Robo Writer

As if there weren't enough challenges facing the EFL profession -  we are surely a dying breed! 

The Joy of Prepositions

After commenting on the dedicated grammar guru who corrected the same mistake 47,000 times on Wiki, I have been thinking about the changing use of prepositions and whether such changes are justified or lasting.



The article that caught my eye this week was the one about a so-called grammar vigilante who has corrected the same mistake on Wiki 47,000 times. Bryan Henderson has even developed a software program to help him in his seven-year mission. Presumably after a hard day at the office, he comes home, has a quick cuppa and gets down to work. Is he an obsessive or is he providing a public service? Certainly, after various stories in the British press, he must be pleased that so many of us have made a mental note to get it right next time.

So what is the offending word? 

Words, Sex and Gender

This time I venture into the cultural war-zone of gender and vocabulary. I have recently seen two things that have  led me to this topic. First, I happened to come across an old BBC clip featuring a German stand up comic who tells us that English suffers language deprivation as our nouns do not have a 'gender' and consequently our articles (the and a) do not change according to the gender of the noun. German, as most of you surely know, enjoys not two but three genders - the famous der, die, das of our teenage classroom years.

'Eton Style'

In the last couple of weeks there have been two wonderful news stories involving Eton College - and, as some of you surely know, Jackson Junior attends this school in the eternal hope that it will instil a love of learning and culture into his teenage brain. For this reason, I tend to notice these stories and they are too good not to share.

Food Talk

Another thing our students are interested in - or maybe worried about - when they come to Park House is the food. Of course it goes without saying that they are also interested in the English tense system, differences between adjectives and adverbs and how to form beautiful and grammatically correct questions, but food is most definitely up there alongside 'if' conditionals.

As many of you know, our two cooks Jeannette and Miriam, are pretty talented and in the evenings we enjoy such tempting delicacies as - well let me give you a couple of menus from last week:

Bike Talk

One real trend that we have seen at Park House this year has been an interest in cycling. Over the years, we have had many cycling enthusiasts at Park House but this year has been exceptional. Maybe it's the effect of the London Olympics (Team GB does seem to be rather good at cycling) or maybe it's the triumph of 'Wiggo' in the 2012 Tour de France. Bradley Wiggins rode his bike down the Champs d'Elysee in July to become the first Briton to win the world’s greatest cycle race since it began in 1903.


This week has seen the start of the Oktoberfest in Germany and thoughts around the Park House table have turned to beer. The somewhat wet start last weekend in no way dampened enthusiasm for this event which saw around 850,000 beer enthusiasts gather on Day One for the traditional tapping of the first Oktoberfest barrel and those magic words: "O'zapft is!". Many of our students work for companies who rent a tent at the Oktoberfest and their customers can enjoy corporate hospitality over a few litres of beer and some tasty barbequed ox..

Table Talk and Euro Chat at Park House:

What are the news stories that have most impressed guests at Park House this week. Could it be the eighth round of quantitative easing in Japan, the news that business activity in the Eurozone has fallen again and that the so called PMI index has dipped to its lowest level for 3 years , or could it be the latest political disagreement on tax or education between coalition partners here in the UK?

Euroblog - Tabletalk

What is the view of the Eurocrisis as seen from the dining table at Park House? As you may imagine, this is currently a hot topic and dominates our discussions as we enjoy a tender slice of locally shot wild duck, a tasty caper sauce and one or two of those excellent bottles of dark Chilean Merlot, followed by Jeannette's mouth-wateringly delicious meringue and raspberry pudding.


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