Yesterday was the sixth lecture, during which we tempered with our works, accents and humour. Lecture started with conversations about our Independent Working Modules. We were reorganised once again in groups of four persons each. When my turn came, I explained my teammates about being concentrated mainly on Korean studies, but also mentioned the TED-podcast of Jason Pontin about the possibilities of technology solving the major issues due to an urge to have some diversity instead of concentrating just to history of Korea. If I do recall correctly, every person in the group I belonged were reading articles instead of one book. I had also read a book which I mentioned in one of my earlier blog postings, but due to the shortness of the said book I have been reading articles as well to compensate the shortness of the book. The book was approximately 120 pages and every article I have read this far approximately 20 pages each, thus a few more articles and I am going to be quite satisfied with my work. Though it will take some time to find adequate amount of material to dig on, but I have found this far quite well of them, I hope everyone else will also find texts relevant for them. To my surprise, after a brief conversation we returned to my subject, the Korea. I noticed my teammates found the topic rather interesting and were quite willing to ask a few questions about it, but I also hope that I wasn’t too pushy about it and not dominating the conversation too much.
Digging into the different accents was quite informative. We were shown a few clips from YouTube concerning to the topic, concentrating on the key elements how do the accents form. Apparently there are some thumb rules to recognise how the different letters and combinations of them are pronounced in different accents. It was quite funny as well due to the tongue-twister examples of the maker. We were also introduced to a BBC’s own accent learning page (I realise I have to dig deeper into the site although how complex it is, for I wasn’t familiar with the category up to the point the lecturer introduced it to us) with examples of different accents. We were also shown a video from YouTube concerning English spoken clumsily in thick Finnish accent, also known as “rally English”, the point of the video was that maker was doing it on purpose. The video made us all burst into laughter, but the lecturer had very good point to make: the video, no matter how ridiculous, is a source of understanding the key elements of pronunciation, how the different letters are pronounced introduces us to unfamiliar accent, thus allowing us to understand them. After all, as the lecturer pointed out, English is a lingua franca at the moment, so we shouldn’t be too picky on the accents or demand the others to speak as we do.
When it comes to the humour, we were shown from YouTube a few videos of English humour and one of Stephen Fry comparing differences between English and American humour. Fry summed it up quite well: Americans refuse to see themselves in a bad light when English love the parody of misery and failure, American protagonists are superior compared the rest of the people when English protagonists are more like the ones always losing, ergo the difference is that in English humour the characters are lovable and more identifiable compared to American ones. After the video we had a group discussion whether Finnish humour is closer to English or American, the result with our group summed up that it is closer to English: Finnish characters are quite often lovable losers who are trying to survive through. However, we agreed there are certainly some differences between English and Finnish humours: the Finnish one is darker and more melancholic, characters might be caricatures of types of personalities and the humour itself can be quite a lot more absurd in Finnish comedy.
Well, this is it for this period, the next week will be a gap week during which we have no lectures. As a final task before going to enjoy, we were given a task to write a few sentences about our feelings and thoughts concerning the Independent Working Module, as well as the expectations of the following period and our aims to the following half of the course. I stated I do acknowledge I have to improve my scientific writing as well as my grammar, but I did not mention how hopeful I actually feel about it: after all, I have been on the schedule and I assume I can keep up with the pace…