Hi, all. Nesse episódio do podcast Inglês Online eu falo sobre um poeminha em inglês que brinca com as formas irregulares.
Hi, all. Today we have a new episode of the inglesonline podcast. To download or just listen to other episodes and download transcripts, go to inglesonline.com.br and click Podcast Inglesonline.
Let me read you parts of a little poem that’s floating around on the Internet about the so-called hardships of learning English:
We’ll begin with box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox should be oxen, not oxes.
You may find a lone mouse or a whole lot of mice,
But the plural of house is houses, not hice.
And I speak of a foot, and you show me your feet,
But I give a boot… would a pair be beet?
If one is a tooth, and a whole set is teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be beeth?
If the singular is this, and the plural is these,
Why shouldn’t the plural of kiss be kese?
Then one may be that, and three be those,
Yet the plural of hat would never be hose.
So our English, I think you will agree,
Is the trickiest language you ever did see.
So this entire poem basically revolves around one thing: the exceptions to the rules, especially the rules of plural forms. And let’s not forget all the irregular verbs that were not even mentioned in this little poem. The past form of make isn’t maked; the past form of take isn’t taked, and we could go on.
Of course the poem is supposed to be humorous and not taken that seriously, but… any time someone states that English is difficult I feel compelled to say something about it. So let me just present a different point of view. I’m not denying all the exceptions to the rules, of course! I’m just saying that they’re not the reason English is hard to learn. In my experience, English is hard to learn for people who get very little exposure to the language – in other words, the majority of English students. Go read my tips on how to make progress with your fluency. That should get you off to a good start.
I just think it’s a little funny to consider English a particularly difficult language to learn when… we’re all fluent in Portuguese. And yes, I know, we all learned Portuguese at a time when our mental barriers were practically non-existent. But that just goes to show that nothing is really that hard when we’re truly open to it – not even a language that has structures such as the following ones: “Se a gente fosse estrangeiro…” and “A gente estava lá”. “Fosse” and “estava”: how do we say that in English? If we were foreigners… and We were there. We use the same word, “were”, for “fosse” and “estava”.
“Vocês estão cansados”; “Se vocês forem chamados…”; “No caso de vocês estarem cansados…”; and “Espero que vocês estejam confortáveis”. “Estão”, “forem”, “estarem” and “estejam”: that’s our Presente Simples, Futuro do Subjuntivo, Infinitivo Pessoal and Presente do Subjuntivo for you. Four different tenses, four different words in Portuguese, and they all become ARE in English. “You are tired”, “If you are called…”, “In case you are tired…” and “I hope you are confortable”.
There are more examples of “hard” words on both sides. I’m just saying I would think twice before claiming that English is a particularly hard language to learn. What are your examples of irregular words or verb forms that seem easier in one case than the other? Let us know in the comments and, before we wrap up – if you own a phone or a tablet that runs on Android, please go ahead and download the new Inglês Online app for Android. You’ll be able to download our podcasts right onto your gadget and then listen to the episodes even when you’re offline. This is still version 1; version 2 will probably be released next week with a few bug fixes… We’ve had hundreds of downloads in the last couple of days so just look up “inglesonline” in the search box of the Play Store and… drop me a line and let me know what you think, suggestions for future versions… Thanks! Talk to you next time.
get you off to a good start = fazer você ter um bom começo
“hard” = aspas são lidas como quote, unquote, hard
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