In School in Germany/ Genre of the Week: Pelmanism- From the Novel: Don’t Try This At Home by Paul Reizin

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This Genre of the Week looks at a novel that may look ordinary to some readers who go through the whole book (or even half of it before putting it down for another one) and judge it as textbook style- where the protagonist gets caught in a situation where he has to find his way out.

The novel “Don’t Try This At Home,” by Paul Reizin looks at the protagonist from a first person point-of-view, who ends up being entangled in a mafia, getting in trouble with the law, and in bed with several girls in the process. All of these are by accident; all of these despite his attempts of getting himself out of the situation, only to end up digging himself even deeper in a hole until his wit, quick thinking and a little romance got himself out in the end.  How it all happened and what his personal life was like is worth reading and interpreting yourself. 🙂

Yet Reizin’s novel also features a few unconventional games that are worth trying, if you knew how they were played and done it wisely. Pelmanism is one of those games mentioned and described in the novel.

And while in the book Pelmanism had experiments with different types of alcohol while guessing what they were without looking, the game itself can be a useful one that provides the players of all ages with valuable learning experiences in all subjects of study.

Especially, when learning foreign languages!!!! 😀

I’ve been using this game for all my English classes since 2004- most of the time when we have our last course meeting as a group before the semester ends and we part ways for other commitments in life- and the game features words that are sometimes forgotten by some and unknown by others. It also presents some of the typical things and characteristics of some students. All it takes is some guessing what the objects are and who they belong to.

 

The object of the game is simple. You need:

A sheet of paper and a writing utensil

A timer

And a bag with ten personal items- the items should be small enough to fit in a cloth bag (not a see-through plastic one)

 

How the game is played goes like this:

One student grabs a bag and places the contents on the table in the middle, while other students close their eyes and/or look away as the contents are being taken out. Once all the items are on the table, that student signals the rest of the group to open their eyes and look at the table and the objects.  At this point, students have one minute to identify the ten items on the table in their working language, namely the foreign language they are learning. At the same time, they should guess who these objects belong to.

Once the teacher, who runs the timer, says “Stop!”, the students are called on upon random to name the objects and who they belong to. The student, who gets all the objects right as well as the correct person, will be the next one that chooses another bag, and repeats the same procedure.

This whole process continues until all the bags are used up or the teacher ends the game for time reasons.  There is no clear winner, but the objective of the game is to get the students to “reactivate” their brains to remember the words they learned in the past. At the same time, they also have an opportunity to learn new vocabulary- much of which may need to be listed on a sheet of paper with the native language equivalent, should the foreign language level range from beginner to intermediate (A to B level, according to the Common European Framework). In some cases, small devices that are new to the students will need to be explained by the person who brought it with the other objects.

 

I’ve had some weird but interesting examples that warranted explaining, for instance:

A can of deoderant that is actually a capsule for fitting a small object for hiding in geocaching, a pen that functions as a light, laser pointer and hole puncher, small books full of quotes, USB-sticks with company logos, stuffed animals (also as key chains), pieces of raw material (wood, rock, metal), postcards, pictures and poems. If you can think it, you can present it and be genuine at the same time. 😉

As mentioned earlier, Pelmanism can be played by all ages, regardless of language knowledge, and if you can have at least four participants (the more, the better), you can treat yourself to an evening of fun for either the whole family or friends. If you are a teacher in an English class, you will find this useful and fun for the students; especially if you participate in the game yourself.

Pelmanism is one of those games found in a book, where if modified for use in the classroom and mastered properly, it can be a fun experience for those learning new words, especially in a foreign language. It reactivates your brain and gets you reacquainted with words learned in the past (but seldomly used in the present), while at the same time, encourages active learning and acquisition of new words into an ever-expanding vocabulary. It is a fun game for everyone, and if you are as lucky as the protagonist in the story, you might come out with more than what words you learned in the game. 😉 ❤

Thanks, Paul!

 

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Naming and Faming: A Guide to Idiomatic Expressions in a Sense of Names

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Imagine this scenario: You are approaching a town in Iowa, tucked away in a steep river valley, while driving an 18-wheel rig (semi-truck, lorry- LKW (German). You are about to go down hill on a narrow road, and you need to slow down. In order to do that, you have to jake the truck, like in the video below:

To jake the truck means what?

 a. To shift the truck down to lower gear (5th gear)  

 b. To shift the truck up to a higher gear (2nd or 3rd gear)    

 c. To shift the truck up to a higher gear and activate the braking system  

d. To put the truck in neutral and idle the engine

It’s weird to use names to express situations in English, as we have the name Jake in there. Yet idioms in the sense of names serve as a better alternative to trying and describing situations in detail, especially when you are directing a person to do something (in linguistics terms, we would use the word imperative in this case). While German instructions tend to be detailed, long and sometimes complicated (if you don’t know the gists and shortcuts to the languages), but using idiomatic names in English is even more confusing because the notion of using a person’s name is considered insulting. Furthermore, one has to explain the origin of the idiomatic name used in the context to better understand its usage. It is safe to say especially in this case, one has to learn the idiomatic names by heart, just the way you learn (and conjugate) words in Latin.

And lastly, some expressions do not exist in mainstream English but do on a very local level, and these are in connections with certain local events that was caused by that particular person. There is one story in reference to this final argument that I will explain at the end of this exercise. 😉

Keeping this in mind, here are some exercises to get you acquainted with the idioms in connection with names. 🙂

A. Look at the following videos and determine which idiomatic name is best used.

  1. (Esp. at Minute 2:30)

The SImpson family is………

a. Trying to be rich as Croesus     b. Keeping up with the Joneses   c. Boasting like Bobby     d. Cherishing like Sherry

 

2.

My name is mud in this case is………

a. Dirty Harry   b. A fool     c. An unintelligent figure        d. both b & c     e. Bernd the Toast

 

To slip a Mickey means:

a. To put a drug into someone’s drink  b. To deceive someone    c. To trick someone              d. To gossip about someone

 

4.

To need one’s John Hancock means your (……) is needed

a. Signature    b. Penmanship       c. Handwriting           d. Story

 

5.

Great Scott is an expression used to describe……

a. Surprise        b. Shock         c. Amazement          d. Excitement         e. All are applicable

 

B. Identify the name and find out what the expression means.

  1. You can’t buy just any Smartphone. This one has to be the real McCoy.
  2. Since its founding in 2010, the company has been going Jesse, having earned millions of dollars.
  3. Jasmine is an elite class basketball player. Trading a couple of our great players for her was the Jack of all trades!
  4. You can count on Chuck to do the job. He’s always a Johnny on the spot!
  5. Working the cornfields takes the patience of Job in order to get a great harvest.
  6. Sometimes our president is Jack the lad. He has what he wants, no matter how!
  7. The public raised Cain when the politician made the announcement about the project to replace a bridge.
  8. The woman dialed for the police after a peeping Tom watched her get dressed.
  9. If there are no questions, we’ll cut to the Chase and talk about the progress of our project.
  10. I hate it when I have smart Alecs in my class, who claim they have the brightest bulb in the box!

 

C. Determine whether the following are true or false

  1. To Steve it means to do it perfectly and with power.
  2. For the love of Pete was named after one of Christ’s disciples and means happiness.
  3. Walter Mitty is a person who daydreams about success.
  4. To beat around the Bush means to get to the point, like Bush Jr.
  5. A nervous Nellie is one who is irritated or annoyed.
  6. To be happy as Larry means to be very happy over something you did successfully.
  7. Silly Sally and Good Time Sally are the same idiomatic expressions.
  8. If a person is the Benjamin of the family, then he is the oldest.
  9. To pull a Louie is to mess up on a date by not getting the girl’s telephone number.
  10. Even Stevens are things between people that are equal.
  11. A doubting Thomas is one who thinks the action will fail.
  12. We use John and Jane Does as names for unidentified people
  13. To dick around is the same as to Mickey Mouse around, when it comes to tampering with things.
  14. A person with a mixed, extreme personality is known as a Bonnie and Clyde
  15. To be petered out means to be tired. 

After being petered out by all the idiomatic names, you should have an idea of how these work in the English language. You can find more by clicking here . 🙂

To close this section, I would like to refer back to the previous arguments about the difficulty in understanding the idiomatic names in English, and with that, my third argument on local idioms that have a local meaning. Americans have been well-known to create idioms and other expressions because of their affiliation with certain events, stories and names of people. Some stick and move to mainstream, others either remain local, disappear after a certain time or even both.

Mine fortunately belonged to the idiomatic name that disappeared after a few years. In high school I was a discus thrower, and our discus throwing facility was right next to the bleechers that lined up along the football field on the left-hand side. As I was a left-handed thrower, guess where my throws always went……. 😉

 

No wooden disc survived being “Jasonized!”

 

For those who read this and attended my high school, it will bring back some memories. For those who read it for the first time, your first question is probably going to be along the lines of this: “Why have the throwing area next to a football field?”

 

My response: Ask the coach. I’m more than 20 years away from home to answer that one. 😉

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Answers:
Jake the truck:   c.
 
Activity One:
  1. b. 2. d. 3. a.  4. a.  5. e.
 
Activity Two:
  1. Real McCoy- The real, genuine thing
  2. Going Jesse- becoming a success
  3. Jack of all trades- The best of both worlds; best deal for both
  4. Johnny on the spot- always reliable and willing to do it.
  5. Patience of Job- A lot of patience; nerves of steel
  6. Jack the lad- a brash, cocky person
  7. Raise Cain- Cause a commotion; pandemonium; hot debate
  8. Peeping Tom- a stalker who watches women
  9. Cut to the Chase- Get to the point. Chase is a male name.
  10. Smart Alec- a person who claims to know everything but doesn’t in reality
 
Activity Three:
  1. t 2. f. 3. t. 4. f.  5. f.  6. t.  7. f.  8. f.  9. t.  10. t.  11. t.  12. t.  13. t.  14. f. 15. t.

Germany Quiz 8: Saxony Part I: How to Speak Sächsisch

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Sächsisch Deutsch is probably the most local of regional dialects in Germany. Consisting of a mixture of dialects from the regions of Lausitz, Vogtland, Franconia and the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge), people living in Saxony use this dialect with stresses on the short A and long O for vowels as well as consonant sounds mainly of sch, g, k and b. When compared with the high German, it’s like speaking a completely different language, like one sees with the Low German,  Franconian German, local Bavarian and even some northern German dialects in Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony. Some like Franz Xaver Kroetz find this dialect somewhat fremdschämend (embarassing):

 Dialekt ist die Unterwäsche des Menschen, Hochdeutsch ist die Konfektion, die er darüber trägt. (EN: Dialects are like underwear, high German is the ready-made clothing a person wears)

or when they love to chat with one another:

Der Sachse hält nich de Gusche (Mund).  (EN: The Sachse never shut up)

However, like all the dialects, the Sächsisch des have some bright spots, apart from winning the hearts of a local woman in a village in the Ore Mountains or Vogtland region. Especially if you are a miner in the mountains along the Silver Road between Zwickau and Lichtenstein, a yodeler in Little Switzerland south of Dresden or even a farmer in the green valley near Glauchau, if you can sing the Sachsenlied, as written by Jürgen Hart, you can expect a bouquet of wild flowers and a mug of local beer from an admireress to go along with the chisel and hard hat  😉 :

Der Sachse liebt das Reisen sehr. Nu nee, ni das in’n Gnochen;drum fährt er gerne hin und her in sein’n drei Urlaubswochen.Bis nunderhinunter nach BulgarchenBulgarien, im Ostblocksystem war das bereits eine Weltreise dud er die Welt beschnarchen.Und sin de GofferKoffer noch so schwer, und sin se voll, de ZücheZüge,und isses Essen nich weit her: Des gennt er zur Genüche!Der Sachse dud nich gnietschennörgeln, quängeln, der Sachse singt ‘n Liedschen!  (!: Click here for the entire song and below to listen to the melody sung by him 🙂 )

 

Either way you interpret it, Sächsisch Deutsch is the most local of all German dialects and one where if you have a dictionary, CD on how to learn it and (for the men), a beautiful local woman to teach you the language, you will open the doors to its local pride and heritage. And even if you have a partner from another part of Germany, Europe or elsewhere, having an opportunity to listen in on the locals will help you get a grasp of the language and perhaps open up new business ties with them, as they hold a treasure of inventions and patents of products we still use today.

As part of the series on German states and the quizzes and concentrating on Saxony itself, the Files has comprised a quiz, testing your knowledge of Sächsisch Deutsch and teaching you the tricks of the language, with the exception of the first part, all of the tasks consist of multiple choice questions, so you have at least a one in three chance of getting the answer right. The answer sheet will come in May.

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So without further ado,  😉

Activity 1:

The following words are written in Sächsisch German. Find the equivalents in high German and English. The first 10 are quite easy to find, yet the last 10 has a hint given in one of the two languages. 

 

Sächsisch Hochdeutsch English
Fläscher
Radscho
Bargblad
Gliewärmel
Daschendicher
Biordäggl
Nachellagg
Breedschen
Beefschdeeg
Glemdnor
Lorke Dünner Kaffee
Reformande Strafpredigt
Dreiche Dry
Blembe Weak soup
Bliemchen (-kaffee) Ersatzkaffee
Kääbsch Picky (eater)
Iezch Angry
Motschgiebchen Marinekäfer
Quatschen Shooting the breeze (oral)
Rumbläken Herumschreien

 

Activity 2.

In your honest opinion, what is the Sächsisch equivalent to the following cities in Saxony. Mark the best answer. In some cases, none of the answers apply and therefore, you need to choose other and write it in (and also mention in the Comment section here)

 

  1. Zwickau (Saxony)     a. Twigge    b. Zwigge      c. Zwick          d. Zwish

 

  1. Leipzig     a. Leice       b. Liken          c. Leib            d. Leibz’sch

 

  1. Dresden    a. Dräsd’n       b. Driez      c. Drisch         d. Dreeb

 

  1. Chemnitz      a.Chemmik      b. Gemmnidz       c. Gemmit        d. Dammit

 

  1. Plauen     a. Plowing      b. Plaue     c. Plau         d. Plau`n    e. Other ________________

 

  1. Mylau   a. Mi-low    b. Meow        c. Moolah       d. Meela     e. Other __________________

 

  1. Bautzen    a. Pausen       b. Other ____________  c. Bauz’n         d. Baussen

 

  1. Meissen   a. Mice      b. Miken              c. Maise          d. Mei’ sn    e. Other ______________

 

Activity 3.

Now look at the pictures and choose the best of the three words in Sächsisch German and identify the English meaning. 

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a. Pieramidgerzen      b. Bieramidngärdse     c. Booramidskärze      EN:

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a. Bleedma      b. Duummann    c. Blodmama        EN:

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a. Seegeboot      b. Sähschelboud     c. Sälhboot      EN:

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a. Chim-Cheroo      b. Feierrübel     c. Firebookman         EN:

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a. Pomguberschbärde     b. Geeschma     c. Gombschudoreggsbärde      EN:

Now that you have an idea how Sächsisch can be spoken, we will move onto the Quiz on Saxony itself, but not before listening to a pair of songs in Sächsisch- one of which by German comedian, Rainald Grebe.

Viel Spaß und los gehs oufz Dai’l zwee! 😉

 

 

AND NOW TO PART II, WHERE WE GET TO KNOW THE STATE BETTER. CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE QUIZ! 🙂

 

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Dining in Stein in Schleswig-Holstein: Some More Tongue-Twisters in English

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Actors, singers and comedians have done it. Teachers and professors as well. In order to better articulate their words to the audience, they had to practice speaking with a wine cork in their mouths. Situated in a vertical position between the upper and lower jaws, this technique has been proven effective in getting their mouths to move, while stretching it in a vertical position.

This exercise is also quite useful when learning English. 🙂

There are several words, whose endings produce the “ahhh” sound, in particular the endings of I+ consonant+ E. Regardless of which consonant you choose to insert, they all have the same result- a sound you produce while your mouth is in a vertical position. The difference is simply the different intonations you use.

And therefore, using the theme of dining in Stein, in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, here are some tongue twisters for you to practice, with the goal of getting you to stretch your mouth and better pronounce the words in English.

So without further ado….. 🙂

 

-INE/-EIN:

Two swines dine in Stein

Stein is in Holstein

Two beer steins

From Schleswig-Holstein

Enshrined in Turpentine

Like a serpentine

Whining to the swine

While dining with wine in Holstein.

 

 

-IDE/ -YDE / -Y/ -IE:

Clyde dyed his hide with dioxide

Clyde died from carbon monoxide

Dr. Hyde dyed his hide with peroxide

Dr. Hyde died from carbon dioxide.

Where are Clyde and Dr. Hyde?

They hide and confide to Heidi

And take pride from the dye on the hide

That they died from dioxide and not peroxide.

 

-IBE:

Jeff scribed a jibe

Geoff subscribed to Jibe

Jeff conscribed a bribe

Geoff unsubscribed

Jeff prescribed Geoff to Gibe

Now Geoff starts to describe

How Gibe circumscribes a bribe

And describes to a tribe

How Jibe and Gibe describe

How to circumscribe a bribe.

 

-ICE:

Three mice stole the dice

The dice had spice on ice

Three mice had lice on the ice

Who gave advice at a price.

The lice sliced the ice

And the mice were nice

And traded allspice with the lice for spice

To put on the ice.

Now the mice and the lice

Are eating ice with spice

And gave advice for allspice

Eaten while on ice.

 

 

-IME:

Two mimes chimed in.

A crime was chimed at bedtime

A mime did a crime at dinnertime

A mime chimed about a crime at nighttime

When bedtime chimed for the mime

It’s crime-fighting time at daytime

When a mime chimes about lime

Stolen at lunchtime by a mime

That lime was worth a dime

Was it worth a crime for a mime to steal a lime

When it was lunchtime and halftime

Of a football match between mimes?

 

  -ILE:

Three juveniles pile a woodpile

Two crocodiles are in the Nile

Somewhile a mile of crocodiles

Saw a pile of reptiles

While the juveniles reconcile

To the two crocodiles in the Nile

Who are bile and riled

Because the reptiles became Gentiles

Who tiled the mile of crocodiles

While the two crocodiles swam into the Nile.

 

 -IPE

Two pipers swiped bagpipes

Two bagpipes were wiped by snipers

They griped about the bagpipes’ stripes

And wiped the pipes with blowpipes.

Now the pipers griped about the blowpipes

The handypipes are way too ripe

The striped bagpipes look like cesspipes

The gripes turned to tripe

The pipers piped their bagpipes

And blew the snipers into the stovepipe

They gripe no more because the pipes are stripe

And tripe no more they try.

 

-IZE

We organize to unionize

And socialize to romanticize

And personalize to institutionalize

And nationalize to legitimize

And equalize to legalize

And overcapitalize to monopolize

And overspecialize to modernize

And overdramatize to outsize

And overemphasize to moralize

And robotize to radicalize

And vandalize to terrorize

And universalize to unrealize

And vitalize to vocalize

And spiritualize to memorialize

And stabilize to visualize its size of

a globalized  society.

 

How’s the mouth stretching now? If you feel a pull, then it’s working wonders. Keep practicing until you can hear the difference. Good luck. 😉

 

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Stein is a resort town in Schleswig-Holstein. Located east of Kiel along the Baltic Sea coast, it has a population of 830 residents and belongs to the district of Plön. For more on the town, please click here to the town’s website. 🙂

 

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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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Tour de Revers (Tour of Disappointment): The Cardinal Sin of Biking in Numbers in Switzerland

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Cardinal numbers in English function like ordinal numbers. The lone exception is that they are used to describe sequence, and in some cases, like in this bike race for example, the placing of finishers in a competition. The trick is how the numbers are written, numerically and using just letters. When you look at the table below, you can see the pattern. By mimicking the pattern, especially after passing the 20-mark, it’s a lot easier to learn it and use it. 😉

 

Now for the exercise: 

Martin Quickborn is taking part in his very first Tour de Suisse, a bike racing tour through Switzerland with stops in Zurich, Berne, Biel, Fribourg, Lausanne and ending in Geneva. Tony Crane of the Files‘ Newsflyer, based in Hamburg is doing a recap of the final leg of the tour with a lot of upsets to report.

 With each candidate in reverse order, fill in one blank using the cardinal numbers practiced here (the first and last couple letters are provided as hints),  and using the numbers in parenthesis, write in the cardinal numbers in the other blank. An example is shown below:

 In the Women‘s Division, Maria Eutin came in f_____th behind third place winner Annette Rostock, who finished _______ (34) in last year‘s competition.

 ANS:  fourth (4th) &  thirty-fourth (34th)

 Good luck!  🙂

 

Tony Crane:

Tony Crane live at the Parc de la Grange on the eastern side of Lake Geneva, where this year‘s Tour de Suisse can might as well be the Tour of Upsets, for newcomers and unknowns of this race have become the winners, and the well-knowns have become the nobodys of this race. For example,

 

Last year‘s winner, Francisco Vivaldi of Barcelona finished ___________________(45) in the standings because of an accident with Pierre Dupont, who came in t_______th in the top 10 standings this year. Dupont, who‘s from the French town of St.Julien Genevois finished in ___________(99).  Despite being tarnished by the doping scandal, the Americans managed to place a biker in the top 10 for the _________(12) year in a row. Patrick Simonson from Anchorage, Alaska, who had finished in _________(23) last year, beat Dupont to finish n________th in this year‘s standings. Peter Barker from Liverpool came in e_______th, which was a vast improvement from last year‘s __________ (88) place finish. Then came the s_________th place winner, Jason Colby of Antwerp, Belgium (originally from Saskatoon, Canada), who finished last year‘s race in ____________(15) place, followed by Al Hambra Alla Halla of Cairo, who went from ___________(50) place to s_______th, Gallah Gaddaf of Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates, who bested his finish from ____________(60) to f______th place and local Genevan Mathias DeBruine, who missed last year‘s top ten at ___________(11) to finish in f________th place.  The top three finishers all happen to be Germans, but our f_______st place winner is an unknown. 2012 winner Sebastian Frahm of Munich, who had missed last year‘s race because of a torn Achilles tendon, finished the race in th______d place, falling just two seconds short of s________d place finisher Florian Mielke of Dresden, who finished last year‘s race in ____________(38) place. The winner of this year‘s race was Martin Quickborn, from the northernmost city of Flensburg. He finished f_______st in his very f_______st race on Swiss soil. In his __________(4) as a profi biker, Quickborn had finished between ___________(7) and _____________(10) in his previous nine races and was in ______________(119) prior to this race.

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