INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S CAMP IN BANSKO (7/14 days with English lessons)

The Times in English for Children

English language is evolving, at a slow but steady pace. This is because of society progressing at a slow and steady pace too. Languages, not just English evolve, so does Bulgarian, with new technology and new inventions, new words are created all the time.

Children listen to a presentation in English | Lucky Kids

Another reason for change is that no two people have had exactly the same language experience or even life experience. We all know a slightly different set of words and constructions, depending on our age, job, education level, region of the country, and so on. We pick up new words and phrases from all the different people we talk to, and these combine to make something new and unlike any other person’s particular way of speaking. At the same time, various groups in society use language as a way of marking their group identity; showing who is and isn’t a member of the group.

Many of the changes that occur in language begin with teens and young adults. As young people interact with others of their own age group, their language grows to include words and phrases, and constructions that are different from those of the older generations. Some have a short life span (heard the word ‘groovy lately?), but others stick around to affect the language as a whole or in the long term.

We get new words from many different places. We borrow them from other languages (Café from France, Sushi from China, Tsar from Bulgaria), and we create them by shortening longer words (gym from gymnasium), or by combining words (brunch from breakfast and lunch). Sometimes we even create a new word by mistake by the saying the correct word incorrectly, like how the word pea was created. Four hundred years ago, the word ‘pease’ was used to refer to either a single pea or a bunch of them, but over time, people assumed that pease was a plural form, for which pea must be the singular. Therefore, a new word, pea, was born.

English language today

English in the twenty first century is very different though, teenagers that use technology on a daily basis have a bigger vocabulary than say my parent’s generation who saw the first computer in their forties. They have so many slang words now, even when talking to my niece I often ask her what she means. This is normal for the youngsters of today.

Children from the LuckyKids camp | Lucky Kids

In English though as a general rule we have two English languages; the spoken form and then we have ‘Queens English’, Queens English is what is grammatically correct and used for writing and speaking formally, then we have our own spoken language.

In the United Kingdom every city has its own language, so to speak; only Cockneys (People from London) would say ‘Lend us a Lady Godiva, will ya?’, Lady Godiva is London slang for five pounds. Where I am from it is a ‘Fiver’. This is common in most languages across Europe and the globe now. In the United Kingdom we know where someone is from just by the way they speak, whether they are Scottish or from the south or from Birmingham.

LuckyKids English Teachers

Children who study or go to LuckyKids to learn English and have fun, experience more than just speaking English. They learn a lot about our culture as LuckyKids is an English camp with lots of different teachers from different parts of the world, English teachers, to Scottish teachers, to South African or even Australian teachers.

Children play during karaoke | Lucky Kids

Having different teachers who all speak the same language but differently is the best form for children to experience and learn to speak correctly, so they don’t just learn the grammar, they learn to speak and pronounce the words correctly as we do naturally. They also learn a bigger vocabulary.

English Grammar is the correct form of writing structure and speaking, but isn’t necessarily the correct way to speak or communicate, as the language has changed a lot since the grammar rules were made. Some of the rules are several hundred years old, for example; ‘I was asked to thoroughly water the garden.’ Is incorrect grammatically according to some grammarists because of the split infinitive, but we do actually say this and it is correct in spoken terms; although some teachers or grammarists would disagree.

English teachers have a difficult job keeping up with the english language and teenagers of today, but that keeps the ‘teachers on their toes’ so to speak. Any good teacher will continuously strive to understand the language better and keep up with the modern terms and phrases.  LuckyKids teachers, most work as professional english teachers at private schools in Sofia or in surrounding areas and now most teachers of English teach interactively also.

Modern technology is advancing at a fast pace, teachers now use interactive boards in most public schools in the United Kingdom and some students in some schools only use computers or Tablets, they do very little actual writing. There are lots of debates whether this is right or wrong, but it seems to be working as the results are getting better for students who study at these schools. LuckyKids also teaches interactively for most groups, except the beginners group or lower level groups who obviously couldn’t understand computer instructions in English (children are also taught computer skills).

Children and animator in Rila Monastery | Lucky Kids

English is only spoken at LuckyKids for several reasons, one reason is that the teachers are English natives and most, if any don’t speak Bulgarian or very little anyway. The main reason is to give the children or students more listening and speaking practice as much as possible, students are then submerged in the language for or during of the camp, and this gives them the upper edge in learning.

Translating is an important part of learning any language as that is how we learn words and phrases in the early stages of acquiring the english language of study. Being at LuckyKids gives the older students good practice in this skill, as they have to do this for younger, weaker students of the language.

Written by Neil Waters

English Coordinator LuckyKids

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