December 14th, 2011

xmas cats

The dead arise

I took yesterday off. Slept a lot. With the result that I'm feeling much better today. And that's a good thing, since I got jolted out of bed this morning by an emergency call. Everything happens at Christmas: the good, the bad, and the weird.
white horse

I'm dreaming of a . . .

I keep flirting with writing a textbook for a high school English course. It would examine English historically, first, as a Germanic language, then taking successive tours through Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English, Received Standard, and finally American English. It would explain why English is as it is and what the possibilities for communication in English are. The way we teach English now makes no sense.

I remember reading this quote from Winston Churchill: "Thus I got into my bones the essential structure of the ordinary British sentence, which is a noble thing." (I would say English, rather than British.) This quote refers to Churchill's schooling, in which he was not deemed clever enough to study Latin. He was sent to Sandhurst to study to be a soldier, rather than Oxford. It was seen as a come-down by his father. In the end, though, Churchill proved himself a master of the English language.

Mastery of English is made easier by a familiarity with English as it really is and where it comes from, rather than wrestling with what crackpots think it is or declare that it should be. It is certainly better than the PC Newspeak that we inflict upon students at every level in this country.

I have no real time for this endeavor, I know. But it attracts me. It rests my mind (and dangerously tempts that mind) by providing a necessary distraction. Still, I wish I could pull it off. Ah, dreams.