Friday, August 16, 2013

Bring Back Memories

I got an email from a girl I tutored in Japan.  It said she got a good score on her English exam.

I had worked as a home tutor for about a year.  If I hadn't moved to Taiwan, I would still be working as one. 

When I think back on my days of working as a tutor, I remember a certain student. 
It was the first day I met her.  I asked her if she could write 私は女の子です in English.  I know it's a ridiculous sentence, but I needed to confirm her level.  She considered it for a while, and  then started to write.  I was surprised at her answer.  She wrote "Me g". 
I suppose that she wanted to write "Me girl" and couldn't remember how to spell "girl".  Gosh. What was she doing during English class in school?

Some students who don't like English often make the same kind of mistake, like "I am like dogs. "
I wondered how such a mistake could happen.  And I remembered the first grammar lesson taught in school. 

We were taught "be verbs" like 〜は…です, though I don't think it's correct. I think that's why they write "I am like dogs" as 私は犬が好きです. 
Actually, am/is/are aren't 〜は nor ...です, are they? We put the word です at the end of the sentence to express politeness.  So, "I student" isn't grammatically correct in English, but in Japanese, 私、学生 is not wrong. 
The word は is a topic marker, which shows that the word before は is the topic of the sentence. 

English and Japanese are different languages.  Besides, a word isn't just a label of a certain thing.  A language is a way to capture the world.  A person who speaks in a different language sees the world in a different way. 
That's why I think it's very interesting to learn a foreign language. 

The girl who sent me an email really disliked studying English at first.  I was very happy when she said to me, "It's interesting. "

*Japanese Word of the Day*
/waa, natsukashii/
Oh, it brings back memories!


  1. She was lucky to have you as a tutor!

    - フエルナンド

    1. Thank you フエルナンド!
      I was lucky to have such a cute student, too^^


Comments on Google+: