fredag 10. juni 2011

International English

This year in international English we have learned a lot. Some of the topics we have looked into are global challenges and the media world. This has been very interesting and instructive. Among other things, we have watched movies and read books. The kite runner is one example. In this book we meet themes like relationships, war, betrayal and forgiveness. This is a very emotional book, and we have gotten a lot of impressions and thoughts around these themes. All of the films that we have seen fit the requirements of the curriculum goals, especially global challenges.

Through the whole year, each of us wrote one personal blog in English. Here, we wrote our own thoughts around what we had done in class, and other things about international English. We also had conversations with students in other countries via skype. This was very fun and interesting!

fredag 25. mars 2011

Chinese Pidgin English

One of the curriculum goals this year is to”give examples of other varieties of English than those that are used in the Anglo-American area core”, and reflect on their distinctive character”. First I had to determine which countries that are not considered Anglo-American. Wikipedia states that: “Anglo American is often used in legal, economic and political writing to refer to those countries that have similar legal regimes that are generally based on the English common law.” A lot of countries are that, so giving examples might be a little hard.
When I was googeling facts on Japanese English, I came across some words on the Chinese Pidgin English. So I continued my research on that topic, and found some interesting facts. For example does people who speak Chinese Pidgin English use b instead of v in the word have (hab). Thay also use the personal pronouns in a very different way than in regular English; Tumoro mai no kan kum (Tomorrow my no can come/tomorrow it can’t rain)*. The language is only based on 700 words inits vocabulary, and the grammar is very simple. I watched a movie on youtube where two people were talking to each other in this language, and I realized; you don’t have to have a rich vocabulary or perfect grammar to be able to hold a conversation, but still, it was almost impossible for me to understand!

*Example borrowed from Wikipedia


fredag 18. mars 2011

Gran Torino

Today we watched a movie called Gran Torino, starring Clint Eastwood. The film is about an old man, Walt Kowalski (Eastwood), who clings to a world that no longer exists. He feels threatened by the changes in America, and when a young Hmong boy, who is also the new neighbor, tries to steal his car, he realizes a few new things about himself, and the world around him.
Thao, the boy who tries to steal his car, the Gran Torino, and Walt becomes very good friends, and when Thao and family is threatened and hurt by the major gang in the area, Walt sacrifices himself to protect them in the future.

I love this movie, and I believe this was the 10th time I saw it! It is something about how prejudice and ethnical differences is displayed that captures me. I don’t know how this is in real life because I have never visited the United States. Therefore my reliance lies only on this movie and other sources when it comes to that theme. But do Hollywood movies portray people of different races and ethnicities? In that case, how? Personally I think that a lot of Hollywood films show people in the most stereotypical way for their culture. The same goes for Gran Torino, but in this movie it is not negative because it also corrects these prejudices in the end and along, a powerful message is brought up; Have respect for other human beings, and not just those with the same skin color or traditions that you have. Be loyal and show the people you love, that you care for them.

I really recommend this movie; it is both filled with action and drama, but also political challenges, sorrow and most important of all, friendship.

Here is the Trailer for the movie.

The picture is taken from this site.

fredag 4. februar 2011

The world population living in urban areas

The world’s urban population is growing faster and faster. According to the UN, there will be 26 cities in the world with over 10 million inhabitants. Those big cities are called megacities, and today there are already about 20 of them. Tokyo, with 33.4 million habitants is the city with the biggest population in the world followed by New York that has 24.1 million habitants. Mexico City is the third biggest, and Seoul comes after that.
In the 1800s, it is estimated that only 2 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas. In 1950, the urban population had grown to 30 % of the world’s habitants. In 2000, 47% lived in cities or urban areas, and scientists have estimated that the urban population will grow till 52% of all the people in the world, and in 2030 60%.
The different regions in the word have a singular development when it comes to population growth and urbanization. Asia did in 1995, 1180 of 3429 million habitants living in urban areas, and in 2015 it is estimated 1970 million people are the urban population. But then of course, the total population will also increase. In Africa and America, the growth will according to statistics made by BBC, have a quite similar expansion. But in Europe, the urban population will probably not enlarge that much. That might be because of the fact that most people already lives in urban areas in Europe.

Tokyo, megacity. Picture taken from here

fredag 21. januar 2011

English around the world

One of our curriculum goals this year is to learn about how English is used outside the Angelo-American heartland. We are also supposed to learn about how English is used as a communication method even though the people who communicate are not fluent or very good English speakers.
This Christmas I had the opportunity to study this very closely when I went to visit my family in South Korea. Honestly, I had not thought a lot about the language before I actually got there.

In South Korea it lives almost 49 million people, and of them knows little or no English at all. I experienced that every time I went to a store, or tried to talk to some of the native inhabitants. On the other hand, the little amount of people who knew a little English almost ran up to us on the street just to ask us what we thought about the weather or how we were. In other words, when they saw that we were foreign, they assumed that we spoke English, and they really wanted to try what they had learned in real life.

A lot of Korean stores, cafes and brands have their name in English, and some of them were actually quite funny to read. One of them said “Angel-in-us Coffee- the world best coffee”. Several places had signs or slogans like this. What I find interesting with it, is that even though grammar and spelling might be wrong, there are no doubt about what they want to say.


9/11 2001 I was eight years old. Now, nine years later I am 17 but the event of the day eight years ago still sticks to my mind. Today I remembered the day, because we saw one of the many movies made about the disaster. The movie we saw was originally a documentary made about the fire department in New York. The main goal of the movie was to follow Antonio (Tony) Benetatos on his journey from a rookie firefighter, or a probie as they call it in the film, to "becoming a man" or a real firefighter. They knew nothing about what the movie would end up being about. Even though this is a documentary, it also gives a fictional impression because this incident is so unreal itself. There are no doubt that this, for me, was the best visualization and information source about 9/11 I have ever seen.
The film shows how the whole world can be changed and turned upside down on only one day. The people’s common fear of terror and war was extremely reinforced. In the movie one of the firefighters talks about the 10th of September and says: “Then I realized how evil evil can be”. Tony, the probie, states that before 9/11, he wanted to become a fireman to save lives, but now, if his country sends him to kill, he will do it. That is a disquieting alert of how war spreads and how cruelty affects the victims.

torsdag 20. januar 2011

Merry Christmas!

Today we watched the movie Narnia in class. We were supposed to watch a Christmas movie because of the time of year we are in, but the majority decided that we should watch this one. Somehow, I still would call Narnia a Christmas movie. A lot of details that has to do with Christmas is included in the film; snow, music and even Santa clause appears for a minute or two. I love this movie. Firstly it is because I have read the books, and loved those too. Second of all, because some of the themes are related to the society as we know it, which is something I find quite fascinating in movies and books. Another relation to Christmas found in the movie, is Aslan. The true meaning of Christmas derives from the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Somehow, I find a similarity between Aslan and Jesus. They are both hailed, both of them are killed in atonement and both resurrect from the dead after. So maybe Christmas is a more significant theme after all?

War is definitely also a big topic in this movie. This might be related to the author who wrote the books of Narnia, Clive Staples Lewis (mostly known as C.S. Lewis). He served in the World War II. He is also well-known for his friendship with John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (J. R. R. Tolkien), the author who wrote The Lord of The Rings.
I would like to wish my readers a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

- Tuva