Dan O'neill, Kate Clanchy, Caroline Raymond discussed on A Way with Words: language, linguistics, and callers from all over


Heard from Dan O'Neill in Fairbanks, Alaska, who writes, what common English word is alternately described as reddish, whitish and bluish. Live it. How did you know the idea? I think I read it when I'm reading Dickens or something as a kid and I looked it up and I was like, wait, how can it mean all these things? It's like English. Get your act together. Vivid, ID. There's gotta be an etymology here, Martha. Yeah, well, in Latin, it means a bluish color or black and blue, like a bruise and it came to figuratively mean envious or spiteful or malicious, but then later on for some reason in English, it also took on the meaning of ashen or pallid, and it can also mean reddish. Oh, yeah. So if you're livid with rage, maybe you're reddish, but also sometimes people's all the blood drains from their face when they're in raised as well. So lots of things can happen when you're in rage. Yeah, so strange word. I think you're right. We should make that our motto. English get your act together. Help us get English's act together, call us 8 7 7 9 two 9 9 6 7 three or English doesn't have its act together in email words, wayward radio dot org. Support for way with words comes from Jack and Caroline Raymond. Proud sponsors of wayward Inc, the nonprofit that produces and distributes this program. You're listening to away with words. The show about language and how we use it. I'm grant Barrett. And I'm Martha Barnett. Despite his aspirational name, Oxford spires academy is in the impoverished outskirts of the town that is home to the famous university in England. About 20% of the teens who attend this school are white. The vast majority are refugees and economic migrants from all over the world. They speak a mix of 30 languages. And according to teacher Kate clanchy, this creates something magical, a community without a majority culture or religion, and a mix so extreme that no one can disappear into their own cultural grouping. Everyone has to make friends, companions, and enemies across racial and language divides. And grant as a result, her students end up writing some remarkable poetry. And some of its collected in a book called England poems from a school. Kate clanchy believes that one of the things that makes these young writers so good is actually the process of language loss and change. All of these students came to English after the age of 6 and whether through migration or deafness or dyslexia all of them went through a period where they lost their native language when as one of them put it silence itself was my friend. And Kate clanchy writes in her gorgeous introduction to this book. That locked down period may be painful, but it feeds the inner voice. And I'll give you an example of what I'm talking about. Here's a poem by one of her students rakia Khartoum. It's called my mother country. I don't remember her in the summer, lagoon water sizzling, the Kingfisher leaping or even the sweet honey mangoes. They tell me I used to love. I don't remember her comforting garment, her saps of date trees, providing.

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