The sequence

It became obvious that the longer they were entertained by Jongleur, the less chance that there was that they would learn Eyrrfish. Actually, Jongleur was the purveyor of the wildest and  most absurd ideas. Sometimes, they would call him out on his buffoonery, and he would respond with : “Capital!”

They pored over manuscripts of the Eyrrfish language, depending on Jongleur to translate. It didn’t quite make sense, but they continued to make a reasonable effort at translating the language. The problem was that without Dr. Unne, they couldn’t make heads or tails out of what they were reading.

They were outspoken about their approval of his methods, but there were so many problems. The clockwork owl kept circling above their heads and screeching in French, “Veuillez boire du bon café!” It was most unsettling. There were so many texts before them, that they began to be confused as if the papers were a twisted gyre of nonsense.

Over time, they had begun to make something of Jongleur’s encrypted code. They noticed that it was connected to his explanation of Koine Greek. ‘Α’ or ‘alpha’ signified the beginning of the code chain, and of course, ‘Ω’ or ‘omega’ was the end of it. In between they saw that each letter of the Greek alphabet corresponded to a separate idea.

The code-breakers eventually saw that this could be the way to find Brad. They would trick Jongleur into revealing the location of Brad, and then, see to it that the Eyrrfish language was translated into plain English. Afterwards, they would give the locket to Brad, and then leave for the Cardia Islands.

At that point, it would be necessary for Poxig to return to Ulteria, with the idea of getting the sacred amethyst, which would allow him to pass unharmed to Elrick the half-prince’s domain. He would regain his composure, and take Lakfi just until the border.




Crawford grammar


The William Crawford grammar is a great tool for those of us in the ESL classroom. Especially with regards to corpora in the classroom, there are many reasons to employ these techniques in the ESL classroom.  Probably the most important one is that it helps students form their collocations, and can aid in the formation of phrasal verbs.

Crawford has the following to say about the use of corpus linguistics in the classroom:

“Corpus linguistics is a method of describing language by reference to
large amounts of language that occurs in specific contexts. Scholars
have used corpus description to gain new insights into areas such as
language change and variation, sociolinguistics, lexicology, and stylistics,
to name a few (see McEnery, Xiao, & Tono, 2006, for a good description
of corpus linguistics and the various ways that corpora have been used in applied linguistics).” (Crawford, 2013)

I have used these techniques in the classroom with varying success. It is hard to get students to believe that looking up various collocations in a free website like ‘MICASE corpus‘ is in the interest of the student. But after some work, it seems like this begins to set in, and the work becomes easier on their end.

Using free corpora can be a great way to get students engaged who normally would not be able to get this stuff. In fact, it seems that the corpora that is most useful are not online databases, but the CD-ROM that go with dictionaries, such as Collins COBUILD, and corpora like it.

I will continue to develop ESL lessons that emphasize corpus linguistics, because it is an optimal way to learn language. Also, students like to use the computer to learn! Please click the ‘contact’ tab to comment.


Behind the question

The night was getting late, and they had not yet located the precious document that would translate the Eyrrfish language into plain English. They had coaxed, wheedled, and cajoled Jongleur, but he would give no indication as to Brad’s whereabouts.

They gave a sample from Dr. Unne of the Koine Greek language and asked Jongleur to translate.

“Εν ‘αρχη ην ‘ο λογος,” read the document.

“Of course, this reads ‘In the beginning was the word.’ ” said Jongleur.

“Dr. Unne located this gospel as the cause of the universe’s existence ex nihilo,” said Lakfi.

There was a small outside chance that the gospel  as it were would lead them to the source of the earth’s rot. No one could locate the source of this, and least of all, Jongleur, who was puzzled.  He knew the document was ‘Ευαγγελιον ‘ιΩαννην, but he didn’t know how that would lead them to the source of the earth’s rot.

“The question is, does this document lead us to the source of the earth’s rot?” asked Poxig.

“The answer to your question will be in the sacred black magician texts,” added Lakfi.

“Perhaps! This document does prophesy many things, but only tells of the apocalypse, not of its cause,” replied Jongleur.

“Then, tell us! What is the source of the earth’s rot?” asked Lakfi.

“You must consult the prophecy, and I cannot lead you further. But everyone knows the light warriors will restore order to the universe!” exclaimed Jongleur.book23