Saturday, April 1, 2017

"English Has Too Many Words"

At the beginning of my classes, I give my students the opportunity to talk about whatever they want for a few minutes - free conversation.  


This week one of my students pointed to his thumb and told me he hurt his finger playing volleyball on Sunday.  I asked if he hurt his finger and pointed to my four fingers.  He said no, he hurt his finger, and again pointed to his thumb.  I asked if he hurt his thumb or his finger, and he again pointed to his thumb and said he hurt his finger.  I told him that was his thumb and held up my fingers and thumbs - eight fingers and two thumbs. He had never heard the word "thumb" before.  He also didn't know about "toes".  He told me that English has too many words.


(image from the internet)

12 comments:

  1. Too many words! And what shall we do about that? I think I'll just laugh.
    Happy Friday, Pamela.

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  2. So the Japanese don't have a word for thumb??? I agree English does have too many words!!! Nice way to start your class.

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  3. To be fair, I think thumb is a subset of finger, like circle is a subset of oval. Certainly more correct, but the other isn't really wrong. People say "10 fingers and 10 toes" all the time.

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  4. Realized my previous statement was incorrect. :P I meant square and rectangle, not circle and oval!

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  5. All languages are so difficult--all the little nuances and special meanings are hard to ge across...hugs, Julierose

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  6. Ha! I do agree with that, too many words!

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  7. For the student of Japanese, JAPANESE has too many words! And each syllable too many meanings and each kanji character too many meanings AND pronunciations! ALL languages have difficulties for the students.
    Be sure you student now knows the difference between a finger and a thumb, and a toe.

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  8. Lol that's interesting ,yes too many words.

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  9. Oh what a lovely story! I've heard that English is hard to learn as a 2nd language. I'm sure you were very kind to him!

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  10. Well, years ago I started taking a Spanish class and found it interesting how a change of a letter or pronunciation changed the meaning of a word. Also that new inventions, such as computer, have no word in spanish so the english word is used. I love words. I love to learn new words and meanings. One can look to texting to see how a lack of words can make a communication misunderstood. Viva La Words!!
    xx, Carol

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  11. So isn't the thumb classified as a fingeri n English? I didn't know that as well. But you can still tell him, while English might have too many words, Japanese has too many 'pictures'! :D

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  12. I quiet agree with him LOL Glenda

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