Thursday, 8th December (Richmond)

1. We’ve had a plethora of ‘words of the year’ recently. I mentioned the controversial (from a UK perspective) Cambridge word of the year – ‘homer’ – on 22nd November, and now we have the Oxford one and the Collins one both also controversial, in different ways: the Oxford one because it’s two words, not one – ‘goblin mode’ – and the Collins one – ‘permacrisis’ – because Greek scholars think it’s a contradiction in terms, in terms of its Greek origins, at least – a ‘crisis’ is temporary and cannot by definition be ‘perma’, permanent.

The Oxford word was, for the first time,  the ‘people’s choice’ this year – more than 300,000 voted – and it’s completely and utterly new to me. I should clearly get out onto social media more. Here’s the BBC’s commentary, including Susie Dent’s defence of  a two-word ‘word of the year’ and an article in The Times which I hope hasn’t retreated behind their paywall

And here’s one individual’s choice of their word of the year, on freelance lexicographer Julie Moore’s Lexicoblog

2. If you want to avoid being replaced by a computer, then you’d better listen to the session by Mark Richard and Edmund Dudley that opens ELTOC at 11:00 UK time tomorrow, Friday 9th December, How to Avoid Being Replaced by a Computer. More information on the two-day programme and details of where to watch here Colourful PDF of programme below.

3. When I started teaching – which wasn’t yesterday, I admit – the use of any other language than English in an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classroom was a serious pedagogical ‘crime’. We’ve come a long way since then. On 12th December at 12:00 UK time, Nelson Arditto will be presenting Rethinking multilingualism and the use of the L1 in English as a medium of instruction. More info here

Here’s the blurb for Nelson’s talk: “In recent years, the ‘multilingual turn’ has risen to challenge preconceived ideas that L2 learning can only happen through the exclusive use of English. This webinar will provide a background to the predominance of second language acquisition theories in EMI classrooms and question monolingual practices based on a hierarchical perspective of languages. It will look at the concept of ‘translanguaging’ as the hallmark of bilingual speakers and explore pedagogical and spontaneous uses in the EMI/CLIL classroom. Participants will consider their beliefs and attitudes with regard to using the L1 in teaching and learning content and language and go away with some ideas and activities to try out in their teaching contexts.”

4. And, finally and more politically, here’s the Scottish Review’s word of the week, which taught me the origin of the expression ‘to strike’

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