Sunday, May 13, 2012

The 2012 Census, a Submarine, Spanish Classes, and Adverbs

It´s mid May, and the weather has been changing slowly.  I've had flannel sheets on my bed for about 2 weeks now, and I recently changed over my comforter from my regular one to the down one.  The mornings are cold with temperatures dipping down to 40, but by mid day it has been getting up to 70 or so.  The temperature change makes it difficult to dress for the weather, at least for me.

Well, this year they're counting the people here for the census.  On some students front doors I've noticed stickers showing that they have taken the survey and answered the questions.  I was wondering if I'd get to take part in the process, and earlier this week I got the answer: Yes!

The doorman rang up to my apartment letting me know that someone would be coming around, and so I sat and waited anxiously.  After about half an hour, a woman rang the doorbell.  She wore an officially looking blue apron and carried a packet of questionnaires with her.  I stood at the door and answered a variety of questions, which included my job here (for the purpose of the survey I'm an independent contractor), asking if I have any disabilities (deaf in my right ear), the energy used in the building (I named the electricity and water companies), where I lived in April of 2007 (Lake Balboa, CA), and more obscure ones such as the materials used to construct the walls and roof of the building (I just shrugged my shoulders).

So after about 20 minutes of questioning I got my sticker!

I have it proudly displayed on the front door of my apartment.

When I was at McDonald's the other day I got a submarino.  With that being said, let me clarify two things:

1. The only reason I usually go to McDonald's is because they are located near one of my classes and have free wifi.  If I get something there it's usually just fries and a soda or some tea from the McCafe.

2. No, I didn't get a full sized submarine there.  I got a mini one.

So here's what it looked like:

You take it and submerge it in a glass of hot milk, and it eventually melts and gives you a yummy glass of hot chocolate.  Here's what it looked like before:

And after:

They actually get a bit fancy too.  In the before picture you'll notice a small cookie and glass of carbonated water to go with my order.  It was something nice for a change instead of the normal tea that I order.

Since I got back to Santiago in March I've felt like I haven't been doing much to stimulate myself intellectually (outside of preparing materials for my classes), and so I decided to start taking Spanish classes.  

Those of you that know me and my level of Spanish are probably wondering why I'm doing so.  I'm fluent and credentialed to teach it, but I still want to brush up on the finer points of grammar and improve my accent.  Besides that, it gives me something to look forward to each week.  I'm taking classes with a university student that is studying linguistics and English, and so far they are going well.  I want to really master pronunciation and be able to roll my r's like native speakers do.

To wrap up this post, I'm going to leave you with a grammar puzzle.  Here are a variety of sentences that use adverbs in them.  The adverb is in bold.  What are the rules of English to determine word order in sentences with adverbs in them?  Can you change the word order of any of these sentences and still have them be grammatically correct?  If so, how?

            Some people always need to drink coffee in the morning.

            Some Chileans probably won’t go to work on Septermber 20th.

            Daniel sometimes takes the bus to work.

            My brothers have never been to Chile.
            She almost had a car accident.
             I am rarely sick.

            Homer is probably at Moe’s Tavern.

            She is usually on time.

            They were both late to the party.

             You should always eat breakfast.

Post your ideas and comments, and in a week or two I'll post a response and explanation so you're not all left in suspense!


  1. I love that submarine!! Do you think it could survive being mailed?

    And your census sticker is awesome.

    I'm not the best with English grammar (haha), but I think the adverb goes before whatever it is modifying?

    As for changing word order, I think the following could also work, but I'm not 100% sure.

    They both were late to the party
    You always should eat breakfast
    She usually is on time
    Homer probably is at Moe's Tavern

  2. I'll see if I can get some submarines in the mail to you. (Your birthday card is already in the mail as a heads up)

    As for adverbs going before the verb, that usually happens. (Do you notice how I used an adverb there to demonstrate?) There are some exceptions embedded in the examples I gave! Can you figure out why they are exceptions or do you give up? ;-)

    And as for the changing word order you suggested, people will definitely speak that way. It isn't grammatically correct, however.

    I'm curious to see if anyone else has any ideas. Stay tuned for an explanation!