Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Beach House...and Pronouns...


The beach at Guilderton, Western Australia, February 2013 (photo LP)


I have spent a few days recently at my beachhouse studying my French lessons, but more specifically the “wonderful world” of French pronouns in all their various guises.

Pronouns, both in English and French are fraught with difficulty and having an afternoon cooking yesterday, while simultaneously watching a cable cooking channel, I was annoyed by the number of presenters who used " we" when speaking to their television audience: "Now we take our eggs, break them into our bowl..." 

We, the audience, are not there with the presenter; they are joined by a camera operator, lighting operator and others to assist in their presentation, none of whom are helping with the actual cooking process.

By the time "We are now plating our meal..." was announced, I was so removed from the whole experience that irrespective of how delightful the menu appeared, I was distracted and uninterested in its outcome.

The Moore River flowing meeting the Indian Ocean at Guilderton (photo LP)



Language is continually evolving, but irrespective of which language we are speaking, or learning, grasping the correct use of its grammar is essential.
Television is such a great educator for us all, but also an efficient instrument in depleting that which is important in good spoken skills.


Australian native galahs on the front verandah of the beachhouse (photo LP)


In Australia, the teaching of grammar in schools has been largely replaced over the last 30 years by the consideration of creative writing.  In my day we were drilled in the use of pronouns, verb tenses, adverbs, adjectives and more

Fortunately in my weekly French class we students are all of a “certain age” and so are familiar with the fundamental structures and terms of English grammar and so have some grasp of the grammar of the French we are being taught.

Fishing at sunset at Guilderton (photo LP)


When I was in New Caledonia, however, last  August taking a two week language immersion course,  the younger members of the group had little or no idea about English grammar, which of course made it very difficult for them to grasp the necessary concepts of French grammar so essential in learning the language. The uses  for pronouns, prepositions, adverbs and adjectives had to be carefully explained again and again by our very patient teacher.

But for, now,  I have the dilemma and frustration of the French relative simple, relative complementary and relative composition pronouns…back to study for me!

Sunset over the ocean, Guilderton, 2013 (photo LP)

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