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“I Choose You” -choosing the right words and register in English – by Bethany Hall

“I Choose You”

choosing the right words and register in English

In the much-loved pilot episode, “Pokemon-I choose you” of the Pokemon anime series, Ash and his Pokemon, Pikachu do not get on very well at first. However, as we all know, Ash and Pikachu form one of the most iconic friendships we have ever witnessed.
It can be much the same when learning a new language. We can struggle with pronunciation and grammar but with some hard work can a beneficial and enjoyable relationship with the language.

What to do…
I Choose You

One element that can make our learning easier is to know what to say and how to say it in different situations. Like Ash, let’s choose wisely.

A formal situation:

A formal situation will usually be impersonal without much emotion, like a job interview or an official speech. One would use technical words that are relevant to the conversation. We would always use complete sentences that express a complete idea. We would avoid using slang, abbreviations, such as “influenza” instead of “flu” and clichés. You could use words such as “however” instead of “but” or “moreover” in place of “also”. In this situation there would be no interruptions and usually involves one-way participation, i.e. a speaker and an audience.

A consultative situation:

A step away from the ceremonial conduct of the formal situation is the casual situation. This would take place between a doctor and a patient or a student and a teacher and the like. Fill sentences are still used as well as technical language. However, there is two-way participation and interruptions are quite common.

A casual situation:

This situation will be with your social group and acquaintances. Slang is often used in this situation and interruptions are common. There are more filler words such as “like” or “um”.

An intimate situation:

In this situation, how you say it is more important than what you say. As this is a situation involving only your closest friends and family, they will pick up on your non-verbal messages and so grammar is not so important here.

By following these simple tips, you and the English language can have a friendship as beautiful as Ash and Pikachu!

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English Oddities For new students General English Uncategorized Vocabulary

“ Gotta Catch ‘Em All!” How The English language acquired its vocabulary. – by Bethany Hall

“ Gotta Catch ‘Em All!” History of how The English language acquired its vocabulary.

-Is it correct to use the Japanese word Pokemon in an English sentence?

Although many people like to be posh about their English, the language is actually made up of many different sources. In history, way back in 450 AD, Germanic tribes, the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes flooded into England. They gave us some everyday words such as “house” and “loaf”.

In 597 AD, the Romans entered the scene and brought with them Christianity as well as words such as “bishop” and “font”.

In 800 AD, things were really shaken up when the Vikings barged into England. They brought with them some rather violent words such as “ransack” and “die”.

Much to the British Isle’s dismay, William the Conqueror and his Normans arrived on England’s shores in 1026 AD.  His reign brought along words like “judge” and “jury”. The Normans gave us about 10 000 new words as well as a 100 Year War. That led to the English rising to power in England.

 

What about literature?

Thanks to William Shakespeare, English literature’s most beloved writer, the English language has 2000 more words by the year 1616 such as “puppy dog” and the more ominous, “besmirch”.

Again, Literature revolutionized the language with the first edition of the King James Bible published in 1611; making English accessible in the written and spoken form to everyone.

 

And Science?

In the 17th-century scientific terms were added to English. Words such as “acid” and “gravity” helped the common man grasp scientific notions and better understand the workings of the universe.

Armed with science, religion, and literature, the English language ventured to the ends of the earth. In the Caribbean words such as “barbecue” and “canoe” were adopted In India, “yoga” and “bungalow” were added to the English lexicon. English adopted some rather spooky words from Africa such “voodoo” and “Zombie” and some more tame words from Australia such as “boomerang” and “walkabout”.

The inclusion of these foreign words causes some confusion. Thus in 1857, the first Oxford Dictionary was published and has regularly been updated ever since.

 

Yeah but some words are fake!

So now, back to our question; is it correct to use the word Pokemon in English? Well, based on the evidence above, the answer is a resounding yes! English has a history of adopting foreign words (literally) and incorporating them into mainstream English. So fear not Pokemon goers! Even when chasing Venusaur, you are upholding the proud traditions of the complicated language that is English.

 

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Pokemon and other made up words -by Bethany Hall

Pokemon and other made up words

 

Pokemon Go hit the world like a tidal wave and brought with it a host of new expressions and words that we have never used in quite this way before. But how does this fit into what we already know about English? Can we just make-up and add words as we wish? Can we add to the meaning of words?

Image result for pokemon photo credit: pokemon.com

Neologisms are made up or newly coined words or phrases. Shakespeare was the king of neologisms making up about 2000 new words that are now commonplace in the English language. Nowadays, neologisms usually occur with regards to technology and new inventions, e.g. “Facebook” and “What’sApp”. These new additions are usually made up of two words, face and book, to make up a new word. Much like in the case of Pokemon which is made up of two Japanese words, “Poketto” and “M”nsut”, translated to “pocket monster” in English.

Image result for neologisms

One of Shakespeare’s great neologisms is the phrase, “all that glitters isn’t gold” which means that everything that appears to be valuable may not be. This has become a well-known idiom used in spoken and written English. Pokemon Go is a phrase that I suspect will soon be almost as well-known as Shakespeare’s own words.

Another phenomenon that Pokemon Go has introduced us to is semantic progression. This is when the definition of a word grows to include the new meaning. For example, a short while ago “candy” only meant “a sweet, sugary treat”. Now, with the introduction of Pokemon Go, “candy” can also mean, “a substance that is used to evolve and strengthen Pokémon”.

Image result for candy pokemonPhoto credit: sizzle.com

 

Although it essential that we follow the grammatical rules of a language, it is also important that we remember that language is fluid and living. We must always allow room for new ideas and words. There might just be another Shakespeare in our midst.

 

If you would like to have an English lesson with Bethany or any of our other Native English speaking teachers please visit World’s English Academy (click here).