1. Several interesting posts from Literal Minded by Neal Whitman on teaching elementary school students linguistics. Excerpt

    “Before we start,” I said, “I need to make sure I know what language you guys speak.”

    “English!” they said.

    “Ah, good! That’s what I speak, too. So Mrs. K,” I said, turning to Adam’s teacher, “Do they speak English pretty well?” She said they did. “OK,” I said. “Let me try a little test. See Mrs. K. here? Could I say, ‘Mat the on Mrs. K. sitting is’?”

    I called on one of Adam’s classmates. “Jenny, is that good English? ‘Mat the on Mrs. K. sitting is’?”

    “No,” Jenny said.

    “It’s not? Then how would you say it?”

    “Mrs. K. is sitting on the mat.”

    “Really? How about the rest of you? Who would say ‘Mrs. K. is sitting on the mat’?” Most of the hands went up. (Well, more accurately, most of half of the hands went up.) “And would anyone say, ‘Mat the on Mrs. K. sitting is’?” None of them would.

    “What? Why not? It’s the same words!”

    “It’s the wrong order!” one or two of them said.

    “Who told you that? James, did Mrs. K. tell you that it’s ‘on the mat’, not ‘mat the on’? No? Carly, did your mom tell you it’s ‘is sitting’ and not ‘sitting is?’ She didn’t? Then how did you know?”

    “It just sounds right,” she said.

     
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      Several interesting posts from Literal Minded by Neal Whitman on teaching elementary school students linguistics....
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