Grammarian

Grammarian Assignment GuideTIMING: Intro – 1 minute, Report – 2 minutes 

AWARD: Clanger of the Night

EDUCATION MATERIALS: The Dictionary

AIM

  • Present a 'Word of the Night' to improve and expand the vocabulary of fellow Toastmasters.
  • Help Toastmasters expand their vocabulary and express themselves clearly and concisely by reporting on good expressive use, and incorrect use, of the English language.
  • To enhance your listening skills

PREPARATION

Select a Word of the Evening for the Toastmasters to use in their assignments.
Pick a word that can be used in daily conversation, but is not commonly used or is different from the way we usually express ourselves.
Write the 'Word of the Night' in big letters on the white board or display a printed copy on the lectern.

ON THE NIGHT

  • Early in the meeting you will be asked to present the 'Word of the Night'. Stand and address the Chairman and Members.
  • Make sure you know the correct spelling; give an example of the correct use of the word in a sentence and encourage members to use it during the meeting.
  • If you have prepared a sign of the word, affix it in a prominent position as a reminder during the meeting.
  • As the meeting progresses, listen and note the following examples in all assignments including the Chairman and speakers:
    • Words/phrases that have impact, create pictures, provide colour, express subtle shades of meaning. Anything in the “I wish I had said that” category – ie. memorable words.
    • Ask “Who said this ………………..” and give a statement for which the speaker is to be identified
    • Any obvious/awkward misuse of the language eg:
      • a new innovation (tautology)- Joe and his Dad was fishing ( Joe & his Dad were …
      • “He set forth on the stream of public life, where he climbed to the peak of success” (mixed metaphors)
      • over-use of cliches (as clear as mud!)
      • mispronunciation of words, slurring of syllables and endings (runnin, comin)

Note everyone who uses the 'Word of the Night' and how many times.
If time, counts the 'ums' and 'ahs' as an added interesting observation

GRAMMARIAN'S REPORT

  • Proceed to the lectern and acknowledge the Chairman and Members.
  • Summarise the use of the 'Word of the Evening' – who used it most successfully and how many times.
  • Select the best examples of the memorable words/phrases – repeat them and compliment those who used them. This encourages us all to be more expressive.
  • Point out any glaring misuse of language or sentences which are confusing or annoying.
  • Offer pointers for improvement.

POINTS TO REMEMBER

  • Don't be pedantic and obsessed over schoolbook grammar – it can destroy creativity and vibrancy in a presentation. Include visitors in praise, not in errors.
  • If you are complimenting, mention the name of the Toastmaster.

If you are pointing out an error, it may not be appropriate to mention the name, especially if a new Toastmaster or one who has difficulty with grammar, is just as effective to preface your report with “Tonight, I heard….” or “one speaker said …….”

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