I’ve been thinking recently of lots of the finer details of learning a second language. Maybe that’s because I’ve because I’ve been doing some speaking examining, and that really requires you to pay close attention to what people are (and aren’t!) saying. Continue reading
This sentence is one any English teacher working online has possibly heard quite often recently. Or, more likely, We don’t listen you!
Of course, We don’t listen you is clearly not the correct sentence to use if your teacher’s been rendered momentarily inaudible. But what about We don’t hear you!? To a native speaker, that’s clearly not correct either. But why? Continue reading
I was reading a novel recently in which a character speaks a language which doesn’t have the concept of the first and second person, basically no concept of I (or me) and you. As a result of this, the character himself cannot conceive of these concepts. Continue reading
Yes, but how many? Wait, that doesn’t make sense, does it…?
Obviously you can’t say four clothes or five clothes. But why? Continue reading
I was wondering this morning why we say once and twice as alternatives to one time and two times in English.
It’s one of these things learners of English find it hard to remember to use. Partly it’s because there’s no greater pattern at work, as for every other number after one and two we just say three times, four times etc. It’s also because most other languages use the equivalent of one time and two times.
So why does English have to be awkward, once again, and not just use one time and two times? Continue reading
OK, I’m a day late with this, but better late than never, eh?
So: in-. Continue reading
You’ve probably seen a lot of umlauts in your lifetime. They’re common in German, and look like this: ö. Those two little dots over a little vowel. English of course also has an identical diacritic, the diaeresis. But I already told you that. What I want to look at today though is the umlaut, and one type of umlaut in particular: the metal umlaut. Continue reading