Interrogative Pronouns Through Idioms By Felis Sian
Student Profile • Student Profile: Taiwanese students who are seniors in high school. • Students are false beginners of English. Most likely they have been studying English since elementary school. • Most plan to study in a university or work in the U.S. or English speaking country.
Why Interrogative Pronouns to Chinese speakers, you ask? • Chinese does not really have question words that are used in the same way. • “Ta shi shei?” – “Who is he?” • “Ni qu zai nar?” – “Where are you going?” • “Ni shenme shihou you shijian?” – “When do you have time?” • “Weishenme ni tai shou le?” – “Why are you too thin?” • “Ni duo jiu keyi shuijiao?” – “How long can you sleep?” • “Ni hao ma?” – “How are you?”
Reminder: Idioms: an expression with a meaning that is not predictable from the usual meanings of the individual words. Don’t worry, this will be a “piece of cake”
Review: Prepositional idioms: arrive at (a specific location, a conclusion) – She will arrive at the library before 4pm. arrive in (a city, country) – I will arrive in three days. part from (leave)—I parted from the group early this year. part with (a possession)—I parted with the Rolls Royce reluctantly. Figurative idioms: “The cat’s out of the bag.” – “secret is revealed” or “the surprise is exposed” “The ball is in your court” – “I will let it be your decision” It’s All Greek to Me!
Interrogative Pronouns“Go out on a limb.” • Who – antecedent for a human • What – antecedent for nonhuman thing/object • Where – antecedent for a place • When – antecedent for a time • Why – antecedent for reason • How (much, many, long) – antecedent for quantity • Which – antecedent for particular types
“Shui dao qu cheng” “Where water flows, a channel is formed.” Meaning: “When conditions are ready, success will come.” “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” Meaning: “If you want it, there’s a way to get it. Let’s use it in a sentence! Great Minds Think Alike
“Chufei taiyang cong xibian chulai” “Unless the sun would rise from the west.” Meaning: Something that will never ever happen “When pigs fly” Meaning: That will never happen Let’s use it in a sentence! It’s a small world!
“Da shui chong le long wang mao” “The Dragon-King’s temple is flooded.” Meaning: You can be harmed by the bad things you do. “What goes around, comes around.” Meaning: Your actions will be done to you Let’s use it in a sentence! When it rains, it pours… Idioms that is!
Activity: • Students will then break up into groups of 7 and they will be given a list of English Interrogative Pronouns to observe and analyze the meanings. • They will make contexts in which to use these expressions. • Then the students will present their understanding of the idioms by acting out a few in class.
Why are Idioms so important? • A lot of English speakers use idioms… especially prepositional idioms. • Idioms enrich the language, present an image that would take too long to articulate in their literal meaning. • Ex: “Honeymoon is over!” What do you get from that when a teacher just assigned a big assignment?
Why are Interrogative Pronouns so important? • I don’t know… • Imagine not being able to ask a question. Imagine not being able inspire someone to wonder your meaning.