5 October 2010

Blogging & Literacy

Many thanks to Margot at Confessions of a Mystery Novelist who passed on this award to me a few days back.

Award conditions
1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
2. Display the award logo on your blog site.
3. Tell us five of your favorite words and why you like them, (add as many as you like).
4. Pass the award on to three bloggers you feel are excellent literacy builders, and link to their sites.
5. Contact the bloggers you’ve chosen and let them know about the award.

I'd like to say in accepting this award that reading has always been very important to me, ever since I was a little tacker. Since I began blogging however, the other side of the literacy coin, writing, has become more important to me too. Blogging has increased my written output phenomenally. I originally began this blog in an attempt to force myself to write about the books that I had read. I was finding that I tended to sail from one book to another without thinking too much about them. I thought that maybe reviewing each book as I completed it might cement the details a little more firmly into my memory. I'm not sure that has worked, but I certainly now have written records to remind me.

With my "education/work" hat on, I am certainly an advocate of getting kids to blog. And of them blogging for an audience. There is nothing like writing for getting language working in practice.

Now to the conditions of the award.

My 5 favourite words
I was amused when Margot said one of her words was wallaby, and I wondered briefly whether she pronounced it with a short a like I do or with a long ah which I have heard many Americans use - no matter - it is a lovely word.
I'm not sure these are favourite words but certainly they are interesting.
  1. I've always had a soft spot for Glenelg. It is not just a lovely seaside resort in South Australia, it is also a palindrome - that is, it reads the same forwards as backwards.
  2. Dromedary (do I have a weakness for the sound of drome?) has always evoked ideas of magic places.
  3. Skeletal is a word that has always fascinated - did it presage an interest in crime fiction I wonder?
  4. Platypi - the proper plural of platypus, although platypuses is very attractive.
  5. And who could resist all the silly words Lewis Carroll created in Jabberwocky? And that immediately brought to the forefront of my memory Jindyworoback, an Australian nationalist movement of the 1930s that inspired a very silly chant/marching song for a school house I belonged to: Jindy Jindyworoback, boomer lackah wow...
Now for my victims
As a monolingual person, who studied Latin for 6 years and still couldn't speak it, and has dabbled in Indonesian at least twice, I am awestruck with those who are so obviously bi-lingual.
Three bloggers who come to mind are
  • Dorte of DJsKrimiblog who reads in at least English and Danish (and possibly more languages), and writes crime fiction reviews (and crime fiction) in both languages. Dorte has the added distinction of being the creator of the 2010 Global Reading Challenge which reminds us of the literary efforts of those who write outside our native tongues.
  • Jose Ignacio of The Game's Afoot reads and blogs in both English and Spanish. Without him I don't think I would have realised what a wealth of Spanish crime fiction writers there are. I have read a few but will never be able to read them in Spanish unfortunately.
  • Gautami Tripathy blogs at rooted and everything distils into reading  While Gautami blogs, reviews books, and writes poetry, all in English, I am pretty sure she also is fluent in Hindi and Urdu (forgive me if I'm wrong Gautami)
And just a little extra, for the delight of those to whom Aussie lingo is a strange language, and for natives, who of course understand all the words,
On the Wallaby by Henry Lawson
Now the tent poles are rotting, the camp fires are dead,
And the possums may gambol in trees overhead;
I am humping my bluey far out on the land,
And the prints of my bluchers sink deep in the sand:
I am out on the wallaby humping my drum,
And I came by the tracks where the sundowners come.

It is nor'-west and west o'er the ranges and far
To the plains where the cattle and sheep stations are,
With the sky for my roof and the grass for my bunk,
And a calico bag for my damper and junk;
And scarcely a comrade my memory reveals,
Save the spiritless dingo in tow of my heels.

But I think of the honest old light of my home
When the stars hang in clusters like lamps from the dome,
And I think of the hearth where the dark shadows fall,
When my camp fire is built on the widest of all;
But I'm following Fate, for I know she knows best,
I follow, she leads, and it's nor'-west by west.

When my tent is all torn and my blankets are damp,
And the rising flood waters flow fast by the camp,
When the cold water rises in jets from the floor,
I lie in my bunk and I list to the roar,
And I think how to-morrow my footsteps will lag
When I tramp 'neath the weight of a rain-sodden swag.

Though the way of the swagman is mostly up-hill,
There are joys to be found on the wallaby still.
When the day has gone by with its tramp or its toil,
And your camp-fire you light, and your billy you boil,
There is comfort and peace in the bowl of your clay
Or the yarn of a mate who is tramping that way.

But beware of the town -- there is poison for years
In the pleasure you find in the depths of long beers;
For the bushman gets bushed in the streets of a town,
Where he loses his friends when his cheque is knocked down;
He is right till his pockets are empty, and then --
He can hump his old bluey up country again.

source      You might also enjoy Freedom on the Wallaby

* humping my bluey - the bluey is his rolled swag, takes its colour from a blue blanket (the same as Waltzing your Matilda)
* bluchers are boots, named after the  Prussian field marshal, who commanded the Prussian army against Napoleon at Waterloo (1815)
* on the wallaby - out on the track, living off the land, particularly during the depression of 1891
* boiling the billy - the tin can you can boil water in over your fire
* cheque knocked down - all his money is spent

Any other words you need help with?


Mason Canyon said...

Congratulations on your award. It is well deserved.


Thoughts in Progress

bermudaonion said...

Congratulations on your award!

Anonymous said...

Kerrie - It was my pleasure to pass the literacy award on to you - you richly deserve it. I really like your idea of having students blog. In fact, that's one of the things I coach my teacher candidates to have their students do. It really is a successful way to teach kids about writing in a non-threatening way.

And thank you for that poem - I loved it!

Your words are terrific, too. Thanks for the reminder of Jabberwocky :-)

Anonymous said...

ps - a short a. ;-)

gautami tripathy said...

Congrats on your award. You truly deserve it!

Thanks for bestowing it on me! I don't know if I deserve it. I am not very good at receiving awards!

Yes, I write in English, as you mentioned. Poetry and book reviews etc. I teach in Hindi. I can speak 8 Indian Languages: Hindi, Oriya (my mother tongue), Bengali, Haryanvi, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi and understand two more, Assami, Rajasthani.I am also working towards learning German..I can only understand 50 words right now! (Maybe Spanish, some day)

I do read/write in Hindi too, and barely so in Oriya. All other languages I can only speak. Fluently.

And as you say, I will do a blog post. I am undergoing a reading slump. My writing is flowing. As you can see here!


gautami tripathy said...

PS: I forgot to mention Urdu! I can speak it too!

Dorte H said...

Congratulations on your award, and thank you for thinking of me!

I loved your favourite words, and I´ll try to come up with my own piece of drome-daring over the weekend.

Jose Ignacio Escribano said...

Kerrie, sorry for not coming back to you before. Congratulations on your award, and thanks for your kindness mentioning my blog..
I'll be out of reach until next Monday, so that will give me some time to think about a post accepting your award.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations :)


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