New Yorkers Enjoy a Little Help with Grammar
The New York City train system has a new unofficial stop – for people who love grammar...or even just have questions about it.
English language expert Ellen Jovin has put together an unusual "classroom." There is a foldable table, books, a smile and a deep knowledge of grammar. She calls it Grammar Table. Jovin sits at the table in the subway and on city streets.
She smiles and waits for people to come by with grammar questions. Usually, she catches the interest of a lot of people.
"Hello! Welcome to Grammar Table!"
"Grammar Table! I love it. I love it! It's hot."
More than one billion people in the world speak English. Another two billion are in the process of learning it – or trying to.
But English grammar rules frighten many – even native English speakers. Jovin's mission is to help people who find themselves afraid of or confused by the world of English.
Jovin is a linguist. She has worked to spread her love for the English language for a long time. She has taught grammar to business professionals and writing at universities. She is also a published writer.
Jovin also owns a business communication training company with her husband. Online and traditional classes are her life. But she decided to make things interesting and take her knowledge to the streets and subways of New York.
"I put the sign up and it took 30 seconds for someone to come up and ask me a question: How many words do I think Donald Trump knows?"
Though that is more of a political question, Jovin believes understanding language structure rules will help people around the world understand each other better.
On one recent day, a man came up to Jovin's Grammar Table with a question about nouns.
"But I have read that it's a collective noun. Is that what you're calling it?"
"Yeah. So, it's a special case. We can make special cases, right? Or do you want everything to be consistent?"
The Grammar Table appeals to all kinds of people for whom English is filled with mysteries: students and older people, engineers and house cleaners, actors and even other language experts.
Some of the most popular questions, Jovin says, are about commas.
"For example, if I say, ‘He ordered salad, spaghetti and soda,' right before the ‘and,' you can put a comma if you want in English. And it's called the Oxford comma or sometimes the serial comma."
New York subway riders have accepted Jovin with warmth and interest. Musicians, policemen and even English teachers often stop by for a friendly chat.
Walter Skrepnick is a teacher of English literature. He recently shared his thoughts about Grammar Table.
"Things like that – that deal with language, that deal with culture – it's refreshing from some of the other things that go on."
But not all questions are about English – or even in English. Jovin can speak and understand several languages: Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, French, Chinese, Korean and Japanese. And she is trying to learn a few others, too.
I'm Alice Bryant.
1.put up 举起；张贴
They're putting new street signs up.
2.come up 走进；发生
It will be so great watching the sun come up.
3.language experts 语言专家
English language experts say Geoffrey Chaucer was the first important writer to use the English language.
4.stop by 顺便拜访
I have to stop by the hospital.
5."Things like that – that deal with language, that deal with culture – it's refreshing from some of the other things that go on."
deal with 处理；应付
He's a hard man to deal with.
You'll deal with it personally?
6.English language expert Ellen Jovin has put together an unusual "classroom."
put together 将...放在一起；组合
We wouldn't have time to put together an agreement.
The factories no longer relied upon a mechanic to put together looms within the plant.
英语语言专家埃伦·乔文（Ellen Jovin）设计了一间与众不同的“教室” 。乔文拥有的只有一张可折叠的桌子、几本书、一个微笑和深厚的语法知识 。她称之为“语法桌” 。乔文坐在位于地铁和城市街道的桌子一侧静候“学生” 。
她微笑着，等着人们过来咨询语法问题 。通常，她会引起很多人的兴趣 。
全球有超过10亿人说英语 。另外还有20亿人正在学习、或是试着学习英语 。
英语语法让许多人一头雾水，甚至有些母语人士也搞不清楚 。乔文的任务就是帮助那些害怕或者困惑的人们找到自己的学习之路 。
乔文是一名语言学家 。长期以来，她一直致力于传播自己对英语的热爱 。她在大学里教授商务人士语法和写作 。她也是一位出版过作品的作家 。
乔文和丈夫还共同经营着一家商业传播发展公司 。线上和线下授课成为她生活的全部 。但她决定为这些课程增添一些趣味，于是选择在纽约地铁和大街小巷传授知识 。
乔文说：“是的 。这是一个特例 。我们可以将它视作特殊情况，对吧？或者你希望一切都保持一致？”
纽约的地铁乘客热情并饶有兴趣地接受了这位新来的女孩 。音乐家、警察，甚至英语老师都经常过来友好地聊天 。
沃尔特·斯克里普尼克（Walter Skrepnick）是英国文学教师 。他最近分享了自己对“语法桌”的看法 。
人们来这里并不都是用英语咨询，也不都是询问英语相关的问题 。乔文可以流利地用西班牙语、意大利语、葡萄牙语、德语、法语、中文、韩语和日语交流，并且她还在学习更多的语言 。