English: From the forum

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The English Subject Teacher Forum Googlegroup is a space for English teachers from Karnataka to discuss/ideate and receive feedback from their peers as well as mentors. The discussions from this forum can be found below.

BBC Radio application

Tharanath Achar, Teacher, Belthangady

Please open this mail with your Android phone and install the bbc radio application from google market by clicking on the link given below.

Dear English friends, This is an exclusive mail to english friends who try to follow native English from UK. I always like native style a language is commonly spoken.Though the English we used to speak in India is more than 300 years old, the style we followed eversince pre independence era, is a mixture of Victorian english associated with the accent of our native languages. There are instances that we brag our style of English is better than the rest. British English is always best. I spend nearly two hours listening to online radio daily for two years now. I am happy to admit that listening to online radio has improved my English a lot. If you download the listen to BBC radio (free) application and run you can listen to their 6 international services, that is Radio1(music), Radio4(intelligent talk), radi4 extra (drama and stories) radio6 music etc. Important thing is that your internet speed must be optimum to get you continuous streaming. The 2G operator here I use is of speed around 20kbps and so I enjoy the online radio to the maximum. Please send feedback if you feel positive about this app. Thank you. Regards. (Please do not feel bad about my English if you find some spelling and grammar mistake. I am a Maths teacher). It is not possible to chek spelling when you use android phone. Be aware of world news, local news, important events and weather, please check out Radio BBC at: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.streamtech.apps.bbcRadio)

Use of articles

Dhananjay Kulkarni, GHS Maninalkur, Dakshin Karnataka: Good morning sir/madam. As we all know article the is used before superlatives but in SSLC 4th Lesson Magician With....In page no 49&50 there are two questions Which is your greatest test match? which is your toughest match? Why on these occassions the is not used?

Prakash HT, GJC Malebennuru Harihara, Davangere: your is replacing the

Sharanveer Maindargi: The article is not used because of pronoun your is used..

Dr. Kumara Swamy, DIET Lecturer, Mysore: One answer is as one of your colleagues already pointed out : There is a pronoun replacing 'the'.

I will give you an exercise.  Try to list as many sentences as you can with superlatives taking 'the' before or without 'the'. You can even get sentences from the books and newspapers you read.

I did that after I read the question a few days ago.  I surely did not have an immediate explanation.  Evan now I don't.  However,   I have observed the following.

Words the '-est'   are used in many contexts.  Two are imp for our explanation.

1. As superlatives - where in 'the' is invariably used.  This is clear to all of us.  We usually go by simple rules.  Now look at the following.

2. As simple adjectives.  Comparing and stating something to be the most superior of all is not the main focus here.  But still it speaks of the best.  

Which is your greatest test match? This is the one I like best. He is at his best in grass courts. My best subject at school was Math. My best friends are my wife and daughter. Which match of yours was the greatest?


See how the '-est' is used with nothing specific to compare.  Yet it speaks of or looks for something best.  

When we can not get clear explanations for certain usages,  we need to go for more examples to find out some common patterns. That is the best way to understand the grammar of a language. 

Pronoun replacing 'the' may not be a consistent theory.  However, when there is a pronoun,  you will see there is no 'the'.

Now see how you can use 'the with the same sentences.  And try to note the changes.

This is the one I like the best. (The speaker is very sure of the choices before him/her.) He is the best in grass courts(The speaker has all who play in grass courts and among them he is the best) Math was the subject that I liked the best at school.  My wife and daughter are the best friends I have.

Compare all these with the earlier sentences without 'the'.  Do they make any difference in meaning, expression?  Do some of them hear artificial?  

Please think.  I would like to hear your responses and comments on what I have explained here.   

We grow with answers, explanations and probing and not with final answers.  I am comfortable without a final answer,  yet lots of probing.  How about you?