Completely Impractical Resources for Teaching English

There are a wealth of links for ESL teachers on the web. Job openings, forums, games, lesson plans, and, most importantly of all, word-searches are accessible within seconds.

But there aren’t many places I’ve found that talk of the study of ESL–ESLiography, if you will. For instance, it’s possible that the children toiling at their English lessons now will in twenty years time be speaking Chinese. As far as languages go, English is maddeningly inconsistent. Perhaps we should all just learn Esperanto after all. There are a lot of intriguing aspects of the ESL industry as a whole.

English has not ceased to be the lingua franca(how’s that term for an anachronism, by the way?) of the world just yet. Incidentally, I am very lucky to be able to travel and teach English just because of where I was born. But it can be fascinating to think about the role that English does and can play in the world today.

The Bald Soprano

Ionesco was struck by the absurdity of learning English and he wrote this play, where a husband and wife inform each other of facts they should have already known. As the play progresses, language disintegrates and all tongues become foreign.

The Mother Tongue

Written in 1991, this book is a little dated. Furthermore, Bryson is an amateur linguist at best; this book is somewhat controversial. However, it is maybe the most interesting book I’ve ever read. If a discussion about why the letter group “ough” can be pronounced “oh” (in though), oo (in through), uff (in tough), and o (short o, in thought) is appealing to you, this is your book.

Short Film in Fake English This short film uses actually English words completely incorrectly. The weird thing? You can completely understand it. A thoughtful look into how much of our communication is based on non-linguistic cues.

What American Sounds like to Non-English speakers

This was made by an Italian who sings in nonsense language that sounds like English. Hearing a non-nonsensical version of English is good for a couple of laughs.

What do you think about the role of English, or, more broadly, the role of language itself? Are there any books or movies that belong to the newly dubbed field of ESLiography?

2 responses to “Completely Impractical Resources for Teaching English

  1. You asked an open question, and I’ll respond with one of my own What do you think of Esperanto?

    • I think Esperanto is a really great idea. Just a few weeks ago, I started to (very lackadaisically) learn it. I don’t know how much I will pick up, but I do think having an easy-to-learn, consistent trade language is a very good idea.

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