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ESOL-RESEARCH  February 2007

ESOL-RESEARCH February 2007

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Subject:

Re: Using colloquialisms in ESOL classrooms

From:

Rachel Thake <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Rachel Thake <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 21 Feb 2007 10:21:24 -0000

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When I taught at Derby University, we started each weekly session with 
words the students had heard or picked up around them.  This gave the 
students the encouragement to "notice" language around them, a forum to 
bring queries and to keep them interacting with an enquiring mind. 
  
It also meant that I was often unable to be the one who helped the 
learners to understand meaning, because I was also unfamiliar with 
youth/ local culture.  The learners, therefore, came to see my role as a 
facilitator rather than the source of knowledge, which encouraged 
indpendent learning skills. - and I learnt a lot myself! 
  
Like all routines in an ESOL classroom, it could be abused, but I 
recommend it as one approach among many to tackling local dialect or 
colloquialisms. 
  
Rachel 
 
	-----Original Message-----  
	From: ESOL-Research discussion forum on behalf of Janet Isserlis 
Sent: Fri 16/02/2007 15:43  
	To: [log in to unmask]  
	Cc:  
	Subject: Re: Using colloquialisms in ESOL classrooms 
	 
	 
 
	All 
	 
	This is an intriguing discussion. 
	 
	On this side of the pond (an idiom I actually dislike) - but 
here in the US, 
	parallel discussions are also taking place about the use of 
Ebonics are 
	"standard" English, and its status as a rule-driven dialect. 
	 
	In ESOL contexts we talk a lot about helping learners see the 
contexts in 
	which language is used (slang, local terms/idioms, etc) and the 
potential 
	consequences of using one word/phrase in a particular context, 
with 
	particular interlocutors, etc.  At the end of the day it seems 
that if 
	learners understand how particular words and phrases are used 
and 
	understood, they then can work out - with or without assistance 
- how and 
	when to use them themselves. 
	 
	As for local peculiarities: in Rhode Island, where I live, a 
water fountain 
	(for drinking) is called a bubbler.  A big sandwich with meat 
and vegetables 
	and who knows what all else is called a grinder.  That same 
sandwich might 
	be called a hero or a hoagie somewhere else.  A milk shake can 
be an 'awful 
	awful' (at one restaurant around the state), etc. etc. 
	 
	I love it when students bring these words to class and we can 
work out their 
	meannings. 
	 
	Finally, working on a college campus, I hear young people using 
language (in 
	English, I believe) that I can barely understand.  ("I feel you" 
for I feel 
	your pain, I empathise; you're the bomb, etc, etc).  So the 
whole 
	generational/pop culture thing is a whole other ball of wax as 
well. 
	 
	Janet Isserlis 
	 
	 
	> From: Frances Nehme <[log in to unmask]> 
	> Reply-To: Frances Nehme <[log in to unmask]> 
	> Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 12:30:10 +0000 
	> To: <[log in to unmask]> 
	> Conversation: Using colloquialisms in ESOL classrooms 
	> Subject: Re: Using colloquialisms in ESOL classrooms 
	> 
	> It is an issue, really, of the mismatch between what is useful 
to learners, 
	> what they want, what we are willing (or able) to provide and 
what is 
	> required by our employers. 
	> 
	> Anecdotally, some years ago a prospective ESOL learner turned 
up to enrol 
	> for classes in Walthamstow. He said to the secretary 'I want 
learn English 
	> proper like in street. I no want speak like you, posh, posh' 
She was 
	> intrigued - because until then she had only come up against 
people who 
	> wanted to speak proper - as in Standard, as this was seen as a 
way of 
	> getting on in the UK - many learners were quite sniffy about 
the way local 
	> people spoke English. 
	> 
	> The difficulty of teaching local dialects is one of complexity 
- my 
	> experience of Bradford and Leeds is that there are wide 
differences in 
	> people's access to dialect and even in how 'broad Yorkshire' 
they are. Some 
	> local people speak of laiking and gunnels and snickets, others 
know nothing 
	> of such things. 
	> 
	> ESOL learners often bring amusing stories of their own 
struggles with 
	> varieties of vocabulary - one of my Walthamstow students had 
learnt to buy 
	> 'buns' when up North. His family moved South and after some 
confusion, the 
	> local baker told him they were not 'buns' but 'rolls' - and so 
on for 
	> ever... 
	> More standardised BBC type English is easier to teach or to 
present formally 
	> simply because it is more standard. 
	> However, I do feel that the teacher able to interpret and 
explain local 
	> dialects, when asked, has an edge. 
	> There is also the question, in Adult Education, of the 
language brought home 
	> by learners' children, particularly teenagers. 
	> 
	> Frances  
	> 
	> 
	> On 16/2/07 07:29, "stephen woulds" 
<[log in to unmask]> wrote: 
	> 
	>> I couldn't agree more. This is something I feel strongly 
about. Each area in 
	>> the UK has its own language acquisition challenges because of 
differences in 
	>> regional accents, dialects and contexts. But we often find a 
very 'pure' form 
	>> of English being taught with emphasis on ESOL CC 'level 
descriptors' and 
	>> discrete skills and grammar to the detriment of a more 
richer, vernacular 
	>> English. 
	>> 
	>>  
	>> 
	>> Here is an example of how context and dialect inform 
communicative meaning. A 
	>> student of mine called Ali was waiting for a bus in Leeds 
city-centre. He 
	>> overheard two teenage girls talking about three buses at 
once. One of the 
	>> girls turned to Ali and said, "'Ave ya got time on ya?" A 
perplexed Ali 
	>> replied, "Sorry, I'm very busy," and walked off quickly. He 
understood the 
	>> vocabulary, the reference to time, but he didn't understand 
the signified, 
	>> the 
	>> referential watch on his wrist and the fact that the girls 
were making a 
	>> common complaint about the irregularity of buses. Without an 
awareness of 
	>> context our interpretation of communication is often reduced 
to 'context-free 
	>> semantic information as given in a dictionary,' (Levy, 1999). 
Ali thought he 
	>> was being asked to do something for her which would require a 
length of his 
	>> time. He had no idea why they would need three buses at once 
nor that they 
	>> simply wanted Ali to tell them the time. The failed 
interaction was not 
	>> helped 
	>> by the fact that the Yorkshire dialect sometimes drops the 
definitive article 
	>> the before a noun, "Have you got the time on you?" e.g. "I'm 
going to shop," 
	>> rather than "I'm going to the shop." 
	>> 
	>>  
	>> 
	>> At Leeds Thomas Danby our ESOL tutors created 21 videos in 
'local' settings 
	>> with 'local' vernacular English. This was put onto DVD and 
video and 
	>> distributed to all tutors. I have found that my students 
enjoy learning 
	>> regional English, examining how language breaks the rules, 
the pronunciation, 
	>> the grammar, of the official language they have been taught. 
You can find 
	>> more 
	>> information about the project if you are interested in doing 
something 
	>> similar 
	>> yourself at: http://www.aclearn.net/display.cfm?resID=21714 
Alternatively, 
	>> video a regional soap or invite guest speakers. Some of my 
students watch 
	>> Emmerdale, set in Yorkshire. Why not use that as a resource 
for 
	>> teaching/learning English? 
	>>  
	>>  
	>>  
	>>  
	>> 
	>> ________________________________ 
	>> 
	>> From: ESOL-Research discussion forum on behalf of Judith 
Boardman 
	>> Sent: Thu 15/02/2007 21:57 
	>> To: [log in to unmask] 
	>> Subject: Using colloquialisms in ESOL classrooms 
	>> 
	>> 
	>> Being born and bred in a Bradford working class family, I 
have found that I 
	>> use Yorkshire colloquialisms all the time while teaching 
without even 
	>> realising it! Sometimes learners ask me what something means 
and I have to 
	>> explain "It's what people in Bradford say but you probably 
won't hear this 
	>> anywhere else!" I used to feel somewhat embarrassed by the 
fact that I may 
	>> not always be using 'proper' English until I realised that my 
colloquialisms 
	>> are the ones students will encounter in the real world every 
day. 
	>> 
	>> Judith Boardman 
	>> 
	>> 
	>> 
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	>> 
	>> *********************************** ESOL-Research is a forum 
for researchers 
	>> and practitioners with an interest in research into teaching 
and learning 
	>> ESOL. ESOL-Research is managed by James Simpson at the Centre 
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	>> Education Research, School of Education, University of Leeds. 
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	>> *********************************** 
	>> ESOL-Research is a forum for researchers and practitioners 
with an interest 
	>> in 
	>> research into teaching and learning ESOL. ESOL-Research is 
managed by James 
	>> Simpson at the Centre for Language Education Research, School 
of Education, 
	>> University of Leeds. 
	>> To join or leave ESOL-Research, visit 
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	> 
	> *********************************** 
	> ESOL-Research is a forum for researchers and practitioners 
with an interest in 
	> research into teaching and learning ESOL. ESOL-Research is 
managed by James 
	> Simpson at the Centre for Language Education Research, School 
of Education, 
	> University of Leeds. 
	> To join or leave ESOL-Research, visit 
	> http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/ESOL-RESEARCH.html 
	> A quick guide to using Jiscmail lists can be found at: 
	> http://jiscmail.ac.uk/help/using/quickuser.htm 
	> To contact the list owner, send an email to 
	> [log in to unmask] 
	 
	*********************************** 
	ESOL-Research is a forum for researchers and practitioners with 
an interest in research into teaching and learning ESOL. ESOL-Research 
is managed by James Simpson at the Centre for Language Education 
Research, School of Education, University of Leeds. 
	To join or leave ESOL-Research, visit 
	http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/ESOL-RESEARCH.html 
	A quick guide to using Jiscmail lists can be found at: 
	http://jiscmail.ac.uk/help/using/quickuser.htm 
	To contact the list owner, send an email to 
	[log in to unmask] 
	 
 

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