Category Archives: Teaching Thoughts

The job

A ‘road’ by any other name

Pitypang utca…on 29 bus line

Why this street in particular caught my attention has nothing to do with what’s nearby, not even that a famous writer took up residence here (if there was one I’d like to know), but that to an English speaker’s eye the actual street name could, in certain circles, and for reasons of mere hilarity, take on a whole other significance.

You see in English both the words ‘pity’ and ‘pang’ exist and to put it briefly they, in concert, would seem to suggest a physical discomfort caused by a rush of sorrow for somebody. What, if anything could this mean? Come with me!

In fact, placing these two words together in English can make a lot of sense and where a person is particularly sensitive this could even be considered a physical, emotional, or on a greater scale, a psychological condition. A pitypang could cause a physical manifestation with a display of fresh tears, not unlike women (me never! just dust in my eye) weeping to every romantic comedy ever made. The emotional reaching deeper could put one’s spirit off tilt for a period of time, one to an immeasurable number of days, not unlike…! However, the final disposition, itself entering the realm of madness could make certain people a lot of money even if the final prognosis is no more enlightening than it was some thousands of dollars, pounds, euros (remember them?) before.

We can of course have pangs of hunger, pangs of guilt and maybe having pangs of hunger on a medium income can cause pangs of guilt when we realise that we are, regardless of our immediate state, a lot better off than 90% of the world.

Anyway on a bus one evening coming home from work, looking up from my book, the sun nearly in my eyes, I managed to glimpse this sign and from that moment this moment ensued. “And that has made all the difference.”

P.S. Pitypang is the Hungarian word for Dandelion…by the way

A little explanation

Why not

To those of you who have come to my webpage as students I do realise that some of the material here is difficult but as to the themes written about I would be more than willing to help you understand and discuss them with you further. In truth this site is a good place for my creative writing as well as advertising my teaching. In time I hope to develop a student oriented forum but till then use the comment boxes at the end of any of the posts to make any suggestions, or go to my email address: You can also find me on Facebook, The Hairy Teacher, so Like me and let’s begin to develop together.

Thanks for your time and patience.



As one


Though a definition to partner includes the idea of two people undertaking any amount of actions, the word can be found littered across business to sport, from dance to relationships, in all instances it does have that cooperative feel but within the realm of romance I get the feeling that now, well for the last 10 – 15 years ( I’m working to the prehistoric scale here), it has taken on a role much like Ms did before it. Exploring Ms /miz/ we find ourselves delving into the feminist world, and the struggle within it, as with PC (political correctness not personal computer), to redefine somebody without attaching a stigma. Miss was very much unmarried, Mrs married, but Ms allowed for ambiguity, of which an advantage may be gained where people would be of the tendency to discriminate on the first two titles. Employers come to mind.

Well for me the word partner cropped up more and more often as the nineties grew older with people perhaps finding themselves victims of discrimination if their marital status or sexuality was to become public knowledge. In a world too often dominated by conservative values unmarried couples with children and same sex marriages were, and let’s be honest, still are frowned upon even in more liberal socities. Whereas the latter group have highlighted this point through their reception at Gay Pride marches, the former too finds itself getting the short end of the stick when it comes to basic legislation. A former student of mine, on hearing that my girlfriend was expecting, actually advised me to get married if I wanted to avoid the reams of paper work which would most certainly be incurred. I didn’t listen to her and needless to say in hindsight it was the worst thing I could have done.

I, personally, still use girlfriend when referring to my partner as we are unmarried but sometimes wonder as to the juvenility of that. Some of my friends have even suggested that girlfriend seems less commital, though these people also reside in the married domain and therefore may be begging the question.

Occasionally I have to wonder as to a person’s sexuality if they mention their ‘partner’ but allow time and further information to raise me from my ignorance. Now ‘girlfriend’ as sometimes used by my female students to refer to their friends who are girls still manages to draw a giggle. Boys will be boys!

On the whole whether you use partner, wife, lover, girlfriend, spouse it makes no difference for love by its nature renders the inane tolerable, and by inane I mean any debate on titles! Careful now!

An open mind

Be open to it!

The first thing I want to say is that it is my intention to create a language based site where students can come to read articles, correspond, ask and even answer* questions concerning usage of grammar and vocabulary. Because (!) English is a rapidly expanding language and is important in so many fields, not only business, I feel that an open mind is necessary to appreciate exactly what these changes mean. Forget what your teacher told you in school ten years ago, well not forget exactly, just keep in mind that things have moved on even in the last decade and that what was once true of the language may not now necessarily be so. With the advent of TV the influence of American English started to first creep back across the water, and now so much farther down the line, internet, SMS, for example, we find a truly blended usage of the living language, sometimes to the point that I, as an English teacher, am uncertain as to the original usage.**

*/** As a teacher I have come across questions which I have answered confidently only to learn later that what I’ve expressed is old-fashioned, or maybe even too colloquial. English has this capacity which is one of the reasons that makes it durable, as well as exciting. Come along with me and I’ll show you how.

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