Below is the link to my expanded Notes from a lecture delivered in Pushkin Library Lecture Hall, Minsk, Belarus, on Wednesday 9 September 2015.
I did not give the lecture or write those Notes for my benefit. It was a lot of work and it gives little to me personally. I hope they enhance your understanding and love of English and the personal freedom which can come from that. In general, I focus on the English and Russian languages as reflecting different constructions of reality. This project turned out to be much more interesting than I expected. (Actually, the Notes are a little book! 🙂
I do not want to shock, upset, offend, or convert anyone. My aim is much more humble: To multiply freedom by sharing ideas that are relevant / useful / interesting / humorous / important. However, I do not think 1,000 people should be denied something they want (and would benefit from) simply to avoid upsetting a few people who have distorted imaginations, eg, about sex.
The following warning is a courtesy to give each individual freedom to choose
The Notes contain a few ‘Germanic’ references to sexual matters that are relevant to language and our understanding of it. However, if you are a person who is disgusted by sex or who suffers from sexual hang-ups, you will certainly misinterpret what I have written. That is your problem and I hope that one day you will develop healthy attitudes and be free. But the rest of us should not be denied a deeper understanding of life and language, just to keep you secure in your prison.
I DID NOT WRITE THE NOTES FOR YOU AND YOU SHOULD NOT READ THEM.
So be courteous and do not open the linked file.
How can anyone learn a language if they exclude a central aspect of life by avoiding all sexual references? What great literature can they read? Certainly, they must avoid the Bible with its direct and explicit references to sexual behaviour, whereas my Notes only refer to sex indirectly in relation to language.
Because people can choose ‘not to read’ the Notes, I can write some things in them that might be unfair to say in a lecture where people cannot so easily choose ‘not to hear’.
I am not talking about people who are quietly shy and reserved about sexual matters, but who are happy to have these topics discussed in a reasonable way, including with humour. Some of those people genuinely want to overcome their awkward shyness – but they do not want to go to an opposite extreme where sex loses its profound mystery and poetry. Enlightenment comes with a balanced attitude and probably those shy people will welcome my Notes.
Remember, there have been many unbalanced regimes in history where even music has been forbidden as degrading, disgusting and obscene, or as a distraction from the important things in life. Under such regimes I would not dare mention music or sex, as I have done throughout the Notes :)) If you have that warped attitude to music, you also, should not read the Notes – because although music is not as central a part of our life and languages as sex, I will not exclude all music references from my Notes, either.
You can easily inform others about this website: yakubakolasa.wordpress.com (through email, facebook, skype, etc). That name honours Yakuba Kolasa, a great Belarusian writer/poet (1882-1956). I welcome your comments and I am open to revise the Notes in the light of them. (Ideally, read the latest version online because one Revision has already occurred). Tell me if you prefer your comments to be private. Otherwise they might be published later as part of discussion.
Enjoy reading!! 🙂