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Acting President's Message
For some time now, many Rotarians have been convinced that their children and grandchildren are in fact communicating in a different language to the one we have been taught and used since school days. On Monday night, it was confirmed that this is indeed the case…. and confirmed by an expert in the English language and an educator who works with “the Like Generation.”
Our Guest Speaker was Michelle Maglitto, a middle and senior school teacher of English, History and English Language at Methodist Ladies College… she is a colleague of Annette Gitz at MLC and we are very grateful to Annette and Bill Granger for inviting such an articulate, intelligent and entertaining speaker to address our Club. Michelle started her teaching career in England in two comprehensive schools. Following this, she taught English to international students and locals in England, Sweden and then in Melbourne. After teaching at language centres in Melbourne, she returned to the secondary sector and taught at Marcellin College and then at MLC. She is a presenter on VCE English Language Unit 3 and 4 for Engage Education. Michelle is currently working towards her Doctorate of Education at Melbourne University. She is indeed a most intelligent and interesting young professional and also a keen traveler and dilettante.
Michelle treated our very engaged audience to her explanation of “Teenspeak” and “the Like Generation”. She also explained other mysteries including why many teens have to put every boring mundane everyday activity of their lives on Facebook and Twitter…. quite simply it is because they need validation and affirmation of who they are…. “I have 200 friends on Facebook and so many followers”.
Language does of course vary according to age, gender and nationality but Teenspeak is all about conformity and inclusion. Michelle called upon Ja’mie King (aka Chris Lilley) to demonstrate this point in an amusing but close to the bone video from the TV show. She later played another absolute classic clip on the current usage of grammar in the English language… it was quick and brilliant and the link is included by Max later in this Bulletin for those like me who want to see it again and pick up on the many gems we missed.
The Like Generation are also often seen as the Me Generation and regarded as totally self centred and shallow… they are often aged 13 to 18, use Americanisms and upward inflections… Oh My God, did I say that… how awesome! Here are a few you probably don’t recognize… cheezin (smiling), Wambulance (exhausted I think), moo (bored), my bad (my fault)… and many more. Using these terms immediately includes the user in the “In Group” with a sense of belonging and exclusion of others. It is the same with texting where terms are now part of our language… LTM (laugh to myself), ROTFLUTS (roll on the floor laughing unable to speak), NINKU (no I’m not kidding you). It is also about power and authority and a way to be rebellious and reject the mainstream. Not a lot different to what earlier generations have done with language in a time of less sophisticated technology. Come to think of it, not much different to a group of Rotarians talking largely in acronyms and titles as they often tend to do.
Nevertheless, our generation is often critical of the Like Generation and pine for the day when English will be correctly used again…. we are prescriptivists, a technical word meaning boring old farts. Michelle did however have some good news for the critics. As these expressions get picked up and used by the older generation (and like this is happening like a lot), the Teens will drop it and move on to something else with new expressions. It is therefore incumbent upon all of us to immediately use Teenspeak to accelerate this process.
A wonderfully entertaining and interesting presentation from a very likeable and intelligent young woman… thank you Michelle and also Annette. I might also say it was also extremely well chaired by our own Lili-Ann who nodded wisely and knowingly many times during Michelle’s presentation.
On Monday we were also pleased to again welcome Matt Millar, a previous visitor to our Club and a local Canterbury resident recently returned after two years in London. We all hope he comes again and becomes a regular visitor and a member.
Finally, there is a notice elsewhere in this Bulletin about the Servants Book Launch at Xavier College. This is one of our Club’s strong Community involvements and this one also has relevance to Sue Clifford as one of her students is one of the journalists in this book (Melbourne Girls College). This event is free and I hope we may have some members go along to support the launch.
Next week, our Philippines team will be back, exhausted but no doubt exhilarated…. we look forward to seeing them and hearing the success stories.
Acting President John McCaskill