Language Awareness
Because the Form of Words Matters
Varieties of English
I found this to be a very entertaining project. The
components were much different than the typical writing
assignment and left room for a great deal of
creativity. My absolute favorite activity in this
portfolio was the language awareness paragraph about
language being a web. I felt like I was best able to
show my creativity in it when compared to the others. I
had a lot of fun writing it and feel like I was able to
really get my message across. I really enjoyed the form
of words activity about the checkout line item. I love,
love poetry and this gave me a chance to write one and
be creative about an object which would probably be
viewed as quite boring and one which someone would not
typically write an entertaining, silly poem about. I
didn’t really find any of the activities to be too
difficult but I would say that the most challenging was
the varieties of English topic in which I translated a
commandment. The actual translation part was fairly
simple but analyzing the differences in the three
versions and what factors played a role in their
meanings was the greatest hurdle for me. All of these
activities required a fairly in-depth investigation and
thought process about writing and language. I made an
attempt to use more descriptive and less “run of the
mill” word choices in order to add some pizazz and
interest to my entries. This in itself forces a good
bit of thought over language. Overall, I loved this
portfolio project and would definitely like to include
it in my own teaching in the future. I believe that it
is a very flexible assignment which can be adjusted to
grade level and to students’ own levels of
understanding and is a great writing practice which
will allow for creativity and investigation for
students of all ages.
Language Awareness
When viewing language as a web, I am a meticulous, patient
spider. A spider takes a great amount of time and invests much
effort into building its web. This process is a well-practiced
and perfected art which a spider must view with great pride.
This is metaphorical to my outlook on writing. I thoroughly
enjoy writing of various types. I was not a pro at it the first
time I picked up a pencil or typed a document but, just as a
spider does with the construction of webs, I practice, practice,
practiced my writing. I like to take the time to “perfect” any
type of writing I pursue, put much effort into the process, and
am typically very proud of my final product. Unlike the fly who
gets caught in the web, lost and hopeless, soon to be consumed,
I feel at ease and at home when I write, just a spider does in
the web it creates. From an educator’s standpoint, I would view
my web of language as a beautiful creation with which I would
like to capture my students, engage them, teach them to love
writing and hopefully reincarnate those flies into creative,
language loving, spiders.
If Humpty Dumpty stated, “When I use a word, it means just
what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less,” he would be
terribly incorrect. Any sentence, phrase, word, etc. that is
said by a person, or in this case an oversized egg who falls off
of a wall, is taken in numerous different ways dependent upon
who hears it. One person may take a statement in a positive way
while the next person may take it in a severely negative sense.
A question may completely stump someone but be the launch pad
for thoughts to another person. A poem composed and recited by
its author can touch thousands in the most comforting way while
being incredibly controversial to others and lead to outrageous
anger. The same goes for single words, as approached by Humpty
Dumpty. A simple word can surface many thoughts and emotions in
people. It can trigger memories and create new thoughts. The
meaning of a word varies depending on audience. Meanings of
words transform from person to person, obviously in a personal
way rather than the dictionary definition. Humpty Dumpty can’t
possibly be right when he says that words can only mean exactly
what he chooses them to mean except when talking about his own
personal opinion of the words, no one else’s.
Because the Form of Words Matters
A) Batteries may be found in almost any checkout line you
enter. They are very useful to both you and me and
something that we tend to take for granted until the time
to purchase them comes around again. Batteries power my
tools and your toys and are even available in a
rechargeable form.
B) The Necessary Battery
Incredible checkout line battery, your importance is
You bring life to work tools,
And children’s toys.
You provide entertainment for gamers and fools.
Your necessity is forgotten
Until your charge runs dry.
Luckily, you can now be recharged.
Maybe this type I shall try.
C) The poetry version of my battery description is much more
entertaining than my prose version. My prose is
straightforward, to the point, and somewhat dull. My
poetry version, however, has a bit more description and
the wording is arranged in a much more entertaining
fashion. It is not written in typical sentence form which
adds some spark and makes it much more unique. The poetry
version is surely more interesting than the prose for
these reasons. It also serves more of a purpose and gets
the point across much more effectively. The first stanza
in my poem says a lot and even contains an extra part
that was not included in my prose – the line about
“gamers and fools.” I think this adds to the description
and makes it a little more fun. The second stanza is
fairly simply said but “until your charge runs dry” is a
more interesting way of saying what was said in my prose
about the time to buy more and “maybe this type I shall
try” stresses the importance of batteries and better
emphasizes how great a rechargeable version could be.
Varieties of English
1) “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20.14).
2) Slang: Don’t be a player!
Standard English: Be faithful to your partner.
3) In essence, all three translations of this commandment
mean the same thing. The time in which they were stated
and to who they are said, however, can have a great
impact on the deeper meanings of them. For instance,
during the time in which the King James Version
translated the first version, “adultery” may have had a
much different meaning than it has today. Women were
treated much differently during that time than they are
today, marriages were different, and the “rules” of
marriage were also much different. Moving on to the slang
version of the commandment which I translated from the
KJV, “Don’t be a player” could have multiple meanings. A
“player” (in this instance the one committing adultery)
could be labeled by different acts other than sex, all of
which, though, are considered adultery, at least in my
book. My standard English version is very simple and
straightforward although people could put their own
definition to the word “faithful.” All of these
translations aim at having the same meaning. Like any
other statement, however, audience plays a big role in
the meaning which is actually conveyed. Different
people’s ideas and opinions on what is considered
“adultery,” being a “player,” or being “faithful” can
completely change what the different versions of the
commandment mean to them personally. All of these
translations and the wording in them are affected by the
time in which they were written. New words such as
“player” evolve over time and are created by different
cultures, groups, etc. Words can also change meaning
dependent upon who is using them. For instance, “Don’t be
a player” would likely have evolved in or be heard in a
younger, much less professional group, possibly a more
“thuggish” environment while “Be faithful to your
partner” sounds and may be found in a more sophisticated
environment. Like all aspects of language, speaker and
audience are the main factors in determining what the
intended meaning and the supposed meaning end up being.