The History of English in Ten Minutes (or we have a short attention span)

Here is the YouTube version of the great little podcast The History of English in Ten Minutes produced by Open University. As a matter of fact the history of English can be summarized in ten seconds with the chapter titles:

  1. Anglo-Saxon
  2. The Norman Conquest
  3. Shakespeare
  4. The King James Bible
  5. The English of Science
  6. English and Empire
  7. The Age of the Dictionary
  8. American English
  9. Internet English
  10. Global English

Enjoy.

South Western Russia origin of English a Turkey

It seems English, an Indo-European language, isn’t from south western Russia or north eastern India as once thought but closer to home in Turkey. it is also much older than previous excepted theory by 4,000 years. Known as the Anatolia hypothesis it was suggested in 1980s and given strength now.

iPhone mobile projector

Here is a nice portable projector for your iPhone 4/4S.

As usual Jetdaisuke gives an entertaining review. Here are the key points:

  1. bright at 35 lumens
  2. maximum projection size 1524 cm (yes, centimitres)
  3. 120min battery life
  4. works as a OHP (overhead projector) with your camera

With external speakers you can add sound to your presentations.

Check out his youtube video (sorry, in Japanese, but you can get an idea of the product).

Three ways to improve your use of prepositions

Here are three quick and dirty ways to get to know your prepositions:

Read a Book
There are books out there, like anything else, specifically geared towards learning and understanding prepositions. One that I recommend is English Prepositions Explained by Seth Lindstromberg. It approaches it from a cognitive linguistic perspectives that, in my opinion, works really well. It is also comparative in the sense that it contrasts them against each other.

Make and Do Gap Fills
Get a text into Word and make a gap fill by doing a Search and Replace of your target prepositions and then do them. You can make these for your students or have them make them themselves.

Read a Dictionary
While most people use dictionaries to look up definitions of words they rarely sit down and look at all the various meanings of a word. Not only are the meanings related but they stem from its core meaning or meanings. So it pays to look at all of them to not only reinforce the ones you know but also learn others you may have come across but not intimate with, as well as familiarize yourself with first time encountered meanings.

Conferences

The first day of the JASELE conference in Nagoya has finished. Great to be there with all my fellow postgraduates, teachers, colleagues and friends. Heard some good talks and as usual I learnt a lot.

But I am ashamed to say that I still feel like the outsider when it comes to conferences. I don’t feel like I am part of it. I don’t feel academic enough.

Just when will this feeling end I do not know but I hope it will be soon. Perhaps it will never end. But I guess the only way is to attend and participate in more conferences, learn to be part of the discourse community and immerse myself in the academic culture.

Surface or iPad? That is the question.

I have been tossing about which tablet to buy. For me the question is productivity-based – I want to be able do word processing on the road. Lugging around a PC hasn’t been fun. And often I just give up. But look at my choices I see that Microsoft is coming out with their Surface tablet. The selling point is the Word and Excel intregration, something which will be a winner for the company purchasers.

And then there is the iPad.

Looking at the apps available I discovered that Apple’s Pages word processing software can import and export to Word. So isn’t that all I need. The selling point of the iPad is its UI. Nothing beats the feel of it. Sure, it is built for fun. But it can do the extra task of work, and that is music to my ears.

As someone who is making this purchase individually it is a no brainer.

Having Word is not such a big deal really. Afterall we live in a cut-and-paste world now. So there will be a work around somehow through this battle of market dominance.