Expat Ramblings: Make the Most of Your Language!

Over in Facebookland, a friend of mine recently posted a link to an expat’s blog post. In it, the writer expressed her fear of losing her native language while living abroad and not using it the way she used to. My friend and many other expats shared her concerns. And while I can relate to many of the examples used in the article, I’m not convinced. Read More Expat Ramblings: Make the Most of Your Language!

A History of Possession

My students always struggle with apostrophe use. Indeed, it’s probably the number one writing — error? problem? nonstandard usage? — I see in my students’ writing.

My guess is that apostrophe usage is on the way out. I suspect a hundred years from now, English writers will not use apostrophes. And that’s okay. I’m not someone who’s like, “Oh no, English is devolving, it’s terrible, everyone is stupider now.” Language changes. That’s what’s so cool about it.

But I do like apostrophes. I think they make writing easier to understand. I’m sad they might be disappearing.

So here is a history of apostrophes.

Read More A History of Possession

Expat Ramblings: English Politeness

Ah, yes, the English. While not giving anything away about themselves, they always manage to stay perfectly polite, with impeccable manners, stiff upper lip, shame about the weather, tally-ho, pip pip. Jolly good. Only it’s a trap! Read More Expat Ramblings: English Politeness

A Short Guide to the English Weather

Whatever they say about stereotypes, I have found this one to be true: The weather in England sucks. Nobody comes to England for the weather. Lots of people stay despite the weather, and are quietly resigned to it. Me, I am quietly raging. Read More A Short Guide to the English Weather

Expat Ramblings: Watching The English, Part 2

I’m so glad I came across Kate Fox’s book – being able to formulate and understand rules helps me a lot generally, and in this case I can finally put some things into words that have vaguely puzzled me for a while now. Yes, many things about the English are weird. So finally making sense of the weirdness comes as a relief. Read More Expat Ramblings: Watching The English, Part 2

Badass Bilingual Bitches

A state law calling for English-only in the public schools. A national movement of “Americanization.” Educators and administrators working to erase the home culture of their students. Sounds like today, right? Nope. Think 1900s Laredo, Texas and enter Jovita Idar and Leonor Villegas de Magnón who said, “Fuck that, our children deserve better.” Read More Badass Bilingual Bitches

Where People Go to Teach Overseas

If there is any lesson I’ve learned in my 4 years of teaching overseas, it’s that nothing compares to first hand advice. I can only speak for my experiences in China, Vietnam, and South Korea, but that hardly covers the multitude of options available to people or the variety of different jobs and cultures in which to immerse oneself. Read More Where People Go to Teach Overseas