Laurel Bush and the English Department

We visited the Helsinki University English Department on March 24th.

English Professor Laurel Bush, Nebraskan non-Republican, started the lecture by talking about name etymology, which is a small-scale interest of mine. (Incidentally, my previous name means “truth” and my real one means “God is my judge.” Dodged the bullet of being unfortunately named.)

There was  talk on the university curriculum. I took a quick look-see at the brochure and am having second thoughts about applying. I never thought pronunciation exercises would still exist at university level! By the time I had stopped wibbling at the brochure, Professor Bush was talking about universities being in the money-making business. Even in Finland, where there are no tuition fees, departments are seen as factories that manufacture graduates.

We also analyzed some poems. I have to disagree on Emily Dickinson. Not with her poem, just with the regrettably short analysis. I think it was implied that doing everything exactly opposite from the mainstream is an act of rebellion. It’s not. It’s conforming to fashion. Someone who makes a point of breaking every fashion rule and whim is just as dependent on fashion as the trendsetters.

We also did a debate exercise. Ms Leino engaged in political activity, which was also my first instinct, though I don’t vote Green.


Students at the English Department in Helsinki.


5 Responses to “Laurel Bush and the English Department”

  1. Ms Leino April 9, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    Thank you for this compelling article! Perhaps you will find this a relief: You are allowed to take the test for pronunciation once without the course and if you pass, you never have to study pronunciation 🙂 Professor Bush was my American English Pronunciation examiner and she was tough but fair, I never did study pronunciation at the English Department 😉 And if you enjoy American politics like I do, you would thoroughly love North-American studies as you minor, they have amazing professors from the US on Fulbright scholarships there to teach the students – very advanced…

  2. Kristina April 18, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

    I think it was interesting to hear about english philology. She was so nice, she gave us a juice and cookies to keep us awake. I didn’t know until now that they have to speak english all the time. Well, I’m not suprised that she speaks it so well. It was interesting to hear about maybe options to the future. Unfortunately, I had to leave early to go to work so I couldn’t hear more what she had to tell 🙂

  3. Laurel Bush May 6, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    Sorry to be slow responding to D’s write-up of the visit to the English Department. Lots of projects to supervise & papers to grade this semester. Enjoyed your comments, D, though I can’t agree with your evaluation of Emily Dickison. So I’m hoping you’re successful making it through the Entrance Exam so you & I can continue our discussion. On behalf of all the teachers here, you’re exactly the kind of student we like: a thinker with interesting, well-articulated opinions of her own.

    I also enjoyed meeting the rest of you, too. Even if some of your speaking skills were not as strong as D’s, you spoke up anyway & did the best with what you had. Just the sort of spirit that a future employer will quite likely be looking for.

    Finally, Anna hasn’t had time to tell me what happened to the prizes. Who got the Spiderman book?

    • Ms Leino May 10, 2011 at 6:21 am #

      Thank you Laurel for all your kind comments. he Spiderman comic is in the English classroom for everyone to admire. A couploe of the dictionaries I gave to a student who is crazy about historical English, linguistics and etymology – she was extremely pleased, in fact, she was jumping up and down like a happy bunny when she realized what the books were about! Maija is also applying to study English at the Department 🙂

      • Laurel Bush May 12, 2011 at 4:09 am #

        Please pass on my best wishes to Maija, with hope that she, too, makes it through the English Department’s entrance exam.

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