Football’s coming home…


I’m not sure if it is. However, the song itself is interesting from an English Language perspective.

Three Lion’s was originally released in 1996 and had nothing to do with England winning the world cup.

Initially the song referred to the fact that England was hosting the world cup.

It’s interesting that over the years the song has come to mean England winning the World Cup with various bands producing covers.

This process is called semantic change: the change in the meaning of words over time.

This is an interesting article about semantic change both in British English and in English spoken in other countries.

It is well worth a read.


Letter from the editor…

Let’s get started…

Do you see what I did there? I’m in lesson planning mode at the moment. I don’t know if students ever thinks about the effort that goes into created lessons when they’re at school (I know I didn’t). This time of year, post exams, is a chance for teachers to look at old schemes of work and consider how they could be changed, improved, re-vitalised.

I’ve been helping to create the new scheme of work for The Merchant of Venice and I came across this quote from from the title page of the first quarto.

‘The most excellent historie of the merchant of Venice. With the extreame crueltie of
Shylocke the Jewe towards the sayd merchant, in cutting a just pound of his flesh: and
the obtayning of Portia by the choyse of three chests.’

This makes me think several things.

And Finally…

Have our ideas and prejudices really changed that much since Shakespeare’s day?

Some of you may remember the furor some weeks ago around anti-sematism and the Labour party; many of us watched the news reports from the Nazi march in Charlottesville and the Presidents subsequent comments about ‘good people on both sides’, with horror. Here is my question, why are we still fighting about the same things today that we were fighting about over 500 years ago?

If nothing else this has shown me that the ideas and values we see in Shakespeare’s plays are still relevant to us today.

A sobering thought, but one that motivates me to continue with my lesson planning.


Mansplaining and Bropropriation

So…I was, trawling through an English Language blog I like, looking for inspiration for this weeks posts and I found a link to an article from 2015.

You should totally read the whole thing but this caught my eye…

‘Mazarra, Sandberg and Grant, noticed that every time the women witers spoke in meetings, they were always interrupted by male writers, shot down, or their ideas hijacked by aggressive male voices – what Time magazine dubbed “manterrupting” and “bropropriation”.’ (Guardian article)

I am interested in your experiences, after all many of our A level classes are based on the seminar discussion style.

Do you feel equal time is given to all voices in the classroom?

‘only 2% of children and young people in the UK can tell the difference between real and fake news.’

I was reading this article,, about the number of children unable to tell fact from fiction in the media and I was shocked.

I thought back to discussions I’ve had with pupils about analysing texts and considering different perspectives in literature and I was baffled. I know my pupils can consider different sides of an argument and see things from different perspectives. So what is going on?

It occurred to me that perhaps the difference is in ‘perceived’ fact and fiction. Pupils don’t expect a literary text to be ‘true’ it is, by its very nature, ‘made up’ so they are more likely to think critically about it.

Maybe the problem is about trust. We teach pupils to trust us; in what we’re saying, in what we’re having them write. We don’t teach them to be critical of authority, in fact we spend a lot of time teaching them to do as they are told.

I’m interested in this Guardian article about how children can be educated to discern fact from fiction, truth the Trump etc.

Is the term ‘gammon’ a racist slur?

So today I have been perusing English Language blogs (don’t look like that), and I came across an interesting article about the word ‘gammon’ and how it has attained a new meaning.

‘But it was in 2017 that it really took off when it was used to describe a post-Brexit vote phenomenon that many had observed but few had been able to nail so accurately: namely, a certain type of man whose anger about the modern world had made them turn the colour of ham or what Urban Dictionary’s top definition describes as “a particular type of Brexit-voting, middle-aged white male, whose meat-faced complexion suggests they are perilously close to a stroke”.’

Now the use of this word has sparked some controversy on the internet (I know, the internet being controversial, I was shocked as well).

One tweeter suggested that the word ‘gammon’ was as bad as the ‘n word’ whilst another replied that white people using a word to describe other white people could not be considered racist.

You should definitely check out the whole thing:

In the mean time what do you think?


‘Darth Vader issued a stark warning to Bristolians auditioning for a role in the new Star Wars film earlier this month. “You can’t go, ‘oo-aar my dear, here’s my lightsaber,'” advised David Prowse, the actor who played Vader in the original films. He advised hopefuls to “disguise their accents” if they were serious about landing a part’

An interesting article by  Matt Dathan in the Guardian.