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I’d love to have a lilting tongue…

Carl Austin Rossner

(1908–1999)

I’d love to have a lilting tongue,

A prattling mind, colloquial lungs

And hear my vowels propped with plosives,

Dentals, bilabials, affricates and all

The jargon of speech made real.

Instead there’s a knot in the growth of language.

Roots ram against adolescent footings

Down-trodden by a pathologically shy,

Stammering builder’s labourer holding terrified

The trunk as his hobnails print and print again

Clay, others’ and his own.

And silences are hiatus, glottal stops,

Before a vast explosion of cerebral garrulity

Signifying nothing. The birds on twig tip

Can hump their throats repetitively

Meaning something. The lump in this throat

Has a male breakdown when a neuter angel

Knew the world anew and was afraid.

ELTinLA was started in August, 2018, by me, Paul Davies, when I retired from ELT after 55 years, 53 of them in Mexico, where I worked in The Instituto Anglo Mexicano de Cultura (now The Anglo Mexican Foundation), The British Council, and various Mexican universities, as well as teaching English in upper and lower public secondary school (two years in each). I also made ELT visits to eight other Latin American countries, including six to Brazil (from Belem to Porto Alegre).

As well as being a retirement hobby, ELTinLA has a mission: To help ELT professionals make English language teaching in Latin America more appropriate and more effective. As an ELT professional in Latin America yourself (I assume), you can no doubt point out some ways in which ELT in your country isn’t currently appropriate and effective. And if you think of all the adults in your city or town who left school with little or no English after 3 (or 6 or more) years of English classes, and also of all those that don’t need English or want to work at learning it, you can probably add more points.

ELTinLA aims to be realistic, resourceful and innovative about ELT in Latin America, not just reflect conventional and globalised ELT. You can read the rationale for exploring more appropriate and effective approaches to ELT in Latin America in the 4-part series of articles, What’s special about English language teaching in Latin America?, which are in the ELT IN LATIN AMERICA section of the ELTinLA Library, published in August, September, October and November, 2018. As you read other articles, you’ll find that most have something on how ELT in Latin America should not be virtually the same as anywhere else (France, Sweden, Turkey, Indonesia, China or Japan, for example).