Time For Action

Going to school in about 1978

Going to school in about 1978. And yes, that really is curtains combined with venetian blinds. And yes, that's really a Fonzie Mat on my desk.

Half way through tonight’s Swedish class I developed a Homer Simpson-like grand plan to sue the NSW Department of Education. “They’re the reason why I’m finding class difficult tonight”. I concluded, as I struggled with the past participle of some bloody grammar thing. “If they’d taught me grammar properly”, I thought to myself, “I wouldn’t be in this position”.

I’m part of the generation of students in this country who are either too young and too old to have formal learning about grammar except that “verbs are doing words” and “nouns are naming words”.

We were encouraged to “express ourselves” and then fix up the mistakes later. Indeed, I can only recall one occasion when grammar became an issue when it became clear to one of our high school English teachers that no one from one of the particular “feeder schools” had any idea about where to place an apostrophe.

Luckily, I’ve been fairly gifted with language, and have learned a lot through “osmosis”. But it’s in the learning of another language – German in High School and Swedish now – that the lack of formal grammar education becomes evident.

Despite the grammar crisis, it was a reasonably interesting and fun class.

And then from class, we headed straight off to Wednesday night drinks with a special international guest this week, Gustav. I’ll write more about that over the next few days when I’m not so tired and it’s not so close to bedtime.

  1. I too am a victim of our education system. My hand writing certainly is. I was caught in the crossfire of the change from cursive script to printing. Grammar? What is that? I know nothing of parts of past participles. Still, I manage to get by.

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  2. What if you’re like me and did get taught grammar properly and you’re still crap at it??? I think you’re either into it or you’re note. I like the fact that you have a go at talking Swedish even if you screw it up – you still have a go when you’re in Sweden and to me that’s the most important thing. Can you understand when people speak Swedish? Can you speak to them in their own language? That’s the real measure of your success. Keep working on the grammar but don’t let it define you.

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  3. I had never seen that school photo of you – it is still unmistakably you. Unmistakably.

    There’s a little of Tom Ballard in the face too, I reckon.

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    1. You mean he’s gonna end up looking like me in 25 years time? :)

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