Posts Tagged ‘vocabulary’

In the HSC English syllabus, whenever the word “belonging” is used, the opposite – “not belonging” – is implied. Many students are aware of this and do their best to explore both sides of the idea. Unfortunately this too often results in awkward phrases and clunky responses. Here are some words to help.

Belonging is an abstract verb, it is an idea. One feels a SENSE of belonging; one does not feel belonging.

It is possible to feel a connection, to feel kinship, to share a sense of place, of culture, to share experiences. People can also feel accepted, integrated, close, a sense of fellow feeling or fellowship, a rapport. All of these are aspects of belonging.

There are many antonyms for belonging. Try to avoid the phrase “not belonging”.

People who are pushed to the edges of society are “marginalised”. People who are excluded from society and denied rights are “disenfranchised”. People who are forced to be alone are “isolated” or just “lonely”. People who choose to be alone prefer “solitude”. Those who are disconnected from their place, their family, their culture or society are experiencing “alienation” (this one could be also be a pun if you’re working with a science fiction text). “Ostracism” is when an individual is consciously excluded by a group.

Ask yourself which aspects and which words work for your texts and theses. If you have more ideas which you are willing to share, please comment.

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A colleague of mine recently mentioned that, in the race to meet a billion outcomes, we had perhaps lost some of our love of and fun with language. One of my teaching resolutions for 2009 is to spend more time on activities that inspire a love of our crazy language. Here’s an interesting start:

This is what happens when you put the complete works of Shakespeare into Wordle. It generates a cloud of the most common words, size indicating frequency. I think this would be a great tool for creating vocabulary lists that are a bit more interesting and a bit less listy.

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