My Spanish bad. It really bad.
It so bad, that no waiter ever understands a thing I say when I in a restaurant here in Buenos Aires.
I think you get the message, to be or not to be. On Saturday night, my girlfriend was watching the above gem, and I suddenly thought, “why would this guy NOT be using the verb… “to be” here?” Ok ok, I’m not SO from north London that I haven’t heard this before, but can we miss out ALL verbs in the same way? Well, it doesn’t seem to work with other verbs… let’s see…
A: “What X you X this weekend?”
B: “I X to X my girlfriend, and then we X dinner in a Chinese resturant”
Apart from sounding just plain rude, the missing verbs seem very… missing. But check these babies out:
“When we all done” (“My Chic Bad” ft. Nicki Minaj by Ludacris)
“You talkin’ to me?” (Robert de Niro in “Taxi Driver”)
“Where you going tonight?” (http://www.barspace.tv/)
“She a bad girl” (“Bad Girl” by Rihanna)
All these seem to work just fine. Can you think of any other verbs that work in this way?
Great Alastair, well done. And your point is…? Bueno, ok. Last year, Scott Thornbury posted about the Third Conditional. It’s changing, it seems. At least, he came up with plenty of examples showing that it’s being used in a “wrong” way. And (mercifully) we don’t have an “academy” of English that says what is and isn’t allowed in the language so it’s fair game, really.
And how many times have your students said to you, “why in [X] song does he/she say [insert example of blatant flouting of grammar “rule” here]?”
Intrinsic motivation explains why students WANT to know about English songs, so then we get all this stuff that flies in the face of what we teach in class. And certainly, native speakers don’t use English in the way New English File says you should.
If a native speaker is using language like this, is it wrong? Do we just classify it as “interlanguage”? Hell no. It’s a different colloquial form on English, right?
So, if we’re exposing our students to different regional accents in listenings these days instead of RP, should we show them regional grammars too? Or should we ignore this until they find it out for themselves?
And yes, this IS what I do when I’m not reflecting on teaching… I’m reflecting on language. Or sleeping. Two of my colleagues last week told me to get a life. It’s a fair cop.