Grey Matters! Part Two

pmnoblewrites

Hello there,

Continuing with the theme of quality material, the examples that I am discussing are those which I have used, but of course you are going to have your own preferences.

I must stress that whilst I personally prefer to read certain books and newspapers, this is not to say that you will not learn or gain anything from other forms of media. What I refer to as quality, may not be seen as such to others.

The newspapers which I find to have fair and unbiased articles are The Guardian, and TheIndependent. I read both on the internet and I follow both on Twitter.

See, The Guardian, www.theguardian.com/uk and The Guardian@guardian

The Independent, www.independent.co.uk and The Independent@independent

I watch, read online articles and again follow BBC News, as I think they cover a broad range of National and International news.

See www.bbc.co.uk/news

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Grey Matters! Part One

pmnoblewrites

Hi there!

Have you ever sat and thought about how much information enters your brain on a daily basis and of that amount, how much is really useful or relevant?

In an article in the Scientific American, a reader asked,

‘What is the memory capacity of the human brain? Is there a physical limit to the amount of information it can store?’

Paul Reber, professor of psychology at Northwestern University, replied,

‘The human brain consists of about one billion neurons. Each neuron forms about 1,000 connections to other neurons, amounting to more than a trillion connections. If each neuron could only help store a single memory, running out of space would be a problem. You might have only a few gigabytes of storage space, similar to the space in an iPod or a USB flash drive. Yet neurons combine so that each one helps with many memories at…

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Grammar Series -Part Two

Teacher writing alphabet on chalkboard uid 1281292

Hi there,

If only English Grammar was as easy as ABC!  One possible reason why it is a complicated area can be found in its tradition. In this second part of the Grammar Series, we look at the history of English Grammar.  Hopefully, all you historians should enjoy this jaunt from the fifth century onwards.

According to Wikipedia:

‘The history of English grammars begins late in the sixteenth century with the Pamphlet for Grammar by William Bullokar. In the early works, the structure and rules of English grammar were contrasted with those of Latin. A more modern approach, incorporating phonology, was introduced in the nineteenth century.’  For more information, see Wikipedia.

 This would explain why there are so many words and phrases which are still in use today such as:

  • Carpe Diem –  enjoy the moment
  • Ad Hoc – for this or for this situation (for a particular purpose)
  • Bona Fide – genuine, real
  • Status Quo – existing state of affairs
  • Magnum Opus – great work

Check out these websites for more phrases:

Merriam Webster

English Club

In a paper by Christopher Mulvey called The Development of English Grammar, he looks further back and writes:

‘The story of the development of English grammar involves not only the history of the English language but also the history of England itself. The starting point of the English language is the language we call West Germanic, and the starting point of England is the arrival of West Germanic peoples in Britannia in the fifth century.’

I wanted to stay jargon-free but unfortunately, needs must. The following information is important in understanding how grammar works.  Mulvey continues to explain grammar with a quote by a linguist called Daniel Everett whose studies of the languages of the Amazonian Indians helped him to conclude that:

‘Whether we use gestures or sounds, we need more than just words to have a grammar. Since grammar is essential to human communication, speakers of all human languages organize words into larger units – phrases, sentences, stories, conversations, and so forth.

The cries of animals work by establishing a one-to-one relationship between a sound and a thing or a sound and an act………But it appears that only humans have the ability to move beyond the one-to-one relationship of word to think or act. Humans can create relationships between one word and another.

We do that in two ways: by changing the shapes of our words and by changing the order of our words. Grammarians call shape changing morphology. We can take a word ‘dog’ and change its shape by adding an ‘s’ to produce the word ‘dogs’. Grammarians call order changing syntax. We can say ‘The dog bit the man’ or ‘The man bit the dog’. Morphology and syntax together make up what we call grammar, and we can see, at once, that small changes in grammar can result in large changes in meaning.’

For the whole article see English Project

We can now begin to appreciate that it is not just our choice of words that matter, but the order in which we place them. This seems simple enough, yet we can all find these type of errors in everyday life.

I hope you can join me next week when I will looking at examples of some grammatical faux pas. See what I did there? Introduce some French into a Latin-themed article!

Take care,

 

Tricia

Grammar Series – Part One

 

Dictionary England U K uid 1185565

Hi there,

Do you recognise the book in the photo above? Well, I included it as I think that many of us have forgotten what a dictionary looks like. In the good old days, we would reach for a dictionary  and a thesaurus to look up words which were unfamiliar to us.

Now, with the internet and all sorts of gadgets available, the answers are at our fingertips. So why do we still make the same mistakes, time and time again and what can be done?

Well, I think we need to take a proper look at my favourite subject – English Grammar.

Let me start with some definitions. According to English Grammar for Dummies:

‘…grammar is the study of language specifically, how words are put together to create meaning.’

The Cambridge Dictionary defines grammar in British English as:

‘(the study or use of) the rules about how words change their form and combine with other words to make sentences.’

See, Cambridge Dictionary.

The Oxford Dictionary  says:

‘Grammar is the way in which words are put together to form proper sentences.’

The site also gives links to more detailed information, should you require it. I will not be talking about split infinitives. I promise no jargon.  This is not an A Level English lesson.

I have included these definitions, as I think that the more we understand the dynamics of grammar, the more we are able to use it effectively.

Over the next few weeks, I will be putting grammar under the microscope; looking at the correct and incorrect usage and finding examples from everyday life.

I hope that you can join me for the rest of the Grammar Series.

Take Care,

Tricia

 

 

In Celebration of Women – Part Two!

Woman with money hanging on clothesline in background uid 1278814

 

Hello there!

So last week, we celebrated Mother’s Day (not if you are in the USA, the Caribbean or Australia), and International Women’s Day. Women’s History Month you may recall is an American event and lasts the whole of March.

I ended the article last week asking you about your inspiring women and I am sure that after all the events which have been happening up and down the country, you may have a few more to add to that list!

The Lets Go! Business Hub at Enterprise Enfield held an International Women’s Day event which saw a great turn out. It was attended and presented by talented women from Enfield and surrounding areas.

Now unto my inspiring women. First and foremost I have to say that my mother, my aunts and my sisters are inspirational in the way that they have always worked hard and looked out for others. In line with this, I have chosen a few women who I believe had those traits yet were seen as controversial in their day as they ruffled a few business feathers!

The first inspirational woman I want to mention was born in 1867. Now, this may be a bit before your time, but this lady was ahead of her time.

Sarah Breedlove, known to many as Madam CJ Walker was one of the first African-American women to become a self-made millionaire through her range of hair care products. Sarah’s story starts with being orphaned by the age of 7 and, unfortunately, her struggles continued with more tragedy and hardship along the way. These did not stop her. If anything, these barriers motivated her and one such event was when Sarah started losing her hair through a skin condition. This became a catalyst that fuelled the need to find products which would benefit her and later, others. After becoming a highly successful business woman she was able to help her community through providing jobs, then later through philanthropy and as a Civil Rights campaigner.

Despite all her achievements according to Henry Louis Gates Jr in a piece written in The Root blog post:

‘Sarah’s industry had its critics, among them, leading black institution-builder of the day Booker T Washington, who worried (to his credit) that hair straighteners (and worse, skin-bleaching creams) would lead to the internalization of white concepts of beauty.’

Louis Gates Jr goes on to state that:

‘Perhaps she was mindful of this, for she was deft in communicating that her dream was not emulative of whites, but divinely inspired and like Turnbo’s Poro Method*,’ African in origin.

*This was a hair care method invented by another successful African- American Anne ‘Turnbo’ Malone, who founded a college which revolutionised African- American hair care.

Such outstanding women deserve to have more than a paragraph written about them, for more very good sources of information on her life journey.

For Sarah Breedlove, see http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0772003.html or http://www.biography.com/people/madam-cj-walker-9522174.

For Annie Malone, see http://www.freemaninstitute.com/poro.htm or http://www.anniemalone.com/annie-turnbo-malone.html.

Another outstanding woman was also a successful business woman and a human rights campaigner and according to The Telegraph:

‘….. had donated her £51 million fortune to good causes before her death.’ She was Dame Anita Roddick, who died in 2007.

See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1895768/Anita-Roddicks-will-reveals-she-donated-entire-51m-fortune-to-charity.html.

Anita Roddick was born to Italian immigrants in the UK and was the founder of The Body Shop. According to Entrepreneur, wanting to support herself and her daughters at home while her husband travelled, Anita decided to sell natural products and was the first to object to cosmetics being tested on animals. She also ensured that the products her company sourced were ‘fairtrade’ products.

Being seen as a controversial figure seemed to be part and parcel of Anita‘s life. Leaving all her fortune to charity and good causes was enough to put Anita in the news. However, she was also known to have bought the rights to a name which was already used by an established American company and she allowed the takeover of The Body Shop in 2006 by a brand who used animal testing on its products.

For more about Anita Roddick‘s life, see, http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/197688 and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anita_Roddick. 

Whether you like or loathe them, you cannot fail to admire strong personalities who despite setbacks or adversity, fight through to become successful pioneers in their field.

Hope you feel inspired to go out there, pursue your dream and do what you love!

Take care,

Tricia.

 

 

In Celebration of Women – Part One!

New email envelope beside woman s face uid 1278927Woman with money hanging on clothesline in background uid 1278814Young woman and x and o symbols uid 1278896

Hello there,

What a great time to be a female!  Why? Well because there is so much to get involved with, irrespective of your gender!

First of all, as if you needed any reminders with flowers and chocolates everywhere – it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday the 6th of March. Next comes International Women’s Day on Tuesday the 8th of March and lastly, a new celebration from the USA called Women’s History Month. Not heard of this? Well, if you are an ardent fan of Twitter, you will have noticed #WHM.

Okay, so let us go on a whistle-stop tour of these three events:

Mother’s Day according to History.com is a tradition from Mothering Sunday in the Christian Church, which over time has become commercialised. See, http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/mothers-day

Wikipedia sums up International Women’s Day:

International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day, is celebrated on March 8 every year.[2]In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation, and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political, and social achievements.

Internationalwomensday.com goes further and says:

Yet let’s also be aware progress has slowed in many places across the world, so urgent action is needed to accelerate gender parity.

Lastly, Women’s History Month is a celebration of the achievements of women throughout history.  The Americans must have really enjoyed this particular observance, as it started with one day, turned into a week and is now one month! For more information see Time Magazine’s interesting article – http://time.com/4238999/womens-history-month-history/

If you are in the Waltham Forest area on Saturday the 5th of March, why not go along to the Waltham Forest Women’s Network International Women’s Day event. See, http://walthamforestecho.co.uk/celebrating-women-in-waltham-forest/ for more information.

Who are your inspiring business women? In Part Two, I will be sharing a few of mine!

Remember whatever you decide to take part in, make sure you do what you love!

Take care and see you soon.

 

Tricia