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July 22, 2005

Getting Off to a Good Start

Today's Daily Yomiuri includes the latest "Indirectly Speaking" feature from Mike Guest. He looks at the problems inherent in assuming that all sentences in English begin with a subject that is a concrete noun or personal pronoun. Such an assumption can have Japanese speakers getting off to a "false start" in forming a sentence, and result in stilted or mistaken sentence patterns. He looks at the difficulty students have with becoming comfortable using "existential or dummy" sentence heads -- "There were..." or "It's..." -- and how teaching them "thematic markers" ("In terms of X..." "As for...") can help them be more flexible and worry less about sticking to S-V-O sentence patterns.
English and the art of making a good start (link will expire)
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