English Today: Keeping up your English

Every language changes as the world evolves. Some more quickly than others. As the lingua franca of our era, English is morphing continually as it rapidly expands. How can anyone possibly keep up with the latest rules, trends and usage?
Join us to hear how a few native English speakers in Finland try to maintain their language proficiency, despite restricted exposure. Together we’ll discuss how people working with English professionally can keep their language awareness up to date. Our speakers for the day will touch on their own personal strategies for language retention, and explore the way English is changing in communications and politics.

The third-annual English Today seminar features four presentations followed by a light buffet. We hope that you can stay and be a part of the intriguing discussion afterwards. Everyone’s tips and comments are welcome!

We ask that attendees pay a fee for the seminar to cover the cost of the refreshments and the seminar. Tickets for members of Finnbrit and NEaT are priced at 40 euros, and for others 50 euros. Please register for the seminar by 3 March. REGISTER HERE.
English Today is organized by the Finnish British Society and Nordic Editors and Translators, an association organized to educate and provide a sense of community to people working with the English language in Finland.

English Today
March 10
3 pm until 6:30 pm, light buffet to follow

Carol Norris:  “Retaining English for three decades in Finland” Presentation including a question and answer period

After pre-medical and English degrees and seven years of tertiary-level teaching in the US, Carol Norris (Ph.D.) established the University of Helsinki’s first English-language research-writing course in 1985, and still teaches it, now for medical scientists. She also author-edits their writing. Many lose idiomatic English after decades here; perpetual immersion—and weak Finnish—can prevent this.

15:45 Break

Pamela Kaskinen: “US English beats its bum rap: The decline of British English as the language standard”
Minnesota native Pamela Kaskinen came to Finland on a Fulbright grant in 1990 and stayed to study towards her Master’s degree at the University of Helsinki. After 15 years of freelance translating from Finnish into English, she set up her own company pamelan käännös tmi in 2008. She passed the authorized translator exam in 2013 and now works part-time as a broadcast journalist for the Finnish public broadcaster Yle, in addition to her own translation and editing work. Most recently, she was co-translator of Martti Ahtisaari’s biography “The Mediator”.  Her translation of the news from Finland into English at Yle has given her some interesting insights into what kind of language is most effective in communications.

Jukka Tyrkkö “‘A man who can be provoked by a tweet’: Social media and the language of 21st-century politics”

Jukka Tyrkkö (PhD, Doc) currently works at Linnaeus University in Växjö, Sweden, as a Visiting Professor of English Linguistics. His interests include the distributional properties of lexis and phraseology, discourse studies, and the languages of politics and digital media. In this talk he will focus on the role of social media, particularly Twitter, in the discourses of post-truth politics. Drawing on the complete Twitter streams of various current politicians for evidence, he will discuss what makes Twitter such an attractive communicative medium for politicians and how deceptively random tweet storms helped one businessman become the most powerful man on Earth.

17:30 Break

Nely Keinänen: “How (not) to keep up your English” Presentation, including a group discussion

Born and raised in the US, Nely Keinänen (Ph.D.) moved to Finland in 1993, and soon began teaching English literature and translation from Finnish into English at the University of Helsinki. About ten years ago, she translated her first play, and has since then translated over twenty Finnish plays into English, with performances in the UK and USA. Nely has noticed that the more she learns Finnish the quicker she forgets English, and has devised various and sundry ways to try to keep her English up to date. None of these are all that earth-shattering, so working together in the presentation, Nely and the audience will brainstorm even better solutions to the age-old problem any editor or translator faces—how to keep up with a language changing miles away from where you’re currently living.

Light buffet and networking time

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