Flagging Flags

Recently New Zeeland has opted to keep the “Union Jack” in its flag; prompting this article from the BBC. Which by the way misses out some significant flags: the Red and White Ensigns flown by merchant and Royal Navy

red_white_ensign_pin_Royal Navy National Museum

Red and White Ensign Pin from The Royal Navy National Museum

respectively both incorporate the Union Jack this omission might be thought ok as they are only used on British Ships but what about Ontario,

ontario via wikimedia

Flag of Ontario via wikimedia

or the other provinces… in fact arguably only 3 of the provinces or territories are free from British imperial influence in their flags. But surely, if they include American States they should include Canadian Provinces?

Singapore Flag_of_the_British_Straits_Settlements_(1874-1925).svg viawikimieda

Flag of Singapore via Wikimedia

What about Singapore but as this shows Great Brittan has a habit of leaving their flag around the place. But this is getting beside the point. With that in mind let’s look at some of the uses of the word Flag in English.

“to flag something”: this is often used in meetings and other discussions to either draw attention to something important or to note that something requires attention at a later date. This might also be “to flag something up”. Microsoft Outlook uses ‘flags’ to tag items in the inbox that you want to follow up. Example: “Before we finish I’d like to flag the date of the next meeting with you”

“to raise a red flag”: is a metaphor meaning something gives you a warning, or justifiably makes you wary or nervous. Example: “I’m not sure I trust him, something about this just raises a red flag for me.” Interestingly the Red flag is also a socialist anthem “keep the red flag flying”.

“to raise the white flag”: is traditionally a sign of surrender or wish to parlay in war/conflict but can also be a metaphor for giving up. Example: “I’d rather we go away as a family for the holiday but I raised the white flag when Toby threatened to stay home by himself.”

“black flag” traditionally the mark of pirates at sea but also a noted punk band.

Black Flag Band

Black Flag band from their website

“to fly a flag at half-mast”: is a sign of mourning for the death of a significant and public person, this metaphor has gotten stretched and can include use indicating someone seems sad or distracted. Example: “What’s wrong with Claire? She’s been walking around at half-mast all morning.”

“to run something up the flagpole and see who salutes”: a metaphor for mentioning an idea or plan publicly to see who and or how many people respond well (or negatively) to it. Example: “I wasn’t convinced about the new models but we ran it up the flagpole for some key customers and the response was very good.”

“A chequered flag”: of black and white squares is traditionally used in racing for the finish of the race. As a metaphor someone waving the chequered flag indicates the end of something. Example: “I didn’t miss the whole thing I got there in time to see the chequered flag”.

“to wave the flag for something” and/or “to be a flag bearer for something”. These metaphors indicate strong (and genuine) public support for something. Example: “Simon will always wave the flag for change, even if he doesn’t understand the underlying issues”.

“a flag of convenience” literally this is when a ship is registered somewhere or flying a flag of somewhere that it has no real connexion to. Metaphorically someone may fly a flag of convenience to display loyalty they don’t actually have. Example: “Kevin’s only flying a flag of convenience here; he doesn’t really believe in our cause and will desert us at the first opportunity.”

“a flag of courtesy” when in another nations waters ships fly flags of courtesy to show they are aware of their position and willing to abide by that nations laws and regulations.

 

 

 

 

 

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English for Peace

We’ve now started recruiting for our newest collaboration. “English for Peace” is a multilevel language course focusing on peace making and peace studies as the topic and English language development as the medium of transmission. You don’t need to be an expert in peace studies but you might be, and we can incorporate students with English proficiencies from CFER B1+ up. We’re really excited to be offering this in collaboration with the Centre of Religions for Reconciliation and Peace. The course is taught and run by staff from both centres. We met just the other day to work out the details for the extension excursion (subject to numbers) 3 days in Northern Ireland to meet people on both sides, and those in-between and learn about their experiences of peace first hand. But, that is just the things most present in one’s mind to be excited about. That said here’s a brief outline of what we’re looking at.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Belfast (this photo is city hall by Iker Merodio via Creative Commons

We’re starting in Belfast, then visiting the peace centre at Corrymeela and on top of that trying to catch a bit of nature, culture and history.

Giants Causeway 1888

An 1888 photo of the Giant’s Causeway. Via Creative commons

With the (seemingly ever) growing prominence of English as a Lingua Franca more and more English is becoming the working language of diplomacy and international peace-making efforts. There is a certain advantage Nelson Mandela said If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. This of course can be one of the reasons to use a 3rd language to resolve disputes between communities or individuals; and English as the most spoken second language globally is likely to be the vehicle for this. In a number of circumstances throughout history conflict has be resolved by addressing it in a common lingua franca but not necessarily the mother tongue of the affected communities.

In the course we’ll be covering a wide variety of skills, including ICT, Research, Presenting and (academic) Writing, Debating, Negotiating and more. Language skills wise we do put an emphasis on speaking over writing but we do encourage and support the writing side as well. We’ll be supporting participants as they confront and address peace in their lives both professional and personal, as well as in the world around them both locally and internationally. Additionally, we aim to foster scholarship and promote the participants becoming more self-directed and reflective learners through use of journals and blogging. Lastly we’ll look at a wide variety of contexts for peace not just limited to the personal interests and professional foci of the participants.

English for Peace could serve as an introduction and/or companion to the Master’s in Peace.

In developing English for Peace we’ve been combining the expertise and experience of two parts of the university ELTSU and CRRP and naturally discovered some interesting synergies in the process. Working so closely together has also provided a prompt for both groups to independently and as groups reflect on our own practices and procedures; further benefiting our students and partners even where they are not involved in English for Peace.

EFP Flyer A

Where we are…

There is a saying in real-estate circles “location location location”  and when you come down to it where one is can be very important. Recently Winchester has been judged the best place to live in the UK, see here, here and here. While Winchester is in no way immune to problems, as this blog mentioned and in other news, these are minor. There are a wide range of events and festivals based in the city, the Hat Fair is perhaps the best known internationally. It’s also a popular destination in any season whether for a specific event or just to walk around.

Winchester Kings Gate

Photo: J Beddington Many medieval city gates would have had Churches near or even on them. Winchester’s King’s Gate houses St Swithun’s Upon King’s Gate. This was to enable travellers to pray and give thanks for safe journeys.

Of course the University is a key part of the city and celebrating our 175th year. Here and here are some of the media coverage. Furthermore this article talks about being based here as a student.

50 Adverbs to avoid in academic writing

Adverbs are often first on my list when editing down to a word count.

Learning, Teaching and Leadership

Most academic writing is strengthened by eliminating adverbs. To emphasize a point, provide more evidence to support it. Avoid unnecessary words and in particular, adverbs. Instead, choose more precise verbs.

An adverb modifies or describes:

  • A verb (e.g. He runs quickly.)
  • An adjective (e.g. His writing is extraordinarily descriptive.)
  • Another adverb (e.g. He runs extraordinarily quickly.)

Often, but not always, adverbs in English end in –ly. Here are 50 adverbs that I have seen in academic papers that you can eliminate and your writing will be better for it:

  1. Adroitly
  2. Amazingly
  3. Awesomely
  4. Badly
  5. Basically
  6. Carefully
  7. Clearly
  8. Completely
  9. Convincingly
  10. Deftly
  11. Desperately
  12. Dexterously
  13. Effortlessly
  14. Extremely
  15. Faithfully
  16. Fundamentally
  17. Generally
  18. Goodly
  19. Honestly
  20. Inherently
  21. Instantly
  22. Interestingly
  23. Narrowly
  24. Naturally
  25. Nearly
  26. Necessarily
  27. Obviously
  28. Precisely
  29. Previously
  30. Preposterously
  31. Quite
  32. Really
  33. Relentlessly
  34. Simply
  35. Spectacularly
  36. Successfully
  37. Suddenly
  38. Surely
  39. Truthfully
  40. Ubiquitously
  41. Unequivocally
  42. Ungodly
  43. Unnecessarily
  44. Unquestionably
  45. Utterly
  46. Unwittingly
  47. Usually
  48. Very
  49. Widely
  50. Zealously

Often, when writers make a conscious choice to eliminate adverbs…

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