Differences in the English Language in a Post-Cultural World

Guest Post

Regular readers will be aware that I have occasionally presented ‘Guest Posts’ on behalf of colleagues.  I’d like to introduce yet another Trans-Atlantic contribution.

This time the post is by Angelita Williams [see by-line below].  We would both welcome your comments to this special Guest Post, especially as the differences between our written languages is such an issue (especially for me!!!)

Differences in the English Language in a Post-Cultural World

I know; the title of this post is quite a mouthful. Not to worry though; I plan to take this topic in stride, offering first a brief history of American English and how it has differed from British English. As for the “post-cultural” idea, I will in essence be describing the evolution of the English language in the midst of the uprising of the Internet as a primary communication tool, particularly for international correspondence.

Brief History of American and British English

Aside from natural differences in dialect and culture that occurred between the isolation of these two English speaking countries, one of the first “active” catalysts which has differentiated American from British English is Noah Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language.

Make no mistake, Webster was a politically charged revolutionary aiming for American independence from British culture. While this may seem a bit extreme or xenophobic even for our modern, melting-pot standards, do remember that Webster’s dictionary was published just over a decade after the War of 1812. And at this time, most nations were much more filled with nationalist pride than our modern day standards (particularly in America … despite what our Republican party may have you believe).

To be honest, most of Webster’s dictionary involved hair-splitting differences, notably in spelling (such as color rather than colour or center rather than centre or defense rather than defence). Some innovations never even caught on, like his spelling of tung as opposed to tongue. While many of these changes were discrete, I feel that they opened the doors of divergence between the two dialects. Also, I find it interesting that these differences have become more noticeable now that text has become the most popular communication tool online (a noticeable jump from previous mass media such as television or radio).

Since that publication, most changes between the two dialects have been due to natural variations of usage trends and connotations of various words. There are few words with completely different meanings between the dialects; more likely, there are words with both multiple shared and different meanings between the two. For example, the word “fall” means “to descend” in both languages but also means “to become pregnant” in British English and “autumn” in American English.

Post-cultural English?

Before I dig into this idea, I would like to disclaim that this term is entirely made up by myself and stems from the idea that an unofficial standard English has developed through mass media and the internet. For a good time, this spoken standard was American-favored, as American media has left its mark in Europe and the rest of the world for quite a few decades in the late 21st century. As demonstrated by the guardian, Hollywood still has a strong influence over British culture.

However, what are we to make of the English language as it appears on the internet? The memes, the multitude of abbreviations (“wut r u up 2?”), and, most importantly, the slang that passes for the English language is beyond puzzling. And it is also incredibly hard to track or even assess on a holistic scale because every site seems to have a wide variance of what it views as acceptable language. Take, for example, Hipster Runoff as opposed to Wikipedia. Or, for better measure of how massive amounts of people use English on the internet, compare Reddit and 4chan.

While perhaps none of these sites (with maybe the exception of Wikipedia) have set any sort of standard for an online dialect of the English language, they do all seem to have self-contained dialects that also share odd similarities, an online community dialect so to speak. And it is difficult to tell which country (if any) is responsible for these trends in online dialect. If anything, I would say that it’s not necessarily one place as it is one range of age (mostly young adolescents but as old as mid-twenties) from which these trends in internet language originate.

If I am to see any good come of these trends in online communication (trust me, I cannot see many), it would be that those exhibits of language encourage advocates of thoughtful, well-versed words such as myself (and I assume many of you readers) to cling tighter to our written roots. For every online community filled with shallow, poorly executed thoughts, a community like this one has an opportunity to emerge and demonstrate the English language as it should be. Whether American or British, the most important aspect of English in its online form should be quality and clarity.

By-line:

This guest post is contributed by Angelita Williams, who writes on the topics of online courses.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: angelita.williams7 @gmail.com.

Advertisements

New School Lunch Standards (USA)

Guest Post

Regular readers will be aware that I have occasionally presented ‘Guest Posts’ on behalf of colleagues.  I’d like to introduce yet another Trans-Atlantic contribution. I published a similar post, regarding school food and child obesity, last September.

This time by Jacelyn Thomas [see by-line below].  We would both welcome your comments to this special Guest Post, especially as schools meals is such a big subject over here in the UK too.

New School Lunch Standards Aim to Reduce Child Obesity, But will it Really Help?

Obesity—it’s an ongoing epidemic that some medical experts argue should be treated as an addiction, just like alcohol and marijuana.  It’s a condition that has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $92 billion over the years and has contributed to a plethora of health issues—especially for our younger generation. In fact, childhood obesity has tripled in the last 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So who’s to blame for our youth’s rapid weight gain? School cafeteria lunch programs, many argue. It’s no surprise either. Children have access to an array of unhealthy food options for school lunch including greasy pizza, hamburgers, fried chicken tenders, French fries and the new favorite, Flaming Hot Cheetos.

In an effort to get to the root of the problem however, the United States Department of Agriculture finally launched a new initiative last week that will change the standard of school lunches, the first major school meal reform made in 15 years. The push was part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move!  Campaign designed to get children to get healthier.

Under the new standard, public schools are now required to double the amount of fruits and vegetables offered daily as well as offer only whole-grain products and low-fat or fat-free milk. The sodium and trans fat levels will also be reduced. Caloric intake will also be strictly monitored: students in kindergarten through the fifth grade will be limited to an average of 550 to 650 calories for lunch, for example.

“We want the food [children] get in school to be the same kind of food we would serve at our own kitchen tables,” Mrs. Obama said in a press release.While Mrs. Obama’s intentions are good, the question still remains: do parents actually feed their children nutritious foods at home? Many studies point to no: families rarely dine together anymore, the fast growing number of single-mothers who are pressed for time resort to take-out or fast food to get a meal on the table, and sometimes lower-socioeconomic families can’t afford healthier food options, so they’ll feed a $1 Hot N Spicy McChicken off the value menu to their child instead.

Not to mention, it’s not like this sort of health conscious movement hasn’t been attempted already—a Los Angeles school district changed its lunch options in late January, offering healthier alternative food choices like wheat pasta, Greek salads and turkey burgers just to name a few. While most faculty members and parents were gun-ho about the changes, according to news reports most of the students find the healthy food options “inedible” and even prompt some children to venture off to the local corner store to smuggle-in chips and other salty snacks. Those who are not as sleuth-ey sometimes just skip lunch all together. So will this mandatory nationwide school lunch reform actually solve anything?

In short, bad eating habits are a choice—those that want to eat poorly are going to find a way to do so. And unless good eating habits are introduced to someone as an infant, reforming school lunches won’t help much—but it is a start. That said, it’s really important parents take the initiative to make some major food changes at home, otherwise the food changes made at school will be ineffective.

Byline:

This is a guest post from Jacelyn Thomas. Jacelyn writes about identity theft for IdentityTheft.net. She can be reached at: jacelyn.thomas @ gmail.com.

Picture credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/5790773819/ 
http://www.flickr.com/people/usdagov/
Thank you for using Creative Commons.

Reviewing 2011

Last year, I waited until 31st December to review my blogging year.

This year, I intend to review #SugSnips at that time, so I’ll make a critical review of my 2011 EduVel blog posts here and now, pre-Christmas.

First of all, I am 600+ views down on this time last year.

However, I suppose that’s not too bad because statistics show that this is the year’s 50th post, whereas last year I posted 78. I guess that another reason for the lower number of posts is that I’ve branched out and started writing two other fairly regular blogs:

Saturday Walks – http://saturdaywalks.wordpress.com/
I started this blog last December to separate the more personal aspects of my life from other areas. It was something I’d planned to do for many years and began with the idea of continuing the events John and I have shared since 1999 (cycle ride).

Nutritious, economical foodhttp://shoestringfoods.wordpress.com/
I started this in September following my increasing (renewed) interest in all things epicurean. It started as a blog to help folks become more confident in cooking cheap but nutritional food – instead of cheap, tasteless rubbish from supermarkets.

One main theme I’ve stuck with this year has been the #SugSnip challenge, which involved daily posts to Twitter, but as I will write about that next week, I’ll look at the eclectic range of other subjects I’ve written about this year.

I waited until last week  http://bit.ly/uevmxz to write about the work I’ve been doing for the last six months. It seemed unfair to do so earlier as I was working with so many other people on that prestigious piece of work.

In October http://bit.ly/tGyyz1 I reflected on the differing digital needs of individuals. I think that this will be a reoccurring theme throughout 2012, as social media websites continue to chop and change their provision, presumably to survive in an economic world that seems to have flat-lined.

Over summer https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2011/08/ I discussed screen-capture software and why Flickr didn’t have (still doesn’t have) a really good smart-phone App. Even now, I have to go to Photobox to print my Flickr pictures and to Picnik to edit them. Come on Yahoo! Flickr is brilliant, but it could be so much better.

I’ve also had grumps about things such as software updates (why so many, so often, so demanding of time?) and the vagueness of some social media terms and conditions. I dabbled with situational aware social media like FourSquare and Gowalla http://bit.ly/sPlMrb, became the mayor of eight places – and resigned! http://bit.ly/ozki08.

I re-found Wordle: http://bit.ly/rrSpzz

I learned a lot about Lego WeDo this year too http://bit.ly/sG6syh, helping to deliver sessions early on and then wondering how I could break into the junior school market with my new-found skills from then on. Anyone?

This year I’ve published several ‘guest posts’ too. Each one came from a dry call and each one has done what they said they would do – i.e. write something we both agreed upon for nothing more than a by-line notification. I’ve been happy to help, as it has enriched the diversity of posts from EduVel. http://bit.ly/vl6YBd (ignore first one – it’s by me!)

Work has continued to be erratic but very interesting. I’ve been to a few colleges to deliver training for staff: Blackburn, Newcastle under Lyme and Gloucestershire to name a few and at Kirklees College I was asked to deliver a session for foundation degree students studying childcare. By far the biggest piece of work was at Leeds College of Music, where I helped a great team of chums to develop a new VLE environment (mentioned earlier).

Going forward, I’m working with Jackie, Alison and Sally on a LSIS project, with TechDis and with RSC-SE – if it finally kicks off in 2012.

That was 2011 that was!

Merry Christmas everyone.

Catching up

I realise that I’ve been very quiet this last few weeks, only having made two personally penned posts since mid-September (there has also been one guest post). Sorry. 😦

There’s no excuse really, I suppose I could say that I’ve been busy (and I have been – thanks to the wonderful Lilian Soon and her contract with Leeds College of Music), but when I really look at what I’ve been doing I see that I’ve also been busy writing blog posts elsewhere.

In an effort to separate my ‘ideas’ and the themes that began to emerge I now regularly write two other blogs besides this (my main) one. As part of today’s audit I have to add two other, much less frequent themes, one on Blogger, where I write about books I’ve read and a seasonal ‘holiday blog’ (see below).

My two main alternatives to the EduVel blog are:

Saturday Walks http://saturdaywalks.wordpress.com/

I started this blog last December to separate the more personal aspects of my life from other areas. It was something I’d planned to do for many years and began with the idea of continuing the events John and I have shared since 1999 (cycle ride).

However, over the twelve months it has widened its scope to include many other aspects of life: e.g. 

  • Snowmageddon, a snowy time in Wales,
  • IfL, some thoughts on the original increased fee structure,
  • Lest we forget, a commentary on the state of public services in 2011, and
  • John Grant, a musical interlude!

Nutritious, economical foodhttp://shoestringfoods.wordpress.com/

I started this in September following my increasing (renewed) interest in all things epicurean. It started as a blog to help folks become more confident in cooking cheap but nutritional food – instead of cheap, tasteless rubbish from supermarkets. It is beginning to evolve. Sadly, some food stuff are still to be found here in EduVel and in Saturday Walks … hey ho.

Examples:

  • Salt n Pepper here, I began to talk about the store cupboard necessities,
  • Vegan Challenge courtesy of Liz Wyman’s challenge to cook vegan food,
  • Regional Food – I continue the drift away from my original plan, but stay within the food theme.

So, please have a look at one of the above now and again – I hope you enjoy it.

School Cafeteria Lunch Programs in the United States

Guest Post

Regular readers will be aware that I have occasionally presented ‘Guest Posts’ on behalf of colleagues.  I’d like to introduce yet another Trans-Atlantic contribution.

This time by Lauren Bailey [see by-line below].  We would both welcome your comments to this special Guest Post, especially as schools meals (and meals on wheels for the elderly) are such big subjects over here in the UK too.

School Cafeteria Lunch Programs in the United States

With childhood obesity and childhood type II diabetes steadily on the rise in U.S. in the past decade, there’s no denying that our society’s diet needs to be altered. In the past, the term “obesity” was only associated with adults because only adults could become clinically obese. According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, however, childhood obesity affects nearly 25 million children today and is termed one of the most threatening epidemics in U.S. history. The truth is, in most cases, childhood obesity is the result of a flawed lifestyle. Genetics do come into play to some degree, but the only way a child can be clinically obese is if they ingest more calories than they expend. For many years now, the nutritional value of lunches in school cafeterias throughout the country has been under great debate.

School cafeterias have served greasy pizza slices, sugary soft drinks, fattening desserts, and tons of fried side dishes for years and years. In the past, schools’ cafeterias and vending machines were stocked with processed foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt. With our kid’s health classes constantly preaching a healthy diet to help fuel their minds, it’s a strange contradiction to serve extraordinarily unhealthy food choices to our young learners. In many ways, kids were trapped into an unhealthy diet by the delicious, but dangerous food choices their educators and mentors provided them. With Michelle Obama and celebrity chefs speaking out about childhood obesity and diet, movement is afoot to bring change to school lunch programs across the country.


Michelle Obama has made it her mission as First Lady to improve the health of America’s youth. In 2010, she lobbied to Congress for the Child Nutrition Bill that expanded the school lunch program and set new standards to improve the quality of school meals. These government guidelines have helped schools prepare lunches that include fewer fried foods, smaller servings, and no cupcakes. These small steps in school districts across the country have helped make school lunches healthier and more suitable for our youth.


While these changes in school guidelines nationwide have been a drastic improvement, there are several obstacles still in place. One of the most struggling aspects of improving the diets of our children (and our nation as a whole) is money. For some reason, healthier food costs more. This is a huge concern for public schools trying to improve their school lunch menus. Schools receive $2.68 for each free meal that they serve through the National School Lunch Program. This small wage is used to purchase the food, pay the labor, and maintain the facility. Needless to say, $3 just isn’t enough to easily purchase non-processed organic food. Schools are being forced to raise their prices for their lunches, causing some students and their parents to really struggle.


This all just feels very backwards. Why would it cost more to provide our children with healthier meals? Why should schools and parents be burdened with high costs just to keep their students (our future leaders) well fed and ready to learn? Our own health and especially our youth’s health should be of top priority. While things are looking up for school lunches in the United States cafeteria rooms, there is still much to be addressed. But, with the growing awareness of the health risks a poor diet poses and the growing concern about the obesity epidemic among America’s youth, things can only improve.


By-line:

This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey, who regularly writes for best online colleges.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: blauren99 @gmail.com

Higher Education Technology: Clickers in the Classroom

Guest Post

Regular readers will be aware that I have occasionally presented ‘Guest Posts’ on behalf of colleagues.  I’d like to introduce yet another Trans-Atlantic contribution.

This time by Lenore Holditch [see by-line below].  We would both welcome your comments to this special Guest Post.

Higher Education Technology: Clickers in the Classroom

Clickers- they’re not just for television anymore. In fact, clickers are being used by students in the university and college classroom as a part of a classroom response system with the potential to encourage student attendance, participation and engagement in class. Let’s take a closer look at what we’re discussing, shall we?

Original courtesy of Kevin Hickey: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevhickey/2657567571/What Are Clickers?

Clickers are handheld tools given to students that allow them to respond electronically when the professor poses a multiple-choice question relevant to the lecture at hand, according to Carnegie Mellon, a global research university in the United States renowned for its technology programs.  The clickers serve as remote transmitters, collecting the students’ answers and immediately feeding them back to the instructor. The instructor then has the opportunity to analyze the data for his/her own purposes or immediately display the data on a screen in front of the class to discuss the answers provided.

A Few Uses of Clickers

The clickers have several uses. For example, prior to exam reviews, professors can use the classroom response system to pose upcoming exam questions to see how many in the room are grasping the material. The answers delivered via clicker reveal to the professor the areas he/she would do well to focus on in his/her upcoming exam review.

Another example would be a literature professor requiring students to click in their answers to questions posed on the most recent assigned reading at the start of class so the professor can get a feel for the students’ understanding of the passages they read.

A philosophy professor might poll the class on certain questions relevant to the class, such as “Do you believe in God?” or “Do people have free will?” and get an immediate response from the class displayed on the screen for how much of the class leans which way. This provides great material for philosophical discussion based on the answered delivered.

Benefits of Clickers

The benefits of utilising such a system are numerous as well. For instance, clickers encourage classroom attendance when instructors require students to “click in” their presence in class as they enter the lecture hall.

Along with this, a New York Times article pointed out that requiring students to make use of the clickers throughout the class essentially forces students to pay attention. After all, if a student is focused on responding to his/her professor with the clicker, he/she likely isn’t napping in class or text messaging a friend on a cell phone.

Also, just like pedagogical strategies that emphasize active learning, use of clickers encourages engagement in class by helping to keep students constantly thinking about what the next question might be. It is something else to add to a professor’s toolbox for keeping students thinking about class while in class.

Last, clickers encourage participation because of the anonymous nature of their recorded responses. Take the philosophical question described earlier, “Do you believe in God?” Some students might be too timid to raise their hand and respond to this controversial question if the professor were to ask for a show of hands and they feel like they are in the minority.

Adult Education Applications

For older adult and nontraditional learners (24 and up, working adults, parents), such technology would be an effective active learning tool for instructors, particularly considering such classes for adult learners that are not delivered online are often offered on nights and weekends. At the end of a long workday or workweek, adult students with jobs and family obligations nagging at them need all the motivation possible to stay engaged in class.

By providing immediate feedback through the classroom response system, promoting learning from peers, and encouraging the sharing of experience, the use of clickers supports adult learning styles. After all, adult learners often want to pick the brain of the other adult learners surrounding them, and the response system allows them to do that quickly.

Finally, digital literacy is of the utmost importance to older age groups, and will be needed by those who wish to retrain for another career.

By-line:

This guest contribution was submitted by Lenore Holditch, who specializes in writing about top online colleges. Questions and comments can be sent to: holditch.lenore @ gmail.com.

The Rhetorical Context: Straddling the Pond

Guest Post

Regular readers will be aware that I have raised the subject of the ‘AmericaniZation‘ of our language before. E.g. https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2009/11/16/americanization/. I’ve also discussed the tendency towards misunderstanding between our cultures too: e.g. https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/people-are-rude/ which was written after several years of trans-Atlantic comments on a YouTube posting.  Roger Elmore then kindly supplied a considered response to the matter back in September 2010.

Now, I’d like to introduce yet another Trans-Atlantic consideration of our language. This time by Mariana Ashley [see by-line below]. mariana.ashley031@gmail.com

We would both welcome your comments to this special Guest Post.

The Rhetorical Context: Straddling the Pond

I.

As a writer, I’ve long been amazed by the wonderful ways of language, and as a college graduate who once studied abroad in Sydney, Australia, I’ve come to love, as well, the wonderful subtle differences between different languages, especially between my American version of English and the version that many of my Australian friends spoke and wrote. Likewise, my travels to London, where one of my college friends now lives, have also allowed me to experience the wonder of British English.

I do not mean, at all, to make these other non-American versions of English into an ‘Other’ form, a less-legitimate or unnatural version of the English I speak; no, my praise is meant sincerely, for I value these differences, and I appreciate how they have created an entire English language that is both distinct and various.

But, as we have often seen, these distinctions bring with them a certain trouble, especially when we are concerned with meaning and the context that provides such meaning. For example, guides abound throughout the Internet that are meant to help students going abroad better prepare for these different contexts and possible miscommunications that could arise simply because the same word might have two different meanings between America and Australia, or America and Britain.

II.

This impulse to educate those who will soon be crossing over into new linguistic contexts is a very good one, and I think there ought to be more of it. Yes, languages will always shift as cultures change over time; however, there are certain linguistic shifts that should not happen if a culture wants to preserve some aspect of its past. In this case, those cultures who hold the lever regarding their influence on others should consider exerting some cultural responsibility when it comes to wielding that lever. Likewise, those cultures being influence can resist in unique ways, thus reappropriating the cultural impact. Consider, for example, the ubiquitous McDonald’s restaurant, which I saw many of in Sydney. I learned that Australians call McDonald’s by a slangy term: Macca’s. Yes, it’s a bit rough, but I thought it was interesting to see how Australians had appropriated what is essentially an American export and made it their own in a culturally significant way.

I believe that writers and educators, in many ways, are the guardians of the English language, and because of this, we must be mindful of how we make use of it in different contexts. My training as a writer, and as a one-time teacher of composition/rhetoric to freshmen students, has always made me aware of this. I view all communication through the prism of the rhetorical triangle: audience, purpose/author, message. If a writer is aware of this rhetorical context, he or she can sincerely do his or her best to engage in appropriate forms of communication that respect linguistic differences between groups.

III.

Let’s consider this post here: an American writer, trained in American universities, writing for a British audience and trying to explain one way by which we all could better police the less pleasurable linguistic shifts in language as a result of American English’s jargon infiltrating British English. I’ve tried, as an American author, to connect with my audience by giving some of my past, by explaining the pleasure I’ve taken from interacting with other forms of English. I’ve also tried to dial down some of my Americanisms; in fact, ‘dial down’ is the first Americanism I’ve used here, I believe. Yes, there are conventions I’ve maintained, such as certain spellings, and I cannot completely avoid allowing my idiosyncracies as a writer to shine, but I like to believe that I have made an effort to meet the expectations of my audience.

I think that an understanding of the rhetorical context, in many instances, could help us to avoid unwanted linguistic baggage. Of course, this will certainly not solve the issue, as many Americans and Australians and British are not conscious of how their speaking and writing of English might affect others, so my solution here is merely an individual one. The hope, then, is that by our example, others might become inspired.

By-line:

Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031@gmail.com.

Oceans Apart

Guest Post

Regular readers will be aware that I have raised the subject of the ‘AmericaniZation‘ of our language before. E.g. https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2009/11/16/americanization/. There’s also a tendency towards misunderstanding between our cultures: e.g. https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/people-are-rude/ which was written after several years of trans-Atlantic comments on a YouTube posting.

Roger Elmore [rogerelmore24@gmail.com] has kindly offered a considered response to the matter. We would both welcome your comments to this special Guest Post.

Oceans Apart: American and British English and the Importance of Knowing the Difference

Whether we like it or not, English is a fractured language, and the deepest fault line is the Atlantic Ocean. As any American who has visited England knows, we Americans speak a completely different language than our English brethren do.

Of course, America’s relentless cultural imperialism has served in many ways to dilute the distinctiveness of British English, much to the chagrin of many residing in the UK. Matthew Engle, in a Daily Mail article published earlier this year, made his disappointment about America’s invading Americanisms clear, and reader responses demonstrated resounding agreement.

Although we could argue all day long about which English is superior, we Americans must acknowledge and respect the fact that American English isn’t the only one in existence. In our increasingly globaliz(s?)ed world, we should become more familiar with the differences in language before either engaging in business with UK partners, creating software programs that may be consumed by Britons, or simply going on holiday to England.

Engel does concede in his article that language usage inevitably expands and contracts, but our American cultural hegemony has expanded to a degree that is unfair. This is especially true of software and online or mobile applications. Engel notes:

“We have to be realistic: languages grow. The success of English comes from its adaptability and the British have been borrowing words from America for at least two centuries…But the process gathered speed with the arrival of cinema and television in the 20th Century. And in the 21st it seems unstoppable. The U.S.-dominated computer industry, with its ‘licenses’, ‘colors’ and ‘favorites’ is one culprit. That ties in with mobile phones that keep ‘dialing’ numbers that are always ‘busy'”

To American ears, Engel’s grievances may sound more like the grumblings of a language snob, but we can’t forget that being ignorant of the differences between American and British usage of English can have very real consequences for certain people. For example, eLearning students in the UK, especially those with learning disabilities like dyslexia, are unfairly marginalized when they must use American software that requires learners to spell words in American English or that uses phrases and expressions with which an English learner would be unfamiliar.

For Americans who would like to become better acquainted with British usage, grammar, and spelling, there are various sources on the Internet from which to find out more. Wikipedia gives a fairly comprehensive overview, and an additional Engel article notes more Americanisms that have “snuck” into British usage.

Above all, if both Americans and Britons alike educate themselves about the differences–not just in language usage but in terms of culture, too–between us, we can avoid misunderstandings and celebrate what makes our common but diverse mother tongue so unique.

By-line:

This guest post is contributed by Roger Elmore, who writes on the topics of hotel management degree. He welcomes your comments at his email Id: rogerelmore24@gmail.com.

Maslow v Internet

I’ve just returned from a short break in Spain and for five of the six days that I was away from home I was without Internet access. Many of you might think that that was a relaxing situation to be in, but I can assure you that for me, it wasn’t.

It’s surprising how much you (I) can miss the Internet.

Earlier this year, Sharon and I bought a 10% share in a one bedroom apartment on the Costa Del Sol – it didn’t cost too much and we get to visit almost as much as we like, which probably won’t be more than once a year. We wanted something (somewhere) that would almost certainly be warmer than it is here at any given time. I realised that the need for warmth is a basic need and can be found supporting all of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs.

That started me thinking …

Without me realising, the Internet has become something that fulfills my Belongingness and Love (social) needs, as well as my Esteem needs; both of which Maslow recognises as higher requirements en route to self-actualisation. Only whilst eating our lunch in a pub in Gibraltar – where WiFi was available, were we able to check emails, Twitter and Facebook. In our apartment complex and in all of the cafe’s and restaurants we visited in Spain, we were not!

How then were we able to:
a) check when and who Spain were playing in the European cup (and thus avoid the crowds in certain bars)?
b)
check emails (after all I’m still self-employed and need to reply as quickly and as often as required to correspondences)?
c) check Twitter and Facebook to keep up with family and friends?
d)
provide the answer to simple arguments (where DO you find out the name of such and such an actor)?

I do all of that without thinking at home on my iPhone, my iPad, my laptop etc. when I’m out and about I have WiFi ‘cloud’ access, 3’s MiFi access and a variety of other logins that permit me to access the Internet freely and easily – so when it’s not available, it comes as a shock.

Not having access to the Internet ‘on tap’ really did come as a surprise.

Now we’re home, I managed to catch up a little on Sunday but then on Monday BT seemed to be having a problem in our area, as we have had no Internet and no landline for two days! I’ve no idea why or what’s happening so it’s lucky that I still have some data left on my MiFi this month but with guests staying with us – all of whom are Internet-savvy, who knows how long that will last!

Footnote

The apartment complex committee’s chairman has agreed that we can boost our signal in the apartment (!) with the installation of a box that sounds like it will give limited ethernet access to laptops – but which will still not give WiFi access to the variety of other devices we have become used to using. They only have a 3gig connection for around 200 apartments!

Previous notes on Maslow

Maslow:

I’m quite interested in the way we might revisit Maslow, with an eye on the social and economic changes that are happening around us. I think there’s a real need now to recognise how the (especially) lower levels of Maslow’s hierarchy are changing. Young learners now have technological needs that the original paper preceded. As Dan Bevarly (@dbevarly) says: “You can’t engage if you can’t connect”. I am working on this, but as with everything else (and work etc), it’s a slow process.

From my 2009 post: https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2010/02/21/experiential-learning/

Sprouts

#lovesprouts

Having prepared your sprouts ala Twitter:

My perfect recipe for Sprouts this Christmas.

1) First of all arrange for all sprout haters 2B out of the house. #lovesprouts

2) Trim outer leaves; put one deep cut into root (no need for cross). Place pan of water on stove to boil #lovesprouts

3) When water boils, add a litte salt (stuff your arterial thrombosis) and the sprouts – boil for one minute. #lovesprouts

4) Remove from boiling water: immerse in cold (preferbly iced) water. #lovesprouts. Now – 3 versions for completion

Version 1 – plain

Cook dinner. As you start serving (I suppose you'll have to allow everyone back in the house now – Mmmm) anyway, as you start serving, slowly melt some butter in a pan and add the par-cooked sprouts as they begin to sizzle, lower the heat and cover with a lid for maybe 3-5 minutes. Serve. You should have lovely crunchy (or JUST past crunchy), delicious sprouts. If your guests suggest they are not soggy enough – remove them from the house and don't let them darken your doorstep again.

Version 2 – Tourangelle

Make a white sauce (just make one – this isn't a cookery course). Copy Version 1 above but with two slight changes: 1 – add a little crushed garlic to the butter and 2 – add the white sauce as you serve the sprouts. Super delightfully delicious.

Version 3 – A meal in itself.

This time you need some chunks of smoked bacon or ham (sliced rashers will do) and some walnuts (no other nut – just walnuts). Melt some butter (or duck fat – yummy) and cook the bacon/ham. When cooked and about to begin browning, add the sprouts for 3-5 minutes and then the blanched and peeled walnuts (look it up – the peeling is not essential for me, but the blanching probably is). Drain, serve. Actually – for this one, youprobably don't need guests, just sit alone with a pint of cold beer and a chunk of bread and ENJOY.

Merry Christmas.