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 Post subject: Miss Denny's language tuition
PostPosted: 04 Oct 2017, 16:51 
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How many languages does Miss Denny teach and how many girls are mentioned as attending tutoring with her? Joan Baker takes Spanish language exams and as Spanish isn't taught in class at the CS I'm guessing that she has been tutored by Miss Denny. If this is the case, I'm quite surprised that Miss Denny has a knowledge of Spanish and where she got it from!


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 Post subject: Re: Miss Denny's language tuition
PostPosted: 04 Oct 2017, 17:07 
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She teaches German and Italian, and I think she might teach Russian as well. And she teaches handicrafts. The woman is a genius!

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 Post subject: Re: Miss Denny's language tuition
PostPosted: 04 Oct 2017, 18:04 
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Yes, and takes some of the music/ piano lessons (e g as in Exploits and Carola)!

In Jo Returns she's said to teach modern languages with the exception of French (German, Italian and Russian are all mentioned) so I would think she must have been the one who taught Jo Spanish, too (mentioned in New House, IIRC). She must surely have been one of those people that one hears of who can pick up almost any language easily and can speak dozens of them fluently.


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 Post subject: Re: Miss Denny's language tuition
PostPosted: 04 Oct 2017, 19:06 
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Off topic but linked to the languages aspect: I am always amazed that it is Jeanne L. and Julie B., the two Frenchwomen, who teach Latin (and Greek?). Certainly we did many translations to and from English. Did the pupils have to translate into the language of the day? Poor them and hats off to Jeanne and Julie for managing this!

To bring this back on topic: Hats off to Miss Denny too. I agree with Alison, definitely a genius!


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 Post subject: Re: Miss Denny's language tuition
PostPosted: 04 Oct 2017, 22:54 
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I suppose the Dennys might have travelled and lived in Germany and Italy before they came to the CS, Tristan studying music and Sarah languages. They seem to have had enough money to live on without needing to work and no roots or permanent home anywhere.


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 Post subject: Re: Miss Denny's language tuition
PostPosted: 05 Oct 2017, 01:37 
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I have her down as having taught Italian, German, Spanish, Russian, plus junior piano, some junior geography, history and grammar, plus handicrafts. At one point in Tyrol she's described as teaching "all modern languages but French". She's also a form mistress at one point.

But in Excitements, she's also described as being away for all or part of a term to care for her brother at various points, so she teaches a significant fraction of the language courses, but also vanishes randomly for most of a term!

I can see things like Italian, Spanish and Russian being offered as small class electives to senior girls, when they reach the specialization point and start dropping other courses. In Carola, they mention that about 10 girls take Spanish, and Eilunedd is adding Spanish in special sixth in Peggy.

Thinking about it, I don't remember seeing many references to elective courses for non sixth form girls. When I was in junior high school (from age 12-16), we had core courses (English, math, science, social studies, PE, a language), and a couple of slots for electives (band, art, typing, shop, home-ec, drama, etc.) But at the CS, everyone seems to take everything, with some options for extra music or art lessons, or playing on a school team. Other electives seem to apply only to sixth form girls (with the occasional dud or musical genius dropping science earlier), when they have extra languages, a secretarial course, and extensive private tutoring.

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 Post subject: Re: Miss Denny's language tuition
PostPosted: 05 Oct 2017, 06:30 
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Jo is represented as having an aptitude for language - she remembers the French and German that's she's already learnt, she picks up Hindustani from hearing it spoken around her, she tries to learn Russian from Captain Humphries et cetera et cetera... She has some Italian.

We know where Jo picks up her languages - travel. She know German and French from visits prior to "School at". Madge knows Italian - presumably for the same reason. I don't see why Miss Denny should not have picked up languages in the same way.

To me, Miss Denny looks like a typical intelligent-woman-before-the-days-when-the-education-of-woman-was-taken-seriously.
For eample, every middle class (and striver) would have learnt the piano as a child (remember that, in the early CS era, teaching was still a matter of being slightly ahead of the pupil and much music "teaching" would have been standard "practise your scales and struggle through a piece without too many mistakes").

The "one page ahead method" could be applied to everything else she teaches too.

Whilst we know little of the Dennys' past, it's conceivable that she did , as many woman at that time did when they needed money, work as a governess. We see Margot Venables work as a piano teacher, cashing-in on her middle-class education. (There's a later suggestion that Carla's middle-class education at the CS was something she could parlay into a better job that waiting on tables)
The things Miss Denny does for the CS are silmilar to the things a governess might do plus languages but they are not otherwise out-of-the-ordinary.

It should be be remembered that Madge has no qualifications (and teaches "English" subjects -grammar, hostory, geography - before that becomes a science - and I would bet she supervised some piano practices as well) and Mademoiselle Lapattre WAS a governess previously.

Miss Denny only seems odd because the CS rapidly starts to have specialist teachers (even though that may just they limit the subjects that they teach) and Miss Denny continues in a very generalist role.

Of course, that might well have been that her brother's health meant she could not take on long -term commitments so was always stuck with picking-up the teaching others did not want.


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 Post subject: Re: Miss Denny's language tuition
PostPosted: 05 Oct 2017, 11:13 
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If you already know Italian (as Miss Denny did), then Spanish should be very easy to learn.

I studied Italian (for fun!) after studying Spanish (O level), French and Latin (both A level). I found it quite easy, though slightly confusing in the early stages. The fact that the Romance languages are so closely related helps a lot.

Some of my friends thought I was slightly mad to study a language just for fun, but I really enjoyed it. Each to his (or her) own.

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 Post subject: Re: Miss Denny's language tuition
PostPosted: 05 Oct 2017, 12:00 
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I also studied Italian for fun :D, after doing French and Spanish to GCSE level and Latin to A-level. I have been known to come out with a Spanish word when I'm in Italy or an Italian word when I'm in Spain, and then I tried to learn a bit of Portuguese for Portugal and Brazil and ended up getting everything gloriously muddled, but at least I try! The Romance languages are very closely related, as Cal said.

Most of the subjects Miss Denny teaches were traditional female "accomplishments". Mr Bingley says something in Pride and Prejudice about how young ladies are all so accomplished because they can play the piano, make screens and table covers and speak foreign languages (whereupon Mr Darcy very rudely says that most young ladies aren't accomplished at all :lol:). And it's mentioned that Marie and Paula both learn Italian at their parents' request, even though they're below the age limit - possibly because it would have been considered an accomplishment for upper-class girls, even well after Austria had lost its Italian-speaking territories?

She is very multi-talented, though :D .

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 Post subject: Re: Miss Denny's language tuition
PostPosted: 06 Oct 2017, 13:04 
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Alison H wrote:
I also studied Italian for fun :D, after doing French and Spanish to GCSE level and Latin to A-level. I have been known to come out with a Spanish word when I'm in Italy or an Italian word when I'm in Spain, and then I tried to learn a bit of Portuguese for Portugal and Brazil and ended up getting everything gloriously muddled, but at least I try! The Romance languages are very closely related, as Cal said.

Most of the subjects Miss Denny teaches were traditional female "accomplishments". Mr Bingley says something in Pride and Prejudice about how young ladies are all so accomplished because they can play the piano, make screens and table covers and speak foreign languages (whereupon Mr Darcy very rudely says that most young ladies aren't accomplished at all :lol:). And it's mentioned that Marie and Paula both learn Italian at their parents' request, even though they're below the age limit - possibly because it would have been considered an accomplishment for upper-class girls, even well after Austria had lost its Italian-speaking territories?

She is very multi-talented, though :D .


I remember translating (informally into their ear!) for someone at a conference
in Spain, where the main speaker was Portuguese (which is very easy for Spanish speakers). What she said was being translated into Spanish by someone on the platform and I was translating it into English for a friend, who didn't know much Spanish. After a while, I wasn't sure whether I was translating the Spanish or the Portuguese, but I don't suppose it matters, so long as it was reasonably accurate!

I know both Spaniards and Portuguese people who claim not to be able to understand each other's languages, but I think that's a matter of national pride, as much as anything.

On a visit to Galicia (NW Spain) I once had a conversation with a lady who was speaking Gallego (the regional language, which is closer to Portuguese). I spoke to her in standard Spanish and we had no problems understanding each other.

Many years ago, when i had recently graduated, I had a visit from a friend who spoke the same languages as me. Half of our conversation was made up of a mixture of the languages we had in common. Very strange perhaps, but sometimes the English (or Spanish, French or any other language) word doesn't convey the same shade of meaning as its counterpart in another language.

ETA Perhaps Italian was considered desirable for upper-class Austrian girls, in the same way as French was for the Russian aristocracy. Although in the latter case, French was the language of the Russian court in the 19th century.

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 Post subject: Re: Miss Denny's language tuition
PostPosted: 06 Oct 2017, 14:49 
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cal562301 wrote:
....After a while, I wasn't sure whether I was translating the Spanish or the Portuguese, but I don't suppose it matters, so long as it was reasonably accurate!

.....Many years ago, when i had recently graduated, I had a visit from a friend who spoke the same languages as me. Half of our conversation was made up of a mixture of the languages we had in common. Very strange perhaps, but sometimes the English (or Spanish, French or any other language) word doesn't convey the same shade of meaning as its counterpart in another language.

The mixing up of languages, and sometimes not knowing which language one is speaking, is very familiar to me. Also finding that one particular language can express a thought or feeling far better than another.

We used to holiday with a Dutch-German couple whose small children were bilingual, ours weren't but my ex-husband and I were both fluent German speakers. The children could all communicate in some way, and we used to get very strange looks, particularly in England, as we walked around in a large, trilingual group not caring which language any one of us spoke to any other.

When I leave the Czech Republic and stop off at German/Czech friends en route home, I really often have no idea within a sentence which of the two languages is going to emerge, or which one I am speaking. If I move from Czech to English, or German to English and vice versa, I know what I am doing. That doesn't apply with the two foreign languages and seems to be a new phenomenon as my Czech has improved almost to the level of my German.

I am constantly fascinated with where language is filed in the brain and how it functions.

I have no problem in believing that Miss Denny could be in control of several languages. I have met a fair number of people like that in my life.

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 Post subject: Re: Miss Denny's language tuition
PostPosted: 07 Oct 2017, 01:18 
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Second languages definitely seem to have a different place in the brain that first languages. I have trouble using any (admittedly poor) French these days, because one word in five comes out in Chinese, and I don't know which one it's going to be.

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 Post subject: Re: Miss Denny's language tuition
PostPosted: 07 Oct 2017, 12:35 
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When I first went to Spain, people who knew I had studied Russian occasionally asked me to say something in that language, presumably because of the novelty value.

I had no problem doing so. What confused them (and me!) was my apparent inability to switch from Russian to Spanish, even though we had been happily conversing in the language. After saying a sentence in Russian, my next words would inevitably come out in English, rather than Spanish. The only reasons I can think of why that might happen is that Spanish was near the top of my brain, whereas Russian and English were more deeply embedded. And of course I had studied Russian using English, not Spanish.

To bring this vaguely back on topic, I sometimes wonder how the CS girls (or even staff!) coped with speaking the three languages when they were tired or ill (especially those whose first language was something else)? I remember that even after several years of living in Spain, if I was really tired or unwell, I sometimes struggled to formulate a sentence in English, never mind Spanish.

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 Post subject: Re: Miss Denny's language tuition
PostPosted: 07 Oct 2017, 13:02 
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cal562301 wrote:

To bring this vaguely back on topic, I sometimes wonder how the CS girls (or even staff!) coped with speaking the three languages when they were tired or ill (especially those whose first language was something else)? I remember that even after several years of living in Spain, if I was really tired or unwell, I sometimes struggled to formulate a sentence in English, never mind Spanish.

Sadly, realistically I think they probably got in much the same tangle that those of us who speak more than two languages do. The mother tongue presumably sits elsewhere in the brain (that sounds truly weird!) with later acquired languages going elsewhere.

Tiredness/illness will certainly affect one's ability to access the right words

And if those additional languages are at much the same competence level, I think switching becomes quite tricky, or they intrude on each other. I imagine there is some research on this somewhere. I must do a bit of digging. I know there is stuff about second language loss in people with dementia.

But I think EBD's was rather more of a fantasy than I like to believe!

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 Post subject: Re: Miss Denny's language tuition
PostPosted: 07 Oct 2017, 15:07 
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cestina wrote:
And if those additional languages are at much the same competence level, I think switching becomes quite tricky, or they intrude on each other. I imagine there is some research on this somewhere. I must do a bit of digging. I know there is stuff about second language loss in people with dementia.


Oh dear - that last sentence that had never occurred to me before - help!
I'd be interested in any links you dig out! This is especially because within the last year or so I've noticed that I have started sentences in the "wrong" language (French/German) to my conversation partner. My brain thinks, "Not English speaker, talk in foreign language" but forgets which one is the approriate! Previously I had no problem at separating them although I have always mixed Italian and Spanish (lower level of competency).

And to bring this back on topic, I agree it must have been very tiring for new pupils at the CS but I think they would have learned to cope.
Yes, definitely an EBD fantasy but it was one which seems to inspired many of us on this site to learn languages!


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 Post subject: Re: Miss Denny's language tuition
PostPosted: 07 Oct 2017, 22:13 
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cestina wrote:
Quote:

I know there is stuff about second language loss in people with dementia.
Quote:


I can't give you chapter or verse on that, Cestina, but I know it's an established situation in dementia. In her last two or three years of life my grandmother, who suffered dementia after several strokes, could only communicate in Yiddish. She died in 1953, but I still remember none of her grandchildren being able to understand her - I'm not entirely sure how many of her children did, either, or, even if they could understand the gist of what she was saying, were unable to respond in Yiddish.


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 Post subject: Re: Miss Denny's language tuition
PostPosted: 08 Oct 2017, 09:58 
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Elder in Ontario wrote:
cestina wrote:
Quote:

I know there is stuff about second language loss in people with dementia.
Quote:


I can't give you chapter or verse on that, Cestina, but I know it's an established situation in dementia. In her last two or three years of life my grandmother, who suffered dementia after several strokes, could only communicate in Yiddish. She died in 1953, but I still remember none of her grandchildren being able to understand her - I'm not entirely sure how many of her children did, either, or, even if they could understand the gist of what she was saying, were unable to respond in Yiddish.

That is so very sad Elder. A bad situation made even worse.

Yes, I have come something similar with an elderly Polish man who had lived in England for over fifty years. He was in an old people's home and had completely lost his English. Fortunately there are now a fair number of people in the UK, not least in care work, that could chat to him.

But in the case of another friend, a German in England for over half a century, it was the English he retained longer.

There is a lot on-line about trilingualism and I am slowly making my way through some of it. I have to keep stopping to go back to basic linguistics so I can understand what it going on. I think I need to find an on-line course, preferably a free one, in that.....

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 Post subject: Re: Miss Denny's language tuition
PostPosted: 08 Oct 2017, 10:24 
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cestina wrote:
Elder in Ontario wrote:
cestina wrote:
Quote:

I know there is stuff about second language loss in people with dementia.
Quote:


I can't give you chapter or verse on that, Cestina, but I know it's an established situation in dementia. In her last two or three years of life my grandmother, who suffered dementia after several strokes, could only communicate in Yiddish. She died in 1953, but I still remember none of her grandchildren being able to understand her - I'm not entirely sure how many of her children did, either, or, even if they could understand the gist of what she was saying, were unable to respond in Yiddish.

That is so very sad Elder. A bad situation made even worse.

Yes, I have come something similar with an elderly Polish man who had lived in England for over fifty years. He was in an old people's home and had completely lost his English. Fortunately there are now a fair number of people in the UK, not least in care work, that could chat to him.

But in the case of another friend, a German in England for over half a century, it was the English he retained longer.

There is a lot on-line about trilingualism and I am slowly making my way through some of it. I have to keep stopping to go back to basic linguistics so I can understand what it going on. I think I need to find an on-line course, preferably a free one, in that.....


I have worked in nursing homes for 5 years when I was at Uni and all the people who had English as there second language reverted back to their birth language as their dementia progressed. We made sure the families taught the nurses the basic words, so we could ask about pain, toilet and food and I know a couple of nursing homes tried to employ people who spoke the language, so the residents wouldn't feel so lost. But it does happen and I think it's more common than not. I have never met someone with dementia who didn't revert back to their birth language and never or rarely spoke languages they had learnt in their lifetime.

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 Post subject: Re: Miss Denny's language tuition
PostPosted: 08 Oct 2017, 11:27 
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Not dementia, but a friend of ours who lived in the west country had a heart attack and was in a semi-conscious state. The hospital staff were worried that he'd suffered brain damage, but his wife was able to reassure them that he was speaking Dutch, which was his first language.

He'd lived in England for over fifty years at that point, and as well as being bilingual in Dutch and English also spoke fluent Flemish, French and German, with a certain amount of Russian and Italian. What I always thought unusual about him was that his brain kept all the different languages separate, and he could switch from one to another easily, as he had to do at any gathering of his extended family in Europe. I admired this the more because when I was in the sixth form at my grammar school, I was in a languages form (which also included a native Dutch speaker) and I'm afraid we all spoke polyglot! And sometimes found ourselves fetching up words in the wrong language for a particular lesson, perhaps because of it.

Surely sometimes the British CS girls would have inserted the odd word in French on a German day, say, or tried to get away with any other language they might speak, on the grounds that at least it wasn't English?


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 Post subject: Re: Miss Denny's language tuition
PostPosted: 09 Oct 2017, 10:06 
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I've been re-reading Challenge, in which Va have Sous Les Toits as their "translation book". I assume this means that they had to translate it from French into English. That seems like a standard kind of thing to do at an English-speaking school in the 1950s, but it doesn't fit with my idea of a trilingual school. Did they have English "translation books" which they had to translate into French? And what about German - did they have to translate from French into German and German into French, or just to and from English? By this stage, the school is genuinely multinational again, and native English speakers are in the minority in Lower IV (Jocelyn Marvell's form), so was English taught in the same way that French and German were taught? The school always has teachers who teach French and German, but the teachers who take English lessons seem to be teaching English language and literature as they would be taught in a standard school in, say, Armiford, rather than teaching English as a language - what would now be called "English for speakers of other languages".

I hope that makes sense :lol:.

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