Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:

$34674

Still Needed:

$40326

Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington


Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

Ask-A-Linguist Message Details

Subject: Past Continuous with Arrive
Question: I teach a community adult ESOL class on a University campus, and last night we were briefly discussing the Past Continuous. I put these two statements on the board:

I was washing the dishes as you arrived.
I was washing the dishes as you were arriving.

I believe that the first statement is correct. I also believe that the second statement is correct; my justification is that 'arriving' (or leaving) can be a long process. I had one student (also an EFL teacher) who vehemently disagreed. We're hoping that you can help us resolve this issue.

Appreciatively,
Adrienne

Reply: Well, this is where language gets difficult. I hope it's a VERY advanced class!

My personal instincts are the same as Professor Pyatt's. But when we come to choices between alternatives (as I have said in many of my publications), I think the best thing is to invite your students to do websearches, and listen to speech, and get them to notice what people do. There is a choice, which is probably linked to individual preferences and also to the precise context.

The students could also develop dialogues in which one or other would be preferable.

Anthea
Reply From: Anthea Fraser Gupta      click here to access email
 
Date: 26-Nov-2013
 
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Past Continuous with Arrive    Marilyn N Silva     (21-Nov-2013)
  2. Re: Past Continuous with Arrive    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (22-Nov-2013)
  3. Re: Past Continuous with Arrive    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (21-Nov-2013)

Back to Most Recent Questions