By Devika Panikar
δάσκαλος (dáskalos) means the teacher in Greek. Devika Panikar has been teaching English Language and Literature since 2006. She is an Assistant Professor with the Directorate of Collegiate Education under the Government of Kerala. She teaches at the Government Colleges coming under this directorate and is now posted at the Department of English, Government College for Women, Thiruvananthapuram. This is a collection of the lecture notes that she prepared by referring to various sources, for her students’ perusal.
Tagore as a Poet
An outstanding poet, a legend of prose and a perfect philosopher – Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore is the greatest of the Indians writing in English. His fine writings which have been popularly described as 'magical poetry and elegant prose', are an impeccable metrical achievement. His fame as a poet in English rests chiefly on Gitanjali, which is a transcreation of the Bengali original, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, making him the first non-European to win the coveted honour.
November 23, 2021
The Song of the Road
Pather Panchali, a vibrant ballad that begins with joy and ends in determination, chronicles the glorious discoveries along the path of everyday life- from spots for secret picnics and the flavour of desserts, to the pleasure of fulfilled dreams and lessons embedded in disappointed hopes. Written by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, the Indian-Bengali author and serialised in the Bengali monthly magazine, Bichitra, in the late 1920s, it came out as a book in 1929, stunning the literary world with its originality. In Bengali, Pather means road and Panchali means folk song. So Pather Panchali is The Song of the Road. It is the story of two children, Durga and Apu, growing up poor in a village otherwise rich with forests, a river, a rail track on the edge and magical yarns.
November 15, 2021
Tragicomedy is a genre that blends elements of both comedy and tragedy. Most often seen in dramatic literature, it can be a tragedy with a happy ending or a tragedy with enough comic relief that the mood of the entire play is improved. Mostly, the characters in tragicomedy are exaggerated, and sometimes there might be a happy ending after a series of unfortunate events. It is incorporated with jokes throughout the story, just to lighten the tone.
September 12, 2021
Comedy is a genre of fiction that is intended to incite laughter and amusement, especially in theatre, television, radio, books, film, stand-up comedy or any other entertainment medium. It dates back to the Ancient Greeks, originating from the comedy literary definition which refers to a medieval story or narrative involving an amusing character that triumphs over poor circumstances, creating comic effects.
August 06, 2021
Exploration into Individuality
Readers of Szymborska’s poetry have often noted its wit, irony, and deceptive simplicity. Her poetry examines domestic details and occasions, playing these against the backdrop of history. Possibilities by Szymborska addresses the topic of human existence. Before discussing Possibilities, one should have an idea about the philosophies discussed in it -Existentialism, Relativism, Humanism, Holism and Reductionism.
July 28, 2021
The tragedy is a classic and effective literary device that has developed over time. From ritualistic portrayals, in ancient Greece of noble or prominent tragic heroes, to modern works featuring a more “common” protagonist meant for individual reflection, tragic literary works express human flaws and the potential cruelty of fate. The tragedy is a literary device signifying a story or drama that presents an admirable or courageous character that confronts powerful forces inside and/or outside of themselves.
May 21, 2021
Basics in Language Learning
Language is a system of communication. A system comprises a set of signs or symbols arranged in a particular pattern and has some meaning. Speech and writing are the two modes of linguistic communication. Language is the fundamental medium on which human culture rests. Language is a part of human behaviour and is an integral part of the human mind.
February 05, 2021
Writing an Agenda
An effective agenda sets clear expectations for what needs to occur before and during a meeting. It helps team members prepare, allocates time wisely, quickly gets everyone on the same topic, and identifies when the discussion is complete. If problems still occur during the meeting, a well-designed agenda increases the team’s ability to effectively and quickly address them.
November 25, 2020
An informal letter also referred to as a friendly letter, is a personal letter written to friends or relatives (Informal letter to a friend). It is written in a personal fashion. You can write it to anyone with whom you have a non-professional relationship, although this doesn't exclude business partners or workers with whom you're friendly either.
November 10, 2020
Letter Writing Tips
The art of writing a letter was considered an important requirement. Here are some tips for writing a good letter.
November 06, 2020
A letter is a written message that can be handwritten or printed on paper. It is usually sent to the recipient via mail or post in an envelope, although this is not a requirement as such. Any such message that is transferred via post is a letter, a written conversation between two parties.
November 03, 2020
Meeting Minutes Writing
Meeting minutes, or MOM (for minutes of the meeting) can be defined as the written record of everything that’s happened during a meeting. They’re used to inform people who didn’t attend the meeting about what happened or to keep track of what was decided during the meeting so that you can revisit it and use it to inform future decisions.
October 30, 2020
Structuring a Report
Reports generally involve presenting your investigation and analysis of information or an issue, recommending actions and making proposals.
October 22, 2020
Types of Reports
Reports are well researched, planned and organized documents that are written for a purpose. A report is written for a specific audience; it must always be accurate and objective. It is a concise document based on research that typically analyses a situation and sometimes makes recommendations.
October 19, 2020
Report writing is an essential skill in many disciplines. A report aims to inform and sometimes to persuade. They should be written as clearly and succinctly as possible, with evidence about a topic, problem or situation. Requirements for the precise form and content of a report will vary between organisation and departments and in the study between courses, from tutor to tutor, as well as between subjects, so it’s worth finding out if there are any specific guidelines before you start.
October 13, 2020
British and American Expressions
There is an old saying that America and Britain are “two nations divided by a common language.” While they are essentially the same, British and American English also differ a great deal, with some words holding completely different meanings depending on which side of the Atlantic you’re on.
October 09, 2020
Every email you write has the same basic structure: Subject line, greeting, email body, and closing. But as with every written form of professional communication, there’s a right way to do it and standards that should be followed.
September 15, 2020
Guidelines to Paragraph Writing
Developing an effective paragraph -a combination of sentences joined cohesively together to further a focused topic -requires seven steps. Emily Layfield outlines these easy steps which will help one write an impeccable piece of writing: plan, gather, order, compose, elaborate, conclude and review. These seven steps apply to each of the four types -descriptive, expository, narrative and persuasive -of paragraphs.
July 28, 2020
A paragraph is a collection of sentences that all relate to one main idea or topic. Good writing in any form has the following characteristics, which is true of well-written paragraphs as well. The four main characteristics: a topic sentence, unity, coherence, and expansion and emphasis.
July 14, 2020
The Structuralist View of Grammar
The beginning of the 20th century was marked by a new approach to grammar suggested by linguists like Ferdinand de Saussure and American linguists such as Franz Boas, Edward Sapir and Leonard Bloomfield. This school of linguistics is called Structuralism. It arose as a reaction against the approach of the traditional grammarians of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
July 13, 2020
The experience of working with the indigenous languages of North America has given a good deal of American linguistic theory its practical character and its sense of urgency. Many of these languages were spoken by very few people and would soon die out. Unless they were recorded and described before this happened, they would become forever inaccessible for investigation. In these circumstances, it is not surprising that American linguists have given considerable attention to the development of what are called 'field methods' -techniques for the recording and analysis of languages which the linguist himself could not speak and which had not previously been committed to writing.
July 08, 2020
Originating from the ancient Greek term paragraphe meaning ‘marked passage’, a paragraph is a group of sentences that introduces, presents, develops and winds up one main idea on a topic. The idea in a paragraph should be one and the different types of structural devices should help it come out clearly. Paragraph writing, as with all other language skills, can be used for functional and creative purposes.
July 07, 2020
Modern Linguisitics: Aims and Attitudes
Linguistics is commonly defined as a science of language. A scientific description is carried out systematically based on objectively verifying observations and within the framework of some general theory appropriate to the data. It is often said that linguistics properly so-called is of relatively recent origin and that the investigation of language as practised In Europe and America before the 19th century was subjective, speculative and unsystematic.
July 06, 2020
Basic Sentence Patterns
A Basic or a Kernel sentence is the simplest form of sentence which is simple (not complex or compound), declarative and affirmative and is in the active voice. Such sentences can be broadly classified into five different patterns. Two of these patterns are Intransitive (using such verbs as they do not take an object) while the other three are Transitive (verbs that take an object).
July 01, 2020
The Writing Process
A simple, lucid style of writing is often the product of long years of practice in using the language in the written context of various kinds. The writing process involves a series of stages. Essentially a written text requires planning, drafting, revising, editing and proofreading. These crucial phases in the writing process can be divided into four essential steps. Pre-writing (Planning) Writing Revision Editing and Proofreading
June 30, 2020
The syntax is the grammar, structure, or order of the elements in a language statement. (Semantics is the meaning of these elements.) Syntax applies to computer languages as well as to natural languages. Usually, we think of syntax as "word order." However, the syntax is also achieved in some languages such as Latin by inflectional case endings.
June 03, 2020