Monday, August 15, 2005

Back to school blahs

Another glorious Sunday sunset on Aylwin street.

For me, the summer ends today. Back to work I go tomorrow, back to lesson planning and test correcting, and explaining the more mystical bits of English, like why we use apostrophe ess for possesives EXCEPT when the possessive belongs to "it". In reality, English is a whole pot of exceptions strung together with some general guidelines. We seriously have the most fucked up language, and the spoken language is even worse, embracing slang and new expressions as we are wont to do. Then there are the completely unexplainable parts.

For example, say for some bizarre reason (like being a person whose native language uses such structures) you construct the following sentence in response to the question "Do you have the key?"

No, It isn't me (or I, depending on your uptight quotient) who HAS/HAVE the key.

or what if the question is "Do they have it?"

It isn't them who HAS/HAVE it.

I think most people would agree that HAS sounds better. But what is your subject? The subject is "NOT I", or "NOT THEY". I and They take "have" as the present tense. Not very clear is it?

These are the kinds of questions I'll be facing in the months to come. I've pondered this particular one a good number of times with no luck in resolving it. And while wordsmiths and linguists just love deconstructing these things, (myself included) this is scary shit for someone learning a language trying to build a reliable map in their brain about how the language works. While I prance around affably lecture on delighting in plays on words and how "wound" can be pronounced two ways and have many meanings, the students sink lower in their chairs thinking "What the fuck kind of language is this? I can't learn this!" Then I catch a whiff of their discomfort and try to do a little damage control. "Why look over here at your own language....explain this little bit of nonsense to me." (Get them thinking in their own language a bit, great English teaching method eh?)

I'm standing on the precipice between freedom and slavery (for all work is slavery, being as there are people who have found a way to make gobs of money convincing others to do all the work for them) and resignation is setting in.

I need a little cheerleading.


tornwordo said...

Also it's Monday. That means you can vote for my blog by clicking that box that says VOTE TOP BLOG on the left. I know this is shameless pandering for readership, but at least I'm not posting nude pics of myself like some bloggers I've seen.

r said...

Rah rah rah. Go team tornwordo, go.

there's my cheerleading. I drank too much last night and can't yell.

You know you love our "craaaaizy" language, as my Spanish teacher, Mr. Ochi, used to say in despair about English. Of course, he was a first generation Japanese American, so he could speak with some authority.

And we need to figure out how to get more readership for you. That's how you'll get more blog votes.

The Wisdom of Wislon said...

Sounds like you need a drink pick me up

I'm not a wino by the way ;-)

_Psycho said...

My friends going back to teach in school next week, at which school are you working ?