Tricky Words in this week's OVI
Staff and stuff. In addition to presenting vocabulary and grammar in the best way for students to learn them, English teachers also need to help students find the keys, or the "mental hooks", which
enable them to remember the correct usage of tricky items in the language. These keys are quite individual - what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for someone else - because people
have different associations of words in their memories.
Sometimes a different approach to tricky items can help, for example focusing on short and long vowels (samohlásky) in short words. Staff is pronounced with an extra-long Slovak /ááá/, whereas
stuff sounds like a short Slovak /a/. Practise saying /stáááf/ and then /staf/. Then look for your associations - how about staff and "personááál" (being what it means, luckily)? Then stuff is
something else, something solid or liquid, maybe good, maybe bad, but it should be another word with a short sound - it's up to you to choose.
There's no particular well-known holiday or festival for me to write about this week, but there are a couple of "red-letter days" due to the Maturita exams (all the best to the students who have
been doing them!). On the other hand, the seasons are changing, and I expect everyone can sense spring coming in the air.
The word "spring" has several meanings, mainly "jar", "žriedlo", "výskok" and "pružina", but all of them are derived from the same idea of something suddenly coming up or out, such as new plants
out of the ground or blossom out of tree branches, or fresh water out of a hole in the ground, or the way little lambs or kids (baby sheep or goats) jump up off the ground, or a spiral of metal or
plastic jumps back after being compressed. These are mostly pleasantly surprising things, and surely worth celebrating.