Leipzig Book Fair Sets New Record

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LEIPZIG- There are two ways of looking at the new record that was set at this year’s Leipzig Book Fair (Buchmesse). According to information provided by public radio station MDR, about 208,000 visitors paid homage to the convention during the weekend of 23-27 March, which takes place at the Leipzig Messe, breaking the 200,000 mark for the first time ever. About 285,000 people attended the largest in-city book events in Europe- Leipzig Liest (Leipzig is Reading), where restaurants, libraries and other public places held reading lectures by guest authors. Over 3,400 events occurred this past weekend, which is also a new record. And even the Manga convention, where tens of thousands can dress in costumes and buy products made in Japan, saw the mark of 100,000 guests get cracked by as many as 5,000. Over 2,500 booths filled all five convention halls, ranging from publishers, teacher organizations, media firms and even the antique book stores in and around Leipzig to electronic gaming companies, food vendors selling foreign goods and even costumes shops. Over all, people took advantage of both the spring-like weather and the start of Daylight Savings Time to make a pilgrimage to the Buchmesse to check out some cool items. 🙂

There are two ways to look at the record. The first one is based on the traditional way, where the stereotype of books being part of the German culture and true and more stressed than ever before. A while back, I had written about how Germans treat their books like the Bible, having shelves full in their homes and collecting even more books to read and share with others (this article can be found here.) Regardless of age or profession, everyone took their share of opportunity at the books, picking out their favorites as well as some interesting books worth taking home with, regardless of where.

As for the second way, that has more to do with the Manga convention than the book fair itself. While Lithuania was this year’s guest at the convention, and much of the literature was found in the second convention hall, the Manga convention in the first hall featured booths laden with Japanese-style comics, fashion clothing, electronic goods and even food- all coming from Japan. A lot of events dealing with this theme, including the costume contest, were also found in the hall, which explained the reason why one in ten people dressed up as Japanese comic figures. Many scenes at the Book Fair resembled scenes in such American films, such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Space Jam. It felt like being in a Hollywood studio, either at Warner Brothers or Universal. It was……simply……awesome! 😀

Together with my wife and daughter, we hit the market on Saturday, the peak day of the convention and came away with some great books. Even some books commemorating Martin Luther’s 95 theses, whose 500th anniversary celebrations are in full swing. These books will be highlighted in the later articles. In the meantime, we wanted to give you some highlights of the events at the Buchmesse, which you can click here and it will take you to the facebook version of the Files. There, you can see what you can expect from a really great book convention in Germany and plan for the one in Frankfurt (Main) in October. The 2018 Leipzig Book Fair will take place 15-18 March. In case you want some tips on how to plan ahead,….. 🙂

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  1. While the Leipzig Messe (convention center) is easily accessible by S-bahn (light rail) especially from Leipzig Central Station, some long-distance trains also provide you with direct access. When booking for the next Leipzig Buchmesse, talk to the ticket personnel at the train station regarding some deals. However, be forewarned for the trains can get crowded in the afternoon hours.
  2. Book a hotel as early as possible and plan an overnight stay. Especially in the months before the Buchmesse, hotel prices can skyrocket by as much as 500%. So instead of an overnight stay for 50 Euros a night, you could pay up to 450 Euros at the time of the book fair. Look for the best deal and ask a friend living in Leipzig to stay a night. It will help a great deal.
  3. Although family rates for the book fair are really affordable (this year’s rate was 37.50 Euros), it is highly recommended to visit the Manga first- and in the mornings. The reason: In the afternoon and early evening, it can be awfully crowded- and exhausting if there is not much air inside the convention hall.
  4. Check out the rest of Leipzig for a weekend. While the readings and lectures are good, spending time in the city as well as its parks are even better. It’s OK to buy a good book, go to Clara-Zetkin-Park and read for the rest of the afternoon, while enjoying the best in Japanese snacks. My tip for the next convention. 😉

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Genre of the Week: Are You Lost in the World like Me by Steve Cutts and Moby

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In the past four years, many artists have come up with creative ways to address the audience with issues that we seem to ignore. These include environmental problems, social pathologies- like metal illness and broken relationships, greed and even the development of a concrete form of dystopia, where humans are a cog of a corporation that keeps running day and night, at the expense of our own lives. We’ve seen many documentaries on fracking, the extinction of bees and the perverting of the education system to favor the elite and make the rest become cogs for the corporate machines, done by well known journalists and photographers. But we have seen a steep increase in films and animations from grassroot organizations and people, whose main purpose is to make the situation as gloomy as possible- as a way of sobering society.

Steve Cutts is one of those up-and-coming artists who has been painting the situation as realistic as possible, but through animation. Born in London, Cutts is an illustrator and animator, having produced satires that focus on the faults of modern society. His animations have a combination of very graphic details with a background resembling Mickey Mouse in the 1930s and 40s. The exception is that we are subtracting Disney’s favorite pet with characters who are either greedy, victims of the rapid changes of society or the has-beens- people who had their heyday in the 1970s and 80s but have found themselves washed-up in favor of progress.

The first animation was released in 2012 entitled MAN, which focuses on man’s behavior towards the environment. Using the themes of that plus animal rights, Cutts focuses on how humans abuse the environment for their own gain. Over 20 million views were recorded when the film was released and has been seen by 20-fold ever since. Other animations produced by Cutts can be found on his website by clicking here.

And this takes us to the genre of the week and this animation, Are You Lost. This one deals with our obsession with social networking and the Smartphone. While things are falling apart in our society today, the only comfort is with the device which has hundreds of functions, including selecting the right partner, rewinding to nostalgia, capturing tragedies and finding Pokemon in a sanitary landfill. The worst thing is how our society is decaying because of the need of a small plastic device that is replaceable over people that are not. This includes the child as the main character in the film, who is left out completely because of the people who once they have a device in their hand, there is no return…….

…..or is there? While the music, provided by Moby and the Void Pacific Choir has a gothic taste combined with techno-music, this film looks at the addiction of the Smartphone and how we have become too dependent on it instead of other people. And while other addictions, like drinking, smoking and even being inactive are easy to overcome if we are committed to the task, this one is rather difficult to near-impossible to overcome because of the need to stay connected to people and news, even though they don’t matter to us at home. It is like we care more about the device than the problems that we have to address at home; many of them Cutts addresses here and in all his other films produced up til now. It leads us to the question of whether we can get by without the device for a full day and look at what really matters to us. And if this film is not enough to wake a person up, here’s a situation worth considering:

You see a person in despair, wanting to kill him/herself- like in this film, whose animation is based on the work of Max Fleischer. You have a Smartphone in your hand and are in a deep conversation with someone a half a world away. You see the situation. Do you drop the phone and rush to the person’s aid, or do you watch from the sides and hope someone will do it for you?

It’s easy to be lost in a crowd and let the events unfold as they happen. But sometimes, just switching the phone off and doing something about it will save not just the life of that person, but in the end, your own, as well. Think about it when you watch this…..

 

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Moby (a.k.a. Richard Melville Hall) is an American musician whose specialty is producing electronic music and remixing songs produced by other artists, like Michael Jackson and the B-52s. He gained national fame in the 1990s with the release of the albums Everything is Wrong and Animal Rights, the first of a total of 13 albums that have been released since then. “The Systems Are Failing”  is the latest album to have been released in 2016 and includes the song “Are You Lost in the World, Like Me?” which includes Steve Cutts’ animation. Moby had asked Cutts to produce the film, while the Void Pacific Choir provided the vocals. Moby is a vegan, advocate of animal rights and an environmentalist and has also written essays on these topics as well. He resides in Los Angeles.

 

 

Remove Donald Trump as President Without Delay.

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It’s no secret that Donald Trump is touted as the most disliked President of the United States and his policies have isolated many of the country’s (even long time allies), as well as the rest of the American people. After all, the only people that are benefitting from his policies are the under-educated and the rural communities, which explains the reason behind him winning the US Elections in terms of the electoral vote despite losing by a landslide by the popular vote.

Yet given the current trend in his presidency, especially as he enters his third month in office, it’s becoming clear that his policy-making and executive orders are for his own interest instead of his own, and that more and more opposition is accruing at an alarming rate. With scandals and investigations looming and many people afraid of their lives and their futures, it is high time that measures are taken to remove him from office without delay and call for re-elections, finding a real candidate that is able to address the problems affecting the country and the rest of the world. Among other things include health care, infrastructure and the environment/ climate change.

This flyer has been circulating throughout the social network that calls for that, plus shooting down pleas of people to give Trump a chance for that particular reason. Read the post, and if you agree, sign it in the comment section, and spread the word through other social networks, including (and especially) twitter, so that the President knows that he is not welcomed in Washington, DC and he’s better off taking his business elsewhere. Whether it is on his own will or by legal force, Donald J. Trump must go and we deserve a chance for a President who can tackle the real issues:

This is where I stand. The 45th President, his power hungry cronies taking positions of authority in his Cabinet and administration, and the majority of Republicans in Congress are a real and active threat to me, my way of life, and all or most of the people I love.
Some people are saying that we should give Trump a chance, that we should “work together” with him because he won the election and he is “everyone’s president.”
This is my response:
•I will not forget how badly he and so many others treated former President Barack Obama for 8 years…Lies about his legitimacy and hatred for his principles and his attempts to work within the system.
•I will not support the degradation of women.
•I will not “work together” to privatize Medicare, cut Social Security and Medicaid.
•I will not “work together” to build a wall.
•I will not “work together” to persecute Muslims.
•I will not “work together” to shut out refugees from other countries.
•I will not “work together” to lower taxes on the 1% and increase taxes on the middle class and poor.
•I will not “work together” to help Trump use the Presidency to line his pockets and those of his family and cronies.
•I will not “work together” to weaken and demolish environmental protection.
•I will not “work together” to sell American lands, especially National Parks, to companies which then despoil those lands.
•I will not “work together” to enable the killing of whole species of animals just because they are predators, or inconvenient for a few, or because some people want to get their thrills killing them.
•I will not “work together” to remove civil rights from anyone.
•I will not “work together” to alienate countries that have been our allies for as long as I have been alive.
•I will not “work together” to slash funding for education.
•I will not “work together” to take basic assistance from people who are at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.
•I will not “work together” to get rid of common sense regulations on guns.
•I will not “work together” to eliminate the minimum wage.
•I will not “work together” to support so-called “Right To Work” laws, or undermine, weaken or destroy Unions in any way.
•I will not “work together” to suppress scientific research, be it on climate change, fracking, or any other issue where a majority of scientists agree that Trump and his supporters are wrong on the facts.
•I will not “work together” to criminalize abortion or restrict health care for women.
•I will not “work together” to increase the number of nations that have nuclear weapons.
•I will not “work together” to put even more “big money” into politics.
•I will not “work together” to violate the Geneva Convention.
•I will not “work together” to give the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazi Party and white supremacists a seat at the table, or to normalize their hatred.
•I will not “work together” to deny health care to people who need it.
•I will not “work together” to deny medical coverage to people on the basis of a “pre-existing condition.”
•I will not “work together” to increase voter suppression.
•I will not “work together” to normalize tyranny.
I will not “work together” to eliminate or reduce ethical oversight at any level of government.
•I will not “work together” with anyone who is, or admires, tyrants and dictators.
•I will not support anyone that thinks it’s OK to put a pipeline to transport oil on Sacred Ground for Native Americans. And, it would run under the Missouri River, which provides drinking water for millions of people. An accident waiting to happen.
I will not “work together” to legitimize racism, sexism, and authoritarianism.
This is my line, and I am drawing it.
•I WILL stand for honesty, love, respect for all living beings, and for the beating heart that is the center of Life itself.
•I WILL use my voice and my hands, to reach out to the uninformed, and to anyone who will LISTEN:
That “winning”, “being great again”, “rich” or even “beautiful” is nothing… When others are sacrificed to glorify its existence.

Sign your name in the comment section and where you are locate and share with others, so that they get the word. Use all weapons available to make it happen.

Thank you! 🙂

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Genre of the Week: Break Free by Eugen Merher

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Here are a pair of questions for you as we look at the Genre of the Week:

  1. If there is one thing (game, hobby, any activity) that you want to do very badly in your life- even if it is done only once- what would that be?
  2. If there is one thing that you used to do that you want to do once more before you die, what would that be?

Both of these questions are in connection with this short video produced by Eugen Merher entitled Break Free. It was produced for the German shoe company Adidas and focuses on an elderly man in a nursing home, who used to run marathons when he was younger. Frustrated because he was confined indoors and realizing that there is not much time left, he puts on his shoes for one last time and pursues his dream one last time. Despite early mishaps, he gains a lot of confidence and support from his friends and neighbors, who in the end help him achieve his goal, which is to break free and make that one final run. This doesn’t need further explaining. Just watch the video, reflect on it based on the questions I posed and if needed, have some Tashentücher (Kleenexes) ready. ❤  🙂

 

Produced for Adidas in December 2016 but personally in memory of a relative of his, the shoe company rejected this piece for unknown reasons, so Merher posted it onto youtube, receiving many appraisals and positive feedback. The Files stumbled across this and found this very unique and thought provoking-enough for Merher to receive this honor.  This is the eighth short clip that Merher, who originate from Moldova but moved to Germany at the age of five, produced in a very short time span of 1-2 years. He has already produced three short films this year and will surely rise to fame with many accolades and international recognition in due time. More on his work (including the films), plus a short biography of his work can be found via website here. He has a youtube page which you can access as well.

The Flensburg Files congratulates Eugen Merher on receiving the Genre of the Week Award for this moving piece that will drive many to pursue the one thing in life they wish to do, regardless of age and other circumstances. The theme for this clip break free. If you are constrained in any way, there will be enough ways to break the cycle. And in the end, when all measures fail, the last one will do the trick.

So go on, go your way and break free! 🙂

 

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Interesting Facts about Germany: Books and the Ten Commandments

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Here is an interesting story to share with you to start off this article: At an elementary school in Bad Oldesloe (between Luebeck and Hamburg), a group of pupils during an after-school class (Schulhort) saw an elementary school clearing the bookshelves of old, used school books, to make way for newer materials to be used in the classroom. Instead of putting the old books into boxes to be given away to the needy, the teacher instead discards the books into the garbage can- right in front of other pupils. An average of 30-35 pupils attend the Schulhort to do homework, activities and other things while waiting for their parents to collect them- a concept that is non-existent in the US and other countries, where classes run from 8:00am to 3:00pm- ending two hours later than in Germany.

Fortunately that group that saw the incident fished out 10 of the books and divided them up among themselves to take home with them. And while a complaint against that teacher has been sent to the headmaster of that school, little is known what action will be taken there, if at all.  But this incident conveyed the message to the pupils, whose parents and other educators would object forcefully:

 

 It is OK to throw books away because they are waste. It is OK to kill more trees because we don’t need them. It is OK to pervert the environment more than it is already.  And it is OK to waste the minds of the next generation because they are indeed cogs of the elite that believe the Earth is dead already- why not make it even deader?

 

I bet Betsy DeVos (America’s newly elected Educational Minister) is reading this right now and is about to kiss me for those comments, while also inviting me to dinner with Josef Stalin and all the evangelical Jesus-freaks, including Paul Ryan and Steve Bannon. 😉

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Ana Beatriz Ribeiro introducing the new open library at the Poniatowski Restaurant in Leipzig during last year’s Intercultural Blogger Conference. Ana is the founder and columnist of the Leipzig Glocal

 

 

But away with the sarcasm, the discarding of books in general would make a German cringe, for if there is one sin that is unforgivable, it is reading the book and then desecrating it. Germany prides itself on books, for one in three German households have an average of 1,200 books in their libraries! And while people may think only one in ten have a library or can find books in each room of the apartment or house, don’t be fooled when you check in the forbidden areas, where you can find boxes and shelves of books in the cellar, garage, some attics and underneath beds in the bedroom. I even saw a library of books in a neighbor’s basement! No matter where you go in the neighborhood of a German community, books are everywhere. This is why we have these key facts to consider:

 

  1. A community has an average of two libraries; in a university city- six counting a university library. For larger cities with more than two universities, don’t be surprised if university libraries are divided up ad customized, based on subject of studies and spread out throughout the city, justifying the need to bike from one end to the other.

 

  1. Each suburb of a city with 70,000 people or more has its own library full of new and used books, and these libraries have as full of capacity as the normal central libraries as well as the university ones.

 

  1. Germany prides in having book stores. You will find an average of one book store franchise and one private, family owned one in a city of 50,000 or more. And both are well-visited.

 

  1. Germany is the only known country to have an open library. On trains, in the park and in city centers, one can see a glass case with books for you to take. However, it comes at a cost of giving away one of your own. You can also borrow, read and put back if you wish. The open library displayed by Ana Beatriz Ribeiro at the 2016 Intercultural Blogger Conference at the Poniatowski Restaurant in Leipzig is another example, but it is one of the firsts in the country to have this in an eatery.

 

  1. Most importantly, Germany prides itself in hosting two international book fairs: One in Leipzig in March and another in October in Frankfurt/Main. Both taking place at conference centers (Messe), as many as a million visitors converge on these fairs to read and even purchase books from writers and publishers from as many as 90 countries on average, including one theme country.

 

To summarize, Germans treat books as Americans treat the Bible- they see these as sacred gifts never to be desecrated, period. Therefore when a person is lent a book and returns it in the form deemed different than what it was before- creases in the pages and covers, plus coffee spills (even if unintentional), that person can expect to be blocked on facebook and spammed in the GMX accounts. Ruining a book can ruin a friendship. When a person throws away books deemed useless, you can expect book lovers rummaging through the paper garbage containers at night, fishing them out to save them. Believe me, I’ve done this myself as my wife and I are bookworms ourselves.  And what is wrong with selling a book at a flea market (Trödelmarkt) for a buck? (One Euro) A loss in profits is a given, but at least the next person can share in the experience in reading the book as much as you did before selling it. 🙂

 

As a writer and teacher myself, if there is a Ten Commandments as far as books are concerned, there would be the following:

 

  1. Thou shall treat the book like the Bible. Handle it like it’s the most valuable gift in the house.
  2. Thou shall not desecrate the book in any form. Karma will kick the offender in the Gluteus Maximus for any petty misdemeanor with this.
  3. Thou shall treat the book like a gift. Books are great gifts at any occasion and no person can deny this.
  4. Thou shall not discard books for any reason. Even if a person dies, his books are also your valuables.
  5. Thou shall donate unwanted books. Libraries and second-hand shops are always forthcoming in taking on books for their collection.
  6. Thou shall ask before lending out books. When living in a flat with your partner, if you have a book to lend to a colleague, consult first before carrying it out.
  7. Thou shall treat a borrowed book like the Bible. It is a sin to read the book and return it altered.
  8. Thou shall visit one international book fair in thou’s lifetime. You’re not a true German if haven’t spent a whole day at a Buchmesse- better, two: one in Frankfurt and one in Leipzig. Both are experiences of a lifetime.
  9. Thou shall cherish the memories from reading a book. Books are brain food, providing some memorable experiences when reading it and some topics for discussion.
  10. Thou shall set examples for others when treating the book. Remember, one tree produces 5 books. One book produces memorable experiences similar to a vacation. That means paper can be recycled but not the book itself.

 

With a lot of writing greats coming from Germany, one should try and write a book to keep up with tradition. Not a column like this one, but a classic 200-page novel dealing with mysteries, travels, social and medical themes, business and history- the things Germans love to read. 70% of Germans prefer print media over e-media. That trend is bound to stay the same in the coming years. The smell of paper from the press is impossible to refuse, and e-books to many is just a piece of plastic that hurts the eyes. Germans have a very close and erotical relationship with books and the paper product with pages needs to be taken very seriously.

After all, as one person in a forum about Germany and books stated: Having a library full o books does not justify NOT buying more books. So if you see that in a German household next time, imagine a library full of Bibles, Quorans and Testaments, treat them with care and understand why books are to be kept as collectibles and not desecrated.

Thank you! 🙂

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Disclaimer: The location and name of the school where the incident took place was changed to protect the identity of those involved. 

We need to talk……Or should it be chat?- The difference between talk, chat, speak, say and tell

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Imagine this situation: four girls are sitting on a log in the middle of the river, communicating about boys in their lives, philosophy, parents getting on their cases for not doing their chores, teachers’ pets and the like. They sit there for hours on end, letting time fly until one of the girls’ parents hollar their names. Turning around, they see a rather irritated person whose first but most important sentence reads:

“We need to talk, young lady!”

One could also interpret this as:

I need to speak with you.

I have something to tell you.

I have to chat with you about this.

or even

I have something to say to you. 

But is there an underlying difference between say, tell, speak, chat or even talk?

Believe it or not, there is and here’s how:

TELL:

  1. Tell is used to convey a message directly to the person, both in written as well as orally.
  2. Here, we use a person as an object and requires no preposition
  3. Examples:
    1. I have something to tell you.
    2. Did David tell Cara about the news?
    3. Sheila told the teacher that she was late because of a traffic jam.

TALK:

  1. Talk is used to exchange information or have a conversation between two or even more people. It can range from light-hearted conversatio to something serious.
  2. When using a person as a direct object, the preposition of to is needed. Otherwise, as an outsider looking in, with or between is commonly used when looking at two people discussing something. If it involves a theme and not between two people, about is used.
  3. Examples:
    1. Eileen, I want to talk to you about this.
    2. Frank had a talk with Ben about this project
    3. The talk between Dorothea and Carrie bore no fruit.
    4. Stephanie, we need to talk.

SPEAK:

  1. Speak is used in two ways. In the first one, it deals with one-way communication and focuses on serious matters. As the person(s) is the object, the preposition of to is used here. With is also used when talking about what two or more persons spoke about, also in a direct form.
  2. Speak can be used to look at the person’s ability to speak languages. Here, no preposition is needed.
  3. Examples:
    1. Jeremiah, I need to speak to you after class.
    2. The chancellor spoke to the audience about the plan. (Here you can replace speak with address but minus the preposition)
    3. Corrina can speak six languages fluently and is working on her seventh!
    4. The professor spoke with the dean of academic affairs about the complaint today.

SAY:

  1. Say is used to convey an announcement and/or fact and does not address someone directly. Therefore a preposition is not necessary.
  2. If using say directly to a person, the preposition of to is a necessity.
  3. When using say + that, it refers to something being addressed indirectly, although one can forego the luxury if addressing it directly to the person in a form of a command is needed.
  4. Examples:
    1. Matt had something to say to the proposal but didn’t have a chance to say it.
    2. My junior officer has something he wants to say to you.
    3. Mike said that Sara would cover for you while you were away.
    4. I said get that remote control!

CHAT:

  1. Chat can be used as an informal way of discussing a topic- similar to a talk, but most of the time more light-heartedly.
  2. When addressing a person directly, a preposition of with is needed. A topic, it’s about.
  3. Examples:
    1. I hate it when those two chat about nonesense during breaks.
    2. How about a chat over coffee?
    3. You love to chat! I don’t!- When a German says this to you, this is the cue to end the conversation and move on without delay.

 

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Any questions at this point? 🙂

Exercise 1: Complete each sentece with either talk, speak, chat, tell, or say. Please keep in mind that a preposition may be needed in some of them. Also pay attention to the verb tenses, as they are written in either present, past or future (will) tenses.

  1. Chuck __________ Jasmine about the car being sold.
  2. The teacher _________ something about the field trip yesterday.
  3. How about a ________ over a beer at a pub down the street?
  4. I want to _________ you about your grades. I’m worried about you.
  5. The ________ between Crystal and Anna helped solve some key problems.
  6. Martin _________ that the golf course would be hosting the tournament this year.
  7. Why didn’t you __________ me about this? I could have helped you there!
  8. You wanted to __________ to me, Mr. Stone?
  9. Ian ________ you sent the letter off, yesterday. Is that true?
  10. Bridget ____________ you about the project next week.
  11. Dad and Paul _________ the whole night about everything.
  12. Stacey ____________ Marcus about the wedding proposal.
  13. Carolyn ___________the incident on the school bus this morning.
  14. The reporter __________ that the train wreck happened outside of town last night.
  15. I __________ don’t do it, but you did it anyway! Why?

 

Exercise 2: Use the set of words below and conjugate the sentences using speak, talk, say, and tell. Some words need to be added, some omitted.

1. Patty/scholarship/win

2. Holly/Brad/new car/ buy

3. Albert/Charles/becoming a new doctor

4. Conductor/ passengers/ train/ delay (or arrive late)

5. Teacher/ students/ dance/ Saturday night/ take place

 

Exercise 3: In each sentence, there is one error. Find that error and correct it.

  1. I want to say you something, Papa.
  2. I chatted to you to clean your room! Why didn’t you do that?
  3. Patrick spoke at the council about the proposal being bad.
  4. The two gentleman had a great say at the get-together
  5. Mama had a speak with her daughter about the birds and bees.

 

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Ted is Ded: The English Guide to Regular Verb Endings

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Here is a well-known fact: There are nine different types of verb tenses in the English language, more than in other Germanic languages, but not as many as in Latin. We have past (simple and continuous), perfect (present and past), present (simple and continuous), and future (will, going to and perfect). And even when we look at past simple tense, there we have two different types. There is the regular verb tense- verbs that carry “-ed”, and there are the irregular verbs, which like Latin, you need to learn it by heart, for each verb follows its own set of guidelines for past and past participle forms. A link with the entire irregular verb tenses can be found here.

Regular Verb tenses follow a stringent set of guidelines, both in terms of word structure as well as in terms of pronunciation that learners of English will find it easier to remember than with the irregular counterpart.

In terms of word structure, regular verb tenses follow five simple guidelines:

  1. Words ending in one or more consonants require solely the “-ed” ending.               Examples include: Wanted, Rejected, Opened, Visited
  2. Words whose ending is “-e” but it is silent only need a “-d” at the end.                   Examples include: Bribed, Dined, Phoned, Died, Lived
  3. Words whose ending is a vowel+ y only require “-ed” at the end.                                      Examples include: Played, Destroyed, Betrayed, Delayed, Stayed, Buoyed
  4. Words whose ending is a consonant + y require the replacement of the “-y” with the “-ied”. Examples include: Carried, Buried, Hurried, Studied, Married
  5. Some words, whose consonants end in m/n/t/b/p/g/l require a double consonant plus “-ed” at the end. Examples include: Banned, Slammed, Crammed, Travelled, Levelled, Rubbed, Dubbed, Stopped, Flopped, Butted (out), Jogged. 

In terms of pronunciation, regular verb tenses follow three key rules:

D-form: words with  l/ v / n / m / r / b / v / g / w / y / z / and vowel sounds have a pronunciation ending with “-d”.  Most of these endings have a voiced sound, especially with words with the endings b/g/l/m/n/s/z. In other words, if words have a buzz, they’re responded with a “duh!” 😉  Examples of such words include the following:

advised (ad’vaiz) + d,  agreed, allowed, answered, appeared, arrived, believed, belonged,
burned, called, carried, changed, cleaned, closed, covered, cried, damaged, described, died,
dried, earned, encouraged, enjoyed, entered, explained, explored, filled, followed, happened, interviewed, imagined, jailed, killed, listened, lived, loved, measured, moved,
opened, planned, played, performed, pulled, realized, remembered, rained, repaired,   saved, shared, shaved, showed, signed, slammed, stayed, snowed, studied, tried, traveled, 
turned, used, welcomed, whispered, worried, yawned

T-form: words with  p / k / s / ch / sh / f / x / h are pronounced with “t” at the end. Most of these words have voiceless endings. That means if a person in the library says “Shhhhhhh!,” you can respond with “-it”, meaning…….. 😉   You can imagine what would happen if you were to do this in reality……. 😉

Here are some examples to practice:

asked, baked, brushed, cooked, cracked, crashed, danced (da:ns) + t, dressed, dropped,
escaped, finished, fixed, guessed, helped, hoped, hiked, joked, jumped, knocked, kissed,
laughed (læf) + t, locked, looked, missed, mixed, packed, passed, picked, pressed, pushed
pronounced, relaxed, slipped, smoked, stopped, shopped, talked, typed, walked, washed,
watched, worked

Ted is Ded form:  words whose consonant ending is either “d” or “t” have the “-ed” that is pronounced as “-id”. As a chime, you have this sentence: Ed needed Ted but Ted is Dead (ded). Cruel but effective way to remember this……. 😉

Examples to practice include:

accepted, afforded, attended, arrested, collected, contacted, counted, decided, defended, 
demanded, divided, ended, expanded, expected, exported, flooded, graduated, hated
hunted, included, invited, invented, landed, needed, painted, planted, printed, presented,
pretended, protected, provided, rented, repeated, reported, respected, rested, scolded
skated, started, shouted, treated, visited, waited, wanted, wasted

Unlike irregular verbs, where index cards are the necessary approach to learning verbs and their past equivalent, there is no real solution except to practice saying the words at home by yourself or with your friend or loved one. One can also try a few of these exercises below, while at the same time, compare how past tense in your own country is different to this one.

http://www.pearsonlongman.com/ae/download/spectrum/pdfs/book2/sp2_pronpuzz.pdf

http://www.autoenglish.org/gr.edpron.pdf

While past tense is not as severe as in Latin, it is much more difficult than in many other languages, whose rules are simpler to follow, like the German past and perfect forms, which are not subdivided. 🙂

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