Chapter V – Part 6

$ I was sitting…

$ Excuse me, Adam. Look how nice it is to learn grammar from a film. “I was sitting” for a longer time and than some short actions: “she walked in”, “I turned to Arthur”.

$ I don’t remember tenses at all.

$ This is all right, too. Or even better because theory doesn’t disturb your pleasure of using a foreign language.

$ Come on. Wait a sec. If I don’t know the linguistic theory, I don’t know how to use the language, either.

$ You already know some theory and believe me: this is a big portion. If you know less than a lot, you rely on your inborn ingenuity, because you realize that your knowledge can disappoint you. Listen to this: I was in Cyprus and one day me and other three girls went to lunch. One of us – a widow – talked about her husband. I wanted to ask about the length of her married life and I started to hesitate over the tense. Probably Past Perfect since her husband passed away. There was a British among us and she was faster: “How long were you married?” She asked my question because I had been deliberating over tenses. Till today I am of the opinion that there was still room for improvement in her question. So what? Paraphrasing Marshall B. Rosenberg and Katie Byron: ‘either I can be happy or right’. Anyway, I suggest underestimating grammar.

$ Hahahaha! Kissing goodbye – I like this expression. I’ll put it down.

$ Great.

$ What does it mean: “clears throat”?

$ And what is Sally doing? Kmmm, kmmm.

$ O! I see!

$ To some extend, a film is a better tool to learn languages than books, CDs etc. because it gives you moving pictures. One picture tells you more than 1,000 words.

$ The first shift.

$ Think of the shift key of your computer. What does it do?

$ For example, if I want to change from small letters to capital letters.

$ That’s what you say: change.

$ honks – it’s easy. And figure out?

$ Underline this, please. Or make a separate list of words and expressions whose meaning you don’t deduce from the context.

$ Visor, grapes, roll down the window – I like learning like this.

$ I’m happy to hear that.

$ And this one: The story of my life isn’t even going to get us out of Chicago. I understand every word and I don’t understand the whole thing.

$ Add this to “figure out”, please. Ok. We can stop here so that I am able to show you the next steps. You can either continue step 3 till the end of the movie or you can have a break whenever you feel like it. Step 4: watch the film again, this time with subtitles in your mother tongue and you regard them as your dictionary; i.e. you look for the answers to the questions you asked yourself in step 3. Ready?

$ Ok.

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