I left the first 9-day block of intensive teaching/training/observation deliriously excited and exhausted. Now after a week writing my first “LSA” (the Delta world is full of acronyms, this one is Language Systems or Skills Assignment) I am just deliriously tired.
I chose to write about modals, those cute little innocuous words like can, must, have to etc. Innocuous my ar*e!! What a nightmare they are. And how mighty difficult must they be to non-native speakers? Especially in relation to pragmatic competence. Oops that was me almost off again in modal cuckoo land.
You must read this great article “Changes in Modals and Semi-modals of Strong Obligation and Epistemic Necessity in Recent British English” said no one. Ever. (Sorry Mr Smith, it was actually interesting). No, if you want a best seller keep clear of modals and work on a plot where a young girl who says “Oooh” a lot meets a fabulously gorgeously wealthy man and then does nothing of particular note for a 1000 page trilogy.
My top tips for beginning Delta Module 2 are:
1. Do it with a group. The peer support is PRICELESS. I feel after a week of meeting these lovely equally-delirious people that I can acceptably email a modal question at 3am, and maybe even get an instant reply! We all appear to be sleepless zombies, reading non-best seller grammar books during the night.
2. Keep a REALLY clear note of where you read something. That stonker of a comment will be removed from your essay in frustration after 12 hours of trying to find where the hell you read it otherwise.
3. Plan to set aside an enormous chunk of life. Like a more enormous chunk of life than you thought. Prepare you family/girlfriend/boyfriend for a period when you may (that’s a modal) awake in the night crying out crazy grammar language. And crying for no apparent reason because you’ve lost the source of a stonking reference.
4. How the holy hell anyone can do a combined Delta module 1/2 is now even more of a mystery to me than before. Totally well done and respect if you have/are. But think carefully before you commit to doing it.
5. When you are seriously (deliriously) thinking how wonderful an international Modals Conference might be for a holiday (it happened), make sure there is someone around to keep you down on the ground.
Well, that’s my LSA1 done after much sweating and swearing. And my PDA (you don’t want to know – it could have been Pink Dalmation Assignment for all the blur). Only LSA 2, 3 and, b’jeez 4 to go.
But…… it is SUPER interesting!! In a truly language geek sort of way.