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1
English Grammar / Linking verbs, helping verbs, and action verbs
« on: September 16, 2019, 12:38:31 PM »
Linking verbs link the subject and the subject's state of being; helping verbs help the main verb in the sentence; action verbs express physical and/or mental action.


Explanation:
sources:
www.softschools.com/examples/grammar/linking_verbs_examples/63/
www.softschools.com/examples/grammar/action_verbs_examples/55/
grammar.yourdictionary.com/parts-of-speech/verbs/Helping-Verbs.html


Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU


2
English Language Skills / Games to learn American English
« on: September 16, 2019, 12:32:26 PM »
Please go through the link below and get ideas regarding using games in the class to learn English.



Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

3
Reading Skill / How to Improve Reading Comprehension
« on: March 25, 2019, 02:32:09 PM »

Reading is a skill many people take for granted, but the act of reading and properly comprehending a text is a complex and interactive process. It requires several different brain functions to work together and most often requires one to puzzle through multiple layers of context and meaning.
Because reading comprehension is so complicated, we can often find ourselves understanding the most basic interpretation of a text, but missing the emotional core or the “big picture.” Or we might just find our brains spinning with no clue at all as to what a text is attempting to convey.
But luckily for everyone who struggles in English classes, on standardized tests, or in daily life, reading comprehension can be improved upon (and it’s never too late to start!). In this guide, I explain step-by-step how to improve reading comprehension over time and offer tips for boosting your understanding as you read.
 
What is Reading Comprehension?
Reading comprehension is the understanding of what a particular text means and the ideas the author is attempting to convey, both textual and subtextual. In order to read any text, your brain must process not only the literal words of the piece, but also their relationship with one another, the context behind the words, how subtle language and vocabulary usage can impact emotion and meaning behind the text, and how the text comes together as a larger, coherent whole.
For instance, let's look at the first line from Jane Austen's novel, Pride and Prejudice:
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
Now, a completely literal interpretation of the text, just based on word-meaning, would have us believe that 'all rich men want wives.' But the context, word choice, and phrasing of the text actually belie that interpretation. By using the phrases "universally acknowledged" and "must be in want of" (emphasis ours), the text is conveying a subtle sarcasm to the words. Instead of it being an actual truth that 'rich men want wives,' this one sentence instantly tells us that we're reading about a society preoccupied with marriage, while also implying that the opening statement is something people in that society may believe, but that isn't necessarily true.
In just a few short words, Austen conveys several ideas to the reader about one of the main themes of the story, the setting, and what the culture and people are like. And she does so all the while seeming to contradict the literal words of the piece.
Without practice in reading comprehension, nuances like these can become lost. And so it can happen that someone may find themselves reading, but not truly comprehending the full meaning of a text.
As you can see, reading comprehension involves many processes happening in your brain at once, and thus it can be easy for some aspects of a text to get lost in the muddle. But the good news for anyone who struggles is that reading comprehension is a skill just like any other. It must be learned through practice, focus, and diligence, but it absolutely CAN be learned.
 
Why Reading Comprehension is Important?
Proper reading comprehension can be difficult, so why bother? Even though learning how to properly read and comprehend texts is a complicated process, it is a necessary skill to master, both for work and for pleasure.
You will need to know how to read and interpret all kinds of different texts—both on the basic, literal level and on a more in-depth level—throughout your schooling, in college, and in the working world (as well as in your recreation time!). If we think about "reading" just as a literal or surface understanding of a piece and "reading comprehension" as the complete understanding, a person can only get by in the world on pure "reading" for so long.
Reading comprehension is essential for many significant aspects of daily life, such as:
•   Reading, understanding, and analyzing literature in your English classes
•   Reading and understanding texts from your other class subjects, such as history, math, or science
•   Doing well on both the written and math sections of the SAT (or all five sections of the ACT)
•   Understanding and engaging with current events presented in written form, such as news reports
•   Properly understanding and responding to any and all other workplace correspondence, such as essays, reports, memos, and analyses
•   Simply taking pleasure in written work on your own leisure time
Just like with any goal or skill, we can master reading comprehension one step at a time.
 
How to Improve Reading Comprehension: 3 Steps
Because reading comprehension is a skill that improves like any other, you can improve your understanding with practice and a game plan.
Dedicate yourself to engaging in a combination of both "guided" and "relaxed" reading practice for at least two to three hours a week. Guided practice will involve structure and focused attention, like learning new vocabulary words and testing yourself on them, while relaxed practice will involve merely letting yourself read and enjoy reading without pressure for at least one to two hours a week. (Note: if you already read for pleasure, add at least one more hour of pleasure-reading per week.)
By combining reading-for-studying and reading-for-pleasure, you'll be able to improve your reading skill without relegating reading time to the realm of "work" alone. Reading is a huge part of our daily lives, and improving your comprehension should never come at the cost of depriving yourself of the pleasure of the activity.
So what are some of the first steps for improving your reading comprehension level?
 
Step 1: Understand and Reevaluate How You’re Currently Reading
Before you can improve your reading comprehension, you must first understand how you’re currently reading and what your limitations are.
Start by selecting excerpts from different texts with which you are unfamiliar—text books, essays, novels, news reports, or any kind of text you feel you particularly struggle to understand—and read them as you would normally. As you read, see if you can notice when your attention, energy, or comprehension of the material begins to flag.
If your comprehension or concentration tends to lag after a period of time, start to slowly build up your stamina. For instance, if you continually lose focus at the 20 minute mark every time you read, acknowledge this and push yourself to slowly increase that time, rather than trying to sit and concentrate on reading for an hour or two at a stretch. Begin by reading for your maximum amount of focused time (in this case, twenty minutes), then give yourself a break. Next time, try for 22 minutes. Once you've mastered that, try for 25 and see if you can still maintain focus. If you can, then try for thirty.
If you find that your concentration or comprehension starts to lag again, take a step back on your timing before pushing yourself for more. Improvement comes with time, and it'll only cause frustration if you try to rush it all at once.
Alternatively, you may find that your issues with reading comprehension have less to do with the time spent reading than with the source material itself. Perhaps you struggle to comprehend the essential elements of a text, the context of a piece, character arcs or motivation, books or textbooks with densely packed information, or material that is heavily symbolic. If this is the case, then be sure to follow the tips below to improve these areas of reading comprehension weakness.
Improving your reading comprehension level takes time and practice, but understanding where your strengths and weaknesses stand now is the first step towards progress.
 
Step 2: Improve Your Vocabulary
Reading and comprehension rely on a combination of vocabulary, context, and the interaction of words. So you must be able to understand each moving piece before you can understand the text as a whole.
If you struggle to understand specific vocabulary, it's sometimes possible to pick up meaning through context clues (how the words are used in the sentence or in the passage), but it’s always a good idea to look up the definitions of words with which you aren't familiar. As you read, make sure to keep a running list of words you don't readily recognize and make yourself a set of flashcards with the words and their definitions. Dedicate fifteen minutes two or three times a week to and quizzing yourself on your vocab flashcards.
To get started, you'll need some blank index cards and a system to keep them organized. These basic cards are an affordable option that are also available in fun colors. You can keep them organized with plastic baggies or rubber bands, or you can get an organizer. Alternatively, try these easy-flip flashcards that include binder clips. Though we strongly recommend making your own flashcards, you can also buy pre-made ones —the best option is Barron's 1100 Words You Need to Know, a series of exercises to master key words and idioms.
In order to retain your vocabulary knowledge, you must practice a combination of practiced memorization (like studying your flashcards) and make a point of using these new words in your verbal and written communication. Guided vocabulary practice like this will give you access to new words and their meanings as well as allow you to properly retain them.
 
Step 3: Read for Pleasure
The best way to improve your reading comprehension level is through practice. And the best way to practice is to have fun with it!
Make reading a fun activity, at least on occasion, rather than a constant chore. This will motivate you to engage with the text and embrace the activity as part of your daily life (rather than just your study/work life). As you practice and truly engage with your reading material, improvement will come naturally.
Begin by reading texts that are slightly below your age and grade level (especially if reading is frustrating or difficult for you). This will take pressure off of you and allow you to relax and enjoy the story. Here are some fun, easy reads that we recommend to get you started:
•   Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roksani Chokshi
•   Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
•   Ghost by Jason Reynolds
•   The Westing Game by Ellen Rankin
•   From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
•   The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
•   I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
•   Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K .Rowling
Once you feel more comfortable reading and practicing your comprehension strategies (tips in the next section), go ahead and allow yourself to read at whatever reading or age level you feel like. Even if  you feel that you don't understand some of the text right now—or even a large portion of it!—if you enjoy yourself and give it your best shot, you'll find that your reading comprehension levels will improve over time.


Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

4
ELT / Product–based communicative language teaching approaches
« on: February 13, 2019, 12:35:28 PM »
Product – based communicative language teaching approaches

These days demand for communicative language teaching is relatively very high. This increased demand put pressure on educators to change their teaching methods. In this article, we will examine two approaches, which focus more on the outcomes or products of learning as the starting point in course design than on classroom processes. They start by identifying the kinds of uses of language the learner is expected to be able to master at the end of a given period of instruction. Teaching strategies are then selected to help achieve these goals.

Text-Based Instruction

Text-based instruction, also known as a genre-based approach, sees communicative competence as involving the mastery of different types of texts. Text here is used in a special sense to refer to structured sequences of language that are used in specific contexts in specific ways. For example, in the course of a day, a speaker of English may use spoken English in many different ways, including the following: −

Casual conversational exchange with a friend

Conversational exchange with a stranger in an elevator

Telephone call to arrange an appointment at a hair salon 

An account to friends of an unusual experience

Discussion of a personal problem with a friend to seek advice.

Each of these uses of language can be regarded as a text in that it exists as a unified whole with a beginning, middle, and end, it confirms to norms of organization and content, and it draws on appropriate grammar and vocabulary. Communicative competence thus involves being able to use different kinds of spoken and written texts in the specific contexts of their use.
Providing students with guided practice as they develop language skills for meaningful communication through whole texts. According to this view, learners in different contexts have to master the use of the text types occurring most frequently in specific contexts. These contexts might include: studying in an English-medium university, studying in an English-medium primary or secondary school, working in a restaurant, office, or store, socializing with neighbors in a housing complex.

Contents of a Text-Based Syllabus

As its name implies, the core units of planning in TBI are text types. These are identified through needs analysis and through the analysis of language as it is used in different settings (text-based teaching thus has much in common with an ESP approach to language teaching, discussed above). However the syllabus also usually specifies other components of texts, such as grammar, vocabulary, topics, and functions; hence, it is a type of mixed syllabus, one which integrates reading, writing, and oral communication, and which teaches grammar through the mastery of texts rather than in isolation. Texts, which combine one or more of these text types, Recounts Narratives Opinion texts Expositions Discussions. A text-based approach has been adopted in Singapore and forms the framework for the 2002 syllabus for primary and secondary schools. In the Singapore context, the text types that are identified can be understood as forming the communicative building blocks Singapore children need in order to perform in an English-medium school setting. The Singapore syllabus also identifies the grammatical items that are needed in order to master different text types.

While implementing a Text-Based Approach students:

Are introduced to the social context of an authentic model of the text type being studied 
Explore features of the general cultural context in which the text type is used and the social purposes the text type achieves
Explore the immediate context of situation by investigating the register of a model text which has been selected on the basis of the course objectives and learner need. An exploration of register involves:
1.Build knowledge of the topic of the model text and knowledge of the social activity in which the text is used, e.g., job seeking
2.Understand the roles and relationships of the people using the text and how these are established and maintained, e.g., the relationship between a job seeker and a prospective employer
3.Understand the channel of communication being used, e.g., using the telephone, speaking face-to-face with members of an interview panel

Context-building activities include:

Present the context through pictures, audiovisual materials, realia
Establish the social purpose through discussions or surveys, etc.
Cross-cultural activities, such as comparing differences in the use of the text in two cultures
Compare the model text with other texts of the same or a contrasting type, e.g., comparing a job interview with a complex spoken exchange involving close friends, a work colleague or a stranger in a service encounter.

After all these have been done, students will have to do independent construction of the text. Here students work independently with the text. Independent construction activities include: Listening tasks, e.g., comprehension activities in response to live or recorded material, such as performing a task, sequencing pictures, numbering, ticking or underlining material on a worksheet, answering questions.

Listening and speaking tasks, e.g., role plays, simulated or authentic dialogs. Speaking tasks, e.g., spoken presentation to class, community organization, or workplace. Reading tasks, e.g., comprehension activities in response to written material such as performing a task, sequencing pictures, numbering, ticking or underlining material on a worksheet, answering questions. Writing tasks which demand that students draft and present whole texts.

There are also some problems with implementing a Text-Based Approach.

As can be seen from the above summary, a text-based approach focuses on the products of learning rather than the processes involved. Critics have pointed out that an emphasis on individual creativity and personal expression is missing from the TBI model, which is heavily wedded to a methodology based on the study of model texts and the creation of texts based on models. Likewise, critics point out that there is a danger that the approach becomes repetitive and boring over time since approaches described above applied to the teaching of all four skills.

Competency-Based Instruction

Competency-based instruction is an approach to the planning and delivery of courses that has been in widespread use since the 1970s. The application of its principles to language teaching is called competency-based language teaching (CBLT) — an approach that has been widely used as the basis for the design of work-related and survival-oriented language teaching programs for adults. It seeks to teach students the basic skills they need in order to prepare them for situations they commonly encounter in everyday life. Recently, competency- based frameworks have become adopted in many countries, particularly for vocational and technical education. They are also increasingly being adopted in national language curriculum, as has happened recently in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines.

What characterizes a competency-based approach is the focus on the outcomes of learning as the driving force of teaching and the curriculum. Auerbach (1986) identifies eight features involved in the implementation of CBLT programs in language teaching:
 
1.A focus on successful functioning in society. The goal is to enable students to become autonomous individuals capable of coping with the demands of the world.
2.A focus on life skills. Rather than teaching language in isolation, CBLT teaches language as a function of communication about concrete tasks. Students are taught just those language forms/ skills required by the situations in which they will function. These forms are normally determined by needs analysis.
3.Task- or performance-oriented instruction. What counts is what students can do as a result of instruction. The emphasis is on overt behaviors rather than on knowledge or the ability to talk about language and skills.
4.Modularized instruction. Language learning is broken down into meaningful chunks. Objectives are broken into narrowly focused sub objectives so that both teachers and students can get a clear sense of progress.
5.Outcomes are made explicit. Outcomes are public knowledge, known and agreed upon by both learner and teacher. They are specified in terms of behavioral objectives so that students know what behaviors are expected of them.
6.Continuous and ongoing assessment. Students are pre-tested to determine what skills they lack and post-tested after instruction on that skill. If they do not achieve the desired level of mastery, they continue to work on the objective and are retested.
7.Demonstrated mastery of performance objectives. Rather than the traditional paper-and-pencil tests, assessment is based on the ability to demonstrate prespecified behaviors.
8.Individualized, student-centered instruction. In content, level, and pace, objectives are defined in terms of individual needs; prior learning and achievement are taken into account in developing curricula. Instruction is not time-based; students’ progress at their own rates and concentrate on just those areas in which they lack competence.

There are two things to note about competency-based instruction. First, it seeks to build more accountability into education by describing what a course of instruction seeks to accomplish. Secondly, it shifts attention away from methodology or classroom processes, to learning outcomes. In a sense, one can say that with this approach it doesn’t matter what methodology is employed as long as it delivers the learning outcomes.

Implementing a Competency-Based Approach

As we saw above, CBLT is often used in programs that focus on learners with very specific language needs. In such cases, rather than seeking to teach general English, the focus is on the specific language skills needed to function in a specific context. This is similar to an ESP approach and to some versions of a task-based approach. The starting point in course planning is therefore an identification of the tasks the learner will need to carry out within a specific setting (e.g., in the role of factory worker, restaurant employee, or nurse) and the language demands of those tasks. The competencies needed for successful task performance are then identified and used as the basis for course planning. For example, part of a specification of competencies for a job training course includes the following:

The student will be able to:

− Identify different kinds of jobs using simple help-wanted ads
− Describe personal work experience and skills − Demonstrate ability to fill out a simple job application with assistance
− Produce required forms of identification for employment
 − Identify Social Security, income tax deductions, and tax forms
− Demonstrate understanding of employment expectations, rules, regulations, and safety
− Demonstrate understanding of basic instructions and ask for clarification on the job
− Demonstrate appropriate treatment of co-workers (politeness and respect).

Critics of CBLT have argued that this approach looks easier and neater than it is. They point out that analyzing situations into tasks and underlying competencies is not always feasible or possible, and that often little more than intuition is involved. They also suggest that this is a reductionist approach. Language learning is reduced to a set of lists and such things as thinking skills are ignored.

The link: https://moluch.ru/archive/136/37920/


Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

5
Pragmatics / What is pragmatics?
« on: October 27, 2018, 01:42:48 PM »
 What is pragmatics?

 
"We human beings are odd compared with our nearest animal relatives. Unlike them, we can say what we want, when we want. All normal humans can produce and understand any number of new words and sentences. Humans use the multiple options of language often without thinking. But blindly, they sometimes fall into its traps. They are like spiders who exploit their webs, but themselves get caught in the sticky strands"  Jean Aitchison


“Pragmatics studies the factors that govern our choice of language in social interaction and the effects of our choice on others.” David Crystal


 “Pragmatics is a way of investigating how sense can be made of certain texts even when, from a semantic viewpoint, the text seems to be either incomplete or to have a different meaning to what is really intended. Consider a sign seen in a children's wear shop window: "Baby Sale - lots of bargains". We know without asking that there are no babies are for sale - that what is for sale are items used for babies. Pragmatics allows us to investigate how this "meaning beyond the words" can be understood without ambiguity. The extra meaning is there, not because of the semantic aspects of the words themselves, but because we share certain contextual knowledge with the writer or speaker of the text.  Pragmatics is an important area of study for your course. A simplified way of thinking about pragmatics is to recognise, for example, that language needs to be kept interesting - a speaker or writer does not want to bore a listener or reader, for example, by being over-long or tedious. So, humans strive to find linguistic means to make a text, perhaps, shorter, more interesting, more relevant, more purposeful or more personal. Pragmatics allows this.”  Steve Campsall


Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU
 

6
The examples below are shared by some of the finalists of this year’s ELTons awards:

Blended learning

As teachers combine digital media with more traditional forms of teaching, their course materials and resources reflect the trend. The Combined Pre-Sessional Course offered by King’s English Language Centre (King’s College London) combines face-to-face teaching and online lessons. For teachers who want to pepper their everyday teaching with practical online activities, Lindsay Clandfield and Jill Hadfield’s Interaction Online - creative activities for blended learning emphasises the interaction between teachers and learners.

Mobile learning

Online resources are more accessible with a mobile app or a mobile-friendly version. Wordable (Playlingo Ltd. with Cambridge University Press) turns vocabulary-learning into a fun, competitive game you could play with your friends. It has built-in, spaced repetition and active-recall learning to make new words stick.

Essential English (Oxford University Press) uses mobile technology to provide free resources for teachers and students, including flashcards, phrasebooks, lesson plans and activities. Meanwhile, Tri Pro English Website and Mobile Apps helps learners to practise their listening through free, high-quality recordings divided into levels and coupled with comprehension questions.

Gamification

Appealing to football-lovers, LearnMatch (VE Vision Education GmbH) uses training sessions, friendly matches, leagues and cup games to make vocabulary learning fun for young learners. Get Set, Go! Phonics (Oxford University Press) uses chants, songs and games to help develop pre-school children’s phonological awareness.

On an even more immersive scale, Learn Languages with Ruby Rei (Wibbu) plunges the learners into an interactive adventure game. They have to use their language skills to negotiate, collaborate and build friendships in order to escape from a forgotten planet at the edge of the universe. Any learning that takes place is incidental.

Embodied learning

Embodied learning is based on the idea that learning is not just about remembering. It involves using the mind and the body, collaborating, discussing and exploring. Learners need to be emotionally, intellectually, physically and socially engaged.

Courses such as Doodle Town (Macmillan Education) use visual, audio and hands-on activities to stimulate and inspire learning, getting young learners to draw, create, and be inquisitive. Orbit (Richmond) develops the young learners’ socio-emotional and cognitive skills through a language course that follows the story of a ferret and children who go on adventures in multicultural environments.

Inquiry-based learning (or: 'learning in a complex world')

The scenarios that teachers come across in some course materials can seem simplified and unrealistic, leading us to wonder if we are adequately training our learners for real life in the 21st century.

Courses like Fast Track 5 (EF Education First Ltd) and Wider World (Pearson with the BBC) use authentic video and audio content to bring the real world to teenage learners. They encourage teenagers to practise the soft skills and communication skills needed to take part in the global communities of the 21st century. Aimed at the adult learner, Perspectives (National Geographic) uses real-life stories and TED talks to motivate learners to think critically and creatively.

Danny Norrington-Davies’s Teaching Grammar: From Rules to Reasons (Pavilion Publishing) is an alternative approach to teaching grammar. Teachers and learners discover how writers and speakers use grammar to express themselves in real life. Hugh Dellar and Andrew Walkley’s Teaching Lexically (Delta Publishing) combines the teaching of grammar and lexis for more effective classroom practice, rather than over-simplifying language into a more traditional ‘grammar + words’ view.

English as a lingua franca (ELF)

When the concept of English as a lingua franca was first discussed by teachers, academics, writers and trainers, it was controversial. Many refused to consider how the concept of English as an international language might fit into course materials and language teaching. Today, we see resource materials like PronPack 1-4 (Mark Hancock) taking a non-prescriptive approach to accent and instead focusing on increased intelligibility as the objective. Using elements of blended learning and gamification, this pronunciation course doesn’t help the learner sound British or American, but instead prepares the learner to use English in the global arena.

Multi-literacies and trans-languaging

In global communities where English is a common language of communication alongside other languages, knowledge of other languages is an asset. Rather than diminish the learners’ first language (also known as subtractive bilingualism), teachers are encouraging learners to use their own languages. This requires complex social and cognitive skills. In contrast, strict English-only classrooms are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Such linguistic diversity is celebrated in courses like the Family Skills Toolkit (Learning Unlimited Ltd) that encourages parents and carers of children learning English to see their bilingualism as a benefit.

Supporting learners of specific needs

As globalisation takes hold, 'glocalisation' (adapting an international product to match what people want in their particular country or culture) becomes necessary. The more we understand individual learners' needs, the more we can tailor our lessons to suit them. Ros Wright’s book Learning English: English for Health and Social Care Workers (Pavilion Publishing) provides learners not just with medical terms, but also knowledge of policies and procedures in the medical and care industry. Study Legal English – the world’s first legal English podcast includes online learning materials and quizzes to gamify learning.

However, catering to learners with specific needs does not only mean English for Specific Purposes (ESP). Imagine! (Silva Education Ltd) caters to Brazilian learners from low-income families. EAP for Syrian Academics Projects provides online EAP lessons and material support for Syrian academics exiled across Turkey. Supporting Learners with Dyslexia in the ELT classroom is a teacher resource providing teachers with both theory and practical ideas of how to ‘reach and teach’ students with dyslexia.

Creating and sharing content

While there’s much online content already out there for learners, some programmes and apps allow learners to produce their own content and share what they have created with others. Popular online sites like Quizizz and Socrative allow both teachers and students to create online games and play games that are shared by users from around the world. Websites like Canva allow teachers and learners to express their creativity through posters, social media memes and banners. Then there are mindmapping sites, comic-strip creation sites and movie-editing/movie-making sites.

Using content-creation tools like these allow learners to use language creatively, and turn language practice into a fun and engaging activity. ELTons finalist Brick by Brick (StandFor/ FTD Educaçāo) is one such course for younger learners that has them creating and embarking on hands-on projects as they learn.

Learning and teaching management platforms

Learning management platforms (LMSs) like Edmodo are increasingly popular. They give learners an online way to find handouts, continue classroom discussions and submit homework. Now, online platforms are also used to communicate with parents and other stakeholders, give teachers and administrators a better overview of the curriculum, and help manage lesson plans and materials.

The Royal ABC (Prosper Education Pte Ltd) curriculum for four-to-six year olds comes with a teacher platform that allows teachers to manage lesson planning, complete administration, schedule homework and report to parents. This gives teachers more time to work with children in the classroom.

These tools may appeal because they seem shiny and new. But the true value of innovations lies in how much they can help learners to become better communicators in English., and the extent to which they can help teachers encourage learners in the most efficient, motivating ways.

https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/ten-trends-innovations-english-language-teaching-2018


Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

7
Second Language Acquisition / Five Stages of Second Language Acquisition
« on: October 21, 2018, 03:06:57 PM »
Five stages of second language acquisition

Proponents of second language acquisition theories, including Oliveri and Judie Haynes, another ESL teacher with 28 years of experience, identify five distinct stages of second language acquisition as originally espoused by linguist Stephen Krashen. These include the following:

1. Silent/receptive

This stage may last from several hours to several months, depending on the individual learner. During this time, new language learners typically spend time learning vocabulary and practice pronouncing new words. While they may engage in self-talk, they don’t normally speak the language with any fluency or real understanding.

This stage is controversial among language educators. Ana Lomba disagrees that second language learners are totally silent while they are in this first learning stage. Instead, Lomba states that “speech is fundamental in language acquisition” and learners excel in language acquisition when they apply what they learn as they learn it.

2. Early production

This stage may last about six months, during which language learners typically acquire an understanding of up to 1,000 words. They may also learn to speak some words and begin forming short phrases, even though they may not be grammatically correct.

3. Speech emergence

By this stage, learners typically acquire a vocabulary of up to 3,000 words, and learn to communicate by putting the words in short phrases, sentences, and questions. Again, they may not be grammatically correct, but this is an important stage during which learners gain greater comprehension and begin reading and writing in their second language.

4. Intermediate fluency

At this stage, which may last for a year or more after speech emergence, learners typically have a vocabulary of as many as 6,000 words. They usually acquire the ability to communicate in writing and speech using more complex sentences. This crucial stage is also when learners begin actually thinking in their second language, which helps them gain more proficiency in speaking it.

5. Continued language development/advanced fluency

It takes most learners at least two years to reach this stage, and then up to 10 years to achieve full mastery of the second language in all its complexities and nuances. Second language learners need ongoing opportunities to engage in discussions and express themselves in their new language, in order to maintain fluency in it.

The key to learning a new language and developing proficiency in speaking and writing that language is consistency and practice. A student must converse with others in the new language on a regular basis in order to grow their fluency and confidence. In addition, Haynes says it’s important for students to continue to work with a classroom teacher on specific content area related to the new language such as history, social studies and writing.

https://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/classroom-resources/five-stages-of-second-language-acquisition/


Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

8
English / Twenty-five Reasons to Study Foreign Languages
« on: September 06, 2018, 10:25:04 AM »
Twenty-five Reasons to Study Foreign Languages

1. Foreign Language study creates more positive attitudes and less prejudice toward people who are different.
2. Analytical skills improve when students study a foreign language.
3. Business skills plus foreign language skills make an employee more valuable in the marketplace.
4. Dealing with another culture enables people to gain a more profound understanding of their own culture.
5. Creativity is increased with the study of foreign languages.
6. Graduates often cite foreign language courses as some of the most valuable courses in college because of the communication skills developed in the process.
7. International travel is made easier and more pleasant through knowing a foreign language.
8. Skills like problem solving, dealing with abstract concepts, are increased when you study a foreign language.
9. Foreign language study enhances one’s opportunities in government, business, medicine, law, technology, military, industry, marketing, etc.
10. A second language improves your skills and grades in math and English and on the SAT and GRE.
11. Four out of five new jobs in the US are created as a result of foreign trade.
12. Foreign languages provide a competitive edge in career choices: one is able to communicate in a second language.
13. Foreign language study enhances listening skills and memory.
14. One participates more effectively and responsibly in a multi-cultural world if one knows another language.
15. Your marketable skills in the global economy are improved if you master another language.
16. Foreign language study offers a sense of the past: culturally and linguistically.
17. The study of a foreign tongue improves the knowledge of one’s own language: English vocabulary skills increase.
18. The study of foreign languages teaches and encourages respect for other peoples: it fosters an understanding of the interrelation of language and human nature.
19. Foreign languages expand one’s view of the world, liberalize one’s experiences, and make one more flexible and tolerant.
20. Foreign languages expand one’s world view and limit the barriers between people: barriers cause distrust and fear.
21. Foreign language study leads to an appreciation of cultural diversity.
22. As immigration increases we need to prepare for changes in the American society.
23. One is at a distinct advantage in the global market if one is as bilingual as possible.
24. Foreign languages open the door to art, music, dance, fashion, cuisine, film, philosophy, science…
25. Foreign language study is simply part of a very basic liberal education: to “educate” is to lead out, to lead out of confinement and narrowness and darkness.


Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

9
Pronunciation Development / Improving pronunciation by training ears
« on: August 06, 2018, 11:40:28 AM »
Many English learners work hard to improve their pronunciation skills.

If you are not making as much progress as you'd hoped, you are not alone. You may be surprised to know that a number of teachers do not know how to effectively teach this skill.

Judy Gilbert is a pronunciation expert. She has written many books on the subject.

A few years ago, Gilbert gave a talk at the New School, a private university in New York City. She explained that, for the past 50 years, most English language teachers have not been trained to teach pronunciation.

For years, teachers mainly demonstrated the pronunciation of individual sounds, such as the "wh" sound in the word "what." But individual sounds are only one part of pronunciation, as we noted in an earlier Education Tips story. Other elements include rhythm, intonation, and stress – the loudness you give to part or all of a word or words.

These qualities together make up the system of spoken English. In everyday speech, some words and sounds are almost always pronounced fully and clearly, while others are reduced and less clear.

William Stout teaches English as Foreign Language at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He has been leading pronunciation workshops for 10 years.

He says the goal in improving your pronunciation should be communicating to be easily understood, not removing your accent, which is often difficult or impossible.

Learning how to listen

Stout says one of the most important things you can do to improve your pronunciation is to learn how to listen to English effectively. And, a big part of doing this is to recognize and understand reduced English words when you hear them.

Stout says his pronunciation workshops mainly center on training his students' ears to listen for these things.

"Someone might say, 'What do you want to get him for his birthday?' And in this case, even beginner students can usually hear the content words -- what, get, birthday – and they can guess the meaning. But the words in between are reduced."

And you can hear how some words join together to sound almost like one word. For example, the words "get him" sound like "geddum." The letter "h" in "him" disappears and the vowel sound in that word is shortened. And the letter "t" in "get" changes to a "d" sound.

In everyday speech, some words are almost always reduced. These words can include pronouns, helping verbs (such as "can" or "do"), conjunctions, articles and prepositions.

Other parts of speech are almost always pronounced clearly, such as nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs.

Stout says that knowing these rules can help you train your ears more effectively. And, this can help you reproduce the sounds of everyday English speech so that you are more easily understood.

Using songs, limericks, and jazz chants

Stout enjoys using songs and song-like material in his classes. These things reproduce the natural rhythm, intonation, and stress of conversational English.

Listening to songs, says Stout, can help speed up your progress.

"I think songs are a nice way to practice and I've found that students who like to sing in English generally improve their pronunciation very quickly."

In class, he plays a song or other example of natural speech, and asks students to write down what they hear. Then, the class talks about which words were reduced and how.

Listen for reduced words and sounds in this limerick:

There was an old man from Tarentum

Who ground his false teeth ‘til he bent them.

When they asked him the cost

Of what he had lost,

He said, “I can’t say, 'cuz I rent them.”

Did you notice the reductions? There are many. One example is the dropped "h" in the pronouns "his," "him" and "he." Note that the word "'til" means "until" and "'cuz" means "because." In English conversation, Americans often shorten the words just as the limerick does.

Stout also uses jazz chants, a method popularized by book author and songwriter Carolyn Graham.

Listen for the stressed words in this jazz chant:

Where does John live?

He lives near the bank.

Where does he work?

He works at the bank.

When does he work?

He works all day and he works all night.

It's a bank. It's a bank. It's a great, big bank.

Here are two suggestions for using these methods.

Tip #1: Start now

William Stout says as you listen to fast-paced English in songs, films, and other natural speech, try to notice all of the words that are reduced. Then….

"…work on imitating just one phrase or a sentence several times. But my main advice is not to wait. And you can improve your pronunciation at all levels of proficiency…and the sooner you start to notice the patterns of English pronunciation, the sooner you're going to improve. And, that way, you don't develop bad pronunciation habits that are hard to change over time."

Tip #2: Take chances

Stout advises that you let go of the fear of not sounding like "yourself" when you're practicing English conversation.

"A big part of how we define ourselves, a big part of our identity, is in the way we talk, the way we sound. But, sometimes, we just need to take on a new personality in the way we speak in a different language and we should just take chances. I think that's an important aspect is being willing to take chances and sound different to yourself."

And again, improving your pronunciation is not about completely removing your accent.

"I find that most Americans like to hear an accent – so long as they can easily understand what the person is saying."

Remember, the goal is to be understood – not to sound like a native English speaker.


The link: https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/improve-your-pronunciation-by-training-your-ears/3853284.html



Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU



10
Please find an interesting article below which focuses on self-assessment and share your ideas.


Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU
  

11
Speaking Skill / Extempore Speech Topics
« on: August 05, 2018, 03:02:01 PM »
My three favorite animals.
What you would find in my closet. Make something up.
Why your mom/dad is special.
A day that stands out.
The best surprise ever.
If I had a million dollars to give away.
If cats/dogs ruled the world.
A trip to remember.
My favorite day of the year.
If I could design a school.
Why books are important.
Three surprising facts about me.
How to plan a party.
A job I'd love to have.
A day in my life.
If I could travel through time.
My favorite book.
An important lesson I've learned.
What I've learned from cartoons.
The smartest cartoon character.
Three things I'd change if I ruled the world.
Why sports are important. I'm no good, so I'll tell you how bad I am.
Why I deserve an allowance.
If I had invented school.
The best theme park rides.
Whom do you admire most?
What is your favorite animal?
How to achieve your dreams.
How to save money.
Three things that scare me.
Great things about snow days.
Things you can make out of snow.
How to spend a rainy day.
Great things about the ocean.
Things I'll never eat.
How to be a slacker.
Why I like my town.
The best parts of a parade.
Interesting things you see in the sky.
Things to remember when you're camping.
An experience with a bully.
Red vs Blue
Sky is the Limit
Old is Gold
Wall Clock
Two Sides of a Coin
Freedom Brings Responsibility
Students & Politics
Women Education
Terrorism
Corruption
Common Wealth Games
I want to fly
Slumdog Millionaire
Politics As a Career


Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

12
English / E-Teacher Scholarship Program-2018
« on: July 21, 2018, 10:05:50 AM »
Dear All

The E-Teacher Scholarship Program for Fall 2018 term will start  from September 25, 2018.  Please find attached the Application form along with the Participant Flyer.

The last date of application is July 23, 2018.


Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU


13
Listening Skill / 10 Steps To Effective Listening by Dianne Schilling
« on: July 21, 2018, 09:56:51 AM »
Here are 10 tips to help you develop effective listening skills.

Step 1: Face the speaker and maintain eye contact.

Talking to someone while they scan the room, study a computer screen, or gaze out the window is like trying to hit a moving target. How much of the person's divided attention you are actually getting? Fifty percent? Five percent? If the person were your child you might demand, "Look at me when I'm talking to you," but that's not the sort of thing we say to a lover, friend or colleague.

In most Western cultures, eye contact is considered a basic ingredient of effective communication. When we talk, we look each other in the eye. That doesn't mean that you can't carry on a conversation from across the room, or from another room, but if the conversation continues for any length of time, you (or the other person) will get up and move. The desire for better communication pulls you together.

Do your conversational partners the courtesy of turning to face them. Put aside papers, books, the phone and other distractions. Look at them, even if they don't look at you. Shyness, uncertainty, shame, guilt, or other emotions, along with cultural taboos, can inhibit eye contact in some people under some circumstances. Excuse the other guy, but stay focused yourself.

Step 2: Be attentive, but relaxed.

Now that you've made eye contact, relax. You don't have to stare fixedly at the other person. You can look away now and then and carry on like a normal person. The important thing is to be attentive. The dictionary says that to "attend" another person means to:

    be present
    give attention
    apply or direct yourself
    pay attention
    remain ready to serve

Mentally screen out distractions, like background activity and noise. In addition, try not to focus on the speaker's accent or speech mannerisms to the point where they become distractions. Finally, don't be distracted by your own thoughts, feelings, or biases.

Step 3: Keep an open mind.

Listen without judging the other person or mentally criticizing the things she tells you. If what she says alarms you, go ahead and feel alarmed, but don't say to yourself, "Well, that was a stupid move." As soon as you indulge in judgmental bemusements, you've compromised your effectiveness as a listener.

Listen without jumping to conclusions. Remember that the speaker is using language to represent the thoughts and feelings inside her brain. You don't know what those thoughts and feelings are and the only way you'll find out is by listening.

Don't be a sentence-grabber. Occasionally my partner can't slow his mental pace enough to listen effectively, so he tries to speed up mine by interrupting and finishing my sentences. This usually lands him way off base, because he is following his own train of thought and doesn't learn where my thoughts are headed. After a couple of rounds of this, I usually ask, "Do you want to have this conversation by yourself, or do you want to hear what I have to say?" I wouldn't do that with everyone, but it works with him.

Step 4: Listen to the words and try to picture what the speaker is saying.

Allow your mind to create a mental model of the information being communicated. Whether a literal picture, or an arrangement of abstract concepts, your brain will do the necessary work if you stay focused, with senses fully alert. When listening for long stretches, concentrate on, and remember, key words and phrases.

When it's your turn to listen, don’t spend the time planning what to say next. You can't rehearse and listen at the same time. Think only about what the other person is saying.

Finally, concentrate on what is being said, even if it bores you. If your thoughts start to wander, immediately force yourself to refocus.

Step 5: Don't interrupt and don't impose your "solutions."

Children used to be taught that it's rude to interrupt. I'm not sure that message is getting across anymore. Certainly the opposite is being modeled on the majority of talk shows and reality programs, where loud, aggressive, in-your-face behavior is condoned, if not encouraged.

Interrupting sends a variety of messages. It says:

    "I'm more important than you are."
    "What I have to say is more interesting, accurate or relevant."
    "I don't really care what you think."
    "I don't have time for your opinion."
    "This isn't a conversation, it's a contest, and I'm going to win."

We all think and speak at different rates. If you are a quick thinker and an agile talker, the burden is onyouto relax your pace for the slower, more thoughtful communicator—or for the guy who has trouble expressing himself.

When listening to someone talk about a problem, refrain from suggesting solutions. Most of us don't want your advice anyway. If we do, we'll ask for it. Most of us prefer to figure out our own solutions. We need you to listen and help us do that. Somewhere way down the line, if you are absolutely bursting with a brilliant solution, at least get the speaker's permission. Ask, "Would you like to hear my ideas?"

Step 6: Wait for the speaker to pause to ask clarifying questions.

When you don't understand something, of course you should ask the speaker to explain it to you. But rather than interrupt, wait until the speaker pauses. Then say something like, "Back up a second. I didn't understand what you just said about…"

Step 7: Ask questions only to ensure understanding.

At lunch, a colleague is excitedly telling you about her trip to Vermont and all the wonderful things she did and saw. In the course of this chronicle, she mentions that she spent some time with a mutual friend. You jump in with, "Oh, I haven't heard from Alice in ages. How is she?" and, just like that, discussion shifts to Alice and her divorce, and the poor kids, which leads to a comparison of custody laws, and before you know it an hour is gone and Vermont is a distant memory.

This particular conversational affront happens all the time. Our questions lead people in directions that have nothing to do with where they thought they were going. Sometimes we work our way back to the original topic, but very often we don't.

When you notice that your question has led the speaker astray, take responsibility for getting the conversation back on track by saying something like, "It was great to hear about Alice, but tell me more about your adventure in Vermont."

Step 8: Try to feel what the speaker is feeling.

If you feel sad when the person with whom you are talking expresses sadness, joyful when she expresses joy, fearful when she describes her fears—and convey those feelings through your facial expressions and words—then your effectiveness as a listener is assured. Empathy is the heart and soul of good listening.

To experience empathy, you have to put yourself in the other person's place and allow yourself to feel what it is like to be her at that moment. This is not an easy thing to do. It takes energy and concentration. But it is a generous and helpful thing to do, and it facilitates communication like nothing else does.

Step 9: Give the speaker regular feedback.

Show that you understand where the speaker is coming from by reflecting the speaker's feelings. "You must be thrilled!" "What a terrible ordeal for you." "I can see that you are confused." If the speaker's feelings are hidden or unclear, then occasionally paraphrase the content of the message. Or just nod and show your understanding through appropriate facial expressions and an occasional well-timed "hmmm" or "uh huh."

The idea is to give the speaker some proof that you are listening, and that you are following her train of thought—not off indulging in your own fantasies while she talks to the ether.

In task situations, regardless of whether at work or home, always restate instructions and messages to be sure you understand correctly.

Step 10: Pay attention to what isn't said—to nonverbal cues.

If you exclude email, the majority of direct communication is probably nonverbal. We glean a great deal of information about each other without saying a word. Even over the telephone, you can learn almost as much about a person from the tone and cadence of her voice than from anything she says. When I talk to my best friend, it doesn't matter what we chat about, if I hear a lilt and laughter in her voice, I feel reassured that she's doing well.

Face to face with a person, you can detect enthusiasm, boredom, or irritation very quickly in the expression around the eyes, the set of the mouth, the slope of the shoulders. These are clues you can't ignore. When listening, remember that words convey only a fraction of the message.

Dianne Schilling is a writer, editor, graphic artist and instructional designer who specializes in the development of educational materials and customized training programs for business and industry. She holds a masters degree in counseling and is a founding partner of WomensMedia.


Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

14
Writing Skill / Writing Diary To Improve English Writing Skill
« on: July 16, 2018, 10:22:24 AM »
Writing a personal diary is one of the best options if someone wants to improve English writing skill.

The advantages are:

1.    You write an entry EVERYDAY (7 days a week without excuses).
2.   You can write more or less depending of your free time, inspiration or mood.
3.   You can write about anything you like (Daily experiences, thoughts…).
4.   While writing your diary you are also keeping a record of the work done.
5.   You can check your progression looking back at what you wrote in the past.
6.    If one day you don’t know what to write about, just write about what you did during the day (Because you always do something, don’t you?).

It’s easy to create the habit to write when you keep a personal diary.

Try to write at the same time every day. For example…

1.   Just before going to sleep.
2.   Just after waking up.
3.   During your lunch time.
4.   While in the bus.
    …among many others…


Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

15
World Literature / Turning Thirty by Abdellah Taïa
« on: July 16, 2018, 10:14:58 AM »
On the eve of his thirtieth birthday, the narrator recounts three near-death experiences and his journey from Morocco to France. With nods toward Dostoevsky and Genet (echoing the Lazarus scene between Raskolnikov and Sonya in Crime and Punishment), he experiences a crisis of existential vertigo.
I’m afraid.
I’m not afraid.
I’m strong, very strong, indestructible.
As a child, adolescent, I was sick. Sick but alive.
Today, in Paris, I’m alive but sick.

I feel weak. I’m no longer able to sleep at night, so I think about Isabelle Adjani, about her singing voice. I’m ashamed, having spent years in France, seven years already, that Adjani’s voice has replaced my mother’s in my head. No, no, it’s not that I’ve forgotten her, my mother, no, it’s simply that everything in me comes from her, everything that I am is marked by her, her indelible imprint. I suffocate.

I am my mother with the voice of Isabelle Adjani murmuring, humming a song. “Pull marine.”
I died. Three times.
The first time.

In the middle of a summer afternoon, in Salé, in my neighborhood, Hay Salam, the angel of death took my soul, but only for a few seconds. I saw myself from above, a sleeping body, peaceful and blue. Did he have pity on me, this terrible white angel? Did God make a mistake? They ended up giving back my anxious soul at the end of those few seconds during which they discussed my fate in front of me, my days and years yet to come, my fate despite myself. And they departed for other destinations. I opened my eyes. Everyone at home was taking a nap, except my father. He was in my mother’s place, at my bedside. He had understood, seen what had happened. He gave me his hand, I took it, I got up, and we went out into the streets, barefoot, to lovingly reacquaint ourselves with life and light again.

The second time.

I was playing alone at a dead-end of Block 15. On the cusp of adolescence and already abandoned by my childhood friends. Not knowing any better, I touched a high-voltage electric pole. Electrocution. I lost consciousness. It was instant blackness, beyond myself, without memory. For how long? I don’t know. When I came to, I saw that the entire neighborhood (dozens and dozens of people, a crowd) was in our house. Crying for me. Even screaming for me. It was unfair, departing at such a young age. I got up suddenly. A man said, “Quickly, quickly, wash his feet, hands, and face with hot water . . . quickly, quickly . . . but not with cold water, mind you!” An ambulance arrived a bit later. The crowd of neighbors carried me carefully, slowly. They took me to Avicenna Hospital in Rabat. I was proud that I was going to be cared for in the most important hospital in Morocco. I was happy, for once people were truly going to believe me, take my strange body and its maladies seriously. My heart and its beating greatly intrigued the doctor, a white-skinned man, a Fassi. He took an x-ray, put his hand on my chest, on my heart, for a long, long time, he saw something that was happening in me that I had never had access to, he understood my body differently than I did, which intrigued me. He caressed my cheek. Played with my hair. And, before leaving, he leaned toward me and murmured a secret in my ear. He said, “Between the two of us . . . you have a strong heart, a heart for life. . . . You will live a long time, my son! Get up!” He saved me, and I still remember his name quite well: Doctor Salah El-Hachimi.

The third time.

To get away from Hamidou, with whom I was in love although he didn’t know it, I went to risk my life on the other side of the sea wall of Rabat’s beach, toward the wild, pitiless waves. I stepped on a large, slippery rock. An enormous wave immediately plucked me with sweetness and violence to transport me to another world in its company. I didn’t close my eyes, I was conscious, and in this movement toward the depths of the ocean and of death, I understood, I saw.

. . . Hamidou wasn’t worth the effort, this sacrifice, it wasn’t worth going to the trouble of changing his opinion about me. He didn’t see me. I didn’t exist for him. He had told me a few minutes beforehand: “You have normal skin, it’s missing something . . . how strange!” Hamidou didn’t love my skin. He didn’t love me. I didn’t believe in loving myself. Love, I read somewhere, is often criminal. . . . I was still with and inside the wave. Just before it smashed onto the rocks, I don’t know by what miracle, I grabbed something—a branch, I think. I grabbed it, held on, and waited for it to pass, to subside. Then I got out of the water. I was on the sea wall, walking. It was the month of August. The souk was on the beach. And there I was all bloodied, wounded in the chest, the arms, the knees, the nose. Blood red. People stopped to look at me. I wasn’t afraid, didn’t think I looked ridiculous, I wanted Hamidou to see me that way, for him to panic, to take pity on me, to regret his indifference toward me, to cry, to beg for forgiveness for the wrong he had committed against me, to be touched, to love me, finally. . . . And at that instant, instead of seeking revenge, I would have said to him: “Goodbye . . . farewell . . . I finally belong to myself, remain with myself . . . I’m alive despite you, without you, far from you. . . .”

Two years ago, in Paris, Tristan came into my life. Today he’s almost six years old. A little man. The little prince. I pick him up outside his school four days a week. I take him back to the large house, as he calls it, a huge apartment next to the Blanche subway station. I play with him. I make him do his homework. I give him his bath: he is completely naked before me, unself-consciously nude. Together we watch cartoons, The Lion King, Finding Nemo. Sometimes I tell him Moroccan stories, about my terrible young childhood, I teach him words in Arabic. We pretend to fight, sometimes for real. We cry, scream, mock each other, kindly, meanly. Each day he gets a little bigger, grows rapidly like a flower that one waters with care, with love. He grows before my astonished, wondering, happy gaze. Even when he annoys me, even when he acts like a little macho man, Tristan remains a little sun for me. The Parisian sun that will never burn my skin.

I repeat in my head what he’ll say to his friends later, perhaps to his children: “When I was little, my babysitter was Moroccan, his name was Abdellah.” Three hours a day, I play a small role in his life, in his future, and that makes me proud in spite of myself. I feel like I’m accomplishing a mission with him. I accompany him.

Tristan is not my son. Tristan is a little angel who sometimes cries like that, for no reason, he cries in my arms, I console him tenderly, but I never know about what. I’m envious of his innocence, his pure outlook on the world. He doesn’t know. He still doesn’t know. Ignorance is bliss!

There are some truths about me and about the world that I hope are never known. I reflect too much. I complicate everything, everything. I think, I think, a permanent bottleneck in my head. Ideas and images I don’t know what to do with.

I’m so tired of myself, of being me in this hurried life. I look for something that will come, that is slow in coming. I should take a step, just one more, I should renew myself, find or summon the energy. I have plans: they tell me I always must have some in order to find a daily rhythm, a connection between the visible and the invisible.

The meaning of life, of my life, escapes me.

Others seem to be happy. Are they truly happy? What makes them happy? Why do they know where to go and I don’t?

My name is Abdellah: the slave, the servant of God. I freed myself from Morocco’s constraints (but really?). All that remains is to escape myself.

I looked for loneliness. I found it, and it’s insufferable. I’m permanently myself, unable to forget who I am. My consciousness of my being has accrued over time. An anguished consciousness. I know what’s happening inside myself, my beating heart, beating unevenly on occasion, my ears whistling, blood sometimes hot, sometimes cold, the air that produces a strange music while entering and leaving my nostrils, my cracking bones, my changing skin, the feuding ideas in my head, the jostling images in my eyes, and my sexuality that cries out its desire, yet I do not obey it.

The past few months, I’ve been haunted by the idea that I might go crazy someday. That seems easy to me today, to switch over to another mind-set and completely forget its other skin. I always loved the insane ones in Morocco. They seemed to be in harmony with the country. Are they still?

Death and madness possess me.

Last July, Dostoevsky and Genet became my favorite writers once again. They speak to me. We’re afraid together. We go hand in hand toward life, tormented and sometimes miraculous, together, alone, each in his own terrible and delicious solitude. They can do nothing for me. I am possessed by them.

I must change my first name. Karim? Farid? Saïd? Habib? I am neither generous, unique, happy, nor loving. Wahid, then? Yes, definitely, at this moment I am Wahid, solitary and proud, susceptible and unhappy.

I’m headed toward something in Paris, that luminous and exceedingly quiet city. I walk toward my fate, and each day I have the impression that I’m not deciding anything. I’m not my own master. I took a step, coming to Europe, and I was swept up in the infernal movement of Western time. Everything passes quickly, all is quickly forgotten, everything is orderly, apparently clean, everything in its place. Everything is parceled out.

Today, I know, I pay the price.

It began with a slight despondency, nothing serious. I got over it, I had to get over it. Now it’s started again, it’s coming back but in another guise: crises of anguish, of panic. A red image, a taste in my mouth, a hemorrhage in my head. I anticipate falling. I see myself fall, a motionless body in the Parisian street that passersby pay no attention to. I wait and wait. But I don’t fall. I’m still upright. I don’t know where my strength resides in me, I don’t know how to locate, guide, channel, define it.

The past few months, I’m no longer myself, I don’t recognize myself. I look at my face in mirrors, I look at my feet, my hands, my nails, my hair, my skin, and each time I ask myself the same question: Whose are they?

In psychiatry, what has come over me, is happening to me, has an exact name: depersonalization.

Does becoming an adult mean being able to find the medical name for one’s neuroses?

Tomorrow is my birthday. I’ll be thirty years old. This I’ve decided: I’m going to enjoy looking at myself in the mirror, I’m going to masturbate deeply, aroused by my image. Thus will I be able to rediscover myself, perhaps, body and soul creating anew the sacred union of my being.

Tomorrow I’m going to be on another path, a way that leads to this other number: thirty-one.

I dream, I close my eyes for a few seconds, I close them violently, masochistically. I go blind. I open them, I’m elsewhere, myself in another age, older, in an indefinable time. This other world will certainly exist in my forties. I imagine it. Each day I create a long movie about it.

I’ve known this since my childhood. I’ll be a forty-year-old man. Not sooner. Forty years in order to finally say, comforted, lighthearted, perhaps free: i am the man of my desires.

Paris

Translation from the French By Daniel Simon


Abdellah Taïa (b. 1973, Rabat) is the first Moroccan and Arab writer to publicly declare his homosexuality. Editions du Seuil has published five of his books, including L’armée du salut (2006; Eng. Salvation Army, 2009), Une mélancolie arabe (2008; Eng. An Arab Melancholy, 2012), and Lettres à un jeune marocain (2009). His novel Le jour du Roi was awarded the prestigious French Prix de Flore in 2010, and his latest novel, Infidèles, came out in 2012. Taïa’s work has been translated into several languages, and he also appeared in Rémi Lange’s film The Road to Love (2001). His American publisher is Semiotext(e).


Daniel Simon is a poet, translator, and the editor in chief of World Literature Today. His newest book project, Nebraska Poetry: A Sesquicentennial Anthology, 1867–2017, which he compiled and edited, was published in April 2017.


Afroza Akhter Tina
Senior Lecturer
Department of English, DIU

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