This semester I will be teaching New Testament Greek, taking on the class after a colleague goes on sabbatical. I am enjoying reviewing Greek. I’ve used it since first studying it in university, but reviewing it in order to teach it is a new experience for me and thinking about how best to teach a language is really fun.
One of the things I’ve been enjoying at the College of Transfiguration is the multitude of languages we use in worship here (English is the language of instruction) and that I hear spoken, and the accents with which people speak English. I also enjoy having colleagues whose first language is English, but their English is different from mine, and not just in accent.
I know English is a difficult language to learn for many reasons. I was reminded of this recently when I wrote brought about by the drought, and thought about how I would explain the difference in pronunciation between drought and about and brought (let alone how pronounce morphs to pronunciation).
But one of the delights of English is its flexibility and, for me, how many different meanings words can have.
For example, this winter holiday when we were in Scotland, we saw this sign:
I looked for birds, wondering what a humped pelican looks like. Seeing no sign of birds, it occurred to me that maybe it’s like a Zebra Crossing, which is this:
I asked my wonderful Scottish sister-in-law about the sign and she explained that there are no pelicans in Scotland, but there are Pelican Crossings, which are like this:
She also explained that there are Puffin Crossings as well as real puffins. Puffin Crossings have sensors so the lights change when pedestrians are detected at the crossing area.
Because it wouldn’t be right to mention puffins without sharing a picture:
Here is my favorite traffic sign in South Africa:
Robots are traffic lights.
Like you see at Pelican Crossings.