English for dummies

Now that the cover artwork is underway and I’ve abandoned the current WIP, I’ve started to consider whether I should go back to work.  Retirement is all well and good but I miss the rough-and-tumble of the office.  Anyway, to cut a long story short, I’ve always wanted to teach and have already mentioned the dire state of English spoken here.  That’s because most of the teachers are not native speakers, I think.  So, the logical thing to do is to meet market demand.  I think I’ll teach English as a foreign language, or to be more specific, to help refine the standards of English spoken by professional people; people who already speak it but want to improve.  Ok, this ideally needs qualifications but some language schools will take you on without and then train you to meet their standards.  Tutoring and coaching can take place in between.

I’ve been studying the language for the first time since I was 15 and have been surprised by some aspects that I was simply unaware of.  I get by in 6 languages so am pretty familiar with grammar and know how simple our verb structure is but did you know that English has 12 tenses (plus four conditional moods)?  Twelve!  Most of the languages I speak have a bewildering array of tenses as well but most of them are rarely used, except in formal writing.  The trouble with English is that we use all of the tenses all of the time and some of them do not have an equivalent in other languages.  To cap it all, we hardly use the simple present tense as in all other languages, preferring the present continuous.  We know when to slide from one to the other but try explaining how and when to someone who is new to it.

Actually, I’m fascinated by the whole idea and it’s a great new challenge, plus a chance to earn some money and meet new people.  The only obstacle is that all of the language schools are on holidays because, as in the UK, time off seems to dominate the timetable.  That gives me time to learn more and make preparations to get qualified.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, English has three sets of tenses, past, present and future but each of these has four tenses:  simple, continuous, perfect and perfect continuous.  3 x 4 = 12.  Really.



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