my mother tongue
A few months back, I saw an ad on Craigslist. A local church was looking for volunteers for their ESL tutoring program. I thought it’d be fun (I like English grammar and coaching people), and also good for me (I usually don’t know why something should be written a certain way – to me, it just feels right, and you can imagine how helpful that explanation is). There is one week left in this term and, I must say, trying to explain things sometimes makes me feel like English is my second language. Let’s run through a few examples.
: the difference between say and tell and talk (I told them that talk is interactive, say/tell are not)
: why some people say a (long a) and some people say a (short a)
: quotation marks
: adjectives vs adverbs (without using the word modify – this one required 2 explanations, 1 analogy, and 1 drawing)
: how to form their mouths to say the v sound
: when to use <verb> and when to use am/are/is <verb>ing since they’re both present tense (without using the proper names – this one required a timeline and a few analogies)
: why you can’t add an ‘s to she/he/they to show possession
: disease vs deceased
: what a senator is (one student said, “someone who wants to be President” – I went with that one)
.. and so on. My one hope is that I haven’t made things more confusing for them. It has been so much fun though. If you’ve ever considered it, I highly recommend it.