Well I promised to write a post this weekend. So although this is short, let me fill you in.
In Lødingen we – that is my colleague Jan Eirik Flakstad and I – are joining forces, and in our free time setting out to form a boys’ choir. This weekend I have set up the webpage on www.guttekor.net. It is now running on WordPress. You’ll see more details shortly.
Sadly the work on that prevented me doing much on this. However, given that we have run into opposition to our project (because we are doing this independent of the church which employs us), you can expect not a little controversy in the nearest future.
Nevertheless we are resolved. We will not be put off, though it looks like it could cost us considerably if we have to pay for our own practice venue.
Today I have been deleting most of the contents of this blog. The reason is that old material is already on the Archive (the former “East Lobby”).
I have decided to give this particular blog a new start. That means wiping the slate. However, I have kept four or five old posts so that it doesn’t look completely “naked”!
Once I am satisfied with things, I shall create a new navigation menu, and links to the archived material.
Thank you for your patience.
I shall write more on this at the weekend. This blog is once again active, and I have radically changed the colour scheme.
The reasons for this you will find on the archive page, where eventually all the older posts will be stored. I don’t intend to slag off the people of Doncaster where I came from. The break has now been made. The old school theme is discontinued, and I and this blog are going in a new direction.
My logo, though not as prominent as it was on the older theme, is still present in the favicon you should see in the address line. I shall also try to re-include it in the new theme, although again, somewhat “toned down”. I have not changed it, since although I completely distance myself from the Euro sceptic views of Doncaster, that is where I came from – and the logo shows both where I am today and my origins, as well as my Christian Faith. So the logo shall not be discontinued and you will certainly see it again.
More coming soon on Yorkshire Viking…
As you will by now have seen, the Yorkshire Viking has not been updated a while. I was firstly dispirited by the new laws in Norway that came into effect in 2014. Since then, however, many things have happened; the political world is scarcely recognizable today after the British vote to leave the EU. In terms of how that has realigned how I identify with myself, and my relationship to the place I grew up, it has ruled out reactivating a blog that proudly displayed the colours of Adwick School.
I have indeed decided to restart Yorkshire Viking. However, the whole site will be updated. As for the logo, that looks like it will stay, even though that is based upon Adwick too. The reason is that that is something which I have created to stand for me. It is a derivative work of my own. Furthermore, although I see myself as utterly estranged from a community that has (as I see it) stabbed my grandparents’ generation and my own upbringing in the back, I cannot deny that I did come from it – and I see no sense in trying to erase that which denotes my origins in the logo.
For this same reason, indeed, neither will the Yorkshire Viking Site disappear either. It will be archived – complete in its present form – and accessible from the revamped blog.
I like blogging. Language fascinates me.
It wasn’t always so. Though my blogs’ theme used to be based on my old school uniform [this post was written before the new design of Yorkshire Viking, and therefore tenses are rewritten. Editor 2017] , my schoolboy English was not something to be proud of. I consistently failed the old “O” level English examination until 1983, two years after leaving school. Indeed I also failed the examination in the Summer of that year as well!
When I decided to retake my failed examination something remarkable happened. This was at the former Doncaster Metropolitan Institute of Higher Education in that same Autumn. They held evening classes at the now demolished site in Waterdale, in the centre of town. All of us attending were there to redo in a matter of a few weeks what we had tried, and failed to do that Summer.
I wish I could remember the name of our teacher. He changed the course of my life – in more ways than I knew at the time, and not only in the English language. He shut the classroom door, and gesticulated that he had something to say to us almost as though he were afraid of saying it and might lose his job if he said it out aloud.
I can’t remember now when the course began, but he didn’t have a lot of time to change our failed examinations into passes. Therefore I can’t remember exactly how many weeks he said that we had, but what he said was truly astonishing. He said that we had only so many weeks until the examination, but he could guarantee us success if we would follow his method. There was only one catch: his method was an old fashioned one, and some did not approve of it in modern teaching.
Until these evening classes, I had used English “automatically” with my internal “autopilot”. That is to say that I wrote what I should say, and never thought about it any more than one thinks about how one walks. It is my belief that many people are now doing this very thing, and without most of these realizing it, their language does their thinking for them rather than letting them express ideas that they themselves have put together. Our teacher wanted us to analyse our language.
Obtaining so our surreptitious consent, he then introduced us to what we had thought was a very dirty word – grammar! In some respects, English is like a building that has lost one of its rooms. We started looking not just at how that building was today, but how it once used to be.
English address is a good example of this, where the plural has now to double up as a singular. Unless you know that, then it seems like the use of a plural verb, “are” for example, when one is addressing only one individual is just one of the many exceptions-to-the-rule that plague anyone who wants to use the language. Unless you have the grammatical bird’s eye view from above, then indeed it will seem like many complicated rules and exception to the rules just as in our example here.
We started writing out tables…. I am, thou art, he/she/it is, we are, ye(you) are, they are. We briefly looked at Middle English, but I have to say that most of what I now know of that came later. Nevertheless it was from the interest this evening class ignited inside me. Needless to say, I could see why verbs ended the ways they did very quickly. In Modern English, one simply cuts out the “thou” address, and replaces the “eth” verb ending with the “s” that we have today in the third person singular. Not complicated at all!
One of my major sins used to be the misplaced apostrophe. This subversive grammarian taught us that there were two types of apostrophe: the first when the apostrophe was used to show omission, and the second use to show possession. This was before I ever even heard of things like the genitive case, through my own study that followed!
Since I often pop into George Barton’s blog, and follow him on Twitter I have been introduced to the term “the apostrophe police”. This refers to those (like me) who have the audacity to pick people up on misplaced apostrophes. Nevertheless, for those of you who once and for all – guarantee! – want to learn this so you never make a mistake again, I shall give you the infallible rule.
The first use of the apostrophe is for an omission. Instead of writing the two words “it is”, you can contract these to “it’s”. The apostrophe stands for the omitted letter “i”. Instead of writing “you are”, you can contract to “you’re”, and the apostrophe is in place of the omitted letter “a”.
The second use, which I began this post with when I referred to the school uniform theme my blogs now use, is to show possession. You can very simply find out where to put the apostrophe here by rewriting the sentence using the preposition “of”. For example:
- the children’s toys – rewrite, the toys of the children (you know to put the apostrophe between “n” and “s”)
- the child’s book – rewrite, the book of the child (you know that the apostrophe is between “d” and “s”)
- the boys’ choir – rewrite, the choir of the boys (unless you really mean that one boy has started, and perhaps leads the choir, and that it is his project – then you know there are several of them, and the apostrophe comes after the “s” at the end)
- the boy’s friend – rewrite, the friend of the boy
So, whatever it is that you actually mean, write it first as an “of” sentence it you are in doubt! This always works! So if anyone thought that I had made a mistake at the beginning of this post, it should now be apparent that I was writing about the theme of my blogs (and not my blog). Yorkshire Viking Norway is twinned with a Norwegian sister blog.
I wish I could remember the name of our teacher who got me my English qualification. I should like to thank him. However I cannot, but I pay tribute here. What is more, if you follow the advice above, neither will you go wrong. Ever!