Hello from Yala and Dad
Hi everyone! How are you? Fine I hope. Sorry to all of you who keep writing and telling me how cold you are. Just close your eyes and imagine you are in Sri Lanka with us; though I have to say that if it were a month or two earlier or later, you would not want to be in my shoes, as the humidity increases it becomes less of a pleasant place to be.
Right, first things first, I am afraid I have had a few technical hitches so I will not be able to bring to you the full visual feast I had hoped. I will take you on a full safari, Yala style in a couple of days’ time, when I manage to rectify my lead problem. (Don’t ask!)
In the mean time I thought I would comment on a few of your comments and then I will hand you over to Dad.
First of all, I’ll return to the post where I invited you all to tell me what you wanted from this blog. Here’s what you said:
A good balance
Analysis of language
Information about hobbies, culture and countries around the world
Some of you like the challenges; others just want to read and not necessarily contribute but the main thing that came across was that you are all interested in people and learning about how other people live, work, eat and play. This struck a chord with me as I feel exactly the same way which is probably why I am in this profession and why I have lived in a number of different countries.
Now some answers to a couple of specific questions:
Ana Paula – You asked about ‘but and though’, we do not usually put but and though in the same sentence. However, if we use a semi colon to separate two facts/ideas from each other it is possible to use both in the same sentence but not in the same clause. For example: I like cornflakes but my daughter does not; though my son will eat cornflakes and porridge. A lot of language learners make the mistake of putting but and though/but and although in the same clause/sentence without any semi colon. I wonder whether it is a direct translation issue for you or not? In a lot of languages it is possible but not in English, basically because the two words serve the same function.
Sunny – you wanted to know the difference between until and before and until and by. Well, I’ll do my best. These three words are all used to refer to a particular point in time, be it past, present or future. The difference is in usage. Until is used to refer to a point in time by which we ended/wish to end/circumstances bring an end to something. For example:
I waited until 9 o’clock but he never showed so I went home. (up to that point in time)
I will be in Sri Lanka until at least August 2010.
I always wait until everyone’s finished eating before I start to clear the plates.
Before I go to bed I brush my teeth. This refers to a time shortly preceding my going to bed. It is not that I am brushing my teeth right up to the point of getting into bed. We use before to refer to something that took place/will take place at a point preceding another event/activity/time. It can go at the beginning of a sentence or in the middle or even at the end. For example:
I met him before I came to Sri Lanka.
Before I came to Sri Lanka I had never eaten jackfruit.
I will use lifts now which I never would have done before.
By the time you read this I hope to be tucked up in bed.
I will have left Yala by this time tomorrow. (At some point before 9 p.m. tomorrow)
If we try to replace by with until it does not work. If we try to replace before with until or vice versa it will also not work because they have slightly different meanings and notice the difference in use. I hope these example sentences have helped clarify for you. I often find that examples are the best way of showing the difference.
Sergio - you asked about classifying new vocabulary. Well, these are a few of the ways I recommend to my students and ways I have also used myself.
By topic – all words associated with weather/sport/hobbies etc
By collocation – words which appear together. You could use the concept of a word spot/word web like so:
The main word is take. I record take in my notebook with a lot of other words which I can use with take:
Take a bath
Take a break
Take a breath
Take over (v)
It is also useful to record the part of speech as I have shown above.
Antonyms (Opposites)/synonyms (words with similar meanings)
Functions – language for directions/letter of application/meeting for the first time etc
I am sure there are many more as well. You just have to decide which works best for you. Of course, there’s always the traditional alphabetical way as well. The main thing I think is that the methods you choose are clearly labeled so you can find what you are looking for quickly when you need to recycle/use that language again. It’s a bit like tidying up. If you are too tidy, you might find you can’t remember where you have put something because you have hidden it so well!
Right, that’s it for me. I will leave you with a couple of pics and Dad.
I bid you all good night. See you on safari very soon. :)
Here's the view of Tangalle bay from our lunch stop en route to Yala.
Good evening everybody. You are in the hands of an amateur blogger!
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Roy. I live in the Lake District in northern England. I am Helen’s father and am spending a wonderful holiday with my family on the beautiful island of Sri Lanka. It is a complete contrast to having left England at -3 degrees, dropping into Sri Lanka the following day to a balmy 28 degrees in the shade!
We are staying in a resort called Yala Village.
Facilities are really good. Here's a picture of my chalet. It's just opposite Helen's.
As usual with holidays we seem to be staggering from one meal time to another. When we return to our home in Colombo I have made a resolution to shed a few pounds by walking along the nearby beach; but as we all know the road to hell is paved with good intentions!
On our arrival we were advised to have a guide to take us to our chalet as there are wild boar roaming the grounds! Rather off-putting but up to now we are all safe and sound.
Thank you for the privilege of speaking to you all. It has been a great pleasure. I am very impressed with your language skills and really amazed at the comments that come in from all over the world. Good luck with your studies and thank you for your patience with me.
Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.