To my high school daughter, Mercy! good luck on the SAT today! Muah!
Exams and I have a fair degree of history together. From that fateful first day in third year when I waited anxiously outside a gym hall to sit my Standard Grade English, to desperately scouring the labyrinth that is Glasgow Uni, trying to find my Honours English Literature exams, or waiting in the rain outside the OTC building, trying not to get run over by passing cars as rain splashed onto my notepad, exams and I have gone through hell and back together.
And they’re a funny thing, exams. Subject to much controversy too, especially in recent years with the dominance of technology over almost all other forms of learning and examination (who hands in a handwritten essay these days? is it even allowed?). Exams suddenly seem awfully old-fashioned. Individual (wobbly) desks, ink spilling everywhere, people writing with fury in an echoey hall. It seems a strange idea, to sit…
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Taboo words and expressions are usually among the first things second-language learners want to learn—a fact not lost on sign language instructors like Barry Priori (first introduced to Strong Language in a Sweary Links roundup), who ran “swearing workshops” at the Adelaide Fringe Festival to boost awareness of Australian Sign Language (Auslan). Swearing in sign language is incredibly nuanced and is about much more than learning a simple handshape or gesture. Get it wrong, and you might alienate an entire community, as Kristin Henson found out.
Henson hosted videos on the popular YouTube channel Dirty Signs with Kristin in which she taught her interpretations for signs representing profanity or crude phrases in pop culture, including skullfuck,cunt punt and twat waffle. Her notoriety landed her a book deal, but members of the Deaf community launched a petition urging the publisher to drop the book because…
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