Monday, March 28, 2016

Did get your farther–further grammar goat?

Should Ford have used the word farther instead of further for promotional displays at the Women's World Curling Championships? They definitely needn't have capitalized the F-word in their tagline, and missed out sentence final punctuation as well.

Word-choice arguments, as you might imagine, can go full circle. For starters, an Oxford Dictionaries' grammar and usage resource made no distinctions, when talking about distance; it argued, "[B]oth are equally correct."

But isn't that like arguing two stones are equally close to the center of the house? If you watched the end of semi-final play between Japan and Russia yesterday (relative time), you may recall that the Japanese team quickly conceded a second point for closeness in the house on the 10th end, and won outright with two points of their own in the 11th.

Thus, perhaps, the Oxford Dictionaries' site conceded, "... [except] in various abstract and metaphorical contexts" (

Cambridge Dictionaries Online's argument included similar nuances: "There is no difference in meaning between them," when talking about distance. However, "[t]here are some occasions when we can use further[,] but not farther. / We use further before a noun to mean 'extra', 'additional' or 'a higher level'"

The Canadian Oxford Dictionary Online called farther a "var[iant] of further …" (2005, inaccessible after first viewing), but wouldn't reveal the definition of further without a purchase or subscription. The definition of one word isn't much of a sample to preview, eh?

Grammar Girl surmised, "The quick and dirty tip is to use 'farther' for physical distance and 'further' for metaphorical, or figurative, distance. It's easy to remember because 'farther' has the word 'far' in it, and 'far' obviously relates to physical distance" (

Grammar Monster concluded, "If you're unsure which to use[,] because it's difficult to make a distinction between physical and figurative distance, opt for further" (

You don't think Ford marketeers were unsure, do you? 

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Junior high students' presentation on school trip to Singapore

Our 一貫 [ikkan] students (1st yr JH - 2nd yr HS at Shokei) gathered for a Powerpoint presentation by our 3rd yr JH students about their school trip to Singapore last month. They had put together slides showing what they had seen and done as well as differences they had noticed between the school they visited in Singapore and Shokei.

Two surprising ones were that there was no A/C in the classrooms (and it was more humid than Kumamoto in August!) and that the students could have their cell phones on their desks and use them between classes! Some of the places they enjoyed were Marina Bay Sands (with a wonderful night view) and the Night Safari.

The students gave their presentation mostly in English with some Japanese including some Japanese on the screen to help students understand what they were saying. They had used some of the fun animations in Powerpoint to make the "show" even more enjoyable. It was a nice way to share their experience with the teachers and students!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Animal sounds galore!

Adaptation of Markham's Lexi the Poodle by pab (2016.03.02)
Some rights reserved (CC BY-SA 4.0)
A professor in Adelaide, Australia, Derek Abbott, has begun studying animal sounds as they would appear in comic strip speech balloons, according to posts in The Guardian and on the Mother Nature Network:
Both posts point to a website displaying Abbott's rather comprehensive collection of Animal Sounds, some transliterated into English from native language scripts. The MNN post also points to the video below featuring native speakers [of various languages] producing animal sounds.

Bow Wow Meow - Animal Sounds in Different Languages from Ke Nguyen on Vimeo.

Can you or, better yet, the learners you teach name all of the countries represented by flags in Nguyen's video?

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