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Teaching English

(29 Posts)
grannyactivist Fri 18-Apr-14 11:28:51

I teach English as a second language and often feel very sorry for my upper level students. They are usually very bright and having grasped the basics well they move on to more nuanced language, which can be very confusing. It's easy to see why when you read something like this: tbuconfused

Penstemmon Fri 18-Apr-14 11:41:33

Exactly! grannya it is complicated! Even for 'native' speakers it is a tricky language to learn to read an write.

annodomini Fri 18-Apr-14 12:02:29

We stand for election and the Americans run, though the latter is creeping into English. Have you ever told a class to sit down and sit up?

durhamjen Fri 18-Apr-14 14:15:05

A lot of the examples were contrived. I cannot imagine in what circumstances some of those sentences would be uttered.

My son's partner is Danish, but her English accent is so impeccable that she has to explain to people that English is her second language when certain phrases catch her out. If she fills in a form or writes an important letter, she often asks me to check to make sure it's how we would write it.

granjura Fri 18-Apr-14 16:17:25

grannyactivist, thanks for that link, I'd never seen that one. It is oft said that English is so easy- and yes Grammar is indeed very simple- but pronunciation can be a nightmare, and phrasal verbs too. Think of how many different totally different meanings there are for 'to put down'!!!

granjura Fri 18-Apr-14 16:20:45

I also teach French (my MT) and German (my second language). German looks so difficult at first- but in fact it is not when you've got the hang of it, as there are almost NO exceptions- and prepostions are so often replaced by declension (different endings for the article and adjective depending on case, like direct object or indirect object, etc- unlike in French, when no sooner you've taught a rule, that many totally unexplainable exceptions come about!

Love languages, I do smile

goldengirl Fri 18-Apr-14 17:05:21

Found it very entertaining and thought provoking.
But has anyone 'dove' into the swimming pool today?
Do we still use 'dove'? I say 'dived'.
By the way I'm very lucky my cats don't like mouses but our GC certainly enjoyed their choc ices tbugrin

Mamie Fri 18-Apr-14 17:43:56

I think the link is American English, isn't it?
Granjura, my neighbours often say that French is very hard, but it seems to me that English is much more irregular?
I find it amazing that some nouns have a different gender in Spanish than in French.
I had a lovely walk with a friend yesterday when we compared sayings. Walls have ears - yes in both languages; eyes are bigger than stomach - yes; mutton dressed as lamb - no. Losing one's marbles - not sure, may mean something different in French?
I love language too. grin

durhamjen Fri 18-Apr-14 17:50:29

I heard a few days ago that the German language is trying to get rid of Der/die/das and just stick to one gender for nouns, but cannot decide which. Is that true, granjura?

granjura Fri 18-Apr-14 18:12:06

Perdre ses billes? Means aboslutely nothing in French, lol. I just love those colloquial expressions which just cannot be translated without totally losing the meaning. I got caught out once, not with the words, which I had translated correctly- but with the accompanying gesture, I had not!! In English you say 'my foot' when you don't believe somebody (or pull the other one)- but in French we say 'mon oeil' (my eye) and point to said eye. One day a kid at school told me he hadn't done his homework because his dog had been run over- but I knew from his expression (and past history) that he was pulling my leg- so I said 'my foot' but automatically pointed to my eye. He asked why I did that- 'Did what' I replied. It was really funny as I had no idea I was regularly doing this!!!

German had a big simplification review not that long ago- but I've not heard of getting rid of der, die, das- because of the declension system (for instance, der, becomes, den- when it is the direct object, and dem, when it is the indirect object, etc, etc)- it would mean not just replacing der, die, das- but all the declension system- which would be huge and destroy the language imho, and sad.

Mamie Fri 18-Apr-14 18:30:04

More the leg than the foot that you pull in English. Why, I know not. grin
According to the neighbours: Perdre ses billes : perdre ses moyens
I like to think it comes from the Latin!

granjura Fri 18-Apr-14 18:32:02

Not used in my region, lol. I love 'en perdre son Latin' = become very confused by a complicated situation.

Mamie Fri 18-Apr-14 18:37:14

Yes that is nice. Haven't heard it before.
As well as walls having ears, my neighbour was telling me about a scandal as we walked past someone's house,. She whispered in French, "the corn has ears". Well yes, indeed it does. hmm

durhamjen Fri 18-Apr-14 19:32:02

I presume, granjura, that they would still decline the endings, vocative, accusative, etc., but only in one gender. It would save having to remember what gender in German and was it the same in French.

rosequartz Fri 18-Apr-14 19:39:20

DD2 teaches as a foreign language, and some of her advanced students are learning far more advanced grammar than is taught these days in British schools.

In fact , if she speaks to me about her syllabus, it reminds me of my Latin lessons at school rather than anything I learnt in English lessons!

rosequartz Fri 18-Apr-14 19:40:26

I will try to send her that link!

mcem Fri 18-Apr-14 19:51:59

Nice to know that so many of us can make a faux pas in another language. I was 16, proud of my prowess in French and we were entertaining friends from France as part of a student exchange programme. We'd finished an excellent meal and I declared ' je suis pleine ' thinking I'd indicated that I'd had enough to eat. Shocked looks from visitors who went on to explain that I'd used a colloquial expression to tell the assembled company that I was pregnant !

granjura Fri 18-Apr-14 19:53:18

Might as well all speak English and be done with it then .... a shame imho.

granjura Fri 18-Apr-14 19:55:33

Around here, je suis pleine means I am drunk. So does 'je suis bourrée' which translates as I am stuffed.

Made so many similar mistakes when I first was in the UK- great fun, although very embarrassing at the time, lol.

durhamjen Fri 18-Apr-14 19:56:32

Whatever happened to Esperanto?

granjura Fri 18-Apr-14 19:59:39

Never really took on- and the few adepts are on the way out. One of the worst missed opportunity is with sign language- where instead of d&d people for once having an advantage over us for once- each language has developed its own sign language- what a shame.

rosequartz Fri 18-Apr-14 20:01:30

I said that too, mcem, when I was staying with a French family one Easter.

They also assured my friend and me that they had never heard of tricks on 1st April. When we went to bed there were no beds .....

Deedaa Fri 18-Apr-14 23:11:51

One of my favourite Italian expressions is "Faccio I gattini". It means "It makes me sick" but the literal translation is "I make little kittens" - no I have no idea why either! (my other favourite expression is just obscene)

Mamie Sat 19-Apr-14 05:19:13

I had a blank moment in the pharmacy the other day and confused ortie (stinging nettle) with orteil (toe). Pharmacist was a bit hmm about a rash caused by stinging toes.....

granjura Sat 19-Apr-14 11:17:36

LOL mamie. I shall be making 'orties' soup soon, as we have plenty growing in the back field, and it's lovely when they are young and fresh.

Oh come on Deeda, do tell...

I once asked a market in Germany for 1 kilo of 'Dirne' instead of 'Birne' (prostitutes instead of pear ...).