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Macro-English

Ira P. Boone


Macro-English © 2012 by Ira P. Boone All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means – electronic, mechanical, photographic (photocopying), recording, or otherwise – without prior permission in writing from the author. Published by Maria Company ISBN 9781476226774 Printed in the United States of America Learn more information at: http://englishfortheeagerlearners.blogspot.com/


TABLE OF CONTENTS Table of Contents The author's profile Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Contact Information


THE AUTHOR’S PROFILE It is a God’s gift to the author, a special piece of luck, which has hold for more than 60 years in his effort to study English. At the beginning, as anybody else, he felt the more he learned, the more he was confused with seemingly contradictory information. But, as luck would have it, he in the end uncovered the ultimate secrets of learning the language in a complete whole. The author has read countless grammar books, old and modern, and come to the conclusion that they all have done only half of their job by just explaining the 8 parts of speech as well as listing out the rules of the language. And these, in reality, mean not much to the students. Now, the author in his book “English for the Eager Learners” has completed the job with other more important half of the work of guiding the students to learn, training them to think and develop their memory, and particularly letting them understand the reasons behind the grammatical rules. So, this is, indeed, a perfect book with all the fundamental elements for the learners of English. Sincerely, the author hopes that some knowledge of the language’s background together with its characteristics is a good start before going on the lifelong language study, something like dating someone. And all these can be seen written in his short and brief articles “Macro-English”.


CHAPTER 1 The word “macro-English” looks something like “macroeconomics” but of course not exactly the same. The following are its job descriptions. English as any other language has its own way of thinking to form words and sentences. This English thought stems from its own history and culture and is not translatable. Twenty percent off the price (English thought) Eighty percent of the price (Other language's thought) Keep off the grass (English thought) Don't walk on the grass (Other language's thought) Each language has some words or expressions that defy translation. Adolf Hitler's German pet word "Lebensraum" was translated into "living room". English readers thought the expression funny, but actually it meant something like "life space", which turned out not funny at all. The way of writing is also peculiar to every language: There is a book on the table. (English way of writing) A book is on the table. (Other language's way of writing) It is lucky for you to get the ticket. (English way of writing)

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You are lucky to buy the ticket. (Other language's way of writing) When a Chinese, for example, studies English with a Chinese-English book, he is learning Chinese-English, not real English, because his native language's spirit will wipe off the English thought and the way to express it. So, it is advisable to study English with an English book without any translation, if possible.

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CHAPTER 2 Learning English is a process of mind-training and memory-developing. A learner is always required to think of a definition or a concept the other way round. The sun rose. The noun "sun" is the action doer and is called "subject". So a subject (action doer) is a noun. That is a noun can be the subject of a verb. To complete the thought, we say a verb has a noun in front. To put this in reverse order, we take any word or words sitting before a verb to be a noun (subject). Such a way of thinking back and forth about an idea marks the first step as the foundation stone toward mind-training to build up the knowledge of the language. In brief, a learner should approach English as an active thinker, not a thoughtless reader. With a trained mind we are able to write down an idea in different ways: I saw something strange. Something strange caught my eyes. There was something strange coming into my sight. Something strange was spotted by me.

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And more, much more, we will stand to gain in all aspects of our lives, just thinking one step ahead of others. Now try and get used to stretching the brains always back and forth when it comes to studying English.

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CHAPTER 3 There is vast room in English for us to develop our memory. Under the nickname "Globlish", English has over one million words now. This is after an increase of 0.4 million in a short span of 60 years. Words from foreign languages, from new technologies and new trades have flooded into the language. At school the average student learns about 3000-4000 words a year. This figure came from the studies and experiments conducted by various educational institutions. In fact, after leaving school we still have, for personal need, to pick up new words, but the number dramatically comes down to about 50 words a year. It is well known to people that a good stock of words will give them selfconfidence and great power to build their thoughts on, so that their clear and convincing sentences will strike home. To achieve the end we can develop our memory and word power through the channels of well written songs, attractive wordings of advertisements, movies, videos and radios. The Bible, books, magazines and even talks to all sorts of people will also serve our needs to build up the vocabulary stock. However, knowing a word's meaning doesn't mean everything. We need grammar to clarify the writer's intention. A pretty red tie. If "pretty" is an adjective, it means a beautiful tie. If "pretty" is an adverb, it means the tie is very red.

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CHAPTER 4 English is a highly ambiguous language. Give me your photograph. There are more than 3 interpretations of the sentence. 1. "Your" may mean "you own the photograph". 2. Or, the photograph was taken by you. 3. Or, the photograph was taken of you. (= your portrait) The other interpretations can be "1" + "2", or "1" + "3" and so forth. Again, the following can inspire us to the need of some guidelines (grammar) for the language. A passerby wandered through a graveyard and saw a tombstone with the words: "Here lies Tome Jones, a politician and honest man." "Hey!" he cried out. "They got three people buried in one grave." Here, grammar tells us that there is only one person buried in the grave. So, it is grammar that defines what is what and guides us to understanding a sentence according to the function of each word, phrase, and clause. And it helps us to write a clear and unambiguous statement with ease. That is why English is called a language of definition. It is

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totally unlike other languages such as the Chinese language, which is a language at a guess without a formal grammar. Today the English language changes much faster than it did in any past period. And its grammar naturally follows suit. A dictionary was formerly a lifelong companion, but now its service lasts only a few years and a new edition is waiting to take its place. Modern grammar is simple, easy to pick up without difficult technical terms.

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CHAPTER 5 The standing objection to the study of grammar had led England to carry out a rough experiment on making grammar-teaching in classrooms unfashionable in the 1960s. A rougher ending turned up after students started to work and found, to their frustration, that their English was inferior to the foreigners'. Communication among them fared badly and with foreign companies or governments even worse. This posed a serious problem. Then, the tide turned, and teachers of grammar were in high demand in the UK. They delivered courses on grammar, punctuation, phonetics to grownups. Big companies such as Marks&Spencer, Tesco, Waterstone's, Unilever and so forth spent dollars after dollars on hiring English teachers to train their employees in the skill of writing correct, grammatical English. And the Royal Post Office was among them too. This grown-up generation was, indeed, a generation of illiteracy, and they didn't want their children to follow their steps. They protested. At last, in the 1990s, the pendulum swung back to the UK. Her National Curriculum brought the teaching of grammar back into schools after a lapse of 30 years. However, at the other end of the scale, Americans energetically refined and developed the language all the time to make it more logical and systematic. They pointed out that linguists didn't invent the rules, only they discovered them. All these American developments in the English language have entered the textbooks in the UK and other countries over the world now.

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CHAPTER 6 Few people realize there is a special, important technique of studying grammar: to look for the reasons behind the rules. Here we can see the word "home" is accepted as a noun for the following reasons. 1. Its outlook suggests that it is a noun. 2. The four positions it occupies show it is a noun. i)

It stands before a verb. The tiger's home is the jungle.

ii)

It comes after a transitive verb. The new couple made their home in Paris.

iii)

It stays behind a linking verb. My house became my new dog's home.

iv)

It follows a preposition. We were a long way from home.

Yet, "home" in these sentences are not nouns. Don't you know the reasons? The home team won.

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We came home at 1pm. Overseas troops homed in after the war. 3. It is a sure way to find out a noun in a reverse order by focusing on the verbs and prepositions first. Before a verb, after a transitive verb, a linking verb or a preposition, there is a noun. So, is "easy" a noun or an adjective or an adverb in the following sentences? Why? Easy does it. Easy come, easy go. Again, is "shopping" a noun (gerund), or an adjective in this sentence? Why? I'll go shopping. In the course of studying grammar a learner is required to think of the reason actively, and a "why" should be always in her mind.

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CHAPTER 7 Too many fixed expressions, idioms and collocations (combination of words) can be seen spreading through the language. They are exceptions to rules. It is these exceptions that require us to exercise our memory all the time. Easy does it. (= to do something slowly and carefully) It is a fixed expression. We can't write: Easy did it. Or, easiness does it. Here we understand "does" needs a subject, and that is "easy". Easy come, easy go. (= Something is easily got and soon lost.) We can't use "easily" to replace the adverb "easy" in the sentence. Idioms go the same way, not governed by grammatical rules. Once in a blue moon. According to grammar we have to say "the moon". Go broke. (= Take a dangerous risk.) Generally we use a gerund after "go", not the adjective "broke".

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Some collocations also don't follow grammatical rules. It is correct to say: The girl likes the diamond ring very much. But not: The girl likes the diamond ring much. (Though "much" is correctly used to modify "likes", people don't write this way.) Now we may summarize what we have learned so far: 1. Today's grammar is simple and easy to learn, and to write correct English is not a problem. 2. With reasons behind the rules to light up our language path, we are able to see where we stand and what others are working on, i.e. Who’s right and why? Who’s wrong and why? 3. As our communication is built on a large number of exceptions, it is sensible to learn them as many as possible.

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CHAPTER 8 Once the study of the English language starts to begin, the following suggestions can be useful: 1. English is learned step by step: lesson 4 is based on a full understanding of lesson 3. It is not a smart way to skip. 2. Each study time should come close to people's attention span, which is around 15-20 minutes. A total concentration matters, and skimming is inadvisable. In the history of Harvard University, one of the highest grades was achieved by a student, who did his homework among the loud, unpleasant noise of a large family in the slums. Abraham Lincoln, President of the USA, wrote his famous "Dedication" in a rattling train roaring forever forward. So how we study comes to be the first important element of success, not where. 3. Knowledge, like tasty food, should be chewed, enjoyed, and swallowed a little each time. When we feel full, the time to stop is up. How much we get counts more than how many pages we read. 4. It is good to have a pencil at hand to mark down the notes, the thoughts and the findings we have in the course of study.

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5. It does us no good to feel tense when we are going through the lines. Just take it easy. Always relax as we learn. 6. When reading, we usually take 2 or 3 words at one sight: There is nothing/like the sight/of an old enemy/down on his luck./ Last Sunday/we held a surprise party/for one of our old schoolmates./ It was her birthday./We invited forty people,/and most of them came./ This skill can be easily obtained with some practice, and then it will become our lifelong tool.

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CHAPTER 9 Grammar is boring. It confuses me and gives me headache. Its terms and rules have no connection to my daily life. These views may be right but are regrettable. Grammar itself is not a problem. A learner herself is not to blame. It is the following that discredit grammar: 1. Misleading and contradictory statements are often seen in some grammar books. 2. The book’s contents are often disorganized. 3. The information about a topic is always not complete. 4. The way of teaching lacks interest. Now the book “English for the Eager Learners” has wiped off the above accusations and revealed the secrets of mastering the language. It directs a reader to think actively and logically, and to correctly write a sentence in a clear, meaningful way - that is called grammar. In other words grammar means organization. ”English for the Eager Learners” is a teach-yourself book. Its topics are self-contained and interrelated. The grammatical rules and terms are kept to a minimum. But its main value is seen in letting the students know the reasons with which the language works. A reader will know why:

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1. The noun “gun” has zero article. The suspect came out of the house, gun in hand. 2. The adverb “here” can follow “be”, and the adverb ”slowly” can’t. The dog is here. The dog’s action is slowly. In addition, unlike other books, “English for the Eager Learners” offers a follow-up service to a reader, who may raise any questions or doubts about the contents of the book through emails. In short, when a learner is reading the book, she feels that she is studying English all over again, and quickly finds out what she has known before is not real now.

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CHAPTER 10 A reader, after reading “English for the Eager Learners” can learn to write a straightforward sentence: 1. grammatical 2. logical 3. idiomatic For (1), the book provides the basic, complete knowledge of grammar. For (2), the reader is trained how to think actively for clear writing. For (3), there are many idiomatic expressions (the set way of the language) in every passage at the end of a lesson for one to memorize and make use of. At this point, a learner can only copy others’work. She must not create her own expressions. This imitation stage anyone who learns an art or a craft or writing must pass through. Bach and Picasso and Shakespeare are among them. Once the apprenticeship of writing is over, she comes out as a creative, independent writer. But to reach the highest level of writing - to write simple English, she needs real “talent” and hard work that any book can’t teach.

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“Simple English is no one’s mother tongue. It has to be worked for.” - Jacques Yes, simple English is easy reading but hard to write. Here is the greatest of all speeches that has ever been made on earth: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid (hidden). Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel (a big container), but on a candle stick” - Bible Another one: “I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bond of affection (love)” - Lincoln These seemingly effortless writings come from hard work and hard thinking. Please don’t mistake them for the elementary style of “Jack likes Jane.” On the other side of the coin, comes hard reading. It springs from easy writing and is as plentiful as sand everywhere.

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CONTACT INFORMATION Please send inquiries to: mariacompany@rocketmail.com http://englishfortheeagerlearners.blogspot.com/ Other books written by the author: English for the Eager Learners by Ira P. Boone Maria Company 2012.

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Macro-English  

Few people realize there is a special, important technique of studying grammar: to look for the reasons behind the rules. The author suggest...

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