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Relative Pronoun

I've been busy, or enjoying, checking out freeware and shareware programs for the past couple of days without blogging. Seems like winter is the season when I feel like playing with online gadgets. I think I'll blog about the stuff one of these days.

Well, thanks guys for all the comments to my last post. My assumption was that, other than choosing neither, native English speakers would know without giving it a serious thought that "that" could sound better, even though "which" wouldn't be grammatically incorrect. And that's just it. An interesting thing is, if that was an English problem in high school entrance exams in Japan, most students would choose "that" too. That's not because they can feel the word "that" better fits into the sentence, but because they are just taught so at school. That is, when the words "the first" modify the antecedent of the relative pronoun, use "that" instead of "which." I won't go into the properness of teaching that way any farther on my blog for now, but that's the way English is taught here in Japan.

The goal of learning a foreign language should be to be able to use the language comfortably. And how to get close to the goal could differ depending on the learning situation.

If you happen to be interested in English education in Japan - relative pronouns are taught in 9th grade, and those that follow a comma in senior high. In the Japanese language, there's no relative pronoun, and all the modifiers of a noun are placed in front of the noun. In this sense, it's kind of hard for the Japanese to grasp and get used to the idea. Nevertheless, I think a lot of Japanese tend to use relative pronouns too much when writing English. It's an interesting yet funny phenomenon. Oh, forget about me. ;)

Comments

When I'm struggling with my Japanese, I often think how much harder English is. It's hard for me to drop the relative pronoun--the sentence seems so empty. Sure, there's not much difference between "the pizza that I ate yesterday" and "the pizza I ate yesterday", so I can imagine life without relative pronouns.

The trick Japanese sentences is to pay attentions to plain-form verbs preceding nouns. Whenever I see that combination, I imagine a relative pronoun and then proceed calmly through the sentence.

How much more difficult it must be to go from Japanese to English and be required to insert words that you managed without all your life. If your English classes are like my Japanese classes, then your students probably say, "But why? Why does English need these extra words?" Teacher: "It just does. So learn them."

While you're checking out freeware and shareware, be sure to watch out for them spyware sometimes hidden in them proggies! :(

Actually I have to say like "English is made that way" again and again to my students. It's inevitable for language learners to see the foreign language through the filters of their native language. It's a hurdle to jump over.

That's why language is fun. :) Your comments on language learning always get to the heart of both languages, and I learn a lot from them, M.

Thanks for the advice, den4. They are sneaky. I defend my computers with a couple of anti-spyware programs and PC-cillin, but never feel safe.


No matter how hard I tried,
I could find no reason for people to create software and then give it out for free.
It costs hell of time to develop something, why not sell it?
There must be some reason.
Brian