The living being called "The English Language"

10/05/2016 08:21


by Vasiliki Lismani

Those of us who attended the 37th Annual TESOL Greece International Convention were pleased to watch Misty Antoniou giving some "R-evolutionary Ideas for Teaching Vocabulary and Spelling". So many words make sense after the explanations she provided (Wh- words are my favourite!!!!!!); most importantly, she made clear what I keep telling my students describing the language as an ongoing procedure with Past, Present and FUTURE!!!

Words portmanteau are also a great part of the language and as far as I am concerned are these neologisms that  prove languages ARE ALIVE since they evolve day by day and express everything that happens in our everyday life. Pr. David Crystal on his opening talk in the 50th IATEFL Convention illustrated the point mentioning that the only languages that do not change are the dead ones. What is more, he offered some fine examples of neologisms such as: wasband: ex - husband, mansplain: a man explaining to a woman what she already knows! Particularly the second one was announced as 2014 Australian Word of the Year by Macquarie Dictionary which defines the word as the action of a man explaining something to a woman, in a way that is patronising because it assumes that a woman will be ignorant of the subject matter (Man + [ex]plain with "s" inserted to create a pronunciation link with explain) in Of course not all neologisms are here to stay. David Crystal referred to the word yippie which described the political acting hippie back in the mid - 60s but still the history behind the word has a lot to say for a certain historical period and its peoople.

As teachers, when we get stuck to the idea of examination preparation, we miss all the beauty within the language itself and equally importantly we deprive our students of a real language learning experience.