MOOC on Coursera: Creative Writing

moocIn the beginning of my blogging life, I tried to find out what to write about and mainly focussed on Massive Open Online Courses, MOOCs. I took several courses on several platforms and loved them all. It really is a great opportunity to either advance your career, or, if you’re old like me, learn about topics that always interested you but were somewhat out of reach. Not any more: MOOCs make it possible to study almost every topic online, very often for free.

As my writerly friends may have noticed over time, I’m not the most confident writer and always want to improve and learn. At some time I read so many books about writing that I didn’t have time for writing… err… I’m still short on time, which seems just the right time to look into MOOCs again. So I was browsing  Coursera and found the specialization for Creative Writing. This consists of several courses about writing. It also offers the opportunity to interact with other learners or contact the instructors. While the specialization itself isn’t cheap, it’s possible to audit the course (click on ‘Enroll’ and then on ‘audit’ at the bottom of the window). You can see the lectures, participate in the assignments, and more. Needless to say that I’ve been jumping on it. Maybe some of you are interested, too. Check it out: Specialization: Creative Writing

Edit: Joy Pixley kindly looked up the price for the subscription: it’s 41$ per month (or 49? or maybe different for different courses…)?As I understand it, you pay as long as you take the courses thus the faster you are the cheaper it gets. However, the audits are free (not all specializations offer free audits, that’s why I’m so pleased about this one). I’m planning to audit these courses and will write a bit more about it. I can see the assignments, I’m not sure though if I can participate in them, or in the discussion forums. This isn’t something that bothers me too much, but it might be interesting to know, so I’ll keep you posted.


Struggling With “Whom”, And Now It’s Going Away?

whomeme1While learning a second language, there are often little things that present unexpected barriers to getting it just right.

Who versus Whom is such a thing. When you learn English as a second language at school, you are taught that the object form of ‘who’ is ‘whom’. The proud advanced English learners will use throw their ‘whom’ at whoever is willing to listen. Or was that whomever? No, I don’t think so…

Continue reading “Struggling With “Whom”, And Now It’s Going Away?”

The things I learned last week: German loan words in English

learningEvery language, through its history and evolution, incorporates a multitude of words and phrases from other languages. English, for instant, contains many latin-based words, but also words of french origin, and others. German has many french and latin loan words, too, but especially english terms are abundant, whether their use is the same in German as it is in English, or not, doesn’t really matter.

Modern german words incorporated into the english (or other) languages were not so common in the past, as far as I’m aware. There are words like Angst, Zeitgeist, Kindergarten, and some others that would have been around for a while now, but they are few enough to stand out

I’m always surprised which german words make it into English.  Last week I came across two words I hadn’t even known in German that have obviously been adopted: Drachenfutter and Eigengrau. Neither of them is in our main dictionary. Neither is used widely.

Eigengrau appears to be a psychological term and refers to the intrinsic grey you see in total darkness.  Drachenfutter means dragon food and is used to describe an appeasement gift for an angry female spouse. That’s a slang word, and not too common here. I think Drachenfutter is an awful word and I am not so pleased that it got adopted. Odd, how some words make it, and some don’t. Words are important. They affect our thinking. Calling a wife a dragon is not something I’d want English speaking people to learn from Gemans.