Yes, English matters.

Since at least the 1990s there has been a belief that the study of English at school isn’t all that important. When I was a teenager, students who prioritised maths over English in their course choices automatically graduated from college (the final two years of high school) with a significantly higher university entrance score, even if they didn’t get a particularly high grade in the subject.

With the recent push for more and more science in schools, an attitude has developed that English is a subject for stupid people. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard people in their teens and early twenties refer to English as a “dumb people subject” in recent years.

And now we have this story coming out of New Zealand:

New Zealand students say word ‘trivial’ in exam confused them

High School students in New Zealand who didn’t know what the word “trivial” meant in an exam question have demanded not to be marked down as a result.

More than 2,600 people signed an online petition over the “unfamiliar” word.

The students were asked to write an essay based on the Julius Caesar quote: “In war, events of importance are the result of trivial causes.”

Examiners said the language used was expected to be within the range of the year 13 students’ vocabulary.

If people in this world had better reading, comprehension and analytical skills, fewer people would be so susceptible to Russian propaganda and far-right conspiracies. If more people were better at English (or whatever their native language is), and better able to understand the rights and wrongs of the media they come across, we wouldn’t end up with people like Donald Trump running this world.

English isn’t for “dumb people”, and people with poor language skills shouldn’t brag about being smarter than those of us who read and write.

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The Week: 12th – 18th November

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Some pictures from the Great Wall near Beijing, Jinan, and the Zibo district in China last week.

These past few months have been crazy. From winter to like-winter weather in Europe, to warm weather, to a heatwave in Canberra, to freezing China, to another heatwave in Canberra. I’m so confused where I am and what season it is! Now I’ve done my Christmas shopping (just in case things didn’t arrive in time), I sort of feel like it’s time for the year to end!

My review of A Holiday by Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews

A Holiday by Gaslight A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews

Another Book Community Gone?

A Jane Austen Christmas

Mr Darcy Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen Foil Christmas Card Sonya Heaney In the Past Zazzle Shop Silver Version 2

Poppies for Remembrance Day – 100 Years

Thousands of Poppies First world War One Sonya Heaney 11th November 2018 Australian War Memorial Canberra.

Long Tan Cross

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Armageddon Seventy Years On

On this day: British women prepare for invasion

The_British_Army_in_the_United_Kingdom_1939-45_Second World War Two 23rd October 1941 Women of Britains Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) operate a rangefinder during anti-aircraft

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23rd October 1941: Women of Britain’s Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) operate a rangefinder during anti-aircraft training on the beach of Weybourne in Norfolk, England.

Weybourne was considered to be at serious risk of invasion during the Second World War, and the region was prepared accordingly.

The ATS was formed in 1938, and existed until 1949, when it was incorporated into the Women’s Royal Army Corps.

Monday Thoughts

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I got a bit mad in the comments of a few blog posts in the past week, but I can’t take it back now!

Basically, I’m a little bit frustrated with the power bestselling authors have over their readers, and that certain authors post some absolute nonsense online – with no facts to back their stories up – and everyone believes them. One blog I’ve been following for years posts lengthy history posts a few times a week, and not once have they ever provided a link to show their posts are based in fact.

Please, if you’re posting something that will get your readers commenting: ‘Wow! I never knew that! Thanks for sharing!’…?

Then, please, please link to at least one thing to prove what you’re saying is true.

We live in the age of Trump, Putin, and far-right Facebook memes. Everyone (including me) can and should do better.