What the bloody hell are they playing at now?

I used to work in a very international, but U.K. based based in which I was the old born Brit amongst other Europeans and people from both the Near and the Far East.

For a joke, my Italian boss sent us a link to an online English language test. I scored the lowest of the entire team as I was taught English in the 1970s and I didn’t know any of the fanciful grammatical terms that the test used.

“Past participle” my ****…

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No, your **** would be a noun with a possessive, not a past participle :slight_smile:


I know what you mean though - I was also taught English in the 1970’s and the fashion was very much against including anything in the way of formal grammar. In fact the French teacher often complained loudly that we knew none of our native tongue’s grammar so he had to teach us that first.

When I was taught English rather embarassingly earlier that you two, they did include grammatical terms but I can’t say that I know what they are know. My French teacher completely floored me by talking about gerunds…

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The government finally gets around to doing what was blindingly obviously the right thing to have done from the start. Maybe they couldn’t get a focus group together fast enough.

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:rofl: it was the same in Oz in the 80’s we didn’t get ‘taught’ grammar. I must admit all the terminology was a bit of a brain stress when I was doing my TEFL certificate! and that was with having nursing and midwifery degrees both with high distinctions and Dean’s awards! If based on that I’m not thick… but gerunds etc hooley dooley :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

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My (formerly South African) wife who before we married didn’t have a route to obtaining an EU passport, passed the Britishness test with flying colours (85%+ needed, but she’s a very studious Afrikaner with an MA from an anglophone university).

However, having read the aspects of Britishness on which one is expected to be au fait, I found it ridiculous, British art and culture don’t really feature - instead there are multiple choice questions on what percentage of the UK’s population are Sikhs, or whatever. OH was disappointed not to encounter any mention of Jane Austen or the Brontes (tho’ admittedly I thought that was OK :smile:)

Certainly, most Brits of whatever educational level and political persuasion would fail the Britishness test.


My hubby had to do quite a lot of study of the little book when he got his Aussie citizenship! It also cost us over AUD2000 and we’d been married maybe 10 years and and 2 kids at that point! Thank god they’d taken out most of the cricket questions.

This is why I think that being taught Latin for 8 years, to the point I could read ‘Caesar’s Gallic Wars’ [J. Caesar] as you can read this, was a valuable linguistic resource.

Here’s a handy gerund for you " "Nunc est bibendum ". So saying, I’m going to have a slurp.


“In vino veritas.”

All I can remember from my Latin books was that the cook was clearly quite amoureuse with the slave girl in the gardens! Cambridge I think.

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They made me learn Latin (failed). The excuse was that it would also teach us English.

Apart from Amo/amas/amat of course, all I can remember from Latin was:

Down in a deep dark dell sat an old cow munching a beanstalk (which apparently is an example of a dactylic hexameter)

While in the mud nearby wallowed a litter of pigs (which apparently is an example of a pentameter)

All of this much more memorable than Caesar Gallic Wars Book 5.

“ Romani ite domum!”


Caesar is marvellous even if a bit if a show-off, (here’s a problem.Ta daaa!! Caesar fixes it) Livy is great, Suetonius is a hoot. Tacitus is a bit heavy going.
Not a Roman but a fascinating insight into history, the memoirs of the Duc de Saint Simon, wonderful.

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I was taught both Latin and French at the age of 6. I can’t remember Latin except for Amo, amas, etc. I could, however remember French and that has stood me in good stead when we came to France. amazing how you remember stuff from so long ago.

As for the way the UK is run now, I haven’t been back since 2011 and have absolutely no intention of returning, even for a short visit, unless Nicola gets Scottish independence in which case it will be a short step to EU membership again. My dad was born in Stornoway and will be spinning in his grave right now.

I was touched that in the middle of the pandemic, a lady came round and gave I and my wife a packet each containing Apple jiuce, biscuits, chocolate and soap. All from the Mairie. Wouldn’t happen in the UK. (The chickens loved the biscuits).


Many of my friends in the UK who for one reason or another were shielding received weekly free food parcels for the first few months from their local councils, and then assistance with getting shopping…as you can imagine asking the British to volunteer released an army of people willing to help.

Those in the Educ dept in that period and responsible for the curriculum in state schools should be named and shamed. Kids learning to read by the immersion/emersion method - similar to osmosis I think. Shocking.

Sounds like the they think the teeth of the Brits is past help and that they don’t wash enough. :laughing:

But we two got a hamper each at Christmas with a bottle of wine and various local and non-local delicacies in them. Pity she can’t, and I therefore mustn’t, drink alcohol and pate de fois gras is way too rich for us, quite beside the disapproval of its production. :frowning_face:

I too was taught Latin at school in the 50s, but apart from the still commonly used phrases, caveat emptor etc., why is amo amas amat ammamus amatis amant all that I retain? And possibly wrongly spelt however. :roll_eyes:

But the main inheritance from that is extreme pedantry, it almost hurts my ears and eyes to hear and see bad grammar and punctuation. Also the encroachment by American spelling on British English speakers/writers who think it is the right way to do it.

Anyone for ‘spelled’? :laughing:

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They’re probably all dead by now as most of them were in their 40s and 50s when I was under their care 40 odd years ago.