Eish! English is wonderful!

I am the person who has decided to go and learn how to teach English as a second language as described in this blog. I find the way that words are formed and its origins most fascinating. This is a great blog and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Theo Coggin

One of my colleagues is updating her skills by doing a course at University on teaching English as a second language. She says that one of the most interesting parts has been the construction of words.

English has a wonderful array of words. Being a dynamic language, it is able to assimilate new words with consummate ease.

Coat_of_arms_of_South_Africa.svgI often think that we in South Africa are luckier than most. South Africa boasts eleven official languages, and that is before one counts the unofficial languages such as those spoken by the ǀXam  people (none of their languages is official even though the country’s Coat of Arms bears its motto in a Khoisan language, viz ǃke e: ǀxarra ǁke which translates literally to “Diverse people unite”).

It also does not take into account a language such as Fanagalo, a pidgin (simplified language) based primarily on Zulu, with English and…

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Communicate, don’t preach!

Another excellent lesson from Theo Coggin. It’s so important to look at our writing critically and assess whether we are indeed preaching to our audience.

Theo Coggin

When running the Quo Vadis Communication courses I can always tell which of the delegates come out of a fundamentalist view of advertising, religious beliefs or political persuasion. They are the ones whose faces glaze over when I explain the first principle we consider in our media relations and Corporate Communications courses.

That principle, simply put, says that organisational communications “is not for preaching” or, expressed another way, should not smack of propaganda.

Of course that is the very antithesis of communication when one is writing advertising copy, preaching a sermon in a mosque, church, or worshipping while at shul, or in any other religious context, or trying to persuade someone to vote for a particular political party.

Communicating in a manner that promotes any one of those forms has its place. And that place is firmly in the corner of bias and a lack of objectivity.

Now the latter…

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By Jingo!

Great blog. Always good to be reminded to keep it simple. It’s so easy to revert to using long words etc.

Theo Coggin

From iteachicoachiblog.blogspot.comThe irony of politics and language always provides a fascinating examination. And lots to learn from.

It intrigues me that, in a country that eschews the imperialist jingoism of a bygone age, so many of the authors of public documents are drawn to expressing themselves in what can most charitably be described as Shakespearean English. Less charitably one might dub it colonial English.

There is no doubt that such authors will be aghast, even feel insulted, by these observations. Regrettably any defensiveness on their part would soon wear thin.

Phrases to denote a sum of money, much loved by accountants, have entered the lexicon of such authors. So it is not good enough, for example, simply to say $532,371 but to spell it out, word for word.

And, just in case they feel they are addressing an innumerate and illiterate moron, they add the figures in brackets. Not only is…

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