Ryota's Old Daybook: Language Arts & Basic English
On 03/04/05, or March 4th of 2005, this weblog
was started as Ryota's Daybook: Language Arts & Basic English
I made a start of another weblog
, however, in November of the same year, named Ryota's New Daybook
After that, the new one has become my chief daybook in English. So I'm taking the name of this old daybook and giving it to the new one. From now on, the name of this old weblog
here will be changed into Ryota's Old Daybook
If you're looking for new writings, please go to Ryota's Daybook
This online daybook is ended. Ryota's new online writings in English will be put at:http://ryotasan.jugem.jp
It's been very kind of you coming here.
Ryota's New Daybook
I am making a new online pages, testing to see if the system there is better than here.
New Paper on Basic
Good news! A new paper on Basic English is now out in an international newsletter on language teaching.
"Towards a People's English: Back to BASIC in EIL
" is a new attempt to make teachers see that an answer, or the answer, to troubles in teaching EIL, English as an International Language, is Ogden's Basic English. The paper in the newest copy of Humanising Language Teaching
gives a short history of Basic and what we may do with it.
Bill Templer, the writer of the paper, gives a short account, in it, of Mr. Katagiri and his friends, the Japanese groups working for a long time on Basic and teaching English using Richards-Gibson System.
You may see the paper online here:
You may get a copy for printing here:
Mr. Templer was the writer of a letter to a Thai newsletter, which I made a note on in Semptember:
More on the Man Who Was at the Nazi Prison
August Kowalczyk, in 1940, was a young Polish man with a strong love for his country. He made an attempt of getting out of Poland to be with a Polish group secretly working against Adolph Hitler's political moves in France. He was taken by Nazi law-officers and sent, as the prisoner number 6408, to a walled place at Oswiecim
. At the time Oswiecim, a Polish town, was under the rule of the Nazi military forces. So the town, and the prison, had a German name: Auschwitz.
Mr. Kowalczyk had a very hard time there. Every day, every decision, and every move he made was between death and living. But he had a good chance of secretly running away from Auschwitz, living, in 1942. After that he was with the secret Polish group against the Nazis.
After the war, he became a stage actor and manager, and he kept on working for peace, giving talks of his experience inside the wall, round the earth.
A Japanese page on Mr. Kowalczyk and Auschwitz:
An online page in Germany to keep the memory of the death houses, in English language:
Leaves of trees are changing
their colors from green to red, orange, yellow or brown. Time of sundown is getting earlier.
A man who was at a Nazi prison
came to our university and gave a public talk on his experience inside the wall of the death houses. He is an old but strong-looking Polish and gave his talk in Polish.
Been to the Basic English
Society's general meeting. This society is a small group of Japanese working on Basic. A great number of them are teachers. Some have a very long experience.
Fukushima University, in this April, made a start with a new structure. One of the new divisions in the university is a night school.
I myself made a start of teaching at night from this October. This is the third week, and I'm going to do my work starting at 7:40.
Most of the learners at night school are a bit older than the daytime university men and women. Some have works in the day.
This time I'm to do another new thing: teaching English by using Richards-Gibson system, by acting it out. I will say, pointing myself, "I am here." I will say, pointing one of the woman in the school-room, "She is there" to the other learners.
I've been giving my teachings IN English for over 10 years, and I've been making use of English through Pictures
for a number of years. So it may not be a very hard thing for me to do.
I have in fact some fear. The fear gives me a feeling that as if I was young again. Doing something new and having some fear may keep you young.
Stand by Me: The Song and the Motion Picture
If you keep yourself upright, on your feet, you are standing
. When you stand
by me, you keep yourself upright, on your feet, by me, as my friend. "Stand
by Me" is an old song from the 1960's, made by an New Orleans man of music Ben E. King.
I'm writing about this song, though "stand
" is not a Basic word, because the first three lines of the song are all made of Basic words. I don't make a copy and paste of the words, because of the copyrights. You may see the words on the page from this bookmark:
When the night and the dark comes to the land and even if the only light they see is the light of the moon, the writer of the song says that she, or he, will have no fear as long as her friend, or boyfriend, stands
This song was based on a part of a very old verse in The Bible: "Psalm of David" or "Psalm 23." In Basic English the part of the Bible verse goes like this:
Yes, though I go through the valley of deep shade,
I will have no fear of evil; for you are with me,
your rod and your support are my comfort.
From "Psalm 23," The Bible in Basic English.
The most noted words in this old verse are "the valley of deep shade." This word group, in the King James Bible
, are put like: "the valley of the shadow of death."
In the 1970's, "Stand by Me" was played frequently on the radio and music stores, because a new recording of the song was made by John Lennon.
In the 80's, the song was played again at the end of a new motion picture, Stand by Me
. This moving picture was based on the story, "The Body." It's about four boys making a journey through dark woods, looking for the dead body of a young man. The boys in the story are having hard times at school, in the town and at their houses, with the violent and hard-drinking father, or feeling no love from his family. The unhappy boys have a hope that looking for the dead might make them happy. They are, in a way, walking through the valley of the shadow of death.
is the days after summer and before winter. The position of the sun in the middle of the day has a fall from high to low. The measure of heat in the daytime has a fall to the level between warm and cold. Leaves of trees have a change of their colors. At the end of fall, these red, yellow, leaves have their falls. The "dead" leaves on the earth, a sign of coming winter, are food for very small things living on and in the earth.
The Basic English Society, Japan,
is a group of Japanese working on and teaching Basic English. Most of them are teachers. This Basic English Society, helped by the GDM teachers, is to have a one-day public meeting on 22 October, at Mita Fukushi Kaikan, 4-1-17, Shiba, Minatoku, Tokyo. It's five-minute walk from JR Tamachi Station.
10:00 is the starting time of their business meeting. There will be, in addition, a number of public talks given by Ms. Aizawa, me, and Mr. Katagiri.
Ms. Yoshiko Aizawa is an expert of language science, university teacher with long experience and writer of books on English. One of her books is on Basic English.
Another Letter in the Thai Paper
Mr. Bill Templer's letter on Basic English, printed on The Nation
, an English newspaper in Thailand, got a good reaction. Another letter, this time by someone from Thailand, was printed on the 11 September copy of the same paper.
"Simplified English Might Make Diplomacy Less Difficult" is about Mr. Surapon Vatanavigkit's experience, when he was at Western Michigan University, of reading a book on Basic, and about statements made by Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The book which Mr. Vatanavigkit came across was probably a number of books made into one: an account of the system and some examples in Basic.
The news of the second letter printed on the same paper was sent to me last week from Mr. Templer. It's very kind of you!
It's not warm today. This may
be the best time of the year in our part of Japan. The time of sundown is getting earlier. Days are getting shorter.
Letter in a Thai Newspaper
Thailand has a long history of being by itself, not dependent on or ruled by another nation. The Thai men and women have their language and their ways of living. Most of them, however, have to take time learning English at school. They seem to have a hard time learning the very different language and a great number of them are unhappy about the experience.The Nation
, an English-language newspaper in Bangokok, put a letter with a suggestion that they make use of another international language like Esperanto.
On 2 September, the newspaper put a letter on Basic English. It was from Mr. Bill Templer, an American teaching English there. Mr. Templer says that learning Basic takes much shorter time than Esperanto. He, in addition, gives some facts about Mr. Katagiri and other teachers working on Basic in Japan.
If you are interested, please get the page bookmarked from here, go down the page, and see the letter: "Learning a language does not need to be so difficult."
It's a beautiful day with a
clear sky. A great number of high schoolers are on the street. Days for work have come.
I's cold enough to be working
early in the morning.
I said that I was unhappy
facing a mountain of work. I DO take pleasure, however, in writing if the air is not very wet and warm. One way to get over the trouble is to do my work late at night or early in the morning. My mind does its work better in the quiet. It may be good, in different times of the year, to have different working hours. A simpler way to overcome the heat is to make the room air-conditioned, but it might be a greater use of electric power which might be burning more oil, making the earth warmer.
I'm looking for a way to send
a longer note, longer than one line. Have I got it? It seems that I've got it. Great! Now I'm able to put a longer note. I probably had a wrong idea of this small machine. Now I'm sending this out to my Daybook. But is it possible [to] make the note longer again? Yes. It seems possible. I'm happy.
Summer or Fall?
The island was very warm, so my skin was frequently wet. But I was happy with my wet skin because there was a soft wind most of the time. The only sign of fall time was a dragonfly
, an insect with a long tail and long wings, going in the clear air.
Fukushima is still warm in the daytime, with those insects making metal-like noise. I'm unhappy with my wet skin and a mountain of work to do. The air is wet an unclear, with litlle wind. I'm hoping it will be cold enough in the night.
I've been to a small island in
the southwest of Kyushu, helping my family and making friends.
We're having very warm days
with quick and strong rainfalls before sundown.
The air is full of metal-like sound given out by some sorts of insect. The sound is like that of rain.
The insect, after the sleep of six years in the earth, comes out on a summer morning, goes up a tree, makes its clear skin open, and gets out of it, in the new form with wings. It goes in the air, puts its mouth-pipe through the skin of a tree, takes water out of the tree as its food, giving out its sound. After a week of its work, or play, it goes to death.
Some of them give out the sound like a short talk. Some give out high bird-like sound about the time of sundown. The sounds of those insects among the trees are in everyone's memory in Japan, as the sound of late summer.
Almost every boy in Japan has a memory of getting one of those insects by quickly moving a bag of net fixed at the end of a long stick.
What is interesting is that the wordbooks for haiku-writers give a statement that the insect is a sign of the time which comes AFTER summer. They say that the insects are sign of fall. Their sounds, or noises, may be saying: "Fall is coming. Fall is coming."
But most of us, common Japanese, have a feeling that they are THE insects of summer. They may be saying: "Summer is going. Summer is going."
The name of the insect is "cicada."
Every day is a good day.
My birthplace was in the heat of the sun and of the summer event. It was very very warm and my clothings quickly got wet.
We had good times meeting my father in law, my mother in law, making and having a night-meal in the garden, watching television, having talks, seeing my brother in law with his baby-boy, seeing my mother, going to an art museum, looking after my son playing in the water, walking among new artworks, and taking food and drinks.
The train journey back to my living place was good. I'm generally for trains when going over a long distance; they make me less tired, give me better views through the window, and give me time for reading.
Now I'm on a highway-bus to
the town of my birth, where my mother is still living.
No. It's 14.
Five, seven and five.
It may be good for writing
haiku, a Japanese verse made of 12 sound-units.
The trouble with this system
is that you may send short, one-line, notes only.
It's a telephone with radio connetion.
The machine is an F900iC by NTT DoCoMo.
This is a test of sending a note from a talking machine.
I have been hoping, secretly, that Mr. Katagiri would someday, like me, make his online daybook and give out his day-to-day experience and opinions to young online readers, without going through business of having books and newsletters printed and taking them to bookstores.
If we make a comparison, printed writings are like recorded music, and online writings are more like radio music, played on air. It's not a question of which is better or which is worse. Business of making books and newsletters has its special value; exchange of words online has another. Yuzurusan, or Mr. Katagiri, has been a noted writer/producer in Japan for a long time, but I've been certain that he is good at the other way of exchange, and his work online will make the Internet less strange, more natural and down-to-earth.
Now my secret hope has come true. You will see his Japanese web-log: Yuzuru's Daybook.
My opinion about his old online pages is here:
Ogden gave, in the book named Brighter Basic
, an account of a strange language game
named Gagagram. [Game
is a sort of play with rules. It's not a Basic word.] It's for having a good time and for training the sense of language structure.
The rule of the play is simple: Put a statement on a paper and make its word-order into something which is not possible. The point is that you have to put all the word in an order which is NOT possible.
"I am a cat," for example, may be changed into a form like this: "Am cat I a" or "A I cat am" or "A am cat I" or "Cat am a I." If any two words of it are put in a possible order, it will not be a Gagagram.
Yesterday was our open house day. Please see my account.
It's a short word. It's in every boy or girl's knowledge. You may come across it in most of starter-level school-books of English language. But, strangely, it's not on Ogden's list of 850 Basic words. Why not? Because other words on the list do the work.
"Zoo" is short for "zoological garden," or "garden of zoology." "Zo" came into English from a Greek word for "animal," and "ology" is from a Greek for "science." So "zoology" is animal science.
If you are Japanese, you will see that "zo" is like the old Chinese letter "ju" [獣] for "animal."
Anyway, zoological garden is "garden of animal science." If it's a public garden chiefly for amusement, it will be all right to put "science" away from its name. So "zoo" in Basic English will be animal garden
The Basic English Society, Japan
Churchill's days as head of the British government came to an end in 1945, and K. E. Garay says that their interest in Basic English, in addition, came to an end. The political group who took power in Britain was more intested in works inside of their country.
The US govenment did their work on Basic and, with some more words, they made a start of VOA radio program in Speical English. It was their development out of Basic.
Basic was no more a strong international force, but it kept on living in different countries on the face of the earth. A group of teachers have had meetings over and over, working on Basic, in Japan. They have been giving out newsletters which have papers and stories on and in Basic. They are THE Basic English Society
More about Empires of the Mind
Dr. Koeneke's book
is an attempt to have a detailed look back at what I. A. Richards did in China, in the light of current political theories.
Richards, though he was a kind teacher and lover of peace, was a man from the Great British Empire, teaching the language of the Empire. Probably he was a true friend of Chinese, but they were not equal.
The 2nd division of the book gives an account of the 1920's Cambridge teachers interested in China. Richards' theories of language and writing, in addition, had to be tested in the society, and he saw China as a good place for starting.
The 3rd division is about Richards's experience of teaching at Tsing-Hua College in Peking from 1929 till 30 and how he came to his decision to put more weights on teaching Basic English.
The 4th is about Richards's book on writings by Mencius, a noted man of thought from very old times of China, and about getting money necessary to make a new school given by an American organization.
The 5th is about Richards and his friends working for the Peking branch of Ogden's organization in 1936.
The 6th is about the war with Japan and the school's move to the south part of China. Even after Richards went back to England, his friends kept teaching Basic and regular English when the land was under Japanese attacks, among broken buildings, till the American organization made a stop to sending money in 1949.
The 7th is about Richards coming back to Communist China from 1950 till 51, and the war in Korea. International relations were changing and China went into 30 years of having little connection with countries using English language.
The last is about old Richards back in China, seeing old friends, giving talks, his loss of healthy condition there, his quick comeback to England, and his death.
Dr. Koeneke says that Richards had some shortcomings. Richards, for example, had little interest in history, and didn't give enough attention to opinions against his work and opinions against Basic. Dr. Koeneke, however, is certain that Richards did a great amount of work, facing hard questions of the time, to make the earth a better place.