Speeches, essays, grammar and literature all go together

As adult students in the open university course, we don’t have contact studies that often. In the weekend we met on Friday evening and for the whole of Saturday.

On Friday evening we rushed through a 31 page Intonation course, – using printouts describing to us, how intonation affects the meaning of sentences or words. As a Finn, it’s not always easy to make a distinction between falling and rising tones and how they affect the meaning of a word, question or sentence. It takes some learning to understand where you can go wrong and what you can teach your future students to pay attention to.

Literature is also a topic of our studies. It’s interesting to study world classics and study the language, the symbolism and style, but it’s also amazing how literature can help us understand history and what life was like in another place, at another time. This month we learnt about modernism and read a couple of example novels, The Stranger by Kathrine Mansfield and Counterparts by James Joyce. Although I studied philology and literature before, I find it refreshing to go through some of the common academic techniques for analysing literature, like considering the setting, the narration and the language fabric. After we had discussed and analysed the novels we had read, I actually find I like the novels more. It’s after the discussions that I notice new aspects, symbolism, the complex characters and the many other pieces of the literary puzzle.

Before the meeting in the weekend we had all been writing academic essays on topics given to us and got our first peer-reviews before the workshop. At the workshops we started preparing for academic speeches on those same essay topics. We practised a 5 minute talk in groups, in fact the talks were about “Academic Talks”. Now the next task will be to make an outline for our own academic speeches before the next workshop, where we will be required to give 5 -minute speeches again, on our own this time. I’m a bit nervous thinking about that. I now know a lot about my topic, so filling 5 minutes won’t be hard. The difficulty lies in selecting the key points and keeping the time.

I’m mentally getting ready for creating the first outline for the speech, so I can practise before our next meeting.  I also have homework related to “Phrasal verbs“,  our topic in English Grammar. I’m really looking forward to learning new phrases. Then again working with topics like “the syntactic elements of structure of the verbal group” feels more tedious.

As I’m planning to be away on holiday next week, I have to work harder this week, to make up for the hours I’ll be leaving the books behind.

That’s mainly “what’s up” with my studies right now.

EDIT: I also had a pronunciation homework. Just read it aloud and uploaded it to Optima.

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