Monday, May 31, 2010

Improving the Quality of Writing

Many bloggers try to earn something writing the advertising posts in their blogs. I blog from 2006 and began to write that articles from 2007, I think. I don't know about those bloggers that earn hundreds of thousands with their blogs (except those known "gurus" that, probably, really do it). Most bloggers I know have only "pizza-money". If they have them.

One day you finally understand, it's not the right way to work. It's a slave job. And nothing depends on you. It's lack of respect for yourself, if you work so much and sell your efforts for zero, practically.

Thinking about it, I began to look for other applications of what I know to do. And I know only write.

English is not my mother-tongue, I never participated on special writing courses and never use English out of my blogs. So, I never would think about more or less professional writing in English. But in the last period I received some assignments from UK, and these companies wanted correct English.

Beginning to write with more attention to the language, I discovered different bad habits I acquired, writing without taking care about the purity of the language. Here they are:

1 I've never corrected spelling in my posts, comments, mails.

I write very well Russian (normally, it's an exception of the rule -most persons in all countries write with errors :-) ) and when I read any written text with errors in Russian, I feel bad. Why I never thought that other persons can have the same feelings towards English?

There are different reasons we have spelling errors. The fingers touch an other key or do not press them good, the keyboard does not work or we are distracted by our thoughts... It's so simple to use Gmail Documents where there are different Tools (Spelling/ Word count/ Word definition etc -all these in different languages that you can choose). I don't like writing there, they, Documents, are not very comfortable in use, but it's simple to paste there the text for controls after finished it.

2 Very scanty number of words I use normally in my written English.

If you take any dictionary and look at the fist page, you will find the number of words this dictionary contains. Here I have a little English-Italian dictionary with 120 000 words, as example. Nobody uses so many words in the normal life conversations.

From the time I was a student I remember that a 6-7 year old child uses about 3000 to 7 000 words. The genius of Russian Literature, A.S. Pushkin, used 21 290 words in his works. I wanted to know, what about English. A very interesting article in AskOxford (Facts about the language) gives this number:
If we decide that around 90-95% of the corpus gives a reasonable idea of an average vocabulary, we are left with a figure somewhere in the range of 7,000-50,000 lemmas: say, 25,000.What does a vocabulary of this size represent? It represents the set of most significant words in English: those which occur reasonably frequently and which account for all but a small part of everything we may encounter in speech or writing. It includes all the words that we actively use in general everyday life.
It's probably true for the most used words generally. Not the number of the words one person uses.

Our lives are very repetitive, researchers say. We do always the same things, visit always the same places using the same itineraries, say always the same words. One of the writers describes a person, Elochka Cannibal, that used only 10 words to explain everything she needed in her life. "Guy!!! Cooool!!!!" with different tone had different significations. In confront of English I feel myself similar to that Elochka, from time to time.

To solve this problem, I have a special system.
Because I need contemporary spoken language, reading books is not very fortunate decision (even if this is always indispensable). Some teachers advise to read newsletters and magazines, but the journalist's language is not "alive". This exercise is good if you have not other sources. A really great solution today are blogs. It's enough to find persons which language you like.

I adore to read Perry Marshall's and Hope Clark's newsletters. I read them with a pen in the hand and a notebook where I write all their "pearls". I have some other interesting newsletters. The treasures I collect in my notebook I try than to use in my articles.

3 Grammar is a tragedy of my blog posts.

Well, what can I add here? Grammar is the main point. You can't explain your thoughts correctly if you don't compose your phrases in the right way. And this is not the worse side. The worse is that the readers do not understand the thoughts you want to explain. To prove it, I post here an example I found today, reading grammar rules:
You should not ride motorcycles that are dangerous. ( it restricts which motorcycles (only the dangerous ones) should be avoided)
You should not ride motorcycles, which are dangerous. ( according to this sentence, all motorcycles are dangerous and should not be ridden.)
What a difference a comma can make! (Writing Center)
Looking for good free English lessons I found these sources:
The 25 Absolute Best Web Resources for Writers
JenniferESL and bizpod in YouTube.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What would happen to Medusa today

Photo from: Gian Lorenzo Bernini ai Musei capitolini (Wikipedia)

You surely know this story from Greek mythology. This female monster was guilty to turn to stones everybody who looked at her. After hero Perseus beheaded her, Athena placed that head on her shield.

Poor Medusa had probably bad life because could not have friends and had to live always alone. But what is worse, she could even not die.
Near them their sisters three, the Gorgons, winged
With snakes for hair— hated of mortal man—
лысая«лысая» на Яндекс.Фотках

This story I wanted to remember you because I found a photo with an interesting explanation of what it is. The modern interpretation of the antique myth. Here you can see what did Medusa with her hears (according to the author of the article I read and where I found the photos):

Горгона постриглась.

For those who did not understand the joke (there was just written here: it's "HUMOR")I repeat my answer to one of the readers:

It's a joke. It wants to say, this joke: "If Medusa woud live today, she would not suffer her bad destiny, she would not live without friends probably. She woud cut her hairs and wear special glasses. And she could live among all other persons and have a normal life".

The real myth you can read in hundreds of books and in hundreds of sites. Why had I to repeat it in my blog once more?

Cherries Don't Wait For Good Weather

It's raining. All the days. Every day. The rains are very very strong. It is unpossible to go out. The spring passes without that someone notices it.

But the cherries do not cure about the rain. They are ready to be picked up. There are not stinking beetles, the birds do not come to eat cherries in the morning. They are clean and beautiful. They are fresh and splendid. The miracle of the nature.

By the way, this year they are sweet. Year ago it was unpossible to eat them because they were too acid. But this year they are very very sweet.
I have to do something from them this year. If I'll be able to pick them up...




Friday, May 14, 2010

This Blog Will Thrill You

New but just very interesting and covering all the themes of everyday life is the blog. I began to read it and was really delighted. I'll tell you about some of the articles and am sure you will instantly visit it to enjoy reading.

The first article that attracted my attention was about the chocolate facial mask. Surprised? I was too. What do we know about chocolate? It's very healthy and sweet foodstuff. Well, if we eat it without running to extremes. The author discusses the other quality of this product. It's capacity to improve the state of the skin. I thought: there are so many natural remedies to cure our look. Why do we use synthetic creams running the risk to have allergy?

I found different posts about psychology. We often are afraid to make necessary passes to save relations with other persons. In this blog there is an article offering, for example, solutions when we have to apologize to somebody. And what do you think about the categories of habits?

There are many interesting opinion articles. They speak about esthetic surgeries and telepathy, about ambitions and phobias. It seems, the themes are too complicate but the language is easy to understand for everybody.

Somebody will be afraid of the word , however. Many persons associate it with the negative sides of the life. You are not right. This blog, as declared, is about a diversity of topics. You won't regret spending your time there.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Why They Do Not Want To Forget?

One article that I read a day ago had this title: We will never forget! It was abut the Second World War. I read the article and thought: it's not right behaviour. It's better, if we forget such terrible events and live in peace and love. The person is not guilty if one of the members of his/her family was fashist. etc etc.

Today I saw this photo posted by one of my blogger-friends.
I changed the opinion.
We have never forget it.

other photos:

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A Story about an Appearance of S.Fortunato to a Salernitan Man

These last days I'm very busy with the discovering of the medieval history of Salerno. It is not because I do it to study but because I speak with persons or read dedicated articles and ask questions about what I read or heard. To answer such a question I have to open everything available. And it is practically nothing of available, I have to claim.

The most interesting for me are the stories of the persons. There are legends, there are fables, there are common points about this period. And there are real stories that are much more interesting, and tragic, and legendary, and fabulous than any legend, fable, story, Hollywood creation etc.

Among them are the stories of the local Saints. SS. Fortunato, Gaio and Ante for Salerno, for instance. I paid attention to this story by accident, exploring the arms of the noble families and archbishops of Salerno. But I had some photos and so, decided to tell you this story today.

Салерно, кафедральный собор

This photo is not very good but it contains important elements. This is the chapel of the Saints in the crypt of S. Mathew of the Salernitan Dom.

The personal stories of the Saints are not clear (I was not able to find something, at lest). It's known only, they were tortured near the wall of Salerno (in my post), where a church was built than, that contained reliquiaes of the Saints (actually in a special place fenced by sticks on the photo) and the column (first on the left) on (?) which the Saints were decapitated.

Because the church was outside the wall it was not protected, and Saracens wanted to loot it in 871-872. There was the leader of the siege, emir, there too that died with his men in that moment for the collaps of the church. And Salerno was saved.

The other story is about a Salernitan man. In the same period (871-2) S. Fortunato appeared to this man and said him he has to go to the prince and to convince him to make a sortie against Saracens. The sally was successful. If we think that the sieges normally finished when the leader was dead, probably this sortie happend before the collaps of the church.

I had some doubts: how could a simple man come to the prince and convince him to make a sortie, it seems interesting to me, specially if who knows who comes and says: I've seen a Saint telling me to do this or that, but local history is full of similar legends. And -!!!-residents continue to revere them.

Finally, a better photo of the same chapel.

Салерно, кафедральный собор

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