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Foreword ENGLISH FAIR
It is our sincere pleasure to welcome you to ENGLISH FAIR, a free online magazine for students and fans of English published at the Institute of English, Opole University. This is our first (hopefully not last) issue the magazine. We have created our monthly to give you a chance of exploring the world of English-speaking countries in a relaxed and informal way. As you flip the pages of our magazine you will find short articles and interesting information concerning Anglophone literatures and cultures as well as current and forthcoming events. Furthermore, our readers will find here useful tips on improving their language skills and linguistic performance. However, the most important section is Students’ Hyde Park, where various learners of English will be invited to share their experience with others. We do encourage you to cooperate with us email us visit our Facebook page and enjoy English as much as we do!
Marlena Marciniak, PhD, chief editor
Aleksandra Wyszyńska 1. STUDENTS’ HYDE PARK
p. 3 Call of Adventure
2. CRAZY (ABOUT) LITERATURE
p. 7 Naughty Will
3. SECOND LANGUAGE PROPOSITION
p. 9 Breaking Writer's Block
4. CULTURE SHOCK
p. 11 Gun Ownership in Unitet States of America
5. BOOK A(ND) MOVIE
p. 13 A Single Man
6. CURRENT EVENTS
7. DID YOU KNOW?
8. WATCH YOUR MOUTH!
9. TAKE A JOKE + quotation of the month
Call of Adventure
Aleksandra Adaszyńska and Katarzyna Bielecka are 2nd-year students of English Philology at Opole University. They have just come back from a student exchange in Valencia, where they spent the winter semester, and agreed to answer a few questions about the Erasmus Student Exchange Programme.
STUDENTS' HYDE PARK
A.P.(Agata Podolińska): Is it difficult to become an Erasmus student?
A.(Aleksandra Adaszyńska): In our case it wasn’t very difficult, at least in the beginning. We needed to provide applications, and since there weren’t many more candidates, our university accepted us. However, then, collecting all the papers and submitting them was pretty tiring.
A.P.: How much did the university help with the arrangements?
K.(Katarzyna Bielecka): The university staff were very supportive in the whole process and we could always rely on their help. Our coordinator helped us to choose the right subjects from the list offered by the receiving university. However, dealing with all the necessary documents and collecting information was our own business and we had to cope with it ourselves.
A.P.: What differs the Spanish model of studying from the Polish one?
A.: Well, all the classes we had lasted two hours, while here in Poland they usually last one hour and a half. They took place twice a week, which meant four hours of the same course a week. Because of that we had only five subjects, while at our university the amount of courses increases to more than ten. The schedule itself wasn’t very different from the one here. We had to find equivalents to the subjects taught in Poland. The courses in Spain covered literature, linguistics and grammar.
A.P.: Did you experience any culture shock there?
K.: Well, Spain is very different from Poland. First of all, people are very easygoing and openn-minded. At the university it is all right to call professors by their first names, I think that I would not get used to that. What is more, Spanish culture is completely different; for instance, every day from about 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. all shops are closed because of siesta. Spaniards look as if they were never in a hurry!
A.: Culture shock? Yes! All the welcome meetings for Erasmus students were conducted in Spanish, which was rather shocking for us! Another interesting difference is that each of the faculties has its own canteen, where students and teachers may have lunch during an official break. Very noticeable was the fact that the day starts later and it finishes later as well. E.g., while parties
STUDENTS' HYDE PARK
STUDENTS' HYDE PARK
in Poland start at about 10-11p.m., in Spain it is normal to go to clubs at least at 2 or 3 a.m.
A.P.: How did the local students treat you?
A.: That’s an interesting issue and one of my biggest disappointments. I had expected Spanish students to be very sociable and open with new students from abroad but it turned out that I didn’t find any Spanish classmate to spend time with. However, I didn’t notice any kind of rudeness, they were just neutral.
A.P.: What are the pros and cons of such an adventure?
A.: I need to say, that pros definitely exceed cons! For me the most important thing is the possibility of meeting amazing people. The time spent together and all the crazy adventures we had are unforgettable. Learning about the traditions of various countries was really fascinating too. Apart from that, studying abroad is a good lesson of independence. A big con is the fact that living abroad was pretty expensive. The Erasmus grant, of course, was a big support, but it wasn’t enough to cover all my expenses there.
K.: I totally agree with these pros. To me the only disadvantage was the feeling of homesickness, but you can get used to it.
A.P.: What can you tell me about the places you visited in Spain?
A.: Valencia itself is a special place, mainly, of course, the historical city centre. Spanish architecture creates an unique atmosphere with its narrow streets, antique buildings, colourful parks or modern objects. For a dweller of the Silesia region in Poland, access to the seaside, with its wide beach and green palms, was also a nice experience. I particularly love Granada. The city is lovely and I will never forget the impressive view from one of the mountains surrounding it. Barcelona is an extremely beautiful city, full of famous places, like Parque Güell, Sagrada Familia or Camp Nou. My flat in Valencia was located very close to the Mestalla Stadium, which is a stadium of Valencia Football Club. Of course, I had to seize the opportunity and I saw that team playing against Real Madrid.
K.: Besides Valencia, which is as Ola said, a beautiful city with a lot of monuments and places that are worth seeing, I had a chance to see Barcelona with its narrow streets and the charming coast. My goal was to go to the best amusement parks in Spain and ride all the roller coasters. Fortunately I made it with a group of friends, including the Warner Bros Park in Madrid and Port Aventura in Barcelona, with one of the fastest roller coasters in Europe.
A.P.: What are your best memories then?
K.: For me the whole Erasmus experience will be one great memory. However, the most worth remembering moments are connected with the people I met. Once me and my friend wanted to take a bath in the sea at night.
STUDENTS' HYDE PARK
The fact that it was the end of December only intensified my sensations!
A.: One of my best experiences was meeting a Valencian writer. During the first meeting it turned out that he was also an amateur musician, which made me and Kasia happy, because we also have musical interests. He invited us to his flat, full of instruments, and introduced us to his friends. Then, we kept seeing each other on a kind of jam sessions and eventually we came up with an idea of creating a band and playing a gig at a party for our friends. We called the band Malowane Krzesła and started rehearsing for the concert. After more than a month of such rehearsals, we finally did it! We dressed up like in the 1920s, invited a lot of amazing friends and played a few songs. It was really wonderful!
A.P.: What is your general opinion about the Erasmus Programme?
K.: I would say that Erasmus is a great opportunity for those who want to experience a great adventure. However, it is directed at people who know what they want. My tip for those who want to study abroad: don’t be discouraged by piles of documents you need to take care of. It is totally worth it!
A.: Since Erasmus is an unique experience, really, I would recommend it to every student! It’s such a wonderful opportunityto learn, travel, meet new people and cultures, that it would be a real shame not to take it! Especially now, during studies, when students still do not have many obligations and they may use the grant founded by EU freely.
CRAZY (ABOUT) LITERATURE
Even children know that William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was a great poet and playwright. However, even adults have little idea that there has been great controversy connected with his literary career and private life. Limited availability of reliable sources from the Renaissance has always fuelled speculations about his identity, character and literary talent. This article aims to shed some light on a few dirty little secrets that are tactfully omitted in Shakespeare’s biographies taught at schools.
It seems that young William was a pretty amorous lad. He married Anne Hathaway when he was still underage (in light of the contemporary law) and his father had to give his consent. What is more, his wife was eight years older and already several months pregnant, which scandalised both families. To make things even worse, in the Episcopal marriage register at Worcester there are two different recordings including two names of girls that Shakespeare intended to marry! Was it the result of a clerk’s mistake, or the youth’s twisted emotional life? We don’t know, but the mystery fires our imagination.
After William had become a husband and father of three children (first Susanna, and later twins, Hamnet and Judith) he didn’t lead a stable domestic life. There are no documents indicating what he was doing between 1582 (the year when he married Anne)
CRAZY (ABOUT) LITERATURE
and 1592 (the time when he is first mentioned as a London actor). This period of his life is called ‘the second lost years’. One of the theories formulated to explain his unexpected removal to London suggests that he might have committed a crime of poaching a deer on Sir Richard Lucy’s grounds and decided to leave Stratford to avoid prosecution. Maybe it’s just a false rumour, but isn’t there a grain of truth in every lie?
It is generally acknowledged that Shakespeare made a splendid literary and acting career and became one of the richest men in his hometown, StratforduponAvon. Although his family was s of low social origin, he wanted to elevate his status by obtaining a coat of arms, thus acquiring the right to be called a gentleman. After making a claim, paying a huge sum of money (exceeding a yearly salary of a schoolmaster at that time), proving the eminence of his ancestors (his great - grandfather was supposed to have served in Henry VII’s army), he received the grant. However, in 1602 he was accused of gaining the coat of arms illegally by bribing the Herald who investigated Shakespeare’s claim. Although his right was upheld, some doubts remained.
Such spicy stories about William Shakespeare’s life should be taken with a pinch of salt, but they confirm the simple truth that nobody is perfect. The list of hypotheses about who he was and what he actually wrote is very long, yet no matter whether Shakespeare was a gay, woman, earl or criminal his works (or the texts we think are his) still contain the same psychological depth, philosophical sense, emotional magnetism, inspiring power and linguistic quality that have made millions of readers adore them.
Breaking Writer's Block
This is the first article in a series devoted to support students of English on their quest to handle academic study and to offer them reflection strategies to make studying effective and enjoyable.
SECOND LANGUAGE PROPOSITION
Learning a foreign language is a complex process though nowadays quite common. More and more learners of foreign languages decide to study the intricacies of a chosen language, which takes them to a whole new level of information processing This is the first article in a series devoted to support students of English on their quest to handle academic study and to offer them reflection strategies to make studying effective and enjoyable. The focus of this piece is breaking writer’s block.
Think of your last writing task you had to prepare for a certain class. Become conscious of how you felt about your topic, how you approached your task, what was easy and what was difficult, how successful you felt and how satisfied you were after delivering the text to your teacher. Now think what you could do next time to make it even better. Below you will find a simple technique to help you in the prewriting phase. You will need a piece of paper and some quiet space to concentrate for several minutes. Start with writing down your topic.
Next, close your eyes and become conscious of how you feel about that topic. Is it interesting for you? What makes it interesting? Is it difficult or challenging for you? How is that topic related to you personally? Why do you want to develop it? How confident do you feel about this topic? Make a note of all the feelings that you become aware of when thinking about the topic. Notice what type of feelings dominates – the pleasant or the unpleasant ones. How do you want to feel? What would you need to feel that way? What is stopping you?
Now, on a new piece of paper, collect all the facts that you know on your topic. Write down anything that you can remember: names, dates, related key notions, examples, situations, descriptions. Recall your sources. Have you read a book or an article on it? Have you heard some information during a lecture or some discussion? Where can you find more information about your topic? What facts do you still need to discover? Make a list. How clear is your understanding of the topic now? What do you need to have clarity? What is stopping you?
Finally, become aware of the structure of the text you need to write. How do you need to organise your ideas? What is the purpose of your writing? What are the main
SECOND LANGUAGE PROPOSITION
points/arguments to develop? Can you support these points/arguments with specific details? Fill in the structure with the information you collected earlier. Your first draft is ready!
Wait! Do edit your sentences before sharing the text with your teacher. And be proud. You have just created a piece of text in a foreign language. Not everyone can do it. Chapeau bas! Hats off!
Małgorzata Adams -Tukiendorf
CULTURE SHOCK But does gun ownership make the US a safer place?
Americans are generally said to be smiley, optimistic and much more open than Poles. The fact that they are unreserved also makes them tolerant of difference. Yet, it does not mean at all that they are unflappable and totally trustful. It is actually the other way around. Why do I think so? There are almost as many legally owned guns in the US as people, about 270,000,000. The US has about 310,000,000 people. I think about 30% of American households have guns.” – says Tadeusz Lewandowski, PhD, a teacher at Opole University, who is a US citizen. They buy guns mostly to protect themselves and their families. Since the right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, firearm is regarded as the most effective weapon of defense. In a documentary by Michael Moore Bowling for Columbine (2002) people clearly state that they buy guns too feel safer. Some of them even keep weapons under their pillows, so that they would be ready to shoot literally any time.
But does gun ownership make the US a safer place? That is not necessarily the case. There have been numerous examples of gun misuse with dire consequences. In some states, for instance, you are allowed to shoot somebody in your house to defend yourself against an intruder, according to a Castle Law or Defense of Habitation Law. This apparently
protective law actually leads to many accidental killings. Nevertheless, the most disturbing fact is that more and more children die because of gun accidents. It is the most likely cause of death for an American child, I think.” – claims Lewandowski. Children left for a moment unattended might find a badly stored gun and hurt others or themselves while playing. This is the case with small children, but don’t you think that teenagers are any safer. The Columbine High School massacre of 1999 rocked the country. When two senior students killed thirteen people, injured other twenty one and then committed suicide, the issue of gun availability was widely debated. Where did they have the guns from? Home? Shop? Definitely not, the answer is – gun shows.
This is another interesting issue concerning gun ownership in America. The easiest way to get a weapon is to take part in a gun show and get one “with no questions asked”. Many Americans would probably be against such shows, but for the strong lobbying of the National Rifle Association of America. NRA, which at first was a shooting club, is now a powerful political party. Their primary mission is to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States...”, especially acts concerning gun ownership. As you can assume, they make a big profit from gun shows and banning them would be rather inconvenient for NRA authorities. Since they are so powerful and rich, nothing will be changed as long as they do not want any changes. If you want to learn more about gun ownership, gun shows and American culture, sign up for the course American Decline through Documentary conducted by Tadeusz Lewandowski, PhD.
A Single Man (2009)
There are films that stay in your mind and you never get tired of watching them. They touch your heart and leave you changed. For me A Single Man is one of such films.
BOOK A(ND) MOVIE
It is a directorial debut of Tom Ford. The plot is based on Christopher Isherwood’s novel of the same title. The drama script was written by Ford and his friend, David Scearce. The action is set in 1962. The photos for the film were shot by Eduard Grau in Los Angeles.
When George Falconer (Colin Firth), an academic professor, receives a call with tragic news about his longtime partner Jim (Matthew Goode), he breaks down. George feels lost, so he begins to search for old happiness in simple daily routines. He finds a bit of what is gone in his student (Nicholas Hoult), but still misses his partner. His old friend Charley (Julianne Moore) helps him to deal with death and loneliness.
The protagonist says he does not want to live in the world in which there is no place for sentiments. The main character also reminds us that our life is much better when our attention focuses on simple gestures, like a cordial hug or a smile.
This story captivates us with its simplicity. What is more, it acknowledges the plain truth that ‘everybody needs somebody’, no matter what your sexual preference is. Ford perfectly creates the entire atmosphere of the plot by playing with colors, especially their saturation. Moreover, his shipshape styling of characters attracts our attention immediately. Do not forget about brilliant music by Abel Korzeniowski, as a compelling backdrop for the action.
This is definitely a film I would recommend to anyone who can appreciate the talent of both producers and actors, as well as to those whom an unhurried flow of the action does not bother.
St David's Day! Saint David is the patron of Wales and according to a legend he went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where has was made an Archbishop. He was the founder of St David’s Cathedral in West Wales, where people come to worship him. St David's day takes place on 1st March and in Wales you can see people wearing red shawls and black chimney hats. There are also elements of local folk tradition such as bright green leeks and yellow daffodils functioning as colourful accessories. These elements are used during parades and processions. This holiday is also celebrated in the United States, where people hang out Welsh flags and pin leeks or daffodils on their clothes. It is also popular to organize special events and parties with family and friends during which traditional food, such as herbed lamb chops, Welsh pot bread, or Caerphilly Crumble, is prepared.
Mothering Sunday, 15th March This holiday has its roots in the seventeenth century and it was just England which dedicated this day to mothers. Poor children were sent to work as servants for rich people and they were allowed to come back home only once a year. The time arranged for the annual visit to one’s mother church and home was the middle Sunday of Lent. That is why this holiday takes place on the fourth Sunday of Lent. During this joyful holiday all children want to thank their mums for love and support and to do it they buy flowers, chocolate boxes and other small presents. In the United Kingdom the tradition is to give roses, carnations and chrysanthemums and bake a special rich almond cake, called 'Mothering Cake' or 'Simnel Cake'.
Saint Patrick’s Day Is Coming St. Patrick is the patron and apostle of Ireland and he is believed to have brought Christianity to this country. St. Patrick is also associated with the story about driving snakes from Ireland, which probably symbolised putting an end to pagan practices. To commemorate his death, on the 17th March people hold festivals and celebrate. St Patrick’s Day is a public holiday and its inherent elements are green colour, street parades, dancing, music and shamrock, used by St. Patrick to explain the mystery of the Holy Trinity to the pagans. Drinking beverages, such as beer dyed green and whisky, is another tradition of this holiday. Traditional St. Patrick’s Day food includes: corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew, boozy shamrock shake and different desserts: lime pie, mint chocolate chip ice cream cake and lime Jell - O.
DID YOU KNOW...?
The world’s first underground railway was opened on 10 January 1863 in London. The Metropolitan line (today marked by a dark purple - red colour) connected Paddington (then called Bishop's Road) and Farringdon Street. On the opening day gaslit wooden carriages pulled by steam locomotives carried about 38 000 passengers. (Note: the first section of the underground in Warsaw was opened in 1995!) On 10 March 1876 Alexander Graham Bell made the first telephone call. The inventor of the first practical telephone spoke to his assistant, Thomas A. Watson. Although Bell’s invention revolutionised the world of communication, he regarded it as unscientific and refused to install a phone in his study. Spelunking - is a name for the recreational activity of exploring wild cave systems occasionally used in the United States and Canada. In Great Britain and Ireland the term potholing is more popular. The scientific study of caves and the cave environment is called speleology. So have you ever tried spelunking?
WATCH YOUR MOUTH!
English Idioms Using Nationalities and Countries
WATCH YOUR MOUTH When in Rome, do as the Romans do
follow the local customs
a young, rebellious person
To talk for England
to talk for hours Slow boat to China
something very slow or taking an extremely long time
To build castles in Spain
to make plans that will never come true
a person who makes scathing comments or gives unwanted advice
To go Dutch
to share the cost of something, e.g. in a restaurant
Pardon my French (UK)
used as an excuse before or after swearing
To take French leave
leave without saying goodbye or without permission Chinese whispers (UK)
mistakes and distorted information from rumours
something imagined, non - existent
It’s (all) Greek to me
when something is not understandable
a situation that no one can take advantage of
TAKE A JOKE QUOTATION OF THE MONTH
TAKE A JOKE
“What is worse than finding a worm in your apple?”
“Finding half a worm in your apple.” I don`t wear furs because I don`t like the idea of second - hand clothes.
On a hypochondriac`s gravestone: I TOLD YOU I was ill. I am on a seafood diet: I see food and eat it.
“What do you give a man who has everything?”
Teacher: Okay, Graham give me a sentence that begins with ‘I’.
Graham: I is…
Teacher: No no Graham, you should always say ‘I am’.
Graham: I am a personal pronoun.
Winston Churchill was at a party and he had drunk too much.
Woman: Winston, you`re drunk!
Winston Churchill: And you`re ugly, but tomorrow I`ll be sober! "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference."
Winston Churchill Three reasons to give Exams:
1- You can spend 3 hours in self - medication
2- You can complete your sleep
3- You can see your teacher, who normally bores you, being bored.