Friday, February 7, 2014

Explaining Backwards

As you can imagine with Ellie around now, life has been upside down. We love it and wouldn't have it any other way, but we haven't been updating the blog as much as we would like. But as we jump back into the language learning adventure, I had a quick observation to share.

I have started working with a new language helper recently on an exchange basis (an hour of English for an hour of German). Most of our language helpers and tutors have been paid up to this point, which usually saves some time because we don't have to do an hour of English along with the hour of German.

Now I am starting to do more exchanges and it is really helpful. My helper doesn't speak that much English. During our English times, I end up going back to German to explain a specific concept or answer a question about how something functions. This is good practice and helpful. It is interesting to look back at English through the lens of my newly adopted language.

However, sometimes it is just purely difficult to explain English grammar. This is because of the way we learn languages as children. We absorb them in a very natural context and the rules of grammar become like air to us. We breath it everyday but rarely stop to think about how it functions. So going back and explaining how these rules function is an interesting challenge. They say you never really understand something until you can easily explain it to someone else. I think explaining things with new tools makes it even more fun and interesting!

Photo credit: gracey from

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