Thursday, 18 December 2008

I Has Learning English Since Three Years

Not quite.

The most important thing that you should know about the English language is this: just because you can speak it doesn't mean that you actually know anything about it.

For example, what is the difference between, "The movie is absolutely brilliant," and "The movie is absolute brilliance."

And why use "am going to" instead of just "will"? I am going to catch the train. I will catch the train. I am going to punch you in the face if you ask me that question again. I'll do it, I swear.

The obsession with grammar here is almost terrifying, mostly because we simply don't learn it in Canada. Without a doubt, Chinese students know more about English grammar than any Western student does. Prepositions anyone? I didn't actually know what those were until I'd been working here for about two months.

And when the hell did we get twelve different verb tenses in English?

I am an English teacher. (present simple)
I will be fired if I don't understand grammar better. (future simple)
I was an English teacher who didn't know anything. (past simple)

I am punching you in the face. (present continuous)
I will be punching you in the face if you don't shut up. (future continuous)
I was punching you in the face last night. (we shouldn't have drank so much a.k.a. past continuous)

I have decorated the Christmas tree. (present perfect)
I will have decorated the tree by the time I'm sober. (future perfect)
I had just decorated the tree when Santa started streaking. (past perfect)

I have been dancing all night. (present perfect continuous)
I will have been dancing on the table for three hours by midnight. (future perfect continuous)
I had been dancing for three hours before they finally kicked me out. (past perfect continuous)

All I want for Christmas is for Santa to take back the bloody verb tenses.

But it's not all bad. In fact, this is just me being a giant whiner. Most of the time my job is hilarious. For example, what do you call a person who takes pictures for a living? "A potato!"

Not quite.

Quote of the Day:

"She's self aware, she just doesn't realize."


Stephanie Boyle said...

Ya know, I've been saying that the reason its so damn hard for us to learn a language is because of the focus on verb tenses and the fact that we don't study it when learning english so how the F am i supposed to know what a present continuous french verb is when i don't know what an english one is. This will lead to my revolutionizing the way the world learns languages... as soon as I manage to leap the barrier myself.

Thanks for clearing up the tenses for me, its step 1.

Angie Pants said...

Hahaha, no worries darling!

I was stunned...and hella confused when I first learned them.

szabi said...

i can affirm everything what you've written in your post.
i was living in scotland for 8 months and scottish/english people just do not know the grammar. of course they speak english, but if you ask anything about the grammar all they can do is to shrug their shoulders.
as a non-native-english-speakers who was taught english in artificial way and not by mother's milk, so i know a lot more of english grammar than most englishmen. however, my knowledge is mainly theoretical and cant use it in speech. thats my pity

Dirk Gauche said...

What about all the verb moods too? I always thought those should count in that list as well (If I had seen you, I definitely would have said hello. - pluperfect subjunctive; If I become President, I'll lower taxes. - protasis; If she were at work today, she would know how to deal with this client. - irrealis conditional). Is there a more complicated language?