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    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Gizmos grammar thread.

    So in the spirit of AmA, here's a thread to ask grammar/English questions.

    For the record, I am a theoretical and applied linguist with a university tesol certification, so if I can't answer right away I can find you the answer.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

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    Default Re: Gizmos grammar thread.

    What's your opinion on IPA? And how would you recommend integrating that into the classroom? I'll be working with ES most likely so if there are any activities that focus on pronunciation, I would love to hear them. All I can think of right now is vowel karuta....

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    Crustacean Sensation Ebi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gizmos grammar thread.

    Alright, I have a question for you. What is your take on time/place order in a sentence? Which of the following seem grammatically correct to you?

    1. We can camp here all year round.
    2. We can camp all year round here.
    3. All year round we can camp here.

    1. I can play soccer there after school.
    2. I can play soccer after school there.
    3. After school, I can play soccer there.

    1. He studied at home yesterday.
    2. He studied yesterday at home.
    3. Yesterday he studied at home.

    Personally I feel like time and place clauses/words can be switched around without really changing the meaning in informal English. Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by naginataonthebrain View Post
    What's your opinion on IPA? And how would you recommend integrating that into the classroom? I'll be working with ES most likely so if there are any activities that focus on pronunciation, I would love to hear them. All I can think of right now is vowel karuta....
    I'm not an applied linguistics major, but I'm curious. Will you be based at an elementary school or just visit one occasionally? If you're just a visiting teacher, especially if you only teach grades 5 & 6, then you might be told that you're not allowed to teach reading/phonics explicitly.

    MEXT education goals for elementary school are wishy-washy and basically say that students should do fun speaking games. Some schools are happy to let ALTs teach whatever, but other schools will say no because they aren't officially supposed to start learning English until JHS grade 1.

    I recommend getting a feel for what your school wants your role to be before diving into phonics.

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    Default Re: Gizmos grammar thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ebi View Post
    Alright, I have a question for you. What is your take on time/place order in a sentence? Which of the following seem grammatically correct to you?
    I use #1 in most cases. I think it sounds most natural. I feel like as long as the parts of the sentence are in agreement, English has a very broad definition of "correct".

    In the camping example, #2 could suggest that you can camp for an entire year. #3 is funky.
    Last edited by BifCarbet; May 29th, 2015 at 10:03.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Gizmos grammar thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by naginataonthebrain View Post
    What's your opinion on IPA? And how would you recommend integrating that into the classroom? I'll be working with ES most likely so if there are any activities that focus on pronunciation, I would love to hear them. All I can think of right now is vowel karuta....
    Not gizmo, but I taught/refreshed my teachers on IPA (one had seen/used it in school, another had not.) We delved into phonics without it. We found a reader that did mouth position/sound connection explanations as well as writing/penmanship. So far, so good. Now my first years can spell easy words from the sound and sound out words better than most of the 2nd/3rd years. The bigger sticking points for pronunciation for my JHS and ES kids is being able to recognize when Japanese phonemes don't belong at the end of an English word. (used =/= usedo)

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    Default Re: Gizmos grammar thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by webstaa View Post
    Not gizmo, but I taught/refreshed my teachers on IPA (one had seen/used it in school, another had not.) We delved into phonics without it. We found a reader that did mouth position/sound connection explanations as well as writing/penmanship. So far, so good. Now my first years can spell easy words from the sound and sound out words better than most of the 2nd/3rd years. The bigger sticking points for pronunciation for my JHS and ES kids is being able to recognize when Japanese phonemes don't belong at the end of an English word. (used =/= usedo)
    To help solve that problem (as you're obviously dealing with phonics) is to just teach them that English words never end in "o" sound. Make it a hard rule, that can be changed as they get older. There's nothing wrong with lying to the kids with hard rules, then breaking them as they get older. (Just like how we learned math for instance... get told a rule, then realize there are exceptions to it as we progress in difficulty)


    If they're a bit quicker, you can try explaining that English does make a sound at the end of most of the words, but it's a dead sound (it's actually a schwa that sort of supports the vowel, but has so many different characteristics based on the main vowel). Then you can explain it's just like "u" in Japanese, where we might say it, but we don't need it most of the time, and it just gets short.

    In fact, if you can get the short schwa into their English at all, you'll be doing yourself and everyone after you a favor to be honest.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Gizmos grammar thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotech View Post
    To help solve that problem (as you're obviously dealing with phonics) is to just teach them that English words never end in "o" sound. Make it a hard rule, that can be changed as they get older. There's nothing wrong with lying to the kids with hard rules, then breaking them as they get older. (Just like how we learned math for instance... get told a rule, then realize there are exceptions to it as we progress in difficulty)


    If they're a bit quicker, you can try explaining that English does make a sound at the end of most of the words, but it's a dead sound (it's actually a schwa that sort of supports the vowel, but has so many different characteristics based on the main vowel). Then you can explain it's just like "u" in Japanese, where we might say it, but we don't need it most of the time, and it just gets short.

    In fact, if you can get the short schwa into their English at all, you'll be doing yourself and everyone after you a favor to be honest.
    It'd be nice, but unfortunately I can't be there every class, and the JTE doesn't realize when their pronunciation starts to backslide. (Or when the students start doing silly shit to be funny, without realizing that the 'silly' way of pronouncing that word ends up being the only one they remember.) And some JTEs don't like it when you fix their pronunciation (or critique their diction, etc. Even after they ask you to do it.)

    Explaining 'a' and 'an' to students after they learn/use 'a' alone first is so much easier as well - once they know how the original concept works, they catch on to it really quickly.

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    Default Re: Gizmos grammar thread.

    EDIT: answered my own question

    This will be useful.
    Last edited by BifCarbet; May 29th, 2015 at 02:37.
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    Default Re: Gizmos grammar thread.

    Ok, I'm glad you just started this thread. Because my teacher just came up to me with a problem that I really should be able to answer myself. We've just gotten new textbooks. Like, just now. In the first chapter there is a sentence that is troubling my teacher.

    "Nice to meet you too, Mike."

    He was concerned because he has learned that there has to be a comma between "you" and "too." That's fine, but the comma isn't there, and a different one is put after "too." And on the page before that there is a line that says, "I am Maruko too," with no comma. He's wondering if this is fine. I know it is, but I can't really figure out how to say it properly to him. Good thing I'm taking this TEFL course, amirite.

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    Default Re: Gizmos grammar thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by naginataonthebrain View Post
    What's your opinion on IPA? And how would you recommend integrating that into the classroom? I'll be working with ES most likely so if there are any activities that focus on pronunciation, I would love to hear them. All I can think of right now is vowel karuta....
    Frankly, I wouldn't bother at all. That's a JHS 3rd year, SHS 1st year problem. When they are using dictionaries, encountering new words, and need to figure it out. At the early levels its unnecessary. What's more important is minimal pair contrasts to produce the basic consonant sounds, and if you can manage to salvage any of their innocent vowel sounds go for it.

    Like Ebi said though, you really want to get a feel for what your particular area is doing in regards to ES education. Some places have ALT designed curriculum, others are using the MEXT approved books, others are just an extra recess with the ALT.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ebi View Post
    Alright, I have a question for you. What is your take on time/place order in a sentence? Which of the following seem grammatically correct to you?

    1a. We can camp here all year round.
    2a. We can camp all year round here.
    3a. All year round we can camp here.

    1b. I can play soccer there after school.
    2b. I can play soccer after school there.
    3b. After school, I can play soccer there.

    1c. He studied at home yesterday.
    2c. He studied yesterday at home.
    3c. Yesterday he studied at home.

    Personally I feel like time and place clauses/words can be switched around without really changing the meaning in informal English. Thoughts?
    Okay, You have three distinct problems here, but not all contained in one data set.

    First, Time is a flexible modifier that can be placed anywhere in the sentence. It's position in the sentence defines its scope (or more accurately the limitations of it.) So 1a, 3a, 1b, 3b, and 1-3c are all okay from this rule perspective.

    Second, when location is referenced with a preposition it can be placed anywhere in the sentence as it's a marked modifier. We prefer in English to use the Object, Location, Time pattern, but it's not fixed at all. Therefore they are all correct when having a preposition, but 2c feels strange because you have two conflicting rules (explained in three), and the default pattern has the stronger impression.

    Third, There's a rule in English which says order modifiers based on phonetic length. For instance, apples, pineapples, and watermelon is fine, but apples, watermelon, and pineapples should sound strange. This means that 2a and 2b just don't work naturally. What's more, those locations are lacking their prepositions therefore their sentence pattern order is even more important now as they aren't free floating modifiers anymore. 2a and 2b should actually be making your head spin if you're a native speaker.

    Fourth problem... which isn't obvious from the data set. Spoken vs written rules are different due to one nasty little bugger, pausing stress. 2a and 2b can be said naturally if you stress the location as if you were adding a comma before it and emphasizing it. If you don't do that, you can't say it naturally, but that isn't obvious from just reading it and following grammar rules.

    I'm not an applied linguistics major, but I'm curious. Will you be based at an elementary school or just visit one occasionally? If you're just a visiting teacher, especially if you only teach grades 5 & 6, then you might be told that you're not allowed to teach reading/phonics explicitly.

    MEXT education goals for elementary school are wishy-washy and basically say that students should do fun speaking games. Some schools are happy to let ALTs teach whatever, but other schools will say no because they aren't officially supposed to start learning English until JHS grade 1.

    I recommend getting a feel for what your school wants your role to be before diving into phonics.
    again. word.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    Ok, I'm glad you just started this thread. Because my teacher just came up to me with a problem that I really should be able to answer myself. We've just gotten new textbooks. Like, just now. In the first chapter there is a sentence that is troubling my teacher.

    "Nice to meet you too, Mike."

    He was concerned because he has learned that there has to be a comma between "you" and "too." That's fine, but the comma isn't there, and a different one is put after "too." And on the page before that there is a line that says, "I am Maruko too," with no comma. He's wondering if this is fine. I know it is, but I can't really figure out how to say it properly to him. Good thing I'm taking this TEFL course, amirite.
    too... ahh that little bastard.

    Too does not need a comma because it has special pronunciation. It's a reduction of "as well". Now, he probably learned "Nice to meet you, too" as a sentence because the verbal stress is different and it helps early on, but it's completely unnecessary. Now, the comma between too and Mike is super important because too actually is working grammatically as intended where as Mike is a completely separate clause. It's an isolated noun which is not part of the original sentence.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Gizmos grammar thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotech View Post
    too... ahh that little bastard.

    Too does not need a comma because it has special pronunciation. It's a reduction of "as well". Now, he probably learned "Nice to meet you, too" as a sentence because the verbal stress is different and it helps early on, but it's completely unnecessary. Now, the comma between too and Mike is super important because too actually is working grammatically as intended where as Mike is a completely separate clause. It's an isolated noun which is not part of the original sentence.
    Thank you a ton. I tried explaining that it wasn't necessary and that it was most likely used for stress, but he was having a hard time with that. I think he was just trying to find a problem with the textbook so he wouldn't have to use it.

  12. #12
    Crustacean Sensation Ebi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gizmos grammar thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotech View Post
    Okay, You have three distinct problems here, but not all contained in one data set.

    First, Time is a flexible modifier that can be placed anywhere in the sentence. It's position in the sentence defines its scope (or more accurately the limitations of it.) So 1a, 3a, 1b, 3b, and 1-3c are all okay from this rule perspective.

    Second, when location is referenced with a preposition it can be placed anywhere in the sentence as it's a marked modifier. We prefer in English to use the Object, Location, Time pattern, but it's not fixed at all. Therefore they are all correct when having a preposition, but 2c feels strange because you have two conflicting rules (explained in three), and the default pattern has the stronger impression.

    Third, There's a rule in English which says order modifiers based on phonetic length. For instance, apples, pineapples, and watermelon is fine, but apples, watermelon, and pineapples should sound strange. This means that 2a and 2b just don't work naturally. What's more, those locations are lacking their prepositions therefore their sentence pattern order is even more important now as they aren't free floating modifiers anymore. 2a and 2b should actually be making your head spin if you're a native speaker.

    Fourth problem... which isn't obvious from the data set. Spoken vs written rules are different due to one nasty little bugger, pausing stress. 2a and 2b can be said naturally if you stress the location as if you were adding a comma before it and emphasizing it. If you don't do that, you can't say it naturally, but that isn't obvious from just reading it and following grammar rules.
    Thanks! You laid it all out very clearly. You're right, I should have split up the examples because they aren't all following the same rules. Your last two points really helped: I kept thinking of 2a & 2b with the appropriate pauses and stress in my head which is why I felt like technically they could be okay, although I know we favor the order in 1a & 1b.

    How about a preposition like "often"? Are there hard rules about where it should be placed?

    1. Often I walk to school with my friend.
    2. I often walk to school with my friend.
    3. I walk often to school with my friend.
    4. I walk to school often with my friend.
    5. I walk to school with my friend often.

    Example #3 is the only one that jumps out as being undeniably incorrect.

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    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gizmos grammar thread.

    Simple time modifier so it's free flowing. Three is technically okay, except we're well conditioned not to put these things right after verbs due to standard transitivity.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Gizmos grammar thread.

    Wow... This a good thread and actually really bloody interesting.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Gizmos grammar thread.

    Honestly I find that most students are perfectly capable of pronouncing words without the "-o", they just choose not to out of embarrassment. Or they do it reflexively when they're struggling with what they're supposed to say. I get a lot of:

    "I going to eto - I aMU goinGU to... go shopping."

  17. #17
    The Sun's Bird God..what? Zolrak 22's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gizmos grammar thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    Honestly I find that most students are perfectly capable of pronouncing words without the "-o", they just choose not to out of embarrassment. Or they do it reflexively when they're struggling with what they're supposed to say.."
    So basically they are so afraid of failing that they choke?

    I'm guessing it's hard getting them to try a casual conversation where they don't have to worry about mistakes.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Gizmos grammar thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zolrak 22 View Post
    So basically they are so afraid of failing that they choke?

    I'm guessing it's hard getting them to try a casual conversation where they don't have to worry about mistakes.
    Not exactly what I meant, though that's also true. More like they don't want to be made fun of for pronouncing it super "Nativey" (literally ネイティブっぽい). I dunno, when I was a kid we'd have probably made fun of someone in French class rolling their R's and whatnot, so I totally get it.

    As for the latter, it's more like they're sounding it out. If they know what to say smoothly they can do it, if they forget they want to go back over it, which brings out the "katakana" pronunciation.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Gizmos grammar thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zolrak 22 View Post
    So basically they are so afraid of failing that they choke?

    I'm guessing it's hard getting them to try a casual conversation where they don't have to worry about mistakes.
    They want to sound like their classmates.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    But what if we reverse the polarity of the quantum string theory? According to uncertainty principle there are infinite worlds out there, so it stands to reason schrodinger's cat is alive in one of them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Apollo87;
    U da real mvp.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Gizmos grammar thread.

    How do I simply explain the difference between "a" and "the"? As in, "I work at a hair salon," or "I work at the hair salon." In English I would say "the" is for specific things and places, but my students don't understand "specific."

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