Dear mathematicians and scientists in my English class

You sit there thinking, this is the very antithesis of all I stand for. It is all fluffy and vague and subjective and, to be honest, not at all interesting.

I hear you. And yes, to some extent, you are absolutely right. Well maybe not absolutely. Because, let’s face it: only a sith deals in absolutes.

See? Sci-fi allusion! I’ve got fi, you’ve got the sci… we’ll meet halfway.

If you could open your curious scientific and mathematical minds, you will see that the study of English language and literature is your new favourite subject you haven’t quite given a chance yet.

You see:


  1. Studying language and literature needs critical thinking. When we analyse texts, we look at all the pieces of evidence and we try to piece together a cogent essay to seek out the author’s intent. Easier said than done. When was the last time you did something with full intent, let alone understand someone else’s? Piecing together context and linguistic DNA, we are the CSI after the explosion of something so creative and far-reaching. This is no subject for weak-wristed sentimentality. It needs a crack team of clear thinkers who understand how language, context, and structure work.
  2. Studying language and literature needs mental stamina. Much like your admired scientific and mathematical geniuses, linguists and literary students go back and redraft their theories on a particular text. They reflect on wrong assumptions, they edit and edit and edit and edit – until their work is, in a word, elegant.
  3. Studying language and literature needs research and curiosity. One of our resolutions in class this year is to read. Read widely, read deeply, read often. Because reading literature and studying language is only partly decoding. It is also about knowledge. And that, my fellow philosophos is where our Venn diagram meets. What you love is what you should also love about this subject. It is that endless pursuit of knowledge to gain truth.

With kind affection,

Mrs. Wiseman

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2 thoughts on “Dear mathematicians and scientists in my English class

  1. Hi Vanessa,

    I’m reading your post coincidentally the same week I finished the Netflix series Manhunt: Unabomber (stick with me). You reference linguistic DNA and the Unabomb FBI investigation was apparently spearheaded by linguistic forensics (a great series, and that’s not a huge spoiler). I love your left-field approach to falling in love with language. Thanks for sharing!

  2. YAAAAASSS! Vanessa, yes!! This is one of the reasons why I started my Book of the Week series. I want to feature different genres, authors, ethnicities, places, cultures, etc. There is something out there that appeals to everyone … it ain’t just Shakespeare and Austen, you know! My favourite line in your post is “What you love is what you should also love about this subject. It is that endless pursuit of knowledge to gain truth.” Lang & Lit is the perfect cross-section between the study of language and the study of other subjects. It is a thing of beauty, imho.

    Great post, V! Looking forward to reading more from you!!

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