmingham, approximately four miles north-east of the city centre. It cannot be precisely understood what kind of education the school provided. The certificate says “… that Jennie Leidig has been placed in the First Division by the undersigned, after an Examination in English Grammar and Analysis, set by the University of Cambridge for Junior Students. She is also placed in the First Division for having answered satisfactory a paper on one of Shakespeare’s Plays.” Jenny Leidig returned to Estonia in 1901 and was employed as a teacher of English at Pushkin Gymnasium in Tartu – a girls’ school with the Russian language of instruction. From January 1906, she also worked as a teacher of English at

Jenny Leidig's personal file 31

Tartu Scientific Secondary School. When Pushkin Gymnasium was evacuated to Russia in 1919, she became a teacher at Hugo Treffner Gymnasium and at the Commercial School, which was situated at 8 Fortuuna Street. The file about Jenny Leidig’s work at the University of Tartu includes a sheet where she has listed her diplomas. The diploma of St Petersburg Conservatoire is not mentioned there; perhaps she did not graduate, as she has written in her biography: “Three years later [i.e. after going to St Petersburg], I received a schoolteacher’s post in Moscow...” Above the word ‘Three’, ‘Two’ has been written in black ink; obviously she did not remember exactly how long she had stayed in St Petersburg. The list includes the Gravelly Hill High School certificate (1898), a home tutor’s certificate from St Petersburg educational district (1905), certificates of holiday courses at the University of London from 1906, 1909 and (added later) 1922. The 1906 certificate from the University of London states that, for her “knowledge of idiomatic spoken English and correctness of pronunciation”, she had been placed into Class 1, Division 3. The certificate also provides the definitions of classes and divisions from Class 1, Division 1 (practically faultless) to Class 3, Division 3 (very poor). Division 3 of Class 1 has been worded as ‘very good indeed’. The certificates from 1909 and 1922 only confirm the attendance of courses without giving any details. The certificate of the St Petersburg educational district of 12 February 1905 states that Jenny Leidig displayed excellent command of English and, in the presence of examiners, gave a test lesson on the theme “Use of possessive pronouns” and received the qualification of a home tutor. The National Archives store the copy of the order by which Jenny Leidig was appointed to the lecturer’s post at the University of Tartu. It is a tiny slip of paper (like many other documents from that time) from 15 October 1919 with the handwritten text “to Miss Jenny Leidig. The Provisional Council of the University of Tartu, at its meeting on 13 October 1919, appointed you to the post of the temporary acting lecturer in English.” It has been signed by University Curator P. Põld. According to the obituary published in Postimees on 19 June 1935, Jenny Leidig was the first woman lecturer at the University of Tartu (Jenny Leidig †). In the lecture schedules of the university (Eesti Wabariigi Tartu Ülikooli ettelugemiste kawa: 1919–1922) the courses taught by J. Leidig are presented in variable wording. The schedules for the 2nd semester of 1919 and the 1st semester of 1920 included English for beginners and for advanced learners; in the 2nd semester of 1920 – English I general course, I-a for economists, I-b for economists, II course, III course. As can be seen, the significance of business English was understood even in those early days, as English was obligatory for the students of economics and figured as a separate subject in the lecture schedules during the whole interwar period. The same courses figure in the schedule for the 1st semester of 1921. In the 2nd semester of 1921, the courses have been formulated as follows: “English lecturer’s course, Economists I, Economists II”. The 1st semester of 1922 was the last when Jenny Leidig taught at the University, and the courses were “Elementary course, II course, III course (for economists)”. The students of economics belonged to the Faculty of Law then; a separate Faculty of Economics was set up later. A typewritten sheet with the heading “The English Language” and dated 31 October 1920 is what, in our present-day terminology, might be called Jenny Leidig’s course outline with learning outcomes. The course lasted for three years. The programme for the first year included phonetics, reading, conversation exercises, an overview of grammar and syntax, dictations and small paraphrases. The programme for the second year consisted of phonetics, practical grammar and syntax, letter-writing, paraphrases, reading of shorter literary works from the modern and classical period (O. Wilde – Shakespeare). The third-year programme included conversational exercises on grammatical, literary and historical themes. Phonetics was revised; grammar and syntax were practised on a “broader scale”. The literature included Beowulf, Carlyle, Ruskin, Tennyson and Browning. By the end of the third year, the student had to be able to speak fluently, to write correctly and to keep correspondence in English. 32

The much-cursed reporting on research existed even in these early years. The report submitted to Prof. Jõgever, Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, on 20 November 1920 shows that Jenny Leidig did not have any publications or writings, but she had delivered a public lecture on the life and work of Dickens at May Flower Club. She writes about research trips: “As I requested, I was assigned by the university administration to go to the University of London to upgrade my education and to procure new books. Because of financial difficulties, the trip was cancelled.” She had not participated in any conferences but had delivered as many as 70 lectures at summer courses for teachers of English. Additionally, she had “extraordinary research tasks: I study the relations between word stems in English and the Norse languages to find the Norse word stems in English.” She was also writing a brief history of England, which is not known to have been published. The progress of summer course participants was also checked in winter; for this, Jenny Leidig asked to provide 2–3 heated lecture-rooms on 4 and 5 January 1922. The management department met her request. The need for learning English seemed to be great indeed, as the lecturer had plenty of students. On 5 October 1920, she wrote to Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy that there were more than a hundred first-year students on the list. “To facilitate the teaching of English, it would be necessary to divide them into groups: 66 students of economics into one group and the students of other faculties into another.” The faculty supported Leidig’s request and forwarded it to the university administration, adding: “The faculty considers it necessary that each lecturer should have the right to divide practical language courses into halves if the number of students exceeds 30...” Leidig was allowed to divide the students into groups, but the university did not find a permanent solution to the problem of the size of groups, as Jenny Leidig and the following lecturers repeatedly submitted similar applications in the next years. As the lecture schedule included English for students of economics as a separate subject, it can be supposed that the book English Commercial Correspondence (1921, shapirograph print, text in English, Estonian and Russian), edited by Jenny Leidig, could have been meant as a study aid for the students of this speciality. Ester, the online catalogue of Estonian libraries, does not mention any other publications by J. Leidig. As said above, Jenny Leidig had earlier attended summer courses at the University of London. On 24 February 1920, she had applied for a grant for travelling to London because, “for me as a teacher it is very important to acquire new methods, to procure good books and, for the benefit of our country, to distribute them to my students and young teachers, most of whom are my former students.” The university council decided to send her to London without monetary support, and the trip did not materialise. Later, in 1922, she managed to travel to London, although still at her own expense. On 9 May 1922, she submits an application to Prof. Jaan Jõgever, Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, where she repeats the text of her employment application and continues in the same vein: “As now someone else is coming, and I see the need to devote myself to other tasks, I ask to be relieved from the duties of the English lecturer.” Both documents show that Jenny Leidig saw her job at the university as temporary, which is understandable, as she had no academic philological education. Nonetheless, she seems to have been a competent lecturer. On her resignation, Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy thanked her for the work she had done until then. Although Jenny Leidig submitted her official application for resignation on 9 May 1922, her intention to leave dates from an earlier time, as seen from the letter by H. Mutchmann, a German who worked as Professor of English, to Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy of 30 January 1922. He asks to include the question about the English lectureship in the agenda of the next faculty meeting, as Miss Leidig was going to quit. The letter carries the resolution of the meeting of 2 February 1922: “Prof. Mutschmann is asked to continue looking for a suitable lecturer.” Jenny Leidig was extremely hardworking; throughout the time she worked for the university, she was also a full-time teacher at Hugo Treffner Gymnasium where she gave 24–28 lessons per week. She continued working at Treffner after leaving the university. The headmaster’s application of September 33

1920 to Tartu Education Authority to raise Jenny Leidig’s salary is very appreciative of her work. She is called one of “the oldest and most experienced English teachers of Estonian descent.” It is said that “Miss Leidig teaches her subject with great devotion, attracting students’ interest in it” and that she fulfils “the duties of the teacher with utmost punctuality, which should be particularly appreciated at the present time.” It is also mentioned that “the university administration called her to work as an English lecturer at the university, which is a good proof of Miss Leidig’s abilities.” Raising the salary did not progress quickly, but in January 1921, the head of the Educational Authority writes that “teacher Leidig has been placed into the 2nd rank of education as of 1 January 1921.” Jenny Leidig’s personal file from Hugo Treffner Gymnasium also contains her oath sheet of 11 October 1922 where she promises and swears to remain faithful to the democratic Republic of Estonia and its legal government. She was sworn in by Konstantin Treffner, “headmaster of the Gymnasium founded by H. Treffner”. Such oath sheets have also preserved about several members of the university staff. The swearing in of civil servants was introduced in 1922 (Riigiteenijate vannutamine sisse seatud: 1922). In addition to the work at the university and the school, she had enough energy to lecture at preparatory courses for primary and secondary school teachers of English in 1919, 1920 and 1921. Jenny Leidig retired from Hugo Treffner Gymnasium in 1925. Despite her exemplary service, Tartu Education Authority considered it necessary to advise her “to quit the job of the teacher and start getting the pension.” Postimees (3 September 1933) writes on Jenny Leidig’s 70th birthday: “Great is the number of this fine-souled educator’s students and friends.” It is mentioned that she donates a great part of her small pension for charity. The obituary “Jenny Leidig †”, published in Postimees on 19 June 1935, mentions her tireless voluntary work after retirement, including her activities in the Reconciliation Society and the Society of Caring for Prisoners where she had also given lessons to prisoners. Jenny Leidig was a well-known and acknowledged figure in Tartu of that time. A proof of this is that Bishop Hugo Bernhard Rahamägi had been invited to conduct the funeral service, and Cantate Domino, the university congregation mixed choir, whose supporting member she had been, sang at her funeral. REFERENCES Avaldused, otsused ja aktid inglise keele lektorite asjus. Estonian National Archives. EAA 2100.5.263. Eesti Wabariigi Tartu Ülikooli ettelugemiste kawa. 1919–1922. Accessed 10 October 2018. Haapsalu linn; käsitöölised nr. 1-167. Estonian National Archives. EAA.1864.2.VIII-161; 1834, p. 6. Haapsalu teadaolevad valitsejad. Compiled by Kalev Jaago. Accessed 10 October 2018. Jenny Leidig †. 1935. Postimees, 164, 19 June. Jenny Leidig 70-aastane. 1933. Postimees, 206, 3 September. Leidig, Jenny (Ed.) 1921. English Commercial Correspondence. Tartu. Leidig, Jenny, lektor. Estonian National Archives. EAA 2100.2.522. Leidig, Jenny. Estonian National Archives. EAA 2022.2.218. Piiskop matab Koidula sõbrannat. 1935. Postimees, 165, 20 June. Riigiteenijate vannutamine sisse seatud. 1922. Päevaleht, 91, 22 April.



Regional English Language Officer

We are all reflective teachers. Even if we never learned about being a reflective teacher in our degree programs, we, as teachers, are simply curious people who want to become better at what we do; we want to ascertain that our students learned the material we taught; we want to be sure we taught something the best way we know how. Being a reflective teacher is an excellent start to personal professional development. We reflect, we see an issue, we attempt to solve that issue, and that continues in a circular pattern, over and over and over. I think this is why we never tire of being a teacher — we have so many challenges to overcome. I want to share some additional resources with you that may help you as you answer your questions, meet your challenges, and solve your problems. The Regional English Language Office, operating out of U.S. Embassy Tallinn has many resources for teachers. First, every other Wednesday at both 15:00 and 20:00 is a Facebook Live event for teachers. There are usually three series a year and each series has 6 sessions. Teachers receive an e-certificate after completing 4 of the 6 sessions. The next series will begin in September. These are free professional development series, and you can learn more about them by liking American English for Educators on Facebook. Past series are available on the Facebook page and also on Youtube at The topics are numerous, but a few of them include using comics and graphic novels in your classroom, practical applications for critical thinking, implementing content based instruction, communicative grammar with games for younger learners, effective grammar input to balance output, and adapting your materials for a mixed-ability classroom. The second professional development opportunity I would like to share is the American English E-Teacher Scholarship Program. U.S. Embassy Tallinn receives scholarships for English teachers to take graduate level online classes for free. These graduate level classes are intense and very rewarding. The full list of classes is available at and it includes teaching English to young learners, using educational technology in the classroom, TESOL methodology, and integrating critical thinking skills in the classroom. These courses are offered from U.S. universities that are highly respected in the TESOL field, such as Arizona State University, George Mason University, and Iowa State University. As graduate level courses, expect to spend about 8-10 hours a week on them. One of the best opportunities for all English teachers are the facilitated MOOCs from the E-Teacher program. These MOOCs are free for everyone and often provide a shorter look at the longer, online classes. For example, our last MOOC facilitator was Joan Shin, famous in our field for teaching English to young learners. Her MOOC lasted for 5 weeks and teachers from all over the world participated. A new MOOC will be ready in the fall, so pay attention to the E-Teacher website:


Additionally, my colleague, Tiiu Vitsut, and I, along with British Council and EATE bring U.S. experts to Estonia to conduct workshops and teach in universities. The English Language Fellow program will bring two Fellows here for the 2019–2020 school year. One will teach at TalTech, and the other will teach at Narva College. These Fellows are available to teachers and schools throughout Estonia for teacher training workshops and other professional development opportunities. English Language Specialists also come to Estonia. In the spring, Dr. Emily Thrush came and conducted workshops throughout Estonia. We will get the word out through EATE and email about special opportunities coming your way for professional development. Finally, U.S. Embassy Tallinn invites English Teaching Assistants to Estonia through the Fulbright program. These are motivated young people who want to live in Estonia and help English language learners. Though they may live in one city, they can travel in Estonia to help you in the classroom, with English clubs, and with English language week celebrations. If you have suggestions or want additional information, please feel free to email me at:


University of Tartu

Can you guess what this is? Five plenaries, eighteen poster presentations, more than 150 workshops, nearly 450 talks, approximately 3,000 attendees? The correct answer – the 53rd International IATEFL Conference, which took place from the 1st to the 5th of April in the Arena and Convention Centre (ACC) Liverpool. Of course, the five days held many more attractions than the ones listed above. In the mornings and during break and lunch times, there were the “How To …” sessions; in the evenings, receptions and other recreational activities took place. In addition, there was the exhibition of the latest ELT publications and services with more than 50 publishers, language schools and university departments participating. After all, the event was called the IATEFL Conference and EXHIBITION. Ülle with the IATEFL logo The first emotion when I opened the 250-page programme was dismay – it is impossible to see and hear everything! How can one make sure that one hears the most interesting and relevant talks, participates in the most engaging sessions and, in general, gets the best of experiences? Attending such a huge event is like living in the fable of the blind men and the elephant – each participant ends up with an entirely different experience and gets a totally different picture. The IATEFL annual conference is definitely the place to find out what the current issues and concerns in ELT are. What really surprised me was that culture seems to have disappeared from ELT. In the 36

only previous IATEFL conference I have attended – Aberdeen 2007 – there had been trips and evening events dedicated to the Scottish culture. I was looking forward to similar experiences in Liverpool. After all, this is the city that used to be called “the New York of Europe”, the centre of the Merseybeat and the Beatles, the 2008 European Capital of Culture, the home of two cathedrals and two Premier League football clubs. All this, however, was not mentioned. “Culture” had been replaced with “global issues” in the conference programme. The latter did include some discussions of intercultural communicative competence, intercultural readiness and intercultural development, but that was all. It seems as if English has stopped being the language of people of varied cultures and has become a true lingua franca used for the purposes of intercultural communication and understanding. Similarly underrepresented were such traditional areas as literature (with only 16 sessions) and the English language itself. One of the presenters even complained that E has disappeared from IATEFL. Pronunciation, however, seems to be on its way back into teaching, though only nine presentations were included this time. By far the largest number of presentations, on the other hand, were devoted to teacher development and teacher training and education issues. On the basis of that, one might argue that teachers and teacher educators are more concerned with their own problems than with the subject matter that they are teaching. The best insights into what the hot topics at the moment are can probably be gained from the plenaries. The four morning plenaries this year were about teacher empowerment, gender and sexuality in ELT, integrating content and language and the language of education technology. My own conference was a hotchpotch of topics and ideas. As I did not have a particular area I wanted to delve deeply into, I initially decided to engage in celebrity spotting – something that such an event is uniquely suitable for. I attended the workshop by Tessa Woodward “Been teaching and teacher training for a long time?” and learned some nice professional development activities. I listened to the talk by Jane Willis “Task-based learning via online teaching?” and got confirmation that taskbased teaching is still popular. I attended the forum on rethinking language teacher training and development where two of the trainers were Rod Bolitho and Alan Maley. The latter’s creativity and erudition are amazing. I listened to Scott Thornbury speak about how to answer learners’ grammar questions and was sorely disappointed I could not listen to Mario Rinvolucri, David Nunan and Brian Tomlinson as their presentations were so popular that there was no room for me. It is always great to see in person people whom you know through their writing as names on the covers of numerous books. The most interesting talk I listened to was, however, by Carol Lethaby “Discovery learning or direct instruction? Cognitive load theory and ELT”, which challenged the general belief that it is

The Museum of Liverpool 37

always better for learners to work things out for themselves than be explicitly taught. In addition to providing food for thought and new insights, such conferences are also great places for meeting old friends and making new ones. Never mind that the thousands milling around mean that you lose sight of your old or new friend immediately after meeting them and might never run into them again. You might also get an opportunity to talk to your guru. So I had a chat with Jane Willis and a briefer one with David Crystal. Despite the full schedule of exciting workshops and talks, I sneaked off to see the slavery exhibition in the Maritime Museum just round the corner and the Double Fantasy – John & Yoko exhibition in the Museum of Liverpool – both of which are definitely worth a longer visit than I could afford. The five days passed very fast, but they were so intensive, full of ideas and challenges that another day would have meant that the impressions of the first days would have been deleted forever. I think any teacher should try and attend such an event at least once in their lifetime. The positive energy gained there will sustain you for many months and, once in a while, something you learned or heard will come back to haunt you, just like the poem Alan Maley read at the end of his talk.


By Alan Maley What do you do? I’m a teacher. What do you teach? People. What do you teach them? English. You mean grammar, verbs, nouns, pronunciation, conjugation, articles and particles, negatives and interrogatives...? That too. What do you mean, ‘that too’? Well, I also try to teach them how to think, and feel – show them inspiration, aspiration, cooperation, participation, consolation, innovation, ... help them think about globalization, exploitation, confrontation, incarceration, discrimination, degradation, subjugation, ... how inequality brings poverty, how intolerance brings violence, how need is denied by greed, how -isms become prisons, how thinking and feeling can bring about healing. Well I don’t know about that. Maybe you should stick to language. forget about anguish. You can’t change the world. But if I did that, I’d be a cheater, not a teacher.



Narva College of the University of Tartu

For more than 50 years, TESOL International Association has been at the forefront of English language teaching in the USA and the world, supporting teachers of English as a second or foreign language in their professional development. It does so by promoting professional learning, research, advocacy and raising standards in ELT. With over 12000 members in 160 countries, TESOL provides a wide range of opportunities and events to achieve excellence in English language teaching. One of such key events is the annual TESOL Convention and Exhibition, which has been hosted in many different cities around the USA. This year TESOL Convention took place in the capital of the State of Georgia, Atlanta, on 12–15 March 2019. Each year the Convention, the largest of its kind, welcomes more than 6500 ELT specialists, researchers, administrators from every corner of the world. The venue of this year’s convention was the world famous Georgia World Congress Center, the third-largest convention center in the USA, located right in the heart of Atlanta, opposite the Centennial Olympic Park, and the Olympic Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The venue of such scale accommodated more than 900 convention sessions and keynote presentations with several thousands of attendees. The Exhibition Hall was an interactive platform to display the most recent publications, products, software, and teaching aids in the ELT field. It was also a meeting place for ELT professionals to network and establish contacts. Being there, we, like all other participants, were overwhelmed with the feeling of being a part of this enormous professional community sharing a common vision of the future of ELT. The keynote presentations set the tone for the entire convention, highlighting the complexity of the current ELT field, and addressing such far-reaching issues as language extinction and the role of English in saving endangered languages, building a global ELT community, teacher and student empowerment, and advocacy of minority rights. In the opening plenary talk, Dr. K David Harrison, anthropologist and linguist, showed how world’s endangered languages, from Siberia, India, the United States, and other locations, can be kept alive with the help of technology and digital activism. Localglobal considerations in developing expertise in TESOL were discussed in the second day plenary talk by Dr. Luciana C. de Oliveira, who is President (2018–2019) of TESOL International Association, to answer the question of what expertise teachers of English need to teach English as a global language locally. Dr. Anneliese A. Singh, the third keynote speaker, addressed the issue of everyday injustice that students and teachers face inside and outside the ELT 39

classroom, and how to tackle it by building a liberating education community built on the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion. This topic was further developed in the concluding keynote talk “The Power of Language, the Language of Power: Preparing Our Students for the Uncertainties of the 21st Century” given by the distinguished professor of education at UCLA, Pedro Noguera. His inspiring keynote explored what educators can do to promote peace, pluralism, justice, tolerance, and empathy in the ever-globalizing world with growing tensions caused by nationalism, populism, and xenophobia. Over 900 parallel sessions during the three days of the convention encompassed each and every possible aspect of ELT at all levels of the field: applied linguistics, advocacy and social justice, content and language integrated approaches, culture and intercultural communication, digital learning and technologies, language assessment, materials development and publishing, teaching of English pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills, personal and continuing professional development of teachers, teacher education. A special highlight of the convention was the work of the Electronic Village (EV) and the Technology Showcase, where the attendees could try out computer-based and other multimedia and electronic resources for language teaching and learning in face-to-face workshops and online. TESOL convention offered an excellent chance to be immersed into American culture and develop intercultural awareness by exploring the life of the host city. Atlanta is home to many multinational companies (e.g. Coca-Cola, CNN, Fox, Delta Air Lines), and it is the birthplace of the civil rights movement and its leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, and the author of the American literary masterpiece Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell. Atlanta is also a proud host of the 100th Olympic Games (1996) and the city of peach trees, where “life is peachy” is a popular slogan. Though the privilege to attend the Convention is, unfortunately, not financially available to everyone, which was mentioned by the Executive Director of TESOL Christopher Powers at the opening plenary, there are ways to access the Convention materials (keynote presentations, the programme book) on-line on the official TESOL convention web-site ( Next year TESOL Convention 2020 will welcome TESOLers from all over the world in Denver, the capital of the US State of Colorado – submit your proposal and plan your trip already now!

TESOL 2019 official website at



Miina Härma Gymnasium, Tartu

On October 29–31, 2018, the British Council and the U.S. Regional English Language Office collaborated to bring representatives of English teachers’ associations from the region to Kyiv for a training on association best practices with Margit Szesztay, President of IATEFL as trainer for the English Language Teachers’ Association International Symposium hosted by Mike Reinert, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Kyiv, and Simon Etherton, Head, English British Council Ukraine. Irina Matviitšuk and Erika Puusemp represented EATE at the event, which aimed at strengthening national English teachers’ organisations and enhancing collaboration between them. Other participants came from Ukraine, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Poland, Moldova. The programme included events at the British Council Kyiv office, and America House Kyiv. In addition to presentations by all the participating organisations about their work in their respective countries, the following themes were discussed:

Ways of involving members: from passive users to active contributors (Competitions, workshops, creative cafés; Organising summer camps, Publicity and promotion)

Annual conference organisation issues (Types of sessions – Organization matters, Social events and community building, Resources exhibition – Sponsors, publishers, partners, Strengthening the international dimension, On-line coverage, outreach, publicity, promotion, BC Project: English for engagement and employability)

Associations as hubs for networking and information exchange (Electronic newsletters, e-journals, newsletters; Websites, social media and discussion lists; ‘TEFL troubleshooting program’; Ways of getting busy teachers to contribute)

Leaders issues / committee management (Committee posts and responsibilities; Meetings online and face-to-face; Transparency, sustainability, mentoring)

Finance and looking after the money (Membership fees, conference fees, sponsors, other ways of generating income)

It was also possible to take part in the America Haunted House English Speaking party at Halloween, which drew hundreds of interested participants from the whole town, especially amongst children and young people who take or 41

have taken part in educational programmes organised by the America House. Free time (i.e. early morning and late-night hours) were spent getting acquainted with Kyiv. A further networking possibility would be to attend conferences in the region, which is problematic to some extent because most of these seem to be taking place in spring or autumn, and school holiday times in Estonia do not coincide with holiday times in the other countries. It would still be good if somebody from Estonia could attend each time there is a major event, and then spread the knowledge...


Professor Emerita Brooklyn College (City University of New York)

For the past few months, I have been enchanted by an advertisement for a major airline posted at a bus stop in my New York neighborhood. It reads, “Adventure starts when you leave your comfort zone.” The message speaks to me loud and clear as recently I’ve been leaving my “comfort zone”, in order to share in my younger daughter’s exceptional travels. Adventure runs deeply in Liza’s blood. At the end of December, she, her husband and twelve-year old son set sail from Cuba on a thirtyfive-foot sailboat headed for Panama. Their next anchorage – on the way across the entire Pacific, to Australia – was the Galapagos, a cluster of islands off the coast of Ecuador and home to the fabled giant turtles. I knew little about the islands, aside from their importance to Charles Darwin who drew on what he observed there in Voyage of the Beagle. What drew me was wanting to spend time with my sailing trio. Before the trip began, I spent many hours studying a guidebook followed by hours online. My daughter had never been to the Galapagos either, so she couldn’t give me much advice. At first, I had to grapple with the multiple names of the islands that make up the area and the best way to schedule my journey. I decided to spend two nights in Quito, in Ecuador, before flying to the only airport in the Galapagos, Baltra, in Puerta Ayora on the island of Santa Cruz.


My planning was clouded by fears of getting lost in a strange city, losing my suitcase, and somehow not meeting up with my family. Such fantasies were completely misplaced. I was met at Quito airport by the owner of the family-run accommodation where I had decided to stay. We hit it off right away as Ms. S. is fluent in English and had spent some time in California. As we drove along a well-built highway, I could hardly believe how far I had travelled. But then I caught sight of the dark crusty mountains – the Andes – that dominate the landscape and I knew I had come to an entirely unfamiliar topography. Soon we were driving up a steep unpaved road, and I began to wonder whether I was headed for some sort of rustic encampment. We stopped in front of a handsome gate which opened electronically to reveal a handsome house and side buildings, as well as a large garden of flowering shrubs and earth-hugging plantings as far as the eye could see. It turned out that Ms. S and her sister had developed their father’s legacy into an organic farm and also a very comfortable and lovely accommodation. With only one day for sightseeing, I eagerly accepted the offer of a ride into town from another couple staying with Ms. S. They planned to visit museums after a brief stop at the astonishing Museum of the Equator. I went along with them to their first destination and enjoyed a few of the displays that specifically illustrate the wonders of the equator (an egg standing by itself on end, the water, draining down a sink one way on one side of the equator, the opposite direction on the other side), but then we parted company. I wanted to wander up and down the hilly streets of the old part of Quito. What astonished me most was the architecture: the old city is rich in magnificent churches. At street level there are lots of small restaurants, bars, and shops selling a variety of goods, from appliances and books to handicrafts and, most astonishing to me, rubber soles and other supplies for shoe repair. But above the relative modernity on display at street level, there are elegant old houses with all sorts of curlicues and other details the names of which I ignore. Many of them are in shabby condition, while others look well-cared for. The old city square is full of benches, shared by tourists and locals, shade trees, and vendors. As I wandered about, staring shamelessly at everyone and everything, I suddenly heard loud voices and noticed a crowd gathered at one end of the square. As I drew closer, I saw scores of people milling around what looked like a large display of small tents draped with banners. An English-speaking by-stander explained the scene to me. Taxi drivers were protesting a plan proposed by the Quito city government to allow Uber to operate in town. The scene made me feel at home right away. The issue is current in New York. Soon it was time to get back to the airport and head out for Baltra. Ms. S got me there bright and early. As I boarded my flight, I was a bit alarmed as the plane was rather small, accommodating some 30 passengers. But I was soon at ease as the couple sitting next to me engaged me in “conversation”, despite our lack of a shared language. Instead of words we drew pictures on the back of napkins. I

Inner courtyard in Quito

Plaza de la Independencia, Quito 43

learned that my travel companions are natives of Puerta Ayora, while I was able to explain with a few pencil strokes that I was headed for a sailboat. The airport at Baltra is small enough so that I could spot my family right away. They were waiting for me on the other side of a large window and we were soon reunited: the simplest of passport checks (and the payment of an airport fee in cash) got me to them. After a brief visit to the modest hotel where I had booked a week’s stay, we headed for the boat. Within a few hours, my daughter asked me if I’d like to stay on the boat, which was anchored some distance from the port of Puerta Ayora. Though unsure of how I’d like to live in such a small space, I agreed. But I held on to my modestly priced hotel room near the port just in case I turned out to be a rotten sailor. Life on a thirty-five-foot sailboat is an exercise in compression and diplomacy. I had to learn to be more tidy than usual, to avoid spills and to talk less. For the first three days of my visit, the boat remained anchored in the harbor of Puerto Ayora. To reach land, we took water taxis from the boat to the town: these taxis are small motorized vessels which can be summoned by phone, or, if one is close by, by the vigorous wave of an arm. We explored the town and took two memorable hikes. The first one was to the El Chato Tortoise Reserve, home to the giant turtles, the “galapagaos” that give the islands their collective name. (The guidebook states that the reserve is also home to various birds, but we didn’t see them.) The site features a circuitous marked path edged with tall grasses along which one may spot a turtle, a creature that can measure at least a meter and a half in length and half that much in width and height). Despite their size they are hard to see as they make no sound that might alert one to their proximity. But they do emerge – a snout, a foot, the edge of a shell – and are an amazing sight. They are unlike any creature we know, and seem to have stepped, slowly, slowly out of a forgotten age, Dock-side fish market in SantaCruz millennia ago. Friends who visited the Galapagos in the 1960s and 1970s reported visiting beaches where the turtles lay their eggs. But today far more protective policies are in place and visiting this location was the only way we could be sure to see these amazing creatures. (We did spot one at the airport.) Another outing took us along a steep trail to Las Grietas, a rocky formation which the guidebook describes as a “water-filled crevice in the rocks”. That hardly does justice to the crystalclear water surrounded by sheer walls of rock. The water is populated with colorful fish making it the ideal place to snorkel. But I found myself a bit terrified of the snorkel apparatus and enjoyed spotting the fish by just swimming among them. The site has 44

Closer view of napping sea lions

three separate “pools” separated by low-lying rocks and it was fun to walk or slither along them to the next swimming hole. While snorkeling and scuba are big attractions of the Galapagos, they require special arrangements with tour groups, and we were content with the boat we had and the places we could get to by hiking or taking water taxis. There seems also to be plenty of wildlife around the harbor of Puerta Ayora. Sea lions loll about in groups on the pavement. Seeing a nursing sea lion mom and pup is not an uncommon sight. Pelicans dip and snatch freshly caught fish from the vendors’ tables near where the boats dock, and iguanas of all sizes (from about eight inches to two feet) stretch out on sidewalks, piers, rocks and whatever perches they can find. Rather than appear as interlopers, they are the proud citizens of the place, representing part of the wildlife that draws people to the Galapagos and there are many signs in town urging visitors to keep their distance and respect the animals. They are clearly not “domesticated” the way seals are at the Coney Island Aquarium in New York, where they have been trained to beg for fish. Here they have their dignity and even waddle away or emit a strange bark if a person gets too close. Late in the afternoon we stopped off at my hotel to enjoy hot showers and air conditioning: I don’t know what the hotel management made of the appearance of the four of us, who stopped by for a few hours and left again, but we were glad to enjoy these “modern conveniences”. After such refreshment we were ready for dinner. We walked to Charles Binford Avenue where tables and chairs were set out at dusk by the small restaurants that line the thoroughfare. No one needs a menu as the main attraction – the catch of the day – is on display in front of most cafés. Fish or chicken are roasted on a grill right on the street. The café owners appear to have a cooperative relation to each other: our waiter ran across the street to another café to get my daughter the soup she wanted, while he went elsewhere to provide my grandson with a favorite coconut drink. As I got to know the town, I experienced a distinct change of focus. At first, I was a bit disheartened by uneven sidewalks and the haphazard look of the low-lying buildings. But after a few days I realized that I should look harder at the way the glorious sunlight makes colors glow and foliage thrive, and that I should look more closely at the rocks that rise out of the harbor. Here pelicans rest and large bright red crabs edge their way along. As we walked away from the center of town (in search of some fruit vendors) the streets were wider, traffic heavier, stores bigger – and suddenly I was eager to be back near the harbor where the smaller scale of things showed the big sky and wide panorama of clouds and rock. On the morning of my third day, we set off to another island, Isla Isabela. This was my first experience of actual sailing. The waters were calm. But it took me a few hours to grow some “sea legs”. The horizon of big water and big sky opened up with ridges of volcanic rock rising from the water like the knuckles of a giant hand. The quietness is so intense that one can hear a bird call far off, and the water slosh against the side the boat. I found it easy to stare away for what felt like hours at the changing shapes of a cloud. I was so wrapped up in looking at the deep views that I can’t recall how long it took us to reach our destination. Once again, a water taxi took us to land. We soon found a guide to take us – and a group of other visitors – to a main attraction of the island, the Sierra Negra volcano. The guide, a well-trained professional with a rich knowledge of geology and biology (to say nothing of the three languages he spoke to address his following) warned us that the trek was long and arduous, but no one was discouraged and the tour agency he worked for supplied us with a picnic lunch (including bottled water) that we would enjoy along the way. The warning about the hike turned out to be appropriate. The route up to the volcano’s crater was smooth at first but towards the end of the 10 km assent became very granular and slippery. But the difficulty of the terrain was well worth the effort. The volcano crater is huge, probably a few miles in diameter. Its sides slope gently, and one can see deep into its enormous cavity. Large plumes of steam rising out of the earth appeared in the distance. The volcano, our guide informed us, had last erupted a decade ago. Back on level ground, we stopped at a café that appeared to be a family-run operation. We were amazed at the excellent English spoken by one of the young waiters. It turned out he had lived in 45

Brooklyn, where my daughter and I had lived for twenty years. Sailing, as I learned, requires a great deal of skill, knowledge, and concentration. But it also has a social aspect as my family managed to meet up with another sailing family – from Australia – they had met in Panama. K. and E. have a much larger boat (a catamaran) and have made sailing a central part of their life. K., a sturdy man with a big beard and a jovial manner, was keen to show my son-in-law some “tricks of the trade”, and the two men shared quite a bit of important information about destinations and the uses of a particular navigational system (computerized, of course). E., the wife, also an experienced mariner, enjoyed using her well-equipped kitchen to make a Sunday brunch (complete with fresh-baked scones) to which she invited us. K. and E. were being visited by one of their four daughters from Australia and I travelled back to Baltra with her and her father, who was eager to shepherd both of us. I was sad to leave my family, and a bit worried, as the next day they were starting their long sail from the Galapagos across the Pacific to Tahiti, a journey of approximately 24 days at sea. (They have since reached their destination on schedule.) Travelling home, I had plenty of time (including a three-hour layover in Quito) to reflect on my amazing experience. Aside from the pleasure of spending time with my family, I got to savor the deep horizons of the sea. My attention shifted from details close by, to a broader focus, as if I had shifted my attention from small print to large type. While I don’t think I could undertake a journey like the one my family is on (they will eventually end up in Australia some time in December), I became well acquainted with the attraction of the sea. I also understand more profoundly the meaning of that poster about adventure.


Why did you choose English as your speciality? I honestly do not know. Perhaps because of my secondary school English teacher, Õie Mägi. At school I was more into maths, chemistry and physics and far from being the best student in her English classes. However, her book recommendations and home assignments (especially the translations we did) triggered an interest in the language in me. Eventually, I acquired a MA in translation and enjoy the occasions when I am asked to do some interpreting (though teaching is my passion). How do you divide your life between studying, teaching at school, teaching of adults and personal matters? Well, being a Gemini, I have always been active in more than one endeavour at a time. At school I was actively involved in out-of-class activities and attended music school. Both my children were born when I was still at university, and, before graduating, I also 46

started teaching at a school. When I had just graduated, I was quite unexpectedly approached by a publishing house with an offer to write English language textbooks. At that moment I did not feel ready for that at all and declined the offer. However, the thought kept haunting me. A couple of summers I worked as an interpreter at a summer course for language immersion teachers (Estonian for Russian schools) where Canadian professionals shared their knowledge about the development of learning materials. This inspired me so much that, at some point, after having compiled my own teaching materials for some years (both for my school as well as for a private language school where I taught), I decided to share my teaching materials and to publish them. I was lucky to have my husband take care of all the design and publishing side, so I can say that I did not have to compromise in this process and could carry out all my thoughts. Thanks to my co-author Meeri Sild, we also published the textbooks online, so that students could do all the interactive tasks online and listen to audio-texts and listening tasks on their own. Soon I was also invited to participate in examination preparation and have contributed to this process for almost twenty years. At the moment, however, I am glad that Estonia is considering switching to international exams. In about 2000, a gentleman walked into my classroom and asked if I could help students outside my own school to prepare for the national exams. This co-operation gradually grew into courses for teachers, and I do not even know how or why I have been presenting at different conferences and courses in Estonia and abroad ever since. At the moment, I am exploring possibilities for teachers to monitor their own classroom teaching, so that they could better understand their students’ needs and adjust their own teaching to cater better for student success. I hope that the Learning Analytics tools that we are developing at Tallinn University will benefit both teachers and students. Opportunities for continuous professional development have kept me going and growing, so I am lucky to have a chance to work and learn, concurrently. As to my personal matters, I am a fresh proud grandmother and spend most of my free time either at my summer cottage, taking care of my garden, or renovating my grandfather’s farm in South Estonia. Probably because of my personality, I could not imagine myself doing just one thing. I feel happiest when I can explore new ideas and possibilities, keep developing my skills and mind, as well as help others grow by sharing with them the things I consider important. Where is Estonian education going? Estonian education is going exactly where our teachers lead it to. Unfortunately, if the teaching profession does not gain popularity, the whole journey is in jeopardy. At Tallinn French School we are lucky and proud that so many of our former students have returned to our school as teachers. Several other young professionals have also joined our school family. I believe that the key to Estonian success in education is teacher autonomy – our country trusts its teachers and we have the freedom to choose our teaching methods and materials which cater best for our students’ needs. Maybe the focus will shift a little from subject knowledge towards integrated skills and competencies covering several subject areas, which would help better prepare students for life-long learning and further self-development regardless of subject matter. So, when experienced colleagues help the less experienced teachers, and we also involve students in paving their own paths in education, when we respect each other, share and value knowledge, Estonian education will thrive. What will happen to language learning at schools in the future? Well, I think that most of the foreign languages will be taught the way they have been taught for decades. English as a language of worldwide communication has the privilege of being the dominant one that our children are exposed to. Therefore, in my opinion, different active study methods suit best, including Content and Language Integrated Learning, project and task-based learning, gamification, etc. Last year I found myself teaching different subjects in English with no textbook at hand – you just have to rely on your instincts and student needs and come up with tasks where students are actively involved and learn through different real-life tasks. We did lots of knowledge co47

creation and, to be honest, I kept learning together with my students, which I find exciting. I believe that learning is interesting and motivating insofar as the learner can see and understand the benefits to his/her life. This is not always easy to achieve, but let us take this as an aim to strive for. Can the computer replace the teacher in class in the future and to what extent? No, in so far as there are classrooms, for “a classroom without a teacher isn’t just a place in which no learning occurs; it’s dangerous” (Pete Hall, The X Factor, in: Building Teachers’ Capacity for Success, Hall & Simeral, 2008). What do you consider your most significant achievement? I feel that my students and colleagues appreciate me, so obviously I must have done some things right. Also, the feeling that I can contribute to the benefit of my community makes me happy and satisfied. I owe a lot to the inspiring people in my life who I have had a chance to meet and learn from, so now I hope to be of assistance to those who might benefit from my small contribution to the teaching profession in Estonia. What has EATE given to you? Most importantly, a circle of like-minded people, chances for idea-sharing and collaboration, possibilities to discuss ideas and promote teacher development. The EATE summer seminar is a perfect event to start a new school year by meeting your colleagues, refreshing your mind and gaining some new insights into teaching or student scaffolding. There are always interesting presenters who inspire you, and the general proactive atmosphere helps to energize you at the start of the school year as well as provides moments for peaceful contemplation at the seaside. How do you relax? In the summer I like to be outdoors, either in my garden or hiking and cycling. In winter evenings I usually read (mostly research articles for my studies) or take up knitting. During my conference and study trips, I also try to find at least a day to visit places. I enjoy going to the cinema and theatre, also different concerts. What is a good teacher like? I think that an answer to that question was provided already in 1909, in the description of the American Association for the Advancement of Science: “Give a good teacher, and locate him in a cellar, an attic, or a barn, and the strong students of the institution will beat a path to his door. Give a weak teacher and surround him with the finest array of equipment that money can buy, and permit the students to choose, as in the elective courses, and his class room will echo its own emptiness.” Merike Saar was interviewed by EATE Committee members


Reading Recommendations ESTONIAN LITERATURE FOR THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING WORLD An Introduction to Estonian Literature. Compiled and translated by Hilary Bird. Bloomington, Indiana: Slavica Publishers, 2018.

This is not an ordinary reading recommendation. As most of our teachers of English are native speakers of Estonian, there is no reason why we should read Estonian literature in English translation. Still, it might be useful to be aware of the publication so that we could recommend it to our foreign friends and colleagues. Below, you can read an interview with Hilary Bird, the compiler and translator of the anthology. You came to live in Estonia in 2002, is that right? I came to Estonia in 2002 to study on an English-language Baltic Studies course at Tartu University. I came in search of my roots. My original name was Anneliis Meikar, but I was adopted in the UK when nine weeks old by Emily and Harry Bird. I found my Estonian family in 1998, in Käsmu, Lääne Virumaa and, after that, I wanted to know more about the Baltic states. My birth father was Lithuanian but that is all I know about him. The course at Tartu taught Estonian literature, history, folklore, politics, geography, economics and Estonian and Russian language and was a good all-round introduction to the region. When did you feel that your Estonian was good enough to read literature for enjoyment, not just for language learning purposes? An interesting question! I started reading Estonian, of course, in textbooks. I took my first steps in London with Colloquial Estonian by Chris Moseley and used E nagu Eesti by Mall Pesti and Helve Ahi in Tartu. Both books contain snippets of Estonian literature that arrested my attention; so, I suppose I could say that I always read Estonian literature for enjoyment. I love the musicality of the language even in very simple children’s rhymes – I remember “Väike konn, väike konn, ütle, kus su kodu on?” (by Erika Esop) to this day. Learning to be proficient enough to read Under or Tammsaare was, of course, a different matter! That took a very long time, at least 10 years, during which time I taught myself. The Bible of my tool kit was Paul F. Saagpakk’s Estonian-English Dictionary, and Juhan Tuldava’s Estonian Textbook was very useful. The Tuldava grammar was published by Indiana University, the publisher of my own An Introduction to Estonian Literature. The Indiana scholar PiibiKai Kivik, who did her MA in English Language and Linguistics in Tartu, is now Senior Lecturer in the department of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana. Your readers may be interested to know that PiibiKai is, with Anne Tamm, of Central European University in Hungary, preparing Estonian, an Essential Grammar to be published soon by Routledge (UK).


Do you remember your first translation from Estonian? I think this was probably “The Pink Hat” by Lilli Promet during Loone Ots’ course on Soviet Estonian literature in 2003 – see below. How did you hit on the idea of compiling an anthology of Estonian literature? The idea for an anthology came from Loone Ots, who taught the (English-language) Baltic Studies Estonian literature class at Tartu in 2002, and whose love of Estonian literature knows no bounds. Loone was a great inspiration. Loone and I became friends and, around 2003/4, she suggested we write an anthology together. Slavica Publishers, Indiana University, USA, were interested and in 2005 we applied for a Kultuurkapital grant but we were not eligible. I carried on alone because I could support myself with my UK pension and Loone went on to become a popular writer… What were your principles of choosing the authors for the anthology? Loone made some of the very early choices but, reading commentaries by Estonian literary scholars and listening to the advice of friends, including the late, much missed, Mati Soomre (my Maaleht column colleague during 2011–2014), helped me identify key texts. I am especially indebted to Loone for the choice of comic plays – I love Kapsapea and Mikumärdi. I laughed out loud as I translated them. Classic anthologies such as Paul Rummo’s Eesti luule (1966), Arbujad (1938) and Wellesto (1989) all helped to signpost which works were important at various points in time. Endel Nirk’s Estonian Literature (Perioodika,1987) was indispensable – it is still the only major overview of our literature in English. Eesti kirjanike leksikon (2000 version) was a mine of useful information. My book stops in 1991 because translation in the period after the restoration of the Republic is, in relative terms, well represented. Having said that, the post-1991 commentaries of the Estonian Literary Magazine (ELM) were useful – it was from this source, for example, that I learned the importance of Debora Vaarandi’s “Lihtsad asjad” in a 2002 review by Janika Kronberg. It was not easy to decide whom to include or exclude. I do not expect everyone to agree with my choices but, the way I see it, is that my book is, hopefully, just the first in a line of anthologies of Estonian literature! You are a particular enthusiast of Estonian poetry. How did you discover it for yourself and who are your favourite poets? Well, as I have said, my love of Estonian poetry started early with simple texts – Juhan Liiv and Jaan Kaplinski, among others, appear in E nagu Eesti. Betti Alver is my favourite poet in terms of both content and style(s) and Doris Kareva is a close second. Kareva has a different literary persona but she shares a love of refinement, craft, eclecticism and diversity (qualities I admire) with Alver. I have a very soft spot for the hypnotic qualities of regivärss. I love, for example, the Siuru bird passage in Kalevipoeg: I discovered this because I wanted to know who or what inspired the 20th century literary group. But I admire so many Estonian poets that it’s almost impossible for me to choose. Which authors were the most difficult for you to translate and who were the easiest? Artur Alliksaar was probably the most difficult author to translate. His work is highly original, eclectic in form (regivärss, free verse, rhyme, sonnets), and very experimental with more than a hint of Surrealism. This could be a bewildering concoction… I am not at all sure I got it right but, as Edward FitzGerald, translator of the The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám says, “At all Cost, a Thing must live… Better a live Sparrow than a stuffed Eagle.” I would like to say here that I am indebted to the scholars of Tartu University (including Ilmar Anvelt) who checked my work for grammar and meaning. Serious mistakes in Estonian to English translation lurk in cultural differences. I am told, for instance, that the oath “Taevas!” that means literally “Heavens!” is quite strong in Estonian. This is a very weak curse in English – as if a polite lady had dropped her handkerchief in a muddy puddle. I am very wary of these traps – Mati Soomre defined them as “mother’s milk” issues – and this is why I always have 50

my translations checked by a native speaker. Having said that, at the end of the day, all creative interpretation that follows after clarification of grammar and meaning is 100% my own. The easiest? Hmmm… Very difficult to say… Prose generally felt easier. I believe you have read more Estonian literature than the average Estonian. What, in your opinion, differentiates Estonian literature from the literatures of English-speaking countries? Thank you for the compliment! I would like to say first that I think all literatures, great or small, have equal worth. I agree with the American-Hungarian scholar Joseph Remenyi who defends the literatures of small nations saying that someone “of small build is not less of a human being than a giant.” Professor Remenyi advocates a “democracy of the spirit” and rejects “aloofness and fabricated supremacy”. All aspects of human life all over the world are present in our literature. Lydia Koidula vividly invokes the brutality of history as well as the beauty of nature. The Estonian peasants of Kitzberg’s Libahunt have the grandeur of the aristocrats of Greek tragedy, while Oskar Luts’ Pliuhkam is as silly as any character in a French farce and the cast of Kevade could be straight out of Dickens. Paul-Eerik Rummo’s “Saatja aadress” is a searing poem of protest from a very angry young man and “Hüübinud vere manifest” is as disrespectful of tradition as any Postmodernist work anywhere. I could go on… but, to sum up, the basic coverage of aspects of the human condition in Estonian literature is exhaustive. Having said that, I notice a difference in the way that certain attitudes to life are prioritised. There is an accent in Estonia on melancholy, yearning and disappointment that, while certainly not absent in English (or any other) literature, is very noticeable… even in popular modern comic writers such as Kivirähk. What are your future plans for translation? I am now a PhD candidate at Tartu University studying cultural history – specifically, cultural links between Estonians and Finns in the 19th century. But I am missing Kalevipoeg and friends, werewolves and Tiinas, kratts, Päts’, Emajõe nightingales, Pliuhkams, Mikumärdis, Oleanders and all the other wonderful characters that I lived with for 14 years… My next translation project will be a collection of 20th century women poets – Alver, Vaarandi, Merilaas, Luik, Vallisoo, Kareva, Soomets, Seppel, Lättemäe, Oidekivi, Kangro, Ahi, Pärtna – called Beautiful Thought (Ilo meel) The selection is based on winners of the Juhan Liiv Prize. Hilary Bird was interviewed and photographed by Ilmar Anvelt.



Estonian University of Life Sciences

And when? Given the number of classes per week, the number of students per class or group and the amount of material needed to master the written part of the national exam in English… A teacher surely cannot be expected to practice monologues with all students, even if it were just the required two minutes of the exam per person; but when students are speaking with each other it is impossible to notice and root out the possible mistakes. Actually, face-to-face practice or individual ’mock exams’ before the real one was what I used to do with students at Otepää. It certainly helped them to feel more confident, especially when we started recording the process for personal feedback to be reflected upon individually. Still, each year the sad moments occurred when a student I knew had no problems with English just ’froze’ and could only squeeze out a couple of sentences at the oral exam. Communication and speaking in a language class has been a fascinating topic for me for several reasons. Most motivation has come from my adult learners, who mostly need the course for ’speaking practice’ and are eager to do that, yet it is not easy to get them to communicate in the class. As it cannot possibly be about their motivation, it has to be about teaching methods – some tasks seem to work better. It helps if the speaker has some ’scaffolding’ handy to provide content clues and ’chunks’ of language to be used. Good textbooks have a systematic approach to practicing conversation and communication skills, and a variety of tasks to do that – Pearson Publishers’ Gold Experience 2nd edition is meant specifically for teenagers and includes preparation for Cambridge C1 Advanced, FOCUS to offer targeted development of exam skills, to mention some, for example. I would like to describe two task types ’seasoned’ in practice that could be used with any textbook, any group, any age or language level. Having focus on oral exams, for spontaneous responses that include more complicated structures, one of the most flexible task types to prepare students within the framework of a ’guided’ dialogue has been the Class Survey – a semi-open format for practicing a language structure or vocabulary items or both, with motivation for spontaneous communication combined with speaking practice. Task description: 1) students get a table with statements or questions and some sample answers, and take notes on their own opinions (preparation, language input), 2) dialogues with a deskmate and other classmates (speaking practice, motivated repetition of the structures – hopefully no major mistakes, communicative responses) 3) ’report’ or comment on the results (orally or in writing, giving the structures more chance to ’settle’).


The item for practice could be some very simple grammar structure (Can you…?) or responses (I agree; I disagree, I’m not quite sure) or a framework for discussing opinions (both of us, neither of us, none of us, few of us, a few of us). Students could be told to use any suitable structures they know; just the samples given, if nothing pops up from the brain when needed; or specifically the samples given, if it is a structure you would like them to practice. It is also a very good icebreaker for the first class of new groups and gives a fairly good idea of the general spirit of the group – how communicative and cooperative they generally tend to be. As a next step, it could be turned into an online survey to get some writing and ICT practice and students could comment on their results, based on the graphs provided by gdocs, for example. Sample Task A. Expressing opinions: 1) Think about the statements and write the number of the responses that express your opinion best into the first box. 1 – I agree 2 – I totally agree 3 – I’m not sure 4 – It depends (on ...) 5 – I disagree 2) Add a statement of your own. 3) Discuss the statements with your classmates and take notes on their responses. Me

Student 1

Student 2

1. Communication is harder to learn than grammar. 2. Students should learn poems by heart. 3. Cats are better pets than dogs.

The task does not require much time for preparation by the teacher either – it is better to have handouts with a table and sample responses for students, but the material written on the black or white board and copied on sheets of paper by students will do as well, if, for instance, there is a power cut in the computer class, or you need something to engage your students who have had their PE class and are exited and restless, or exhausted after a high stakes maths test. In that case it is possible to ask for their ideas for the statements or questions as well. Maybe you would like to include the specific experience they have just had, like: Did you finish all the tasks in the math test? or statements: The test was very challenging. Mostly students are interested in the responses they get, and quite often some discussions are a pleasant surprise for everyone, revealing some exiting aspect nobody knew about before, as there had been no reason to speak about it. The task can be varied according to how much time you have for it: for a warm-up, a discussion with a deskmate and brief comments by a couple of students will do. Usually it works better to ask if anybody heard anything interesting, as it will not do to say that nothing the partner told was of interest. Or, if the class takes place instead of a sports competition on a rainy day and no-one has any textbooks with them, you could set a limit of ’at least 10 classmates’ for getting responses, and maybe organize them into groups discussing responses to a specific item (Group 1 for the first question/statement, 53

Group 2 for the next etc.) for the rest of the time, commenting on the results, or maybe developing it into an essay later. The same format can be used for practicing varied descriptions of pictures to encourage students to routinely use more complicated grammar structures. Sample Task B What is going on in this picture?1 Think of possible answers to the questions. Discuss them with your classmates and take notes on their ideas.

Photo: K. Rebassoo

The students should use a format they prefer, for example tables: Ideas:


Student 1

Student 2

Student 3

1. What are they doing? Why?

Student 4 ,

2. What were they doing? 3. What are they going to do? 4. If you were there, what would you do? 1. What are they doing? Why?

2. What were they doing?

3. What are they going to do?

4. If you were there, what would you do?

me Student 1 Student 2 Student 3 Student 4 online activity, the New Youk Times Learning Network e&action=click&contentCollection=learning&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacem ent=1&pgtype=collection 1


Notes could also be organized into some kind of mind map, anything that suits their learner style. More suggestions for prompts: Where are they? It seems to me it has to be… Why are they there? They could be/might be… A student speaks to as many classmates as possible, takes notes and comments on the responses. Some sample structures for that may be given, too. This stage might include a framework for ’opinions and speculation’, i.e. modal verbs for possibility. The underlying benefit is that students can see how many variations a picture might trigger, and hopefully feel more confident and prepared at the exam and speak more to get the most of their two or three minutes during their exam. Students should be encouraged to work out a specific system of items that works best for them, a customized one, so to say. It should be practiced often enough, so that the student has it ’ready’ in their mind for the exam, like a personal scaffolding to help in a stressful situation. I would never have believed how bad it could really be if I had not had a chance (well, without much choice between a ’yes’ or ’no’) to go to a Vikerraadio programme live once, which was quite a puzzling experience for a teacher whose job is to speak when needed. I was supposed to be interviewed about canoeing in a programme on outdoor activities, our team did some brainstorming for relevant topics and somehow I just forgot several of them, focusing on the questions by the interviewer. But the lesson was learnt, and I do understand how it might feel for students. The personal scaffolding should include either questions (Who’s in the picture? Where are they? What are they doing?) or keywords (name, where, are doing, were doing, have done, will do, I suppose, could be/might be etc.). It should be short and worked out by the student. They should be encouraged to try to include some more complicated vocabulary and grammar structures (If I were there, I would (not)…, It is believed that… etc.) and take notes on that, not the full sentences they are going to say, if note taking is allowed. Fortunately, we know well what the student should be able to do to get maximum points at the exam – deal with the tasks effectively, have a good command of a broad range of vocabulary, have excellent control of grammar, be fluent and spontaneous. (Marking Scale for Speaking, Innove). Past versions of exams should be used, as suggested by Kristel Kriisa in the previous Open! – for example, my students surprised me with much higher scores than I expected when I had them work in groups and take the roles of the interviewer, interviewee and assessor in turns, with the scripts provided by Innove. Probably it gives them better situational awareness, including body language, tempo and tone of speaking etc., and an understanding of what they are expected to do. The task types for conversation starters and motivators described above have worked well in my classes, and I wish you and your students would enjoy them as well. To finish with a story – a student came to me to get some specific advice for the oral part of the form 9 English exam. We practiced conditional sentences, as these are somewhat easier to ’store in your mind’ in the last minute. His exam picture card was of a girl painting a wall. Being naturally introvert, he felt in real trouble – after all, what is there to talk about painting a wall? He got a good result by starting: “If I were the person, I wouldn’t paint the wall green.” P.S. The statement to cause most heated arguments through decades has been “Cats are better pets than dogs” – proving that emotions matter and motivate!


How well do you know Ontario? (answers on p. 27) Photos by Carol Kahar








EATE Annual Conference Tartu, 24 October 2018

Rhonda Petree's presentation was about literary circles

Andre Boyer preparing for his presentation

Book sales

Pilvi Rajamäe spoke about the artist Johann Zoffany

Lunch at MHG canteen

Nora Toots and Reet Noorlaid with their former students

Photos by Reet Noorlaid and Krista Ummik