I’ve been rather busy this week and haven’t managed to get anywhere to actually take photos so instead I’m giving you this little gem I picked up at my local bookshop.
Graeme Simsion was giving us a few words on the radio last night, even answering questions. I heard a couple of people thanking him for talking about autism in his books. And here he is on the front cover!
The books that drew my attention:
The Never, Um, Ever Ending Story by Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum about his life and the most popular music programme, Countdown.
The Imaginery by A. F. Harrold, this entry also had a Q&A.
The Beach They Called Gallipoli by Jackie French & Bruce Whatley (illus). French is a fabulous author and I fully recommend anything historical she’s written.
The Beatles Lyrics including context for each song.
I’ve highlighted some of these books but there are many more excellent ones listed. Why not go to your nearest independent bookshop and buy some reading for Easter. If you don’t have a bookshop nearby then buying online is acceptable and that’s why I’ve linked to Booktopia for these books. Edit: Actually I’m lying and that’s because the website won’t let me in to give you links to Booktopia.
We discussed slang in English Language yesterday and I found it so interesting I decided I had to write about it.
Slang is something that’s really hard to define. I know there are definitions in dictionaries and you can google the word and come up with many definitions some of which actually agree with each other. We tossed the word around for a while and came up with some thoughts.
It’s colloquial and non-standard language (you can have slang in many languages but I’ll stick to English from here on in). I think another definition is needed here. ‘Non-standard’ is the opposite of ‘standard’ and maybe ‘informal English’ is a better way of describing it and it is often described as the opposite of ‘formal English’. Informal English has contractions such as ‘isn’t’ or ‘hasn’t’, it has ellipses or compound words.
Slang is transient and can be gone as quickly as it came. When POWs returned to America from the Vietnam War they were issued with a list of 86 new slang words to help them reintegrate into society, by the time the list was printed and issued many of them had gone out of use again. In five years words had come and gone!
Slang is often location specific and we have a lot of slang in Australia. Although we don’t appear to have more slang than any other country we seem to be proud of it. If you go to the Department of Immigration website you can find a document which has a page on Australian slang, it should be on page 36. The entry I want to point out is ‘bring a plate’, this means to bring a plate with some food to share for some kind of celebration, so many people don’t realise and just bring an empty plate.
One of the words that came up in class was ‘grouse’. They were saying it was a new word, I shook my head and told them I was using it in the 1970s. Yesterday I proved I’m older than the rest of the class and my teacher, can’t think why I did that.
Here are some functions of colloquial language
The last three indicate friendship with shared context and values. You’ll notice new immigrants try to use slang as soon as they can to try and fit in with the culture, they will almost certainly keep the rest of their culture but the slang will creep in quickly.
And that’s enough of that lecture.
As with all of Zable’s books I was moved, not moved to the point of tears but still moved. Sea of Many Returns is a great book about immigration and return from and to Melbourne and Ithaca.
This book looks at Xanthe as she goes to Ithaca, the land of her ancestors and retraces their steps, their stories and recounts their stories and her own. It looks at her father and grandfather as they travel to Australia and their travails as they travel around Australia finally coming to rest in Melbourne. We see how Australians have treated Greek immigrants during WWI (not well) and how homesickness hits.
What I loved about this book?
Just about everything. The writing is Zable’s usual, excellent. He is a sensitive writer and ensure the reader understands the culture he’s writing about as if we were within that culture. He uses words in Greek but then translates them.
Learning about the Greek culture in Ithaca. I felt the cycle of the seasons as people worked their way through gathering food, pruning olive trees and making things. The amount of work they do makes me feel I do absolutely nothing. I loved learning about Ithaca and the yearning many men have for the sea and when they’re on the sea the yearning they have for Ithaca.
I have a better understanding of what it must have been like to have been a Greek immigrant during WWI. They had a very hard time, if they had shops then those shops were looted and they were very lucky to escape with their bodies undamaged.
One thing I’ll be doing tomorrow after class is to wander past Capitol Theatre in Swanston Street. One of the characters narrates part of the creation of this historic building. The architecture was designed by Walter Burley Griffin and his wife Marion Mahoney Griffin, Burley Griffin designed Canberra, our nation’s capital so it was very exciting to actually see him depicted in a book.
What I didn’t like about this book?
Not enough detail in so many places. It leaves the way open to so many spin offs in order to explain in much greater detail. I’d love more about Mentor moving to Melbourne, much more about Fotini moving to Melbourne and her troubles. That would include much more detail of the troubles the Greeks had here during WWI, they were treated very shabbily as Australians had little sensitivity about foreigners and which part of the world they’d come from (not much has changed as this insensitivity still exists and I promise I won’t name any prominent politicians showing these traits).
Do I recommend this book?
Yes, but then I recommend every book by Zable. This is the first book of his that hasn’t generated tears but it was still incredibly moving. Zable is a master storyteller and has the ability to recreate worlds and show us what they must have been. Here is his book available for sale at Booktopia.
Only two photos for you this week, it’s been an interesting week and I haven’t been many places to get anything appropriate.
Not sure what the problem is today but my brain seems to have shut down. I’m able to concentrate on games, reading books and painting but nothing else. Searching for something to say today just isn’t working as I can’t seem to comprehend much of what I’m reading to be able to comment about it. So, all you’re going to get today is a couple of links and you can do the reading and make the comment yourself. It’s a DIY blog day today.
Harlequin Has Closed Author Solutions Front Company DellArte Press although I did enjoy reading the third paragraph of this article.
I’ve been considering doing some research about some of the suburb names in Melbourne, more specifically those that sound Aboriginal such as ‘Murrumbeena’ with a view to scribbling a few words about them. It’s obviously been of some interest to me in the past as a few days ago I found a book on my shelf.
Aboriginal Place Names of South-East Australia and Their Meanings by Aldo Massola has library stamps from the now-defunct Moorleigh High School library, it was the room opposite the Moorabbin Toy Library when I belonged to it, the books were all going to be thrown into the tip so a number of us used to browse and pick up good titles, I picked this one up as a title of interest and haven’t looked at it since – give me a break, it’s only been about 20 years. Moorleigh High School was closed down during the Kennett Government and repurposed to house a number of different organisations including the Moorabbin Toy Library and U3A (University of the Third Age, a learning institution for people over the age of 55, could be a while before I get there as I’m only 18). The library was one of the last rooms to be decommissioned, I do wish I’d picked up more books.
Anyway, two entries from the book.
Murrumbeena – after name of native policeman Murrum Murrumbeen, who used to camp there: moss growing on water
Lake Wendouree: Wendaaree, be off, or off you go
I’m finding it challenging to find more than a couple of copies of this book for sale despite Massola being such an important person in his field. He rearranged collections at the National Museum of Victoria, some parts to his own home, and rediscovered some invaluable Oenpelli bark paintings that were being used as trestle tables.
If you’re interested in this topic you should also look at A. W. Reed as he was also an important researcher. I have a couple of Reed’s books on Aboriginal Myths and Legends which I’ve lent to a friend. Here’s Reed’s book on Aboriginal Place Names, Reed hasn’t contented himself with south-east Australia but instead has place names from all over Australia. I firmly recommend any of Reed’s books, absolutely fascinating.
I can’t finish these thoughts without mentioning the Koolin people. They are the Aboriginal people of the south-east region, traditional caretakers of this land and as such I’ve taken the liberty of thanking them on the right hand side of this blog. We were at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl Free Concert on Saturday and they acknowledged the Koolin people but I don’t like the word ‘acknowledge’ as in this case it doesn’t cover all that I feel about the Koolin people and how they cared for this land before white man came here. ‘Thanking’ them goes somewhat further but it’s still rather inadequate.