Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Up to my Last Thursday

In my Kanji Class two Fridays ago, we did calligraphy. I had a fun time writing 蔡 (my girlfriend's last name) and 日本 (required by the teacher). I still have the papers, and plan to bring them back with me to the US. Note that from last semester I have 海留 (a phonetic representation of my name) written by my professor of Japanese culture.

Last Thursday was my last day teaching English at Suzuki's English School, but I still have a couple of Tuesdays left. I taught five people -- an man in his 60s who speaks Japanese to me and I speak English back who also owns his own company of about 60 employees; Mao, a 9th grader whose English pronunciation is not perfect, but he learns the correct pronunciation quickly -- I got him to pronounce "th" correctly, whereas most Japanese punk out and use "z" instead; Kasumi, a 7th grader who has only been studying for half a semester now; some guy that I forgot his name (new student last week) who has extensively traveled, and he's only 21!; and Honami, my boss's 10th grade daughter; her English is superb and she was probably the most fun student to teach because she was upbeat and we always had things to talk about, while I actually had things I could teacher her about English, which is better than talking with someone who has flawless English.

I have learned a lot about the English language and language acquisition through the teaching experience. Just yesterday, I was teaching about the structure
"Person has some trait, and OtherPerson has the trait, too."
For example,
Jon was late today, and I was, too.
I will sleep tonight, and Jan will, too.
Hiroshi has to sleep, and John (has to/does), too.
I like pizza, and Hiroshi does, too.
The question was raised, how do you know in the second half, when to use "will" or "do" verb, or "be" verb, or "have", etc. I told them to give me a moment, and then I came up with a rule that seems to work (of course it's probably a little more restrictive than actual English).

The parallels that need to be learned are
auxiliary verb (can,may,must,have,do) --> auxiliary verb
copula ("be" verb) --> copula
and, as always, tense must be carried over (which also explains another reason why "will" carries over like an auxiliary verb).

Of course, anyone reading this page most likely innately understands this rule anyways. I challenge some reader out there to come up with a better rule to express this concept or find errors in it (where my rule creates an improper sentence, not where a proper sentence breaks this rule).

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