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.
Newsletter on Richards-Gibson System
I got a parcel this morning. It was News Bulletin
57, a 35-page newsletter from Graded Direct Method Association of Japan, the group of teachers working on Richards-Gibson system.
It has 10 writings on the system and a short record of what the group did from August 2003 to July 2004. Most of the 10 are papers in Japanese, by Japanese teaching English in Japan. They give facts and opinions based on science and experiences. One is about high-level language theory and hard to go through (^-^;).
One is my writing in Basic English, which is about my experience of how I came across the three books of English through Pictures
in 1978 and what a great change they made in my way of living and learning.
Two papers are by Mr. Katagiri, and in one them he gives his kind opinion of Ryota's Daybook. It's a happy surprise. Am I a new star?It you are interested in the group, please go to their online pages:
Churchill and Empires of the Mind
Before writing about Empires of the Mind, the book
, I will give some account of what "empires of the mind" they are first of all.
The name of the book comes from a public talk given in 1943 at Harvard University, Cambrdge, Massachusetts, US, by Winston S. Churchill: "The empires of the future are the empires of the mind."Empire
is government or nation ruling other nations or countries. Churchill was talking about UK and US, which, if they made use of Basic English, would make a good and kind empire
with a common language, taking care of other countries. He said: "Let us go into this together."
History didn't go like the one hoped by him, and their radio stations didn't make use of Basic. And we would be still unhappy about empires
even if they were only of the mind.
Dr. Koeneke's book is an attempt to take a detailed look back into Richards' work in China, how it was like and how it was different from Churchill's empire
You may see Churchill's Harvard talk, the complete words of it, here:
Spell is a general English word used with a sense of "talk, or word." In fiction, stories like The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter
, a person with special power does an unnatural, but interesting, thing like making himself go up in the air, by saying a special word; that sort of power-word is a spell
.Bound is a general English word for being "fixed." The persons and most of animals, for example, are not able to go up in the air like birds or someone with special power. We are bound to the earth
; we are earthbound
. If someone with dark power puts a spell on you, you will be spellbound
. You may take a form of animal or you may do something strange or you may be sleeping till the spell is broken. In everyday English, even not in fiction, when you are under a power and fixed to something, they say that you are spellbound
.Spelling, in wider English, is act of reading out the word, letter by letter, or way of writing the word, letter by letter. When you spell "competition," for example, or when you give the spelling of "competition," you say the word, letter by letter, and, after that, say the sounds of the word; it will be like this: "C, O, M, P, E, T, I, T, I, O, N, competition!"When you give a talk and the hearer doesn't get one of the words, you may say the spelling. That is a common way of getting a strange word across.Most of the Japanese, when they do their work of learning English, put the spelling in their memory by simply writing the word again and again, without using voices. Most of the Americans at school, on the other hand, do it by saying it. They even do it as a play and competition. The name of the play is
." They have a long history of nation-wide competition: National Spelling Bee
.In 2002, a motion picture of the eight young Americans working in the last stage of the competition was produced. It's not a picture with actors playing as if they are schoolboys. It's a documentary: a record of what it truly took place. The name of the picture is Spellbound