The Teacher 187

6 The Teacher  1-2 (187) 2022 Focus Series Questions for you: What language here is new or unexpected? Are similar words and phrases being used in your L1? Do they carry negative or positive implications? Are they largely factual, or emotional? In what kind of contexts would you expect to hear or use them? Is language today being changed suddenly in any other way? THOUGHT 2 L and L 2: Climate Change The ‘Focus’ article in ‘The Teacher’ SeptemberOctober 2021 issue described the way in which outside events in the world can affect the contexts and purposes of using specific language. The specific example used in the article was the international (and very topical) concern about climate change. At the time of writing the article, the COP26 conference was underway in Glasgow (only 30 kilometres away!). This was a real-life event bringing a wide range of people together to use language to discuss facts, ideas, projects and, hopefully, solutions. Students from the local High School, had organised a public panel discussion with people from various organisations, including myself. They presented us with a range of ❯❯❯ verbal questions about aspects of climate change relating to their own concerns. Here, language was being used to convey ideas, give reasons, defend or attack opinions – and within a physical context of a safelydistanced, mask-wearing audience of largely unknown individuals. Generational and social differences, attempts at humour, the need for clarity. All these factors affected the actual choice of language in different ways. When watching the video recording after the event, I felt the actual thoughts expressed about this serious ‘life’ topic, and the language used to do so, were largely shaped by these communication factors. At the end of the article, we reproduced the comments made by Greta Thurnburg in Glasgow in July: “Build back better, Blah, blah, blah. Green economy. Blah, blah, blah. Net zero by 2050. Blah, blah, blah.” We asked howwords like this can convey strong feelings, and whether here it was frustration, anger, or humour. Questions for you: How do communication factors - place, personal relationships, emotion – affect both the words we use and the way we say them?

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