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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Indefinite article    

Indefinite article



Rachell13
Panama

Indefinite article
 

Hi colleagues
Happy Labor s Day there!

This time I come here with 3 questions and I d appreciate if somebody who knows Spanish and English could give a clear and convincing explanation about the phrase: "a wallet". One of my SS asked why do we say "a" instead of "an" if the word wallet has a vowel sound starting! I ve never realized that till that day! I just said that s not a vowel sound. I said that because I knew the correct form, but I felt he wasn t clear at all, then.

Another question is about the second person singular + verb be.
Why do we say you "are", if are is plural. The singular statement "you is here" (t ests aqu - in Spanish) is absolutetly strange to my ears and eyes... But at that moment I thought he was correct. I told him "that s an interesting question"!Ermm

Finally, when you are talking in present simple and you say "Laura s my best friend ", it s a correct statement, but is it correct to say:" Luis my best friend", too? Or that can be only used for the possessive case?

Can anyone help me?

Thanks in advance.


1 May 2012      



ueslteacher
Ukraine

W is a consonant sound wallet -  ˈwɒlɪt hence a, not an

You always takes a verb in plural form (except in dialects/slang) - I just tell my students that English people are polite bc in our native language we use plural you when we address someone politely:)
You can read this article to find out about its historical roots  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You 

Finally that omission of s happens only in possessives.

Sophia

1 May 2012     



spinney
United Kingdom

Oh, it s the old "ue" or "ua" to make a "w" sound problem. "W" is in the alphabet but is only really used for words that come from other languages (usually English). I ve also had students that are convinced that "w" is a vowel sound because it is achieved by many Spanish/English speakers by using the Spanish "ue" vowel combination. As such, and because Spanish is quite possibly one of the most phonetic languages regarding its alphabet, some people are mistaken in believing the English pronunciation of "w" sounds more like a vowel. But comparing English pronunciation and Spanish pronunciation (as well as the grammar and vocabulary) is pretty much a lost cause. They are just too different and if I were you I d tell them to think of the language as from another planet and take it from there. You may want to tell some of your students to try and blow when making the "w" sound. That s the way it s pronounced in some parts of Ireland to this day and if you go back about four to five hundred years that was pretty much standard.

Laura s my best friend is a contraction of "is." And Lui s my best friend can, as Sophie said, only happen with a possessive case omission. As such, that sentence is incorrect.

P.S. Do you have problems getting them to pronounce "would" or "wood" correctly? Always a tricky one that.Confused

1 May 2012     



ascincoquinas
Portugal

Hi Spinney!
 
Actually the sound "would" and "wood" is prettty much the same.... Embarrassed
 
As well as these: sheet vs S***** LOLTongue  Sorry but I couldn t resist......
 

1 May 2012     



almaz
United Kingdom

Can I just point out that [w] (like [j]) in English is considered an approximant, or semi-vowel, although it s found in the consonant chart.

By the way, we Scots also tend to use the /hw/ phoneme to distinguish it from the /w/, as in whales and Wales.

1 May 2012     



spinney
United Kingdom

@Almaz, never knew that. I ll have to investigate.Confused
@ Ascincoquinas. I often get my students to do the "sheet and sh*** thing. They always seem to enjoy that for some reasonLOL. Along with slip and sleep, ship and sheep, of course. It is tricky one. Perhaps there s an activity we could come up with to make it easier.Geek

1 May 2012     



ueslteacher
Ukraine

@Alex: I thought it was a sonant, I guess I was mistaken... Anyways, I try not to make things more confusing for my ss unless they are really curious to know and seem to be able to grab the sense. 
Sophia

1 May 2012