Monday, 11 October 2010

Distracting Distractions

Well I finally wrote the first 51 words of TMA01 today, being sick with Flu too.  I think they are a good 51 words, well I suppose good is in the eye of the beholder but I am happy with them.  The TMA is split into two parts.  In the first part we have to explain the meaning of two linguistic terms, which have been chosen by the course moderators, in 100-150 words per definition.  Part two is a 900 word essay about one aspect of the history of English.

I still have 2.5 weeks before it is due but I am not sure how I am going to understand what is expected more than I do today, our tutor so far has made no contact, other people have at least had a welcome email even if for some it had out of date information.  Others are lucky and have active tutor group forums with activities and advice, I am hoping that the tutorial will be good next week and he is just waiting until he has met us in person before posting on-line, but somehow I'm not holding my breath.

So because of my lack of knowing which direction to go in pretty much everything else seems a lot more interesting than studying, such as the U211 forum which as you might have noticed from my previous posts is not short of controversy.

There are couple of people that are self confessed experts and feel the need to chime in and assert their egos dropping highly academic concepts to people that for all they understand might as well be written in Chinese, and there are people that seem to praise them every time they say something which only encourages them to get more involved.  I am sure they are trying to be helpful but there have been a few occasions where they have been wrong and most of all they are making a lot of people feel very uncertain with their ability, so this week I was happy to see the emergence of something called "The Out Crowd" which is open to anyone who doesn't have a clue what is going on.  The other thing to bear in mind is that as interesting as I am sure it is, we need to stick to the U211 curriculum and it might be that the information given to us by people other than the tutors might be a hindrance rather than a help.

(Edit: I wanted to add to the above as there was a post on the Out Crowd thread from someone that has been very helpful and not one of the people I was referring to above saying that he will no longer post on the forum because he doesn't want to make people feel put off by "clever answers".  I have found all posts by the guy in question to be extremely helpful and easy to understand.  The posts that I am referring to contain highly technical information that a person with no linguistic background cannot understand, which is why most people find it frustrating.  I shall say no more on this subject as it is not my intention to offend anybody just to vent my own inner thoughts, which is why I have added this here and not created yet another new blog entry on the subject.)

The other thread which is getting most attention is one about Linguistic Pet Peeves, which does have some of the things in there that you might expect such as They're/Their/There, Your/You're, etc but a lot had to do with the pronunciation and regional dialectal variations, such as pronouncing "garage" as garridge and valette instead of valet, which has unsurprisingly riled some people.  The many varied dialects and accents of Britain are wonderful and should be celebrated, it is a way of identifying immediately with someone you have just met and most of us wear our accents with pride.  I love a nice west country accent personally because it reminds me of my Nan and many childhoods spent there, of course there will be some accents we prefer to listen to, and some we might not even be able to understand but if we all spoke in the same way then wouldn't television be boring?

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