03 September 2009

The Things We Learn

So, I'm preparing for a private lesson I have tomorrow afternoon with a new student. He lived in the United States for several years as a child, including the grades K-4 in school. But in the 12 years he's been back in Costa Rica, he hasn't used his English and it has gotten very rusty. So we're going to catch him back up on the basics and I'll also help him with pronunciation and such.

Now, I've spoken English for 45 years or so (I don't remember exactly when I started talking) and, if I may say so, I speak it pretty well. But if you ask me why to use a certain form of a verb, and what that form is called -- for example, the Present Continuous -- you are likely to see a blank stare. I know it, but I don't know what it's called, basically. Therefore, I'm having to learn all the boring bits that were the parts that I really detested in school (which was the main reason I turned down the full scholarship in English at a prestigious Midwestern university that I was offered coming out of high school).

Anyway, as I was preparing for tomorrow's session, I came across this:

Betty Botter's Better Batter

Betty Botter had some butter,
"But," she said, "this butter's bitter.

If I bake this bitter butter,
It would make my batter bitter.

But a bit of better butter,
That would make my batter better."

So she bought a bit of butter –
Better than her bitter butter –

And she baked it in her batter;
And the batter was not bitter.

So 'twas better Betty Botter
Bought a bit of better butter.

Try saying that one five times fast. :)


Ouyangdan said...

When I was learning Chinese on Uncle Sam's dime I first had to take a class that taught us all the parts of proper English. I was an AP English student in High School who got some top marks in the class and scored better than anyone in my class on the standardized tests for Punctuation and Grammar. There were so many things in that class that I didn't know. At all. I was amazed at how much I didn't know, especially when it came to verb tenses and proper conjugation (the bane of my learning of Romance Languages!).

Good luck.

I am not sure if you can get anything from them, but it is worth a try: http://www.dlielc.org/courses/index.html

Fran said...

Bu bu bu.... I can't believe it's not bitter better battered butter but, oh never mind!

Hah! I can't do it!

Good luck with your student.

hugh.c.mcbride said...

Somewhere in Costa Rica, an unassuming student walks unassumingly through his life, with *no idea* of the linguistic adventure he is about to be swept into in the very near future ... :-)

Just be sure you don't talk to him about working hard, taking responsibility or yearning to achieve, because that information (in a classroom setting, at least) has apparently been determined to be a key component of the socialist/fascist/secret-Kenyan-Muslim indoctrination effort.

And we know you wouldn't want to be engaging in any of *that* now, wouldja?

The Cunning Runt said...

You're a brave man for embarking on this job/project, involving tons of learning on your part.

I think that's pretty cool.