The Music of the Sea

On Saturday 29th November, a group of students taking the module Introduction to the Arts in Britain through English went to a classical music concert at the Guildhall in Southampton. This is another of the trips we periodically do with students.

Concert Poster

Perhaps understandably for an island nation we Brits have often taken inspiration from the seas that surround us. Our composers are no exception to this. The programme included A Sea Symphony by Vaughan Williams and Four Sea Interludes by Britten. The Vaughan Williams symphony was one of the first symphonies to use a choir throughout and on this occasion it was performed by the Southampton Philharmonic Choir, with about 150 singers, and The New London Sinfonia.

Photo: A. Takahashi

Photo: A. Takahashi

Britten’s Four Sea Interludes are tone poems from his opera Peter Grimes (1945). They were performed by the The New London Sinfonia, a symphony orchestra of 75 musicians. We had listened to these four pieces in class: the students tried to match the music to the four titles: Dawn, Sunday Morning, Moonlight, and Storm. It was good to hear these works live.

Photo: A. Takahashi

Photo: A. Takahashi

Here are some comments from the students who attended the concert:

“I really enjoyed the concert! I was glad to listen living orchestra. Moreover, I appreciated sitting a front seat. It was precious experience which I have never had. I could remind the music that we learned at the classes. I prefer ‘Moonlight’!”

“I have never been to British classic concert, so it was impressive, and the harmony of orchestra and chorus was beautiful.”

“It was amazing! During the concert, I was moved and I had goosebumps! In my head, some fantastic imagination would occurred …”

“The concert was great, and I had a really good time. I was happy to listen to the music. The collaboration of playing and singing was really beautiful. I want to listen again.”



Sorry we’re not talking about the film. I need to catch up I haven’t seen it. I might need to gear up as I don’t own a TV.

UP movie poster

There are however lots of phrasal (sometimes called multi-word) verbs that have up in them, some that can have more than one meaning. The particles, (extra little bits) are significant as they modfy the meaning of the verb in some way. However, let’s look at some and see if we can find any commonality to the particle “up” that would allow us to generalise a meaning for “up” in phrasal verbs.

Just to show how common this is; the links below are songs (mostly). Sometimes we had 5-6 to choose from can you guess which we chose?

Shut up: a request, although not polite that the person stop speaking while this is by far the most common usage in English it can also be used in certain set phrases, to shut up shop (to stop work and pack everything away) to shut the house up (to make sure all doors and windows are locked possibly before a long absence).

Wake up: what you do when your alarm clock goes of although if you wake someone up the waking is done to a third party (who may or may not be happy about it).

Make up: yes it can be what you put on your face before a big night out, but to make up with someone after an argument or to make up a bed or a room for a guest have quite different meanings. (Make up with – to repair a relationship where there has been a disagreement) (Make up a bed/a room to prepare, your teacher might make up a test on these).

Catch up: this can be physical or more metaphorical. ‘Tom is catching up but Mary will still win the race.’—Tom is physically getting closer to Mary. ‘I haven’t seen your message, but I need to catch up with my email’ – I haven’t checked my messages so I haven’t seen the email you sent. ‘We haven’t spoken for ages, let’s get a coffee next week and catch up.’ – I’d like to talk and find out what has been happening in your life.

Back up: again it can be physical – ‘The car was backing up (reversing) when it hit the tree.’ Or more metaphorical, – ‘It’s important to back up important documents from your computer, although only about 7% of people do back up regularly.’

‘Up’ often has or implies an element of improvement (at least from the speaker’s point of view). But, be careful:

  • Breaking up with your partner can be upsetting and painful for both parties.
  • Putting up with bad service without saying anything (a test of true Englishness) can be frustrating and annoying.
  • Throwing up can mean to vomit, which again is unpleasant.

However, even in these cases there can be seen a possible element of things getting better, or at least not getting worse.

If you and your partner are both unhappy then breaking up may be the best thing.

If by putting up with bad service you avoid an argument that might further spoil your day then at least there is a trade-off.

If you are ill you might need to throw up to get better.

Proofreading Tricks

One more from the past: Proofreading can often make the difference between a 2.2 and a 2.1. Done well, it can stop you making silly mistakes.

ELTSU Winchester

Dissertation season is upon us. So here are some thoughts regarding dissertations, final year projects (a term we don’t use any more at Winchester but some institutions might), independent extended studies, and similar documents.

You don’t normally get detailed in-line feedback. So there won’t be any commas added, your spelling corrected or any other little marks. That said, these are your largest and single most important piece of academic work to date. They should be as close to publishable standard as possible. It is worth reading them carefully just for spelling, then again just for punctuation, a third time for grammatical concordance and a fourth time for logic and reasoning.

This can be difficult on the same screen that you normally write on. As we know from Vygotsky the primary function of ‘second order encoding’ or writing as we normally call it is to carry meaning. This is what you…

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