quinta-feira, 30 de junho de 2011

Sexism in the English Language

by Shaneka Green Created

Is English sexist? There is no denying it; English is one of the world's most spoken languages. Sociolinguist researches, over the years have shown though that our precious language favors the masculine gender as opposed to the feminine.

Peter Trudgill and Labov, two of the world's most renowned sociolinguists have both concluded, from researches done, that women tend to use more of the standard variety of a language as opposed to men who gravitate to the vernacular form of the same language. You and I would probably conclude that this proves that from their results women seem to be the more intelligent of the two species, but of course there's no such luck. Trudgill and Labov decided to put their own explanations for these results, which favored the stronger sex. When I say stronger, however, I mean physical strength, because although society has chosen our roles for us according to our gender, it is undeniable that women are stronger emotionally. Well, what Trudgill concluded was that because society view women at a lower social status versus men they tend to use language to help them acquire improved status.

Throughout all this, sociolinguists aimed to prove whether or not English is a sexist language. While this may surprise some, others may not be, but results showed that there is evidence that English is indeed sexist.

Sit and think about it for a few minutes. Think about the generic use of he'. He' is used to refer to both males and females when they are being referred to as a collective group and to feminists it is a form that marginalizes women and treat them as abnormal. Take for instance the word man is used to refer to mankind on a whole. So in other words, when the word he' is used women tend to exclude themselves from the conversation, therefore rendering them invisible.

In English speaking countries one can also see that there are far more negative terms for women than there are for men. The semantics of English is also used against women as the metaphors available to describe women are derogatory compared to those that describe men. The use of animal imagery is just one example where the images of women are less positive from that of men. For example a man is a tiger while a woman is a chick (en). Sexism is also said to be engraved in the morphology of the language. The base structure of nouns in English always seems to be the male form. The female form is always a derivative of the male form. Take for example lion the female form is lioness, prince-princess, actor-actress and the list goes on.

Many of us have never really taken the time to think about the effects of the language we use. How it can affect us or our position within society. Think about it for a minute and see if we are just succumbing to societal expectations or are we just more intelligent and more eager to promote change. This could be the explanation but the question is; is English sexist?

quarta-feira, 29 de junho de 2011

7 Simple Ways To Say “No”

Do you have difficulty saying “no”? Are you always trying to be nice to others at the expense of yourself?

Well, you’re not alone. In the past, I was not good at saying “no”, because I didn’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings.

For example, whenever I get requests for help, I would attend to them even though I had important work to do. Sometimes the requests would drag to 2-3 hours or even beyond. At the end of the day, I would forgo sleep to catch up on my work. This problem of not knowing how to say “no” also extended to my clients, business associates and even sales people.

After a while, I realized all these times of not saying “no” (when I should) were not helping me at all. I was spending a lot of time and energy for other people and not spending nearly as much time for myself. It was frustrating especially since I brought it upon myself. I slowly realized if I wanted personal time, I needed to learn to say “no”.

Why We Find It Hard To Say “No”
To learn to say “No”, we have to first understand what’s resisting us about it. Below are common reasons why people find it hard to say no:

You want to help. You are a kind soul at heart. You don’t want to turn the person away and you want to help where possible, even if it may eat into your time.

Afraid of being rude. I was brought up under the notion that saying “No”, especially to people who are more senior, is rude. This thinking is common in Asia culture, where face-saving is important. Face-saving means not making others look bad (a.k.a losing face).

Wanting to be agreeable. You don’t want to alienate yourself from the group because you’re not in agreement. So you confirm to others’ requests.

Fear of conflict. You are afraid the person might be angry if you reject him/her. This might lead to an ugly confrontation. Even if there isn’t, there might be dissent created which might lead to negative consequences in the future.

Fear of lost opportunities. Perhaps you are worried saying no means closing doors. For example, one of my clients’ wife was asked to transfer to another department in her company. Since she liked her team, she didn’t want to shift. However, she didn’t want to say no as she felt it would affect her promotion opportunities in the future.

Not burning bridges. Some people take “no” as a sign of rejection. It might lead to bridges being burned and relationships severed.

If you nodded to any of the reasons, I’m with you. They applied to me at one point or another. However, in my experience dealing with people at work and in life, I realized these reasons are more misconceptions than anything. Saying “No” doesn’t mean you are being rude; neither does it mean you are being disagreeable. Saying “No” doesn’t mean there will be conflict nor that you’ll lose opportunities in the future. And saying no most definitely doesn’t mean you’re burning bridges. These are all false beliefs in our mind.

At the end of the day, it’s about how you say “no”, rather than the fact you’re saying no, that affects the outcome. After all, you have your own priorities and needs, just like everyone has his/her own needs. Saying no is about respecting and valuing your time and space. Say no is your prerogative.

7 Simple Ways To Say “No”
Rather than avoid it altogether, it’s all about learning the right way to say no. After I began to say no to others, I realized it’s really not as bad as I thought. The other people were very understanding and didn’t put up any resistance. Really, the fears of saying no are just in our mind.

If you are not sure how to do so, here are 7 simple ways for you to say no. Use the method that best meets your needs in the situation.

1. “I can’t commit to this as I have other priorities at the moment.”

If you are too busy to engage in the request/offer, this will be applicable. This lets the person know your plate is full at the moment, so he/she should hold off on this as well as future requests. If it makes it easier, you can also share what you’re working on so the person can understand better. I use this when I have too many commitments to attend to.

2. “Now’s not a good time as I’m in the middle of something. How about we reconnect at X time?”

It’s common to get sudden requests for help when you are in the middle of something. Sometimes I get phone calls from friends or associates when I’m in a meeting or doing important work. This method is a great way to (temporarily) hold off the request. First, you let the person know it’s not a good time as you are doing something. Secondly, you make known your desire to help by suggesting another time (at your convenience). This way, the person doesn’t feel blown off.

3. “I’d love to do this, but …”

I often use this as it’s a gentle way of breaking no to the other party. It’s encouraging as it lets the person know you like the idea (of course, only say this if you do like it) and there’s nothing wrong about it. I often get collaboration proposals from fellow bloggers and business associates which I can’t participate in and I use this method to gently say no. Their ideas are absolutely great, but I can’t take part due to other reasons such as prior commitments (#1) or different needs (#5).

4. “Let me think about it first and I’ll get back to you.”

This is more like a “Maybe” than a straight out “No”. If you are interested but you don’t want to say ‘yes’ just yet, use this. Sometimes I’m pitched a great idea which meets my needs, but I want to hold off on committing as I want some time to think first. There are times when new considerations pop in and I want to be certain of the decision before committing myself. If the person is sincere about the request, he/she will be more than happy to wait a short while. Specify a date / time-range (say, in 1-2 weeks) where the person can expect a reply.

If you’re not interested in what the person has to offer at all, don’t lead him/her on. Use methods #5, #6 or #7 which are definitive.

5. “This doesn’t meet my needs now but I’ll be sure to keep you in mind.”

If someone is pitching a deal/opportunity which isn’t what you are looking for, let him/her know straight-out that it doesn’t meet your needs. Otherwise, the discussion can drag on longer than it should. It helps as the person know it’s nothing wrong about what he/she is offering, but that you are looking for something else. At the same time, by saying you’ll keep him/her in mind, it signals you are open to future opportunities.

6. “I’m not the best person to help on this. Why don’t you try X?”

If you are being asked for help in something which you (i) can’t contribute much to (ii) don’t have resources to help, let it be known they are looking at the wrong person. If possible, refer them to a lead they can follow-up on – whether it’s someone you know, someone who might know someone else, or even a department. I always make it a point to offer an alternate contact so the person doesn’t end up in a dead end. This way you help steer the person in the right place.

7. “No, I can’t.”

The simplest and most direct way to say no. We build up too many barriers in our mind to saying no. As I shared earlier in this article, these barriers are self-created and they are not true at all. Don’t think so much about saying no and just say it outright. You’ll be surprised when the reception isn’t half as bad as what you imagined it to be.

Learn to say no to requests that don’t meet your needs, and once you do that you’ll find how easy it actually is. You’ll get more time for yourself, your work and things that are most important to you. I know I do and I’m happy I started doing that.

Source: http://zenhabits.net/say-no/

terça-feira, 28 de junho de 2011




Slang necessarily involves deviation from standard language, and tends to be very popular among adolescents. To one degree or another, however, it is used in all sectors of society. Although slang does not necessarily involve neologisms (some slang expressions, such as quid, are very old), it often involves the creation of new linguistic forms or the creative adaptation of old ones. It can even involve the creation of a secret language understood only by those within a particular group (an antilanguage). As such, slang frequently forms a kind of sociolect aimed at excluding certain people from the conversation. Slang words tend to function initially as a means of encryption, so that the non-initiate cannot understand the conversation. The use of slang is a means of recognizing members of the same group, and to differentiate that group from society at large. In addition to this, slang can be used and created purely for humorous or expressive effect.

Functions and origins of slang

One use of slang is simply to circumvent social taboos. Mainstream language tends to shy away from explicitly evoking certain realities and slang, like other informal forms of language, can permit one to talk about these realities. For this reason, slang vocabularies are particularly rich in certain domains, such as sexuality, violence, crime, and drugs.

There is not just one slang, but very many varieties — or dialects — of it. Different social groups in different times have developed their own slang. The importance of encryption and identity varies between these instances. For slang to maintain its power as a means of encryption, it must constantly renew its process of expression, so that those not part of the group will remain unable to understand it. The existence of slang dictionaries, of course, cancels the effectiveness of certain words. Numerous slang terms pass into informal mainstream speech, and thence sometimes into mainstream formal speech.

Originally, certain slang was associated with the criminal underworld; it therefore carried very vulgar connotations, and was strictly rejected by speakers of "proper" language. Other groups, especially those on the margins of mainstream society, developed their own slangs.

Examples of Slang

Historical examples of slang are the thieves' cant used by beggars and the underworld generally in previous centuries: a number of cant dictionaries were published, many based on that published by Thomas Harman.

Another famous example, still in use, is Cockney rhyming slang in which, in the simplest case, a given word or phrase is replaced by another word or phrase that rhymes with it. Often the rhyming replacement is abbreviated further, making the expressions even more obscure. A new rhyme may then be introduced for the abbreviation and the process continues. Examples of rhyming slang are apples and pears for stairs and trouble (and strife) for wife. An example of truncation and replacement of rhyming slang is bottle and glass for arse (ass). This was reduced to bottle, for which the new rhyme Aristotle was found; Aristotle was then reduced to Aris for which plaster of Paris became the rhyme. This was then reduced to plaster.

Backwards slang, or Backslang, is a form of slang where words are reversed. English backward slang tends to reverse words letter by letter while French backward slang tends to reverse words by syllables. Verlan is a French slang that uses backward words, similar in its methods to the back slang. Louchebem is French butcher's slang, similar to Pig Latin. Vesre is the Río de la Plata's region version of a backwards language which reverses syllables; it is closely associated with lunfardo.

The usage of slang very often involves the creation of novel meanings for existing words. It is very common for such novel meanings to diverge significantly from the standard meaning. In fact, one common process is for a slang word to take on exactly the opposite meaning of the standard definition. This process has given rise to the positive meaning of the word 'bad' such as in the Michael Jackson song of the same title.

Leet Speak (Leet or "1337") is a language that is popular in online video games.

Nadsat is a form of slang used in the book A Clockwork Orange, which borrows words from Russian and from various types of English slang.

Polari is an interesting example of slang that drew on various sources, including Cockney and Italian. Polari was used in London fish markets and the gay subculture in Britain in the 1950s and 1960s, becoming more widely known from its use by two camp characters, Julian and Sandy, in Round the Horne, a popular radio show.


segunda-feira, 27 de junho de 2011

Research summary - fostering creativity III

How important is creativity?
'Imagination is more important than knowledge.' Albert Einstein

Whether creativity is a good thing or not depends on the use to which it is put and on the beliefs and value systems to which it is attached.

There appears to be no doubt that creativity is of great economic importance. Sir Ken Robinson estimates that, during 1988 the financial contribution generated by creative industries in the UK amounted to £6 billion. By 1998 this figure had grown to £60 billion - a ten-fold increase. Employment in these industries grew 34% over the same period against a background of almost no growth in the economy as a whole. Creativity, therefore, is widely regarded as a vital component of economic growth.

Robinson recognises, however, that it is not simply about employing more people in the creative industries. The qualities associated with creativity and ingenuity are needed at all levels in both the private and public sectors. The increased pressure of competition has heightened the need for employers to be customer focused and working to achieve continuous improvement. This requires people at all levels use initiative when making decisions and to think differently.

In the modern world, the skills and qualities that we associate with creativity and ingenuity are required to help us work more effectively together.

Being able to come up with new ideas and solve everyday problems is also important for people on a personal level. It plays a critically important role in learning and personal development, as well as building self-esteem.

The implications for learners
How is it possible to become more creative? There is certainly no shortage of advice around. The business and the self-help sections of bookshops contain a large range of titles on the subject. The problem is trying to make sense of it all, particularly when some of the advice seems to conflict. From the range of strategies that have emerged the following are of note.

Developing a ‘could-be’ attitude
Many authors talk about the importance of being able to develop a creative attitude or states of mind and of fostering creative habits. These include:
*Overcoming the perception that ‘I am not creative’
* Expecting the unexpected
* Having fun playing with ideas
* Practising not knowing or tolerating ambiguity
* Being curious
* Facing your fears
* Talking to people about ideas along the way
* Being proactive and going for it

Slowing down your hare brain
'Saturate your mind with your subject, then wait.' Lloyd Morgan, 1930

One of the paradoxes about creativity is that although it often involves hard work and effort, ingenuity stems from relaxing and letting go. This concept has a long and distinguished pedigree in psychology. Arthur Koestler (1964) observed that this paradox is perfectly illustrated in Pablo Picasso’s famous phrase 'I do not seek, I find.'

For many people, creative revelations come after they have let go of a problem that they have struggled with: a view perhaps reflected in Thomas Edison’s edict that 'creativity is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration.' For many people, it is not the hard work that is difficult; it is waiting for inspiration. Guy Claxton believes that in order to develop creative capacity, individuals must learn and absorb techniques that alter their states of mind. In particular, this means slowing down what he refers to as the hare brain, the conscious mind, and giving the tortoise mind or subconscious, a chance to be dominant.

Changing the way we see the world
'Originality is simply a fresh pair of eyes.' Woodrow Wilson

Most writers agree that much of creativity and ingenuity is about improving perception, going beyond the obvious and seeing what no one else is able to see. Claxton and Lucas argue that human brains are hard-wired to make preconceptions that allow us to make the strange familiar. The problem is that our brains become focused on what we expect to see. What we see is what we look for. This means that we often jump to conclusions and accept the first and obvious solution to a problem.

One of the main ways in which we can train ourselves to be more creative, therefore, is to use techniques that help us see beyond the obvious. Edward De Bono’s range of thinking tools (for example, brainstorming, thinking hats and PMI) are designed to help us heighten our perceptions of the world, to avoid impulsivity, to defer judgement and remove the need to come up with quick answers.

Making thoughts visible
We were mainly educated to think with words, but many of the most creative minds in history - novelists, artists and physical scientists - have reported that their greatest inspirations came not in words, but in visual images. They were able to think in pictures rather than words. Once they got a visual idea, the words were easy. Visualising the solution first and then verbalising it, often promotes creative thinking and there are a range of techniques to support this, such as concept maps and spider diagrams.

Rethinking your thinking
The more ideas we can generate, the better our thinking is likely to be - quantity tends to breed quality. The trouble with this is that we are not brought up to think that way. Traditional schooling has never really embraced the more divergent and lateral thinking modes. Learners have been trained to think linearly and vertically, and to work logically through a problem to reach a single solution or a conclusion. People have been taught to make sense of the world by classifying and categorising ideas. They are expected to learn facts and be able to recall them.

There are other ways of thinking - sometimes described as divergent thinking or productive thinking - which can help to generate new ideas, although these are rarely, if ever, taught systematically in the context of a school. The foremost advocate of these techniques is Edward De Bono who invented the term lateral thinking, which he defines as the ability to change perception and keep on changing perception.

In lateral or divergent thinking, a logical pathway is often eschewed in favour of taking side trips down other roads where the destination may initially be unclear. Starting in, or making jumps to random places where there may be no clear pathways, can help avoid restrictions, limitations and constraints that do not actually exist. When problems do exist, lateral thinking can help question the assumptions being made about limits and boundaries and this helps to generate new ideas and solutions.

The implications for teachers and schools
'Many teachers feel strongly that current priorities and pressures in education inhibit the creative abilities of young people and those who teach them.' Learning and Teaching Scotland, 2001

It is often argued that the pressure on teachers to cover significant amounts of curriculum content in order to prepare pupils for national examinations inhibits the development of teaching and learning methodologies that foster creativity. Where the effectiveness of schools is measured in academic attainment, it is perhaps not surprising that some teachers and parents view the promotion of creativity and enterprise as added extras, or even distractions from the real business of schools - to prepare pupils for tests and examinations.

In recent years, however, there has been a growing understanding of creativity and how the development of creative thinking in young people can underpin effective learning and achievement. Two of Scotland’s most important national strategies - Curriculum for Excellence and Determined to Succeed - address the need to reshape the curriculum at all stages in order to better enable Scotland’s young people to develop self-confidence, self-reliance and ambition, and to become successful learners.

Creativity in the classroom
To foster creativity teachers must encourage learners to think laterally and make associations between things that are not usually connected. They must be able to reinterpret and apply their learning in new contexts, look at things from different points of view and experiment with alternative approaches to solving problems. Teachers must help learners to see possibilities and challenges and all of these skills can be taught.

The following approaches can help teachers to promote creativity in the classroom.
1. Ensuring that planning incorporates a range of teaching and learning styles.
2. Providing regular opportunities for hands-on experimentation, problem solving, discussion and collaborative work.
3. Creating opportunities where pupils are encouraged to actively do the work and question what is going on.
4. Making use of creative thinking techniques such as Brainstorming, Thinking Hats and PMI.
5. Sharing the learning intentions with pupils and providing them with opportunities for choosing how they are going to work.
6. Encouraging pupils to improvise, experiment and think outside the box.
7. Actively encouraging pupils to question, make connections, envisaging what might be possible and exploring ideas.
8. Asking open-ended questions such as ‘What if…?’ and ‘How might you…?’
9. Joining in with activities and modelling creative thinking and behaviour.
10. Encouraging pupils to develop criteria that they can use to judge their own work, in particular its originality and value.
11. Facilitating open discussion of the problems pupils are facing and how they can solve them.
12. Encouraging pupils to share ideas with others and to talk about their progress.
13. Using failure or setbacks as opportunities to learn.
14. Ensuring that assessment procedures reflect and reward creativity, enterprise and innovation.
15. Making effective use of encouragement, praise and positive language.
16. Creating opportunities to learn through the imagined experience, giving them a safe context to explore ideas using drama techniques.

Developing creative thinking skills are fostered when learners are given:
*authentic tasks that are relevant and which have a real purpose;
*meaningful responsibility to think for and organise themselves;
*real accountability in terms of setting standards for their work and agreeing these standards through discussion and collaboration.

National developments
In recent years, there have been two major reports into the state of creativity in schools in the UK. The first entitled - ‘All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education’ was written by the National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education, and published in England and Wales in 1999. The second entitled ‘Creativity in Education’ was published by Learning and Teaching Scotland in 2001.

Both reports took a very similar line in seeking to define creativity and in emphasising its importance for our society and our economy. They confirmed the belief that creativity can be fostered and developed, and published a range of recommendations for action.

The charge that schools fail to promote creativity is by no means new. A host of well-known educational thinkers and practitioners such as Froebel, Montessori, Steiner, Dewey, Piaget and Bruner have strongly espoused the importance of creativity in education over the past 100 years and several have set up their own schools that operate on the fringes of mainstream education.

Further reading
Books to help you reflect
'Hare Brain Tortoise Mind: Why Intelligence Increases When you Think Less' (Guy Claxton, 1998)
'Serious Creativity' (Edward De Bono, Harper Collins, London, 1992)
'Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative' (Sir Ken Robinson, Oxford, 2001)

Books with practical ideas
'Imagine That' (Stephen Bowkett, Network Educational Press, 1997)
'Fostering Creativity' (Ian Smith, Learning Unlimited, 2006)
'Be Creative' (Guy Claxton & Bill Lucas, BBC Books, 2004)
'Six Thinking Hats' (Edward De Bono, Penguin 1985)
'How to Get Ideas' (Jack Foster, Beret-Koehler, 1996)
'A Whack on the Side of the Head' (Roger Von Oech, Thorsons, 1990)
'Did You Spot the Gorilla?' (Robert Wiseman, Arrow Books, 2004)

Useful websites


sexta-feira, 24 de junho de 2011

Research summary - fostering creativity II

Previously: Creativity can mean different things to different people...

Roger Von Oech (1990) believes that creative thinking must be recognised as a process that involves both hard and soft thinking and that it is important to know when each is appropriate. He argues that every person has a ‘judge’ and an ‘artist’ within, and both are required in order to be creative. Even those who are very inventive, and thrive on spontaneity and uncertainty, also need to seek order and be analytical if they are to be successful.

It is now believed that the most powerful creative thinking occurs when the left and right hemispheres of the brain combine to apply both generative and evaluative processes.

Ideas about creativity

Psychologists have been making a case for inborn creativity for many years. In 1957, Abraham Maslow referred to the concept of ‘primary creativeness’. He claimed that creativity had roots in the subconscious and was the source of new discoveries. A growing number of researchers supported this viewpoint. Steven Pinker and Stanley Greenspan (1997) suggested that it is possible to identify potential for invention and creativity at a very early age. They believed that humans are genetically disposed to creativity.

Leaving scientific evidence aside, most of us would accept that young children typically display more of the qualities that are associated with creativity than adults. Children are naturally inquisitive and have a great capacity for imagination and fantasy - both integral elements of play. Young children explore, ask questions and are unafraid of being judged by others.

Howard Gardner believes each child, by the age of 7, has developed a capital of creativity upon which they subsequently draw throughout their adult lives, although this well of creativity can be topped up throughout life. The richer the initial capital the more easily creativity flows.

Vygotsky, on the other hand, suggests that young children’s creativity is less rich than that of adults because of their limited knowledge and the lower complexity of their cognitions. The creativity of children tends to be more subjective than that of adults. Children tend to create only for themselves, whereas adults create both for themselves and for the world in which they live. Edward De Bono suggests that the creativity typical of young children is a function of their innocence. If you do not know the usual approach, the usual solution, the usual concepts involved, then you are more likely come up with a fresh way of looking at things.

De Bono and others, however, promote the view that as children grow older, they become more affected by the views of others and this begins to inhibit their creativity. Their developmental schema of dawning realism around the ages of 8-10 years heightens the importance of what others think about their ideas. One of the main challenges for educationalists is how to help young people develop resilience around their creative ideas, whilst inviting others to assess, evaluate and contribute to them. The ability to work collaboratively and develop in creative partnerships are key skills for the 21st century.

Developing creativity

'We really need to stop considering thinking as simply ‘intelligence in action’ and think of it as a skill that can be developed by everyone.' Edward De Bono, 1982

De Bono believes that in order to foster creativity effectively we have to develop specific thinking techniques. He argues that although the brain is capable of great creativity and ingenuity, it is not designed first and foremost for this purpose and, as we grow older, it is more difficult to think laterally because thinking patterns become so well established and comfortable. Over the years, De Bono and other writers have promoted the view that creative thinking is something that can be developed by anyone and they have formulated a wide range of practical techniques to develop thinking skills.

The main messages
Creativity is about generating ideas or producing things and transforming them into something of value. It often involves being inventive, ingenious, innovative and entrepreneurial.

Creativity is not just about special people doing special things. We all have the potential to be creative and creativity is a skill that needs to be developed.

Most individuals believe they are not very creative. Creativity, however, is an increasingly valuable commodity in the modern world.

Creativity embraces both hard and soft thinking. The most powerful creative thinking occurs when the left and right hemispheres of the brain combine to apply both generative and evaluative processes.

The forming of collaborative, creative groups and partnerships helps to foster creativity.

quarta-feira, 22 de junho de 2011

Research summary - fostering creativity

What is creativity?

  • 'I define creativity as the entire process by which ideas are generated, developed and transformed into value. It comprises what people commonly mean by innovation and entrepreneurship.' John Kao, 1997

  • 'Creativity is about liberating human energy.' Howard Gardner

  • 'Creativity is the process of developing ideas that are original and of value. Creative intelligence is dynamic, diverse and distinct.' Sir Ken Robinson 2001

Creativity can mean different things to different people. For some it means being imaginative or inventive, taking risks or challenging convention. For others it is about original thinking or producing something that nobody has come up with before. Some believe that the term 'creativity' only applies only to those who possess artistic talents.

Traditionally, creativity has been associated with the achievements of extraordinary people such as Mozart, Einstein and Leonardo Da Vinci, and a good deal of the early research into creativity has focused on the work of highly creative people or those considered to be geniuses.

Focusing on extraordinary individuals, however, simply perpetuates the myth that creativity is about special people doing special things. Research shows that there is no specific personality type associated with creativity. It is possible to be creative in any activity that engages our intelligence because intelligence itself is essentially creative. Creative processes are rooted in the imagination and our lives are shaped by the ideas we use to give them meaning. We all have creative capacities but in many instances we do not know what they are or how to draw on them.

Broadening the meaning of creativity

In recent years researchers and educational writers have extended the general meaning of creativity so that it incorporates ideas about inventiveness and imagination.

This reflects a growing acceptance that creativity it is not simply about coming up with big ideas, but coming up with practical solutions to everyday problems and then applying them to real life situations. Everything around us - our homes, cities, medical services, transport and communication systems - are conceived and developed by practical people who know how to implement creative ideas. Creativity can be readily associated with a wide range of everyday tasks and activities, and the importance of creativity at a personal level is often greatly underestimated.

Hard and soft thinking

‘Hard’ and ‘soft’ thinking are terms often associated with creativity and they reflect the neurological processes associated with different hemispheres of the brain. Research suggests that the right side of the brain is visual and processes information in an intuitive and simultaneous way, looking first at the whole picture then the details (soft thinking). The other hemisphere - the left brain - is verbal and processes information in an analytical and sequential way, looking first at the pieces then putting them together to get the whole (hard thinking).

The right side of the brain is often associated with characteristics such as intuition, imagination, emotions, feelings and artistic creativity. The left side is more usually associated with planning and organisation, logic, analytical thinking and deduction. The right side of the brain is sometimes referred to as the ‘artist’, whereas the left side is regarded as the ‘judge’.

terça-feira, 21 de junho de 2011

About creativity

What is creativity?

Historically, creativity has been seen as a tortured and mystical process, the province of geniuses, artists and eccentrics.

Today, we are less in awe of the creative process. Now, creativity is recognised as a practical skill, one which can be taught and which everyone can achieve. It is a way of thinking in which we look at familiar things with a fresh eye, examine a problem with an open mind about how it might be solved, and use our imagination rather than our knowledge to explore new possibilities rather than established approaches.

The importance of creativity
Creativity is clearly important on a national and global level for economic growth and development. But there is an increasing recognition that it is key at an individual level also. Creativity improves the self-esteem, motivation and achievement of learners. Pupils who are encouraged to think creatively:

  • become more interested in discovering things for themselves
  • are more open to new ideas and challenges
  • are more able to solve problems
  • can work well with others
  • become more effective learners
  • have greater ownership over their learning.

The implications for education
Children - particularly younger children - are inherently creative. Around the age of 8-10, the opinions of others become more important, the fear of failure emerges and they lose their willingness to try new things - they want to know 'the right answer'.

The challenge for educators is to nourish and develop children's natural creativity, not stifle it. There are many approaches that can help practitioners promote creativity in their learners:

  • Providing regular opportunities for hands-on experimentation, problem solving, discussion and collaborative work.
  • Actively encouraging pupils to question, make connections, envisaging what might be possible and exploring ideas.
  • Using failure or setbacks as opportunities to learn.
  • Facilitating open discussion of the problems pupils are facing and how they can solve them.
  • Asking open-ended questions such as ‘What if…?’ and ‘How might you…?’
  • Ensuring that assessment procedures reflect and reward creativity, enterprise and innovation.

Source: http://www.ltscotland.org.uk

segunda-feira, 20 de junho de 2011

What is a learning block?

According to the dictionary , a block occurs when something is prevented from happening or succeeding. To block also means to prevent movement through something. When there is a learning block, our mind body system cannot process the information optimally or even learn. In our previous article I told you about about unintegrated pieces of learning leading to effort, making students try really hard. This is how blocks are built. If we encouraged more whole brain learning in the classroom , we would be optimizing students ´ capacity to learn.

Sometimes a lot of teaching is going on but I wonder how much learning is really taking place. Important aspects related to optimal learning are not taken into account because there isn´t enough information. It is important to notice and understand that sometimes a student cannot learn easily because he may have come to the learning environment without the neurological and physiological readiness skills that he needs in order to learn easily,

 Do you have kids who find it hard to copy from the board or who press their pens too much?
 Do you know kids who say they ¨ hate ¨ reading ?
 Is Math a problem?
 What about spelling?
 Do you sometimes read and cannot explain what you´ve just read?

These are just a few examples of learning blocks and no matter your age, anybody can suffer from them.(This is not only concerning school but also our daily lives). As teachers we have a lot of challenges and responsibilities ahead of us. We must also be aware of the fact that we are the ¨authority ¨ in the classroom , so we exercise some kind of ´power¨. Furthermore, with this knowledge we would be supporting the self-confidence of our children and students as well. Our deeds affect our students. Have you ever thought about it?

So the next question would be: What causes a learning block? There are many different factors, among which stress is a fundamental one. Although learning blocks come in many shapes and sizes , I believe the most important thing of all is that most of them can be overcome and balancing sessions are an effective way of dealing with them( brain gym  consultancy) .Different kinds of stressors create blocks in our mind body system. They may be : visual, auditory, visual and auditory ones, coordination and so many others..

Are we well equipped to teach this new generation of kids?

sexta-feira, 17 de junho de 2011


Toda vez que escrevo a palavra inglesa " Will" na lousa, meus alunos pensam que vou fazer alguma lição ou revisão sobre o futuro. Com toda razão! Afinal, uma das funções do "Will" é justamente expressar aquela situação referente ao futuro, onde queremos fazer algo, mas não temos certeza se isso irá ocorrer.

" I think I will study tomorrow"

Contudo, " Will" é algo mais, e sendo a língua inglesa, um idioma onde as palavras possuem multi-significados, " Will" assume um significado bem interessante quando o assunto é descrever a razão, pelas qual, certos alunos tem dificuldade em aprender inglês: falta Will !

Como substantivo, " Will" quer dizer: vontade, arbítrio, desejo, e acima de tudo, intenção. A intenção é o que nos diferencia dos outros animais que habitam a Terra.

A onça, por exemplo, vive sob o poder da reação ao que ocorre em seu interior (fome, sede, etc) e exterior ( frio, calor, perigo de caçador, etc). A onça, até onde eu sei, não se preocupa sobre o que as outras onças estão falando sobre elas, nem filosofa muito sobre a floresta, muito menos, pensa em fazer dieta. A onça, assim como qualquer outro animal, não possui a capacidade humana de dar significado as suas ações e reações. Sendo assim, seria impossível para mim, por mais que eu tentasse, ensinar a onça a falar " tigrês", pois por mais importante que isso fosse para ela em sua carreira de felino, ela não conseguiria ter idéia da importância de ter intenção plena e forte de estudar direito, pois ela, biologicamente, só reagiria as minhas instruções, sem se dar conta, que ela tem também responsabilidades a cumprir nesse processo.
A analogia é proposital, pois ainda tenho alguns estudantes que se comportam como onças, e antes que alguém se sinta ofendido, explico: eles se esquecem da importância e do poder do seu " Will" no processo de aprender um segundo idioma. Como no exemplo da onça, eles apenas reagem as aulas e deixam de existir como alunos, quando a aula termina. Falta-lhes aquele " iron Will" de, ao menos, revisar as lições aprendidas, antes da próxima aula. Dai, então, chegam na aula, esquecidos e frustrados, por não conseguirem acompanhar a matéria ou compreender o que estão aprendendo. A grosso modo, eles agem como as pessoas que querem perder peso, mas não abrem mão dos velhos hábitos alimentícios.

Não é preciso, todavia, um " GIANT WILL" para deixar de reagir e começar a tomar controle sobre o seu aprendizado, nem é preciso, tão pouco, fazer um TCC ou mestrado sobre a matéria. Só é preciso o " Will" para revisar a última lição, organizar o vocabulário e vir preparado para a próxima aula. Uma boa revisão equivale a, pelo menos, umas quatro aulas, pois reinforçará o que foi aprendido anteriormente, facilitando a absorção de novos conteúdos e evita com que o professor perca o tempo dele ( e o seu), fazendo mais uma revisão que deveria ser a sua responsabilidade.

Se você leu até aqui, meus parabéns! Você está treinando o seu " Will" com letra maiúscula. Porém, isso tudo não vai passar de blá, blá, blá, se você não praticar o seu " Will" agora, portanto, não basta um futuro cheio de intenções, pois enquanto alguns " students" ainda estão no " I will study tomorrow", os reais " learners" are already studying it now.

quinta-feira, 16 de junho de 2011

A Tip for the Possessive Apostrophe

Apostrophes need not be learning catastrophes
by Rolf Palmberg

What is the difference between

a.The boy's books are on the table, and
b.The boys' books are on the table ?

The position of the apostrophe in a noun (to indicate possession of something) often causes problems for ESL/EFL learners. Yet the rules are simple. In fact, learners only need to decide whether the possessive noun (the possessor, which, by the way, can also be a name) is singular or plural and whether or not it ends in -s in its written form.

The following rules apply:

1. If the possessive noun is singular, always add an apostrophe + s.
2. If the possessive noun does not end in -s (in its written form), always add an apostrophe + s.
3. If the possessive noun is plural and ends in -s (and this is a characteristic feature of the large majority of plural nouns), just add an apostrophe.
This is why you say James's books, the children's books, and even the boss's books. This is also why you don't know whether something belongs to one or several boys until you see the sentence in writing.

To simplify things further, all you really have to remember is Rule 3. If Rule 3 does not apply, always add an apostrophe + s.

(Note that American English does not always follow these rules.)

© 2007 Rolf Palmberg
Rolf Palmberg is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Teacher Education at Abo Akademi University in Vaasa, Finland, where he has taught EFL methodology since 1979. His publications comprise articles, reports, books and bibliographies in the fields of applied linguistics and foreign language teaching. He has given presentations at international conferences in several countries and numerous in-service courses on CALL and ICT in various educational institutions in Finland. Rolf Palmberg's CALL site is at: http://www.vasa.abo.fi/users/rpalmber/download.htm.

quarta-feira, 15 de junho de 2011

Make Learning English Interesting and Fun

Author: Amber

For an ESL student learning can sometimes be challenging but there are many ways to make it more interesting and fun and still continue to learn at the same time. Sounds so simple doesn’t it? Most people get really uptight when they know they have to learn English – particularly if they are a student or a business person who is learning as they go – while going to school or trying to do a new job. That can be really daunting.

You can make it much easier for yourself if you start using online sources that assist you and all you have to do is sit at home on your own computer. So take the challenge out of your learning and start using some of the activities that will help you immensely.

Just like teachers give quizzes and other tests to their students you can take these online without the pressure of getting a good score and it will be fun as well. These tests are in the style of word games or word puzzles that can be multiple choice or fill in the blank and as you score better and better you go on to the next level of challenges. These types of activities are also ideal for learning slang expressions, proverbs and other things like learning synonyms or antonyms but often in topics that are more appealing than a classroom style.

Some of the tests involve pictures so that you can match the word with the picture. Others test your vocabulary with nouns, adjectives, verbs, colors and numbers and days of the week or the month. These are subjects that you will encounter every day and the more you do these exercises the more familiar you will become making you learn English but in a much more interesting and fun way!

Source: http://www.learning-english.ca/make-learning-english-interesting-and-fun/

terça-feira, 14 de junho de 2011

Learning New Material in Your English Studies

Author: Amber

When learning a second language, it always seems like a non-stop battle between new material, and what you have always been doing with speech and grammar. Much of the material that is presented to you seems unorganized, confusing, and many times, there is almost too much of it to handle. There are two major things you need to have to learn English as a second language; patients, and keeping an open mind. These two key items will help keep you relaxed and realize that you won’t be able to understand everything at once.

It takes practice, patients, almost stubbornness to pick up English. If you remain clam, realize that everything won’t make sense at first, and keep an open mind to the language, give it time it will make sense. With patients, if you keep plugging away at what you don’t understand very well, ask questions, and can connect pieces of a grammar puzzle, then English will eventually make sense. Taking breaks, and having a slow steady approach to grammar, and taking information one bit at a time can have a much greater effectiveness than trying to plow through everything, in which you will most likely just be banging your head against a wall shortly after.

Patience isn’t the only element you will need to master your new English material. Keeping an open mind is just as important. Without patience, an open mind is just a room with two open doors, information goes in, and right back out again. If you possess the patience to keep plugging away at an issue that bothers you, then keeping an open mind will help you to understand that English is different from all the other languages. Seeing grammar differences can help someone understand similarities between the languages, and makes those similarities much easier to understand.

It really is hard to talk about one without the other. Patience and an open mind work hand in hand together to help you understand English. The two complement each other very well, and both are requirement in order to understand and comprehend what one is saying in the English language.

English is among the most difficult languages to pick up, especially for living in America. There are so many slang terms and secondary languages built into English, it could almost be considered a whole other language by itself. Nobody ever said learning English would be an easy task, but with an open mind and patience, the English language can be mastered.

Source: http://www.learning-english.ca/learning-new-material-in-your-english-studies/

sexta-feira, 10 de junho de 2011

If I Could...

Toda vez que explico aos meus estudantes que aprendi a falar inglês por conta própria, eles ficam admirados e tratam logo de perguntar:

- Qual o segredo?
- Vencer a preguiça! - respondo!
- Preguiça?- eles me perguntam de volta.

Sim, a preguiça foi o meu maior adversário quando comecei a aprender inglês .

Eu sabia que muitos seriam os obstáculos; afinal, eu não teria a metodologia de um curso, o auxilio de um professor, nem muito menos livros e qualquer dica de material ( e para piorar: era um tempo sem Google, nem a internet, como a conhecemos, existia).

Daí, só me restava o conselho da vovó:
" O segredo de se aprender qualquer coisa na vida é a força de vontade, meu neto".

Eu tinha força de vontade, pois queria muito aprender inglês e ganhar o mundo, o problema era que a preguiça era maior, e aliada a falta de disciplina, o resultado era aquele famoso conto do sujeito que se prepara para estudar às 7 da manhã e se distrai com qualquer coisa e quando se dá conta, já é tarde da noite e ele decide deixar para estudar amanhã. No meu caso, esse "amanhã" levava dias para chegar e quando finalmente chegava, ficava para depois.

Puro auto-boicote, Freud explica e a gente paga!


Perdi oportunidades de emprego, chances de viajar e acabei sendo apenas mais um no mercado profissional. Grandes chances para trabalhar em multinacionais ou conseguir aquele emprego dos sonhos se distanciavam cada vez mais.

Então, um dia, farto da humilhação de não ter um idioma estrangeiro em meu CV, decidi enfrentar o monstro da preguiça e abri o livro; e é claro, os olhos pesaram, o telefone tocou, minha mãe me chamou, a namorada apareceu, o churrasco com os amigos vingou, o filme no cinema passou, a lasanha esfriou; e tudo no universo conspirou para que eu deixasse o meu estudo para o dia seguinte.


E conclui, pela primeira vez, o que havia prometido.

No dia seguinte, fiz mais um pouco.
No outro, mais um tanto.

Quando percebi, estava estudando todos os dias, e gostando e me interessando e aprendendo e vencendo a danada da preguiça.

Demorou, mas consegui compreender que sem estudar por conta própria, o inglês nunca sairia da teoria da minha força da vontade.

Por isso, toda vez que os meus alunos perguntam:

- Qual o segredo?

Respondo sempre:
- Vencer a preguiça!

- Preguiça?- eles me perguntam de volta.

- Sim, a preguiça!

E com essa resposta, corro o risco de desapontá-los, afinal, o professor deles deveria saber alguma forma milagrosa que pudesse fazer qualquer um deles falar sem esforço.

Não! Não há formulas mágicas, e nem o fato de ter aprendido sozinho me faz especial, pelo contrário, if I could, you can do it! A pergunta é: você tem coragem de vencer a sua preguiça?

quarta-feira, 8 de junho de 2011

Seven Secrets to Learn English

Posted by Nafis

Learning English has been one of the most difficult tasks I have ever done in my life. What makes it so challenging is you have to be persistent, self-motivated and self-disciplined. In my opinion, persistence is the most important and vital factor for learning English because only by practicing, perfection can be acquired. And practicing is nothing than doing one task regularly until got it right. In addition to that, during my English studies, I either had some personal experiences or learned from various teachers how to learn English effectively which I indicate them as follows:

1- Be persistent. If you are exhausted of making mistakes all the time, take a rest. Quitting cannot solve your problem. Just take a rest and refresh your mind. Do whatever you love and then come back to your studies. After all, you should have fun.

2- To have positive attitude. Learning English is a long endless process, and learning is possible only if you have a positive attitude. Reminding yourself of the time you can write or speak very fluently brings back the positive energy to the mind. When I am disappointed, I have some special mantra such as “I am getting closer to my goal every day by doing small steps”, “Never ever give up”, “English is as easy or as difficult as I think”, “I do my best, mother nature will do the rest”, “Enjoy the learning process not thinking of the outcome.” This helps me to get back on the track and be motivated again.

3- To have fun. If you have fun with what you are doing, you will never become disappointed or frustrated. The fun in English helps you to learn more effectively and be hungry to learn more. Then, learning English will be the joy of your life not a boring task to do every day. I like reading spiritual books. This not only helps me to learn vocabularies in the context but also helps me to learn about spirituality. In other words, you kill two birds with one stone. So, have fun with English.

4-Learn everything deeply. I learned this from one of my English teacher and it was so effective for me. Choose one dialogue about the subject you like and listen to it as much as you can for about two weeks. This way you can learn vocabularies deeply without struggling to memorize them. Watch your favourite movies as much as you can. Sing along with your beloved songs. After a while, repeating results in deep learning of English. This enables you to use English words and sentences effortlessly in your daily life. As a result, you can communicate easily with people around you and the better you can communicate, the more you are passionate about learning. So, learn everything deeply.

5-Think in English. Many English teachers say, “Think in English.” However, what does it mean really? It means that if you listen to English materials or read magazines and books, you will be familiarized with English structures and you can use them while speaking or writing. This means “Think in English.”

6- The real secret is only to practice, practice and practice. Practice makes perfect. If you want to be fluent in speaking, speak or write as much as you can. You can apply the same method for reading and listening. The more you read and listen, the better you become.

7-Less is much. Studying English for about 30 minutes every day is more effective than studying for three hours in one day. Listening to one conversation deeply may help you more than listening to many conversations without concentration and attention. So, do not overwhelm yourself with too much works rather studying less English materials but more deeply and effectively.

Lastly, for me, learning English has not been limited only to learning rules and grammars. It changed my life in many different ways, for example, I had to overcome fear of making mistakes, fear of looking foolish, fear of not knowing and fear of exams. I had to work on my self-esteem and confidence. I have relatively acquired the knowledge of self-growth in addition to learning English itself. Now, I understand so well the meaning of this quote of Martin Buber who said, “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”

Source: http://my.englishclub.com/profiles/blogs/writing-challenge-25-seven

terça-feira, 7 de junho de 2011

Interesting words and languages

This article was written by M.J.Mardan

There’s no Explanation! Just read it to the end…

1. The first word spoken on the moon was “okay”. (Or not – see comments).
2. Seoul, the South Korean capital, just means “the capital” in the Korean language.
3. The name of all the continents end with the same letter that they start with.
4. There are only four words in the English language which end in “-dous”: tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.
5. The “you are here” arrow on maps is called an ideo locator.
6. The dot over the letter ‘i’ is called a tittle.
7. The symbol on the “pound” key (#) is called an octothorpe.
8. The symbol used in many URLs (Web addresses) is called a tilde. (~)
9. The word “lethologica” describes the state of not being able to remember the word you want.
10. In English, “four” is the only digit that has the same number of letters as its value.
11. Q is the only letter in the alphabet that does not appear in the name of any of the United States.
12. The word “trivia” comes from the Latin “trivium” which is the place where three roads meet, a public square. People would gather and talk about all sorts of matters, most of which were trivial.
13. TYPEWRITER, is the longest word that can be made using the letters only one row of the keyboard.
14. “Speak of the Devil” is short for “Speak of the Devil and he shall come”. It was believed that if you spoke about the Devil it would attract his attention. That’s why when you’re talking about someone and they show up people say “Speak of the Devil”.
15. The word “Checkmate” in chess comes from the Persian phrase “Shah Mat,” which means, “the King is dead”.
16. Only three words have entered English from Czech: polka, pilsner, and robot.
17. The sentence “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” uses every letter in the English language.
18. Stewardesses is the longest word typed with only the left hand.
19. The most common name in the world is Mohammed.
20. The longest word in the English language, according to the Oxford English Dictionary is:- pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.
21. The only other word with the same amount of letters as it is its plural:- pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconioses.
22. The longest non-medical word in the English language is FLOCCINAUCINIHILIPILIFICATION, which means “the act of estimating as worthless”.
23. The longest one-syllable word in the English language is “screeched.”
24. The longest place-name still in use is: ‘Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturi
pukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwe-nuakit natahu’ it is the Maori name of a hill in New Zealand.
25. The longest place name in the UK is Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, it means The name means: “St Mary’s church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool and the church of St Tysilio of the red cave”.
26. The longest word in the Old Testament is “Malhershalahashbaz”.
27. Mafia in Old Arabic means ’sanctuary’.
28. Some long running myths say that a pregnant goldfish is called a prat, twit, twat and twerp. The correct word is actually “gravid”which describes the condition of a female livebearing fish when carrying young internally.
29. Karaoke means ‘empty orchestra’ in Japanese.
30. The first message tapped by Samuel Morse over his invention the telegraph was: “What hath God wraught?”
31. The first words spoken by over Alexander Bell over the telephone were: “Watson, please come here. I want you.
32. The first words spoken by Thomas Edison over the phonograph were: “Mary had a little lamb.”
33. “Papaphobia” is the fear of Popes.
34. The Academy Award statue is named after a librarian’s uncle. One day Margaret Herrick, librarian for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, made a remark that the statue looked like her Uncle Oscar, and the name stuck.
35. The three words in the English language with the letters “uu” are: vacuum, residuum and continuum.
36. “Underground” is the only word in English that begins and ends with the letters “und.”
37. A baby in Florida was named: Truewilllaughinglifebuckyboomermanifestdestiny. His middle name is George James.
38. ‘Dreamt’ is the only English word that ends in the letters ‘mt’.
39. The word ‘Bye’ is used in both English and Spanish meaning the same thing.
40. “Pogonophobia” is the fear of beards.
41. In Chinese, the words crisis and opportunity are the same. (Or not – see comments)
42. The infinity character on the keyboard is called a “lemniscate”.
43. The salutation ‘good bye’ came from God bye which came from God be with you.
44. “So-long” came from the Arabic “salaam” and the Hebrew “shalom.”
45. The word ‘nerd’ was first coined by Dr. Seuss in ‘If I ran the Zoo’.
46. Before Jets, Jet lag was called Boat lag.
47. The word “monosyllable” actually has five syllables in it.
48. There are no words in the English language that rhyme with month, silver, purple or orange.
49. The letter “n” ends all Japanese words not ending in a vowel.
50. It is believed that Shakespeare was 46 around the time that the King James Version of the Bible was written. In Psalms 46, the 46th word from the first word is shake and the 46th word from the last word is spear.
51. ‘Zorro’ means ‘fox’ in Spanish.
52. The verb “to cleave” has definitions which are antonyms of each other: to adhere and to separate.
53. The verb “sanction” also has definitions which are antonyms: to sponsor and to ban.
54. You won’t find a “6″ in Cameroon phone numbers–the native language has no sound for “x.
55. “The only 15-letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is “uncopyrightable.”
56. There is a seven-letter word in English that contains eleven words without rearranging any of its letters, “therein”: the, there, he, in, rein, her, here, ere, I, therein, herein.
57. Rhythm” and “syzygy” are the longest English words without vowels.
58. Clans of long ago that wanted to get rid of their unwanted people without killing them would burn their houses down – hence the expression “to get fired.”

FONTE; http://english-learners.com/2009/11/really-really-really-interesting.html

segunda-feira, 6 de junho de 2011

Top 20 Strange English Words

This article was written by M.J.Mardan

Here are 20 strange English words which are used once in a blue moon. following words are know as the top 20 English strange words because of both difficult spelling and usage.

(Thanks to the Listverse.com)

1. Erinaceous

Like a hedgehog

2. Lamprophony

Loudness and clarity of voice

3. Depone

To testify under oath

4. Finnimbrun

A trinket or knick-knack

5. floccinaucinihilipilification

Estimation that something is valueless. Proper pronunciation based on Latin roots: flockə-nowsə-nəkələ-pələ-fək-ation

6. Inaniloquent

Pertaining to idle talk

7. Limerance

An attempt at a scientific study into the nature of romantic love.

8. Mesonoxian

Pertaining to midnight

9. Mungo

A dumpster diver – one who extracts valuable things from trash

10. Nihilarian

A person who deals with things lacking importance (pronounce the ‘h’ like a ‘k’).

11. Nudiustertian

The day before yesterday

12. Phenakism

Deception or trickery

13. Pronk

A weak or foolish person

14. Pulveratricious

Covered with dust

15. Rastaquouere

A social climber

16. Scopperloit

Rude or rough play

17. Selcouth

Unfamiliar, rare, strange, marvelous, wonderful. For example: The List Universe is such a selcouth website!

18. Tyrotoxism

To be poisoned by cheese

19. Widdiful

Someone who deserves to be hanged

20. Zabernism

The abuse of military power or authority. I wonder how long it will take for this one to show up in the comments.

Fonte; http://english-learners.com/2009/11/20-strange-english-words.html