Archive | May, 2012


29 May

If “O-M-G!” is widely known as an internet acronym for “Oh My God”, it is no exaggeration to say that Malaysia has now successfully upgraded the slang for “O-M-E!” which is an exclamation for “Oh Mak Engkau!” in Malaysian culture to “Oh My English!”.


Oh My English is an educational sitcom comedy launched by Astro which aims to help Malaysians to improve their spoken English. This sitcom presents a unique learning experience dedicated especially to youngsters in order to help them learn and communicate in English in a fun way.


Each episode will explain the correct use of English in terms of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and sentence structure. One of the great things about this sitcom is that it convinces the viewers that it is okay to make mistakes as mistakes are an essential part of the learning process.


Here are some of the most common errors people make when speaking in English:


a) Please “open the fan.”  = “Please switch on the fan.”


b) “Can you borrow me some money?” = “Can you lend me some money?”


c) “Please gostan your car.” = “Please reverse your car.”




“I Have A Dream” by Martin Luther (Analysis)

27 May

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King thrilled America with his momentous speech entitled ‘I Have A Dream’. The speech was dramatically delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. In his speech, he demanded an equal racial justice and an integrated society which was then became a mantra for the black community. He emphasized on some important racial issues which was happening at that time and wanted everyone to know that all people are created equal. He believed that although the issues were not really the case in America, he truly was certain that it could be the case for the future. His speech was so popular and he delivered it passionately and powerfully.

So by using Antconc, we were assigned to do some analysis on the speech made by Martin Luther King and here are the results:

A. Word List

~ In this corpus study, 10 most frequent and most meaningful words (Nouns) have been selected. The results are based from the Word List from AntConc and are listed in order:

  1. freedom – 20 times
  2. Negro – 15 times
  3. ring – 12 times
  4. dream – 11 times
  5. nation – 11 times
  6. satisfied – 6 times
  7. faith – 5 times
  8. white – 5 times
  9. American – 4 times
  10. children – 4 times


B. Concordance

~ Below are 10 phrases highlighted from the speech:

  1. I have a dream
  2. one hundred years
  3. we refuse
  4. satisfied
  5. Now is the time
  6. with this faith
  7. go back
  8. this will be the day
  9. free at last
  10. let freedom to ring

~ In this task, my group was responsible to analyze the frequency, manner, and meaning of the phrase “we refuse”.

i) Frequency

~ Based from Antconc, the phrase “we refuse” was repeated in just two successive sentences.

“But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.”

ii) Manner

~ In “I Have A Dream” speech, Martin Luther used anaphora by repeating these two similar phrases at the beginning of each sentence. This is a commonly used rhetorical device to emphasis the pattern, thus increase the rhetorical effect. The emphasis on the phrase “we refuse” is also another way of repeating the key message, making these two phrase more memorable.

iii) Meaning

~ Martin Luther King believed that they could still obtain freedom, and that things could change. By repeating the phrases “we refuse” twice, he hoped that the black and white people could live peacefully together with equal rights.

Martin Luther King’s Speech (Full Text)

19 May


Aug. 28, 1963

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.


And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!



Source: American Rhetoric

I Have A Dream Speech (Video) by Martin Luther King

19 May








Cartoon from: Enchanted Learning


17 May




  • In linguistics, morphology is the study of word structure. While words are generally accepted as being the smallest units of syntax, it is clear that in most (if not all) languages, words can be related to other words by rules.
  • For example, English speakers recognize that the words dogdogs and dog-catcher are closely related. English speakers recognize these relations by virtue of the unconscious linguistic knowledge they have of the rules of word-formation processes in English. Therefore, these speakers intuit that dog is to dogs just as cat is to cats, or encyclopedia is to encyclopedias; similarly, dog is to dog-catcher as dish is to dishwasher.
  • The rules comprehended by the speaker in each case reflect specific patterns (or regularities) in the way words are formed from smaller units and how those smaller units interact in speech. In this way, morphology is the branch of linguistics that studies such patterns of word-formation across and within languages, and attempts to explicate formal rules reflective of the knowledge of the speakers of those languages.

Source: Citizendium


16 May


*An example of a Syntax Tree*

  • Syntax is a form of grammar.  It is concerned primarily with word order in a sentence and with the agreement of words when they are used together. So it is, in a sense, acting as a kind of ‘police officer’ for the way in which sentences are constructed.
  • English is a language that has a structure known as SVO.  That is subject, verb and object.  The cat (subject) washes (verb) its paw (object).  This is the correct word order and also there is agreement between the words.
  • If there were no agreement within the sentence, it could read, “The cat washes their paw”.  This does not make sense.  The cat may have four paws, but it is only washing one paw.  For there to be agreement, the possessive ‘it’ has to be correct.  Thus “The cats (plural) wash their (plural) paws (plural)”.  This is the correct use of the plural possessive (their).
  • Syntax can seem daunting and it is always difficult initially to understand what a ‘subject’, ‘verb’ or ‘object’ actually is. It can also be difficult to understand whether agreement between the ‘subject’, ‘verb’ or ‘object’ is right or wrong.
  • It is true that syntax can take some time to master, but, once you understand its principles and can apply it without too much effort, then it really is worth the effort, since it will greatly improve your written English.

Source: White Smoke – World-Leading English Learning Software

Nonsensical Semantics

16 May

“Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.”

*Syntactically sound but semantically senseless sentence created by Noam Chomsky.