Thursday, January 25, 2007

Adventures in ESL

I'm always amazed when I see the progress my students are making. I'm also in shock at how much more they have to learn about the English language than people who speak English as a first language. English is my first language, so it just seems so natural to me. I've studied English and linguistics in university and have taken courses so I can teach ESL. Had I not studied to teach English as a second language, I probably would not know the ins and outs of grammar like I do now. I mean, my ESL students learn everything from dangling modifiers, conditional clauses, prepositional phrases, to phrasal verbs, tag questions and other fun things!

We certainly take for granted that we as English speakers don't have to always 'think' about the components of English. I was telling my students that sure, English speakers may speak fluently, but quite often grammar is not perfect.

Just by listening to people I know speak, I can point out to my students some common errors. This way, they don't feel so discouraged and they know that they're not the only ones making errors. Even people who have English as their first language can make mistakes. I'm guilty of this sometimes and I've been teaching ESL since 1998!

Most of the errors I hear often are SVA (subject/verb agreement) errors or VT (verb tense) errors.
For example:
My family are coming for supper tonight.
He don't know his a$$ from his elbow!
Yous guys don't know nothing.
Each student that goes to that school get good grades.
Yous guys got a problem.

I wrote down the sentences I heard and showed it to the students. They were immediately able to point out the mistakes. English is such an interesting language, isn't it?

Just for kicks- 100 most commonly misspelled words. Click here.


Hubby said...

The proper use of the English language may make people believe that you are knowledgeable until you have proven otherwise.

My family is coming for supper tonight.

He doesn't know his a$$ from his elbow.

You guys don't know anything. (or You guys know nothing.)

Each student that goes to that school gets good grades.

You guys have a problem.

Chrissy121875 said...

Yay! This is my hubby's first blog comment!! :)

japanmanpete said...

Yes! I completely understand Chrissy. My Japanese students sometimes make the craziest mistakes even if I go over it with them constantly. Take for instance prepositions of place and time. They can seem to get with it! AHHHHHHHHHHHRRRRGGGG!

Welcome, Chrissy's husband! Nice to see you have gotten the correct answers to the error identification! Oh, Chrissy, did you get the photos I e-mailed to you of the funny Japlish and Konglish I've seen while abroad? If you want more, I can send you more. I was considering sending some to What do you think?

t said...

yeah my grammar and spelling sucks and I know it. Why do you think I always email you when i need something edited? Ha! I still love ya even if you are the grammar queen! Sheesh! ;0)

ahappilymarriedmommy said...

Hi Johnny!!! Nice to see you commenting on wifey's blog! Very cute!

Are the students behaving themselves? Hope all is well over there. Coming down to our neck of the woods anytime soon?

Dina said...

i hate hate hate poor grammar almost as much as it bothers me when people don't correct their typos!!
I speak to people from all over Canada for my job and so many native speakers have horrible grammar.
One of the problems is that the education system didn't think it was important to teach grammar for many years so a lot of people just have no clue.

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City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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