Learn More Than Just Your A, B, Cs

I am taking French lessons with a young Parisian woman and she gives me one-on-one tuition once a week. It has been quite refreshing to learn French in this way – I have always meant to sign up for French classes with Alliance but the idea of learning it in a classroom with a workbook and homework just doesn’t appeal. This has been the perfect solution. Today in the midst of a discussion about verb conjugation, she stopped, threw down her pen and said in a lovely French accent, “I wont yoo too explain somefink too me.”

She continued on to explain her exasperation about adult Australians not understanding or being able to point out what the subjects and verbs in sentences are. “Why is dis??!!”

I had to apologise on behalf of the Australian education system and explain that this is no longer taught in schools. I do not recall ever being told about subjects and objects and it was only through my own investigation and through learning French that I have learnt these concepts. It is terrifying to think about how rapidly the English language is deteriorating within Australia. As each generation passes through school, teachers know less and less about how to teach these basic concepts. I am so often horrified to read texts written by people who are supposedly intelligent, well educated folk and they don’t know how to form simple sentences. If you’re reading this and don’t know what an adjective is, please go and find yourself a dictionary and look it up. Or click here.

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3 Responses to “Learn More Than Just Your A, B, Cs”

  1. Anon says:

    It’s not really stupidity, but rather the difference between natural organic styled learning vs. adult predominatly analytical learning. Pretty much everyone who knows a single language will not know their verbs from their vocab., nor their prepositions for their proverbs, and yet almost everybody who knows two or more (certain non-Romantic language combos notwithstanding) will think the first set idiots.

    The real shame of a generation not knowing these concepts is rather that it is a clear indicator of a strictly monolingual society, which, by virtue of failing to even offer a modest teaser of foreign language aquisition, effectively discourages it vehemently.

  2. Jess says:

    I agree with you to some extent, but only from the view point of Australians. Most Western Europeans that I know are very well aware of their language structure – they are taught it from a young age, whether they learn a second language or not. They don’t tend to wait until they have to learn another language before becoming aware of grammatical elements. I am not sure about how English is taught in other English speaking countries, but Australia at least takes this “organic styled learning” a little too far. I’m all for kids expressing themselves and learning the way that suits them best, but it clearly isn’t working very well if the majority of Australians cannot write or speak their own language correctly.

  3. True Blue Bonza says:


    If it’s got to the point where “majority of Australians cannot write or speak their own language correctly” then this is actually the new correct. If people can communicate productively and happily with what they’re doing why are they going to bother learning (and then passing on) the abstract concepts of verbs and shit? We’ll leave that fancy stuff to people like you.


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