Two Recent English Language Use Changes: Invention and Omission

These two changes show how republicanism and atheism are slowly beginning to impact language use.

426799067_55027d4244_zSince the General Election on June 8, 2017, and the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower Fire, I have been listening to and watching media broadcasts more than usual, and have noticed two significant changes in language use.

One change is limited to a very specific occasion, though it has been growing in popularity over the years.  It is quite consciously deliberate and requires a degree of determination, even courage, on behalf of the speaker.  The other change is usually less obvious, though it too requires a slight degree of determination (if less planning than the other one).  The second one has been around for a lot longer and is growing in popularity (and acceptability).

Continue reading “Two Recent English Language Use Changes: Invention and Omission”

Using Free Apps for Visual Drama

We see things very differently. She sees real features an identifies their actual species. After over twenty years learning about photography, I now see features an ask, “I wonder if I could develop that into something that has visual impact.” I see what is, but also more of what might become.

It was a bland and blustery afternoon.

“Let’s go for a walk by the river,” she said.

“Ok,” I said, silently thinking, “Why?” and, “No!”

“You need the exercise,” she said, reading my expression.

“How true, and how kind …” I might have thought on a less bland and less blustery afternoon.

We walked by the river doing what we often do.  She plays adult Where’s Wally looking for birds, bees, butterflies, and wild flowers, and I look for potential photographs.

We see things very differently.  She sees real features and identifies their actual species.  After over twenty years learning about photography, I now see features and ask, “I wonder if I could develop that into something that has visual impact.”  I see what is, but also more of what might become.

Continue reading “Using Free Apps for Visual Drama”

SmartPhone Cold Turkey at Easter

I was well past 50 before the SmartPhone arrived. I had lived most of my life without one. I shouldn’t be missing mine so much. I had coped before. Why is coping now so difficult?

510750075_eeee488cd6_zI thought I could easily survive without it.  I was wrong.  I could survive, but it wasn’t easy.  In fact, I was surprised about how hard I found it.  It should have been a doddle.  It is not as if an iPhone has been part of my life for most of it.

I could be described as being in young old-age.  I can remember when we didn’t have a television, and how when we got one, our neighbours came round on a Saturday evening to watch the small, black and white screen.  I can remember the envy when some relatives got their first colour TV set.  I can remember my girl-friend at university spending hours using a calculator the size of a small house in order to process by hand the statistics needed for her research.

I can remember too the joy of the first personal computers – the ZX81, the ZX Spectrum (“What on earth do you want one of those for?  What good will it do?”) – and learning to use code to make machines do relatively useless things.  And then the big breakthrough, the Amstrad PCW – technology that actually did things that made life much easier for someone who regularly typed thousands of words. Continue reading “SmartPhone Cold Turkey at Easter”

On Tyranny

Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

33917107Although a short book, this is a very important read.  Timothy Snyder is an American historian who is able to pull together lessons from history on how to recognise and resist dictatorships and facism.  Some reviewers feel that it is essential reading for all Americans.  I disagree.  I think it would be good if people of all nations could read it and learn from it.

Because it is a short book I don’t want to rob the author of his thunder by outlining all the content.  However, just to give you a flavour of what it contains, I will summarise the chapter that had most resonance for me – Chapter 10 Believe in Truth.

Synder states that submission to tyranny happens when you renounce the difference between what you hear and see and what is actually the case.  He then goes on to outline four ways in which truth has died in various societies, and how it is dying in America as you read this.

Continue reading “On Tyranny”

Elephants in the Therapeutic Community

Sometimes, for the private practitioner, it can feel like there are more local therapists than clients.

38830The therapeutic community is trying hard to ignore two elephants sitting in its midst.  Their presence is discomforting.  In more considered moments we know they are there, but, broadly speaking, many of us hope they will go away.

The first elephant can best be described as ‘the glut’.  It used to be claimed that there were more therapists in the UK than members of the armed forces.  Whether it was ever true historically, it is almost certainly true now.  But sometimes, for the private practitioner, it can feel like there are more local therapists than clients. Continue reading “Elephants in the Therapeutic Community”

Things You Need To Know About Siri, Appointments, and Calendars

I am happy to report that several years on from those early failures, I now frequently and routinely use Siri to manage my diary, and it has saved thousands of manual text letters, and must have saved hours of time.

426799067_55027d4244_zSiri is Apple’s virtual personal assistant for the iPhone and Apple computers with the latest operating system.  It can take dictation for messages, put appointments in your calendar, tell you the latest hockey score, or give you directions to the nearest Indian restaurant.

Despite Siri being around for a number of years, my early experience of using it wasn’t always positive.  However, I am glad to say that things are different now.  Siri’s capability and flexibility have increased, as has my knowledge of how to exploit it to meet my particular requirements.

Because I run a business that involves me in meeting lots of clients during the course of a week, I use the calendar on my iPhone (synced with my desktop machine and iPad) to help me keep track of my many appointments.  It would not be uncommon for me to make around half a dozen appointments a day, entering them manually into my electronic calendar.  I knew that Siri could theoretically make this easier for me.  I could theoretically simply speak to my phone and tell it to make a diary entry for me with John Smith for X time on Y date.

Unfortunately, after several attempts of trying to make appointments with Siri, I initially gave up because of the problems I encountered.  In essence, there were three main things going wrong:  Continue reading “Things You Need To Know About Siri, Appointments, and Calendars”

The Misty Woman (3 of 3)

30458174575_4d1c3a1450_zIn my first two postings on Thomas Hardy’s poem ‘The Voice’ about his dead wife Emma’s calling to him (The Misty Woman (1 of 3), The Misty Woman 2 of 3)) I attempted to described how a very close examination of the language structures reflected not only his intense longing, but the theme of the whole poem – a woman moving in and out of his consciousness.

What I want to do in this final posting is take another closer look at another aspect of the structure of the language throughout the remainder of the whole poem and examine how that contributes (albeit subconsciously) to the meaning. Continue reading “The Misty Woman (3 of 3)”