LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||16/ABR/2010 4:33 PM|
|Assunto:||to Dale - (The companies argue - To Fran)|
I think I am a flawed theorist, not very logical or obvious, sorry about that...let me try to explain what I am trying to say.
What happens is that lots of times people I know come to me and want me to help them translate some email or fax or even help them with their homework, and one thing I consistently notice is how they organize or structure their sentences (or they thoughts).
Then I tell them that what they tried writing is very obscure and hard to try to understand although they used English words.
Then I tell them to try to see every sentence as:
Start from the Left (side of a white/black board) ending at the Right side (of that white board)
Then I tell then (and myself) that English starts with a Subject (or Personal Pronoun) in the first place although we know that people can start sentences with adverbs or transition words, etc. and a comma before the subject or personal pronoun.
"Por que a Maria anda tão feliz?"
"É que ela vai casar mês que vem."
Brazilians, and probably Spanish speakers, have a tendency to try to speak based on a literal translation of their thoughts:
"É que ela vai casar mês que vem"
Specially when the student knows a lot of vocabulary he will try really hard and he/she may translate the sentence this way:
"is that she goes to marry the month that come"
I know that it must hurt your ears to hear something like that, but believe me I have seen translations like that on paper more times than I wish.
I will try to scrape the whole thing while at the same time I'll be trying to keep the person motivated in learning English.
Then I'll say to them "Please, remember that English is a logical language, you have to speak from Left to Right (at least in the beginning levels) in this manner
Subject + verb + complement
( start at the left and carry the sentence to the right , not the other way around )
It / 's / because / she / will / get married / next month
It's because she's getting married next month
É que ela vai casar mês que vem
Questions are even harder for the beginner Brazilian in English:
"mas pra onde você tá indo?" ( eu quero dizer isso mesmo, a student will tell you )
but to where you are going?
In some situations, he'll take 30 seconds to ask that question but it does seem like 5 minutes, and the accent will be h-o-r-r-i-b-l-e
Another Left to Right
Wh + personal pronoun + aux. + (verb) or complement ( preposition at the right end )
Where / are / you / going / to ?
In short that's it, I am not very good at translating my thoughts...
I never read it anywhere but I remember at studying at Fisk and they were very good at teaching how to ask questions in English. Our teachers were trained to teach us how to separate everything in every single questions and sometimes we had two questions together like:
Can / you / tell / me / what time it is? ( instead of the usual non-native can you tell me what time is it?)
Please let me know if this way of trying to teach is just horrible.
During Brazilian 5th through 6th grade my grades in English were D's although I always loved English.
Then, even while at a local public school in the outskirts of Curitiba, I had a teacher for 7th grade that was taking a language course besides her faculdade de Letras and she really knew how to teach how to break sentences apart and she'd bring hand-made posters to class, it was lots of fun.
With that teacher's help my grades turned from D's into Straight A's in English and that gave me great encouragement to study more English on my own on whichever books I could get.
That's why I believe in teaching by breaking sentences apart while explaining why each element is where it is within a sentence.
Thanks for reading this huge post.
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