Peter Whiley Newsletter & E-Bulletin Editor

Welcome, everyone, to yet another edition of IATEFL Poland’s E-Bulletin, your favourite, monthly ELT correspondence. After lockdown, like a brutal crushing of military rule, comes a cold snap of weather, to encourage and enforce the requirement to stay indoors as much as possible. It’s one more burden on us, one more infliction. “What next?” we ask in exasperation. It dampens the spirits, to be sure, but at least we can look forward to St. Valentine’s Day, to raise the mood a little.

This, like all other E-Bulletins, will be light-hearted, and do its best to cheer you up with the latest ELT news.  For a start, Geoff ‘Mr. Humour’ Tranter has contributed yet another whimsical article, this time on the growth of the ‘glish’ factor in languages. Polglish is a shining example; however, Poland is not the only country with its own form of combined native language and English, as you will find out when you read Geoff’s fascinating text.

The Bear Educational Theatre, will provide you with “an offer you can’t refuse”, as Marlon Brando said in the ‘Godfather’. It comes from Prague, but can be digitally implemented! Also, stand-by for news of two IATEFL Poland stalwarts, and their recent exploits, and what to expect from IATEFL’s Webinar Programme for the rest of the month.

You are feeling better, already!

Latest ELT News:

Ola Zaparucha and Alicja Galązka:  What are they up to?


Who is Ola Zaparucha, and what is she up to?  Well, Aleksandra is famous for her CLIL affiliations, and her passion for the environment and a cleaner climate.  An active, Global Issues SIG member, and CLIL presenter at our conferences, and a Geography and English teacher, based in Toruń, she has recently been a major player in an on-line session, titled: ‘Ask Me Anything’.  Appearing as the guest expert speaker for February, she, as the literature suggests, would be open to all questions based around CLIL. Interestingly enough, the hosting organisation, ELT Action, posed the provocative question in their promotional material: ‘are you tired of webinars?’ It has some disturbing implications.

If what they imply is true, it appears to herald the demise of internet remote learning, certainly via webinars, just a few months into their widespread usage. Do they really believe that it is a time to move on, ….already?!

Ola’s session was not a webinar, more of a panel discussion, and this interactive innovation was what was really being promoted, rather than the idea of webinars being attacked.  Who will be an invited expert in the months to come?  It could be you!

Alicja Gałązka is very well-known within IATEFL ranks, and like Ola, a regular presenter at our conferences, not to mention a regular webinar contributor. A SIG Co-ordinator for Psychology and Drama, she will be involved with Pilgrims School, UK, running a mini-course with Mike Shreeve, a NLP practitioner and coach. The sessions will focus on practical strategies to help teacher’s work on their Emotional Quotient (EQ), and thrive in difficult circumstances.  It’s not clear when the course begins, but more details can be acquired from:  https://www.pilgrims.co.uk/page/title=Online+Classes&pid=132



The Bear Educational Theatre, based in Prague, has a special offer for all those wanting to provide a lesson or two with a difference. After several months of coming to terms with on-line Drama presentations, rather than the lie face-to-face ones, and some high expenditure on digital equipment, they have been enjoying a recent resurgence, culminating in a successful tour of France, despite COVID restrictions.

To celebrate their change in fortune, before they embark on a major project in Spring, they are offering any teacher who is willing to host them, digitally, of course, a free session or two, in the first week of March. Yes, a free drama session or two, in the first week of March….1st to the 5th.  Contact David Fisher, asap, at: david@thebeartheatre.com  or telephone him at: (420)- 775592414  ….and arrange a free session and date. Be quick, though, as bookings may have already started.

Live Shows offered:  

‘Jackie & the Giant’ (Beginners…. Age: 4-9)

‘The Alien Grammar School’……. (Pre-Intermediate ….. Age: 10-13)

‘Sherlock Holmes – Two Cases’ ….. (Intermediate……Age: 12-16)

‘1984 vs. Brave New World’ …… (Advanced ………Age: 14-Adult)

Workshops offered:  (can be adapted to suit the age & level of your group)

‘A Guest in Your Classroom’

‘Fun and Games’

‘Meet Another Group’

If you ever wanted to book them, but were unsure, here is your golden opportunity!


Yes, folks, it’s on its way, very soon. Your chance to remind yourselves of some of the outstanding sessions at last year’s Meet-Up, and catch up with IATEFL Poland’s 30th Anniversary celebrations, including a testing quiz, and an interview with a founder member, who is still a major force within the Association.  A big thank-you to those who contributed articles for the Journal. Be patient, everyone, the Journal should be with you by the end of February.

Last month’s E-Bulletin Writing Poser:

I posed a sentence punctuation task (ideal for writing classes), whereby you had to provide two gender answers – one from the boys, and one from the girls. The unpunctuated  sentence I provided was:  Woman without her man is nothing

Answers:  Boys:   Woman without her man, is nothing.

                  Girls:    Woman! Without her, man is nothing! (second exclamation mark isn’t


Yes, folks, commas are vital, sometimes.

Last month’s Mini-Quiz: you were asked to name from a list of IATEFL figures, which ones had been a member for 30 years. 

Answer: 2 people.  Ela Jarosz ( a Founder member) and Danusia Sołtyska, who attended the first IATEFL meeting.


It’s back! The Public Speaking Contest has returned, this time in digital form, and we hope you will support this brave, new venture. Read the article about it on the main website, and see if you can take part in it with your students, in whichever part of Poland you are based. Those students, who win their regional finals, will take part in the on-line session planned for the grand final.  Will on-line speaking be more daunting than face-to-face with an audience?  It might be more difficult, as the students will not see the reactions of their on-line audience. We shall see: but what is definite is the theme: ‘Climate Change – a threat or an opportunity?’  For further details, contact: Anna Rogalewicz-Gałucka at: office@iatefl.org.pl 

‘The Whiley Webinars’:  February programme:

As this E-Bulletin is being prepared, some interesting webinars have already taken place this month. The next one for you to attend will probably be mine on Friday the 19th of February, 20.30-21.30: ‘An A-Z of Quizzes; their uses and value’, which largely speaks for itself, but will involve some analysis. I will present some quiz ideas for class usage and outline key points to note when designing successful sessions. Should be a fun, but educational event. 

On Friday the 26th of February, 20.30-21.30, my wife, Asia, will  present an interactive, fun session, embracing the usage of escape rooms, in connection with Matura preparations. A practical session designed to show you how to incorporate such an exciting method into your teaching. 

***There will be a ‘Non-Whiley’ webinar on Monday the 22nd – one in a series of webinars from Emily Clark, Assistant Language Specialist with the Department of State, and English Language Specialist at the University of Kansas. Emily’s session from 20.30-21.30, will be concerned with: ‘Continued Professional Development: Improving On-line Teaching Skills While Teaching’.


‘Do you speak Greenglish or Ponglish?’

When I saw the word “Greenglish” in a headline in ‘The Guardian’ recently, I thought to myself: Is this another victory for the ‘Fridays for Future’ environmentalists? Is this an attempt to remove all traces of linguistic pollution from our beloved English language? On a content accuracy scale of 0%-100%, I was not completely wrong - perhaps 25% right - since the article turned out to be a report about a Greek academic, Professor Georgios Babiniotis, author of nine dictionaries, who was complaining about the way that young Greeks are, nowadays, corrupting their language by incorporating English words and adopting English-language signage. 

His opposition is based on the fact that Greek is virtually the only language that has been spoken in one and the same geographical region for more than forty centuries, especially as it has continuously been the vehicle of thought for philosophers and playwrights, alike.

Now, it seems, the sanctity of the Greek language is being subjected to the corrosive effect of Anglicisation, in the wake of the pandemic that is sweeping the whole world at the present time. Not having any original Greek words and phrases for “lockdown”, “click-and-collect” or “curfew”, people are having recourse to the use of English terminology, much to the chagrin of Professor Babiniotis. Added to this, is the corruption of the Greek language, caused by immigrants to countries like the United States, Canada, and especially Australia, who have created a language (“Greeklish” or “Grenglish”) that is somewhere between Greek and English. If you are interested in finding out more, just click on https://www.greekboston.com/grenglish-greeklish/.

Such language mixtures have, of course, always been frowned upon, not least by the French, who have traditionally been extremely sensitive to any attempts to infiltrate their holy language with linguistic elements of non-French origin. The introduction of English and anglicised French words into their language, was particularly popular after the Second World War, and not surprisingly, in 1964, the French critic and novelist, René Étemble, denounced the excessive use of such phrases in his well-known book: ‘Parlez-vous Franglais?’ Some years later, under the strong influence of the Institut Français, the guardians of ‘la belle langue française’, the French government attempted to reduce the number of English songs played on French radio to no more than 60% of all music to be broadcast, but to no avail. The younger generation and their favourite disc-jockeys won hands-down!

A similar movement exists in Germany. The German Language Association constantly rails against all examples of what they call “Denglish”, for example the use of anglicisms, such as ‘meeting’ and ‘fake news’. This Association actually awards a yearly prize for the “Anglicism of the Year”; previous winners include ‘blackfacing’ and ‘influencer’.  The use of such words and phrases is especially prelevant in the advertising sector, e.g. ‘Miles and More’, and the German Rail Company is regularly at the forefront when it comes to Denglish, their website offering a wide range of expressions, such as ‘Travelmanagement’, ‘Servicecentre’, ‘City-Ticket’, and ‘Events’. This trend actually produced a rollback on the part of the German Transport Minister, who, according to an internal report, was aghast at seeing the phrase ‘In-House Seminar for Outsourcing’ in a German Rail document.

With all these linguistic trends in mind, I decided, for fun and interest’s sake, to check whether there are actually any similar developments in Polish. And, of course, I was not disappointed, although according to Wikipedia, people still cannot decide whether to call it Polglish, Pinglish, Polilish, Ponglish, or Poglish! Polish immigrants in Britain have apparently created their own special language that combines their native tongue and English. They meet their frendy for a drinkować, and young people tend to mix words or add Polish suffixes to English words, e.g. overtimów (‘overtime’), and w undergroundzie (‘at the underground station’).

However, that’s not the end of the story; apparently, you can now find Spanglish, Finglish, Danglish, and Swenglish, and behind all these portmanteau words for anglicised languages, there is also a more serious issue. Up till the 31st of January, 2020, there were 24 official languages in the EU, and then came BREXIT! Despite BREXIT, English has retained its official status, and is still the main language used for communication within the EU, but there already are voices suggesting that this should no longer be the case; for them, BREXIT apparently means BREXENGLISH!. On the one hand, It is hard to imagine that happening, English being an international lingua franca. On the other hand, if we consider the number of native speakers of the other official languages within the remaining 27 EU countries, English is now restricted to Cyprus, Ireland and Malta, and is, thus, no longer so to speak, (‘population-wise’) in ‘linguistic pole position’. This status is now enjoyed by German (about 100 million people), followed by French (around 80 million), Italian (approximately 60 million), and Spanish (about 45 million people). Interestingly enough, Spanish is closely followed by Polish (over 40 million speakers of the language).

So, if you thought that BREXIT was now “done and dusted”, you might be wrong. The issue of the role of English within the EU, given the sensitivity of French speakers regarding the sacrosanctity of their language, might possibly lead to a shift in the status of Polish within the EU. However, given the grammar, pronunciation, and spelling problems, that even the most ambitious of learners of Polish are confronted with, perhaps Ponglish (or Polglish, Pinglish, Polilish, or Poglish!) may, by default, become an official EU dialect! To quote a member of the Polish diaspora, the chances might be "Half na pół" ("Half-and-half").  

Geoff Tranter.


*****GEOFF’s NEXT WEBINAR:  Wednesday the 3rd of March, 2021….(20.30-21.30).

‘Save lives and money!  Use Commas, Hyphens, and Apostrophes correctly – Background to Teaching Punctuation’.   (An Edu-tainment Webinar)…..

Geoff promises a practical workshop that will show – in a hopefully entertaining way – easy-to-apply, and in many cases, humorous techniques, to combat problems students have with punctuation, by making the materials/exercises relevant and fun!

See the link

****That’s all for February, folks…………hope you enjoy reading this edition of the E-Bulletin, and I’ll see some of you at the webinars.

Peter Whiley (Editor of the E-Bulletins and Post-Conference Journals) newsletter@iatefl.org.pl

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