Being Grammarian is an exercise in improving your listening skills.
You have three basic responsibilities:
- to comment on the positive and negative uses of English during the meeting;
- to introduce a new word and explain the correct use of it;
- to count the use of ‘crutches’ such as ‘um’ and ‘err’. (Sometimes this role is performed by a separate Ah Counter.)
All of these are designed to help your fellow members improve their use of language.
Before the meeting:
- Select a ‘Word of the Day’. It should be a word that will help members increase their vocabulary and one that can be incorporated easily into everyday conversation, but is different from the way people usually express themselves. Adjectives and adverbs are more adaptable than nouns or verbs, but feel free to select your own special word. If you know the theme for the meeting, use this to help you select your word.
- In letters large enough to be seen from the back of the room, print your word on a sheet of paper that can be displayed. You can also include its part of speech (adjective, adverb, noun, etc.) and a brief definition.
- Prepare a few sentences to explain the meaning of the word and how it is used.
- Prepare a brief explanation of the duties of the Grammarian for the benefit of the guests.
- Add the word of the day to the agenda on easy-Speak. (located under the venue on the left hand side of the screen)
- Explain the role of the Grammarian.
- Announce your ‘Word of the Day’, state its part of speech, define it, use it in a sentence and encourage members to use it.
- Display your sheet of paper with the word somewhere prominent so that it can be seen throughout the meeting.
During the meeting:
- Listen to everyone’s word usage. Write down any particularly good uses of language and your reason for selection. Write down any awkward use or misuse of the language – for example: incomplete sentences, sentences that change direction in mid-stream, incorrect grammar etc. Note the speakers concerned.
- Write down who used the ‘Word of the Day’ (or a derivative of it) and note those who used it correctly or incorrectly.
- Count the number of times that each person speaking used ‘um’, ‘err’ or other crutches or pause fillers while speaking. Listen for words such as ‘and’, ‘well’, ‘but’, ‘so’ or ‘you know’. Make a note of which speaker use which particular fillers and how often.
- Report on what you thought was good and bad language usage and your reasons for selection.
- Offer the correct usage in every instance where there was a misuse instead of only explaining what was wrong.
- Announce who used the ‘Word of the Day’ (or a derivative of it) correctly or incorrectly.
- Report on crutch or filler words.