Thoughts on ELT, English and whatever else comes into my head
This is a post I’m trying to make as SEO unfriendly as possible. I don’t want the Google spiders to pick up my keywords at all.
Because my keywords are: s*x and er*tica, maybe even p*rn. And in ELT those things don’t, indeed mustn’t, exist.
In ELT the characters in our materials live in a perpetual state of g*nital free, Brady Brunch worthy scenarios set in Victorian England. Same s*x people don’t couple up but can live together, opposite s*x people can couple up but not live together (unless married). Babies are delivered by the ELT stork and no-one ever displays any flesh apart from lower legs, forearms and faces.
In the real world s*x sells. We all know this. We all know our students live in it but the publishers insist on another version of reality. One where Fifty Shades of Grey is not the fastest selling book in history (in multiple languages), the TV shows Big Brother and Baywatch are not two of the most popular ever worldwide, Game of Thrones is not one of the most downloaded shows ever and Miley Cyrus didn’t start selling more records after she s*xed her act up.
In fact the UK and USA are some of the more puritan TV markets. Latin America (a huge ELT market) is well known for its much raunchier versions of shows like Strictly Come Dancing where Argentinian celeb contestants and their partners have stripped completely during their routine. Portugal has a cable news show where the newsreader strips off.
In Britain’s Big Brother it took five series before someone had s*x on screen (although there was a bulge in Tom’s red shorts after a massage from Melanie in series 1). In America, four series. The American male contestant threw up after the encounter, so perhaps he remembered he was in The States and not other racier countries where there’s so much b*nking going on, it’s a wonder they find time to go to the Diary room and bitch about each other.
Could it be that puritanical UK and US publishers, coupled with a few conservative markets are dictating the tastes of 1.5 billion English learners worldwide? Is it time for a Graded Reader of Fifty Shades?
While the rights for Fifty Shades are well beyond the budget of an educational publisher, I do have a project in mind to test my theory. The eagle-eyed among you might have noticed I have another Twitter account and Feb 13, 2014 sees the release of my er*tic Choose Your Own Adventure novel, F*llow Your F*ntasy, with a division of the same publisher my ELT Speaking Skills book comes out with in May.
So, I’m going to ask my publishers for the rights to turn it into a Graded Reader and make it my summer project.
Whose idea was that?
Not only does the Choose Your Own format suit language learners, the topic is apparently of almost universal appeal. There’ll be a bit of (hard) core vocab to gloss and I’ll have to cut 42,000 words down to about 8,000.
The simple solution to the potential offence caused to language learners, aka real people, is the same as with music and film: A classification system that marks content as explicit or not suitable for certain age groups.
Whether to illustrate or not, that’s another question.