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Reflexivity

By Mr Grumpy - Wed 6th Mar 2013

... No it probably Isn’t even a word, but I can’t be bothered to check my thesaurus.

Few things in life are certain.

Aside from the fact that owners of Staffordshire Bull Terriers must wear Burberry caps, and that at least 50% of all items of clothing in Primark are to be found on the floor, I know of just one other such certainty.

That as a race, the Brits are a shoddy example of linguistic capability.

It is true, we know very little of the Grammar of our own Language (and as I spent 8 years of my education at a Grammar School I am a particularly strong case in point), so what chance do we have understanding the grammatical rules of a foreign language ?

An example of this came the other day when circumstances forced me into having a go at explaining the difference between Spanish and English reflexive verbs to my 5 year old daughter.

She was struggling to get the seatbelt clipped around her, and asked if I could “Help to Fasten herself” into her seat.

I went on to explain that she would “fasten herself” as she was doing the action to herself – IE Reflexive – but that I would simply “Fasten her seatbelt”. The “Self” part was not applicable, I explained.

Sadly, she now seems to think that I am some kind of guru when it comes to all things grammatical – something I am woefully inadequate and under qualified to do in my own language – let alone in Spanish. I am starting to panic about being put in a position to help her with her English homework in years to come – I think I will have to leave the Spanish to its own devices.

(I’ve just realised that it would have probably been waaaay more amusing to have called this blog entry “The Reflex” and make some witty reference to Duran Duran. Another wasted opportunity... )

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