But amazingness aside, trying to be helpful with English language lesson plans brought home to me yet again how unfairly easy it is to have grown up speaking the wretched thing. And I just want to say, to anyone anywhere in the world who is trying to learn English as a second (or third or fourth) language ...
I'M REALLY REALLY SORRY!
English is an insane language, and it's no help to spread my hands and tell you "You write this rather than something else equally sensible because ... er ... it sounds right."
It's just not fair.
Take adjectives. According to an article in the Guardian this week, there is a rule that, like the writer, I didn't even know existed. The rule is, when you have multiple adjectives, you always* order them thusly:
And if you jumble that order - a red big jumper, for example, or a Scottish tall teacher - it sounds wrong.** Have a go yourself, if you've been speaking English from the get-go. Try and break the rule and see just how uncomfortable it feels.
And that's just one teeny-tiny cul-de-sac (so to speak) in the shifting maze of English. So, to all non-English-as-a-first-languagers everywhere, please accept my sincere, ginormous, elderly, well-rounded, rose-tinted, Canadian, iron-clad, unfairness-acknowledging apologies.
* Except when you don't, as the article goes on to explain.
** Except when it doesn't. (As in Big Bad Wolf.) (Sorry.)
Joan Lennon's website.
Joan Lennon's blog.