Sitcom Philosophy

One of television's lasting legacies is that work of art known as the sitcom. Art? Plain folks may laugh during the funny bits, but smart people like critics are quick to condemn sitcoms as "junk food for the brain."

Close study of sitcoms reveals, however, that they are shaped by a clear set of rules with an aesthetic purpose. In other words, a sitcom can be just as much a work of art as a Shakespeare tragedy or a Moliere comedy.

A-Z of Slang

"Slang" is the secret argot of a group of people who share a similar lifestyle, sub-culture or workplace. Its purpose is to conceal the meaning of what is being said from those outside of the group. The Polish slang used in prisons, for example, (grypserka) is meant to conceal what is being said from the prison guards.

What a Wonderful World

World Santa Claus congress meets in Copenhagen

One hundred and twenty Santa Clauses from around the world met this autumn in the Danish capital for their 40th annual convention. The agenda for the three-day event included key issues such as when Christmas should be held this year. After much debate the red-nosed and jolly Santas decided, unanimously, that December 24 should be designated as Christmas Eve. Observant readers might notice that this is the same day as last year, and the one before, and the one before that. But never mind.

A Town Built of Iron

Thirty kilometres north of Cardiff in Wales lies the town of Merthyr Tydfil. Though Wales has many much more attractive places to visit, its Welsh name is known to most British people. Merthyr is a place steeped in the history of the Industrial Revolution, a town that earned Britain its nineteenthcentury nickname of" the Workshop of the World".

Starting a revolution: a model of Trevithick's locomotive

Stranger than fiction

British novelist and politician Jeffrey Archer became a Member of Parliament at the age of 29. Bankruptcy forced him to resign, so he sat down and wrote a novel that made him a millionaire. But in July he was sentenced to four years in jail for perjury. This is the story of his rise and fall.

A PC Fairytale: Three Pigs and a Big Bad Wolf

- a politically correct fairy tale

Peace Corps - Camp GLOW

Phenomenal women were the core of Camp GLOW 1999, held in Ochotnica Górna, Poland, at the beginning of July 1999. Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) is an English language and leadership training program for young women that was brought to Poland for the first time in 1997, and has since been held for three consecutive years. It was developed by Peace Corps Volunteers as a part of the Women in Development Committee (WID), and has been organized in several Eastern European Countries in cooperation with hostcountry individuals and organizations.

Big project for small Polish farms

The World of English spoke with Prof. Louis Moore from Penn State University about agriculture and the extension service program in Poland.

WOE: Whose idea was it that Penn State's extension service should come to Poland?

Put Another Language in Your Luggage

And this year was no exception, with over 600 different events taking place in 40 countries celebrating Europe's linguistic diversity and lifelong language learning. In Poland, the Foreign Languages Department of Wroclaw University of Technology staged an IATEFL Conference, which brought together teachers and course book authors to exchange ideas and experience. A joint art exhibition, entitled We in Europe, took place in both Człuchów and Constance, Germany, among many other events happening simultaneously all over the country.

Down by the Riverside

The giant disused power station at Battersea on the south bank of the River Thames in London has long been a symbol of the decline of the city's main waterway. Compared to the elegantly designed River Seine in Paris and the magnificent canals of Venice, the Thames has often seemed a bit of an industrial mess.

This image is being transformed, however, by a series of exciting public projects aimed at making the river a place to be visited and not just crossed to get to work and back home.