A quick observation on the English language

I’ll make a proper post tomorrow after I’ve gone to the Lichtfest (I’ll also explain what that is tomorrow), but I just wanted to quickly say how awful the English language is now that I have to think about it and explain it to a non-native speaker all the time! Having learnt English as a toddler by listening to what others said, and not in a classroom aged 14 like I did German, I haven’t got a clue what the bits of grammar are called.  That makes explaining why something is wrong with something other than “it’s just not something we’d say” really, really hard!

Well actually…! Unless it’s being sarcastic – I’ve not been able to be sarcastic without getting funny looks for a month now (it’s killing me) so my sarcasm detector might be a little bit rusty.

I have to introduce myself to the year 9s tomorrow and then quiz them on what I’ve said, which has made me realise how awful the verb to do is for Germans. There’s no direct translation so questions like “what do I do at university?”, “what did there used to be in Corby?” and “what do I want to do when I’m done with my degree?” are absolutely baffling for them! Imagine replacing to do in that last one with another verb like to swim – “What swim I want to swim when I’m swam with my degree” – and you get the idea. I’ve been thinking about do for about an hour now and it’s starting to lose its meaning for me as well; I do hope that I can explain it properly tomorrow and not do any damage to their confidence, which does happen if you’re not doing a very good job and they get confused. I’m done with this post.


One thought on “A quick observation on the English language

  1. Thanks, Paul. Now I don’t understand “do” anymore either. It’s definitely not something to sit and contemplate on a Saturday afternoon! XD

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