Incredible Machines

April 18, 2006

Nice contraptions. Click here to watch them.


April 15, 2006

Hola a todo el mundo.

Me gustan los idiomas y también escribir. Por este motivo, uso este blog para publicar las entradas en español. Utilizo también los otros blogs para publicar las entradas en otros idiomas.

En todo caso, bienvenido a mi blog y a esta primera entrada.

Things to Consider When Writing the World Literature (WL) Assignments

April 14, 2006

Things to consider when writing WL Assignments:


1. Aspect(s)
2. Approach(es)
3. Structure(s)
4. Character(s)
5. Theme(s)
6. Linguistics feature(s)
7. Dramatic technique(s)
8. Historical context
9. Social context

that may be of help when assessing and comparing the texts.

Things you need to do now:

1. Choose a topic area and narrow it down
2. Devise a title for your paper
3. Produce an outline (you may want to post it here in this thread so others might give feedbacks/comments)
4. Read closely and attentively the criteria descriptors in the A1 English syllabus and keep them in mind as you write!

Analysing Fiction Checklist

April 12, 2006

1. Vocabulary
-choice of individual words
-various registers

2. Grammar
-relationship of words in sentences e.g. -use of adjectives for description -verbs to denote action -switching between tenses (present, past, and future)
-any <span style="font-style: italic;">unusual</span> combination of words or phrases to create special effects

3. Syntax
-arrangement and logical coherence of words in a sentence
-possibilities for re-arrangement are often used for emphasis or dramatic effect

4. Figures of Speech
-rhetorical devices used to give decorative and imagive expression to literature
e.g. -simile

5. Literary Devices
-used to give added depth to a work
e.g. -imagery
-point of view

6. Tone
-author's attitude to the subject as revealed in the style and manner of the writing
e.g. -serious

7. Narrator
-person telling the story
-maybe the author
-omniscient or
-or a fictional character telling the story
-there may be multiple narrators
-make a clear distinction between author, narrator, and character

8. Narrative Mode
-either first person singular or third person singular

9. Narrative
-history of events, characters, or whatever the narrator wishes to relate to the reader

10. Characterisation
-physical appearance
-psychological characteristics
-direct speech
-opinions of the narrator or other characters
-etc. things that the author uses to characterise his characters

11. Point of View
-the literary strategy by which an author presents the events of a narrative from the perspective of a particular person
-maybe consistent or maybe not
-do not mistake point of view for opinion

12. Structure
-planned underlying framework of a work
-relationships between its parts in terms of arrangement or construction

13. Theme
-underlying topic/issue
-it should be possible to express theme in a single word or phrase
e.g. -death
-coming of age

14. Genre
-literary category of style
e.g. -short story
-we become aware of genre through cultural experience
e.g. -in detective stories, murder mysteries are solved
-we can surmise what sort of things may happen if we know the genre

15. Cultural Context
-culture/historical context and circumstances under which the work was produced

Source: Analysing Fiction: A Checklist of Literary Terms.

Japanese Innovations–Dancing Robots

April 12, 2006

See here.

Close Reading: The Essentials

April 12, 2006

Four Levels/Types of Close Reading:

-features that make up a writer's styleSemantic
-deeper level of what words mean
-what they denote and connote
-what information they yield

-possible relationships between words within the text
-structure: linear, thematic, etc.

-relationships of any elements of the text to things outside it
-social or cultural history
-philosophy or psychology

Four Phrases/Stages of Close Reading:

Linguistic reading
-largely descriptive
-noting what is in the text and
-naming its parts for possible use in the next stages of reading

Semantic reading
-understanding what the words tells us
– both at a surface and
– implicit level.

Structural reading
-assessing, examining, and judging a large number of items from within the text in their relationships to each other.

Cultural reading
-offering judgements on the work in its general relationship to a large body of cultural material outside it.

The Checklist for Close Reading:

Close reading – ChecklistGrammar
The relationships of the words in sentences

The author's choice of individual words

Figures of speech
The rhetorical devices used to give decoration and imaginative expression to literature, such as simile or metaphor

Literary devices
The devices commonly used in literature to give added depth to the work, such as imagery or symbolism

The author's attitude to the subject as revealed in the manner of the writing

The author's particular choice and combination of all these features of writing which creates a recognisable and distinctive manner of writing.


Source: What is Close Reading.

Notes on How to Study a Novel

April 12, 2006

1. Method
-deep and attentive reader
-reading, then re-reading
-active engagement with the book
-taking notes

2. Approach
-read novel quickly to get an idea of the storyline
-read it again more slowly
-take notes

3. Make Notes
-some written in book (highlighting details, etc.)
-others on seperate pages or notebook (summaries of evidence, collections of observations, page references for study topics or quotations, etc.)

4. Notes in the Book
-use pencil
-brief note saying 'why' or 'how' something is interesting

5. Separate Notes
-chronology of events
-major themes
-stylistic features
-narrative strategies

6. Characters
-relationships to other characters
-any special features of main characters

7. Chronology of Events
-summary of each chapter
-chronology of what happens
-general plot

8. Major themes
-think about themes
-look for references
-effects of themes

9. Stylistic Features
-choice of vocabulary
-imagery and metaphors
-shifts in tone and register
-use of irony and humour

10. Quotations
-support for arguments
-pages of quotations
-record page number and a brief description of the subject


The above is condensed notes from this How to Study a Novel guidance notes.

Laputa: Castle in the Sky & Spirited Away

April 11, 2006

I watched two animes by Miyazaki, namely Laputa: Castle in the Sky and Spirited Away. The latter is, I think, slightly better than the former, both in terms of animation and storyline.

In Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Pazu and Sheeta, who are both orphans, try to discover the truth of Laputa, the lengendary floating castle. The government's army and Muska, a mysterious man who claims to be the government's secret agent, continue pursuing the two kids. 'Dola gang', a group of pirates, wants to steal Sheeta's hereditary aetherium chrystal. Eventually, Pazu and Sheeta join the 'Dola gang' and are on their way to find Laputa. It turns out in the end that both Muska and Sheeta are royal members of the Laputian kingdom. Despite of this, Muska attempts to use Sheeta's aetherium chrystal to gain control of Laputa. He fails miserably because Pazu and Sheeta altogether chant the 'spell of destruction' which Sheeta's grandmother taught her. The whole castle collapses as a result of this spell, and Muska falls to the ocean. The government's army has been destroyed earlier by Muska's Laputian army (because he for a brief moment gained control of everything in Laputa). The 'Dola gang', however, survives and, whilst escaping from the collapsing castle, does not forget to steal some of the treasures from Laputa. Pazu and Sheeta, too, escape from the place and that is the end of the movie…

In Spirted Away, a girl named Chihiro and her parents intrude an abandoned town without knowing that human beings are not welcome there. They find some food, and whilst her parents eat the food mercilessly, Chihiro does not dare to out of fear. She wanders around the town and met a boy called Haku, who immediately tells Chihiro to run away before the sun sets. It is too late, however, and Chihiro has no way of escaping the haunted town. Fortunately, Haku helps the girl and tells her to go seek Kamaji, who will introduce her to the sorceress Yubaba who rules that haunted world. The sorceress, after being annoyed by Chihiro's persistence to work, gives her a work contract, makes her sign it, and then tells her that her new name will from now on be 'Sen'. (This is how she controls people, i.e. changing their names). During her time working at the town, she helps a 'River God', who has been thought to be a 'Stink God', clean up his 'polluted body' and, as a result, temporarily gains Yubaba's trust. But she also brings into the town a danger: No Face, who is a mysterious ghost who seems to like Sen. No Face eats people to get bigger and bigger until Sen feeds it with half a piece of herbal cake that makes it throw up all the people that it has eaten. It then follows Sen to travel by train to the house of Zeniba, who is the twin sister of Yubaba. (She has to come here because he thinks Haku is seriously weakened by Zeniba's spell after his attempting to steal Zeniba's precious stone to fulfill Yubaba's order). It turns out that Yubaba is a nice sorceress and Haku has already recovered. Haku then flies to the house of Zeniba, who says that she does not blame Haku anymore. On the way home, Sen tells Haku that she remembers her falling into a river when she was younger, that he is that river, and that his real name is 'Nigihayami Kohaku Nushi'. As said before, the sorceress Yubaba controls people in her world by changing their names. When a person remembers his real name, he will be free. Haku is, therefore, free. When they arrive at the town, Yubaba has been waiting for them. She asks Sen to guess who her parents are (who, curiously, have been turned into pigs) and promises that if Sen guesses right, she and her parents are free to return to the human world. Sen guesses that none of the pigs afore her are her parents and what a lucky girl! She is right. Yubaba has to release her and her parents. Sen (or we can call her by her real name, which is Chihiro, because she is free) says farewell to Haku. The two promise that they will see each other again. Curiously, her parents do not seem to remember that they have been turned into pigs. The story ends just as Chihiro and her parents go back home.

I would strongly recommend these two movies, if you are interested in fantasy 'thinking outside the box' kind of anime. Enjoy!

Finalement, le 28ème Carnaval des Philosophes a été publié

April 10, 2006

Vous pouvez cliquer ici pour prendre plaisir à lire le 28ème Carnaval des Philosophes!

J’espère que je ne vous ai pas fait attendre trop longtemps. Merci pour votre patience.

Hoan Nghênh!

April 9, 2006

Hoan nghênh quý vị đã đến với Hàn Lâm Đại Học Viện, một nơi dành riêng cho việc xuất bản những bài văn, tập thơ, triết luận, vân vân.

Khi nào rãnh rổi tôi sẽ cập nhật Đại Học Viện. Kính mong quý vị quay trở lại để cùng thưởng thức văn hay, thơ tốt.

Xin tạm thời cáo biệt.