This blog tries to be
a home for those who enjoyed posting
on the old BBC Word of Mouth Message board
— and anybody else with an interest in language.

If you want to start a new discussion, please do one of the following:

• Add your new point as a comment here (Click)
• Become a follower and email your text to me.

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Before you publish Save your text somewhere (as a precaution)

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Language and the State

OK, nobody has any suggestions, so I'd better start a thread myself.

This week's Word of Mouth saw the welcome return of Michael 

without the parrot but with students at the Mary Ward Settlement and Centre 

and a bunch of characters worrying about state aid to ESOL English to Speakers of Other Languages.

I've always seen ESOL to immigrants as an unqualified blessing, enabling the immigrants to thrive and contribute to the host society, and removing obstacles to social harmony. But was I naive? Are there immigrants who don't need English and don't want to learn more than a minimum? Should we force them to  sacrifice time and effort (and now money) towards learning English? Is there a cost to the State if we don't subsidise ESOL and translation services?

How great a priority should provision like the Mary Ward ESOL courses be? Can we expect the elected politicians who hold the purse strings to persuade the electorate that services for immigrants are a duty? Should retired TEFL teachers like me volunteer to fill the gap Big-Society style? Or would that be scabbing, allowing the State to sack more ESOL teachers?

The programme also mentioned the information expected from the Census. 
Look at these questions in the version prepared partly for the Scottish Government. What is Holyrood to make of our answers?

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Welcome to Word-of-Mouthers

Welcome to devotees of the soon to be defunct Word of Mouth Message Board

I have no idea whether this will work, but I'll give it a try.

Let me know what you'd like to talk about and I'll see if I can organise it as a discussion. I'll be the host, which is actually not something I look forward to. It could be a disaster or it could be fun.

Post your suggestions to this thread.

To do this you don't have to become a follower, but you do have to establish an identity. You can read the blog at any time, but you have to sign in before you can post.

I'll start by choosing one of your suggestions to create a thread that we all can contribute to. If that works, I'll start some more threads. I've never done this before, so I don't promise to make a success of it  but let's try.

If you're totally new to this environment, try this:

  1. Click on the heading to the thread
  2. Type a few characters in the box
  3. Select as profile Google Account
  4. Click Preview
This should get you into a screen where you can create an identity. 

Once you've done this you'll be able to Sign In any time by clicking the button in the top right-hand corner. 

Remember to sign in before you start composing your replies. If, however, you forget to do this, the trick is: 
  1. Copy the whole reply Be careful not to delete it
  2. Sign in
  3. Return to the blog and start a new reply
  4. Paste in the reply
  5. If necessary, restore any lost formatting
A similar operation will allow you to remove typos or make other corrections.
  1. Copy the whole reply — Be careful not to delete it
  2. Start a new posting
  3. Paste in the reply
  4. If necessary, restore any lost formatting
  5. Publish the corrected version
  6. Click the little dustbin icon below the uncorrected version.
This will leave the message This posting has been removed by the author — which I'll delete when I see it.