March 22nd, 2010

passive and active voice

As I teach here in Taiwan, many times I'm told to teach the passive voice to students, and my roommate and I disagree on whether this is correct or not.

EXAMPLE: I ate an apple (active)

The apple was eaten by me (passive)

She argues that passive voice is wrong. I argue that this is something perhaps special about the English language and some others. The fact that - English allows for this flexibility and linguistic mobility. (It's a little crazy sometimes I'll admit - after I teach these kinds of lessons, I find myself turning EVERYTHING into passive/active in my head! I will call my mom...my mom will be callled by me...lol)

Anyway. If it is wrong, why do they even teach it to us in the first place?

My roommate's answer is, they TEACH passive voice or construction, to make us understand that it is wrong and that we should never use it.

But another example; such as...

The girl took some medicine.
Some medicine was taken by the girl.

I don't see anything WRONG about either...grammatically, aren't they correct?

Please try and clear up this confusion if you can - thanks guys!! =)

american english, learning

Hi, linguaphiles! A little bit strange question maybe, not only about American English but rather about people learning English.

How many people in the USA says "gonna" instead of "going to"? If a mexican (or any other Spanish-speaker from America) is learning English mostly from hearing (speaking with his friends for example) would he prefer to say "gonna" or "going to"?
derohand

Russian Translation please?

I'm in the process of writing a fan-fiction 1-chapter, and I'd like to have a few Russian words/phrases scattered throughout; I was just wondering if someone could translate these for me?

"Go away" (said very angrily) - informal, to 2 people.
"Don't leave" (like...asking someone not to leave/abandon you). In very informal speech please. To one person.

And also the phrase:

"Say, Lithuania... I was just pondering... what it would be like without a heart..."
(meaning the person is thinking about what it would be like if he had no heart, and couldn't feel anything). And yes, the name of the other person is "Lithuania" (don't ask).

Thanks in advance! (I'll edit if I have any more)