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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 20th, 2005, 08:46 am
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Default I'm fine, thank you.

So, I was in class when one of my students came up to me and told me I was wrong. I did my usual no I didn't spell that word wrong you must have uh.. um.. copied it down wrong preparation, but she told me people don't say "I'm good." or "I'm great." in Canada, in response to "How are you?"

So, more to the point, I teach everyone to respond to How are you? with "I'm good, thanks." or "I'm great, thank you." Someone at my student's elementary school came in and told them the above and that they should respond with "I'm fine, thank you."

I know it's in the textbooks (although the better textbooks have I'm just fine.) But, I never used that response until I came to japan (when no other response registered.)

How are you? I'm fine, thank you. drives me nuts. Do you teach this? Did it seem strange to you the first time you heard it?
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 20th, 2005, 09:02 am
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Default Re: I'm fine, thank you.

I must add to this the response, "I'm fine, thank you. And you?"



I have NO idea what to do about this. At this point I've resigned myself to this being a fact of life. It's funny, I was teaching at a high school a few weeks ago and I walked into a new class and asked everyone how they were doing? In unison, the repeated the aformentioned line as I moved my lips saying the same thing, like i could throw my voice. It got a laugh, anyway.

When I was teaching some first graders who had never formally studied English, I taught them a few different ways to respond like, I'm great, I'm OK, I'm fine and I'm Bad. I think that is the best time to really nip this bad habit in the bud. After the habit is formed, it's a hard one to break, but if you see a group of kids enough, I think they can be taught to express themselves a bit more... um...expressively.

I think it's really important for students to know different responses not only for them to use but also, what happens if they ask a native speak how they are and the reply is, "Not bad"? The students need to know that that means the same thing as OK or,dare i say, fine.

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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 20th, 2005, 05:06 pm
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Default Re: I'm fine, thank you.

Good. So, I'm not going crazy. (Or crazier)

I was just shocked because my student's teacher told her that people won't understand her in Canada if she says, "I'm great."

I'm hoping and what I told my student was that it must have been a communication problem. Probably, the teacher was teaching I'm fine, thank you. and wanted my student to say it that way for the lesson.

In Japan, ther is a push to get away from the "I'm fine thank you" and some teachers (native speakers) are teaching:
I'm hungry.
I'm sleepy.
I'm tired.

What are your thoughts on that? I don't work with these teachers but the Japanese teachers who have taught with them. I tell other teachers (Japanese) that we don't usually complain or whine in greetings. It sounds very unnatural to me. I tell them we're not really asking about right now. It's more of a overall question. Complaining out right just seems too much to me for a greeting (among close friends/family maybe.)

If they want to complain I tell them to greet first, and complain/explain later.

Nat bad. I'm a little sleepy.
Pretty good, but I had a rough night and I'm tired today.
Not so good. I think I failed my test.

Jumping around now: doesn't "I'm fine" sound like they're not fine? To me when I hear it, it sounds more like I shouldn't have asked. Sorry to have bothered you with my hello.
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  #4 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 21st, 2005, 03:56 am
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Default Re: I'm fine, thank you.

Quote:
Quote mesmark
I tell other teachers (Japanese) that we don't usually complain or whine in greetings. It sounds very unnatural to me. I tell them we're not really asking about right now. It's more of a overall question. Complaining out right just seems too much to me for a greeting (among close friends/family maybe.)
that's true, i think its very unnatural to unload your deepest feelings on a stranger. a family member or a close friend is different, though.

Quote:
Quote mesmark
doesn't "I'm fine" sound like they're not fine? To me when I hear it, it sounds more like I shouldn't have asked. Sorry to have bothered you with my hello.
i guess it comes down to intonation and body language. but its not the most positive response you can give someone, thats for sure.(reminds me of my dating days )
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  #5 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 21st, 2005, 04:47 am
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Default Re: I'm fine, thank you.

You're a kept man then?

Or just not dating?

Feel free not to reply if you feel the love emails might start pouring in.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 21st, 2005, 04:50 am
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Default Re: I'm fine, thank you.

let me just set the record straight here so my inbox doesn't fill up over night, im married.
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  #7 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 4th, 2006, 09:59 am
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Default Re: I'm fine, thank you.

I'm fine, thank you.....And you! I think the And you is a Korean thing. My buddy has worked in Japan as well and they dont bust that one out!
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  #8 (permalink)  
Unread May 25th, 2006, 01:03 am
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Default Re: I'm fine, thank you.

I have the same problem...
I usually commit my first class to responses to usual small talk questions.
Examples:
How are you?
What's up?
What's new?
What's wrong?
Hey! How ya doing?
What ARE YOU DOING!!!!???

and so on ...

these are things I might ask quickly to students as I walk down the hall so I try to get it outta the way as well as introducing the classroom english in that first lesson AND my proper name (the students are not allowed to call me by my first name)

that's how I handle it...hope it helps!!!

you might also pull it into a health lesson...take teach the greetings and then point out that "hat's wrong" is somewhat different in that you expect bad news or that someone's poor demeanor can be spotted...

then segue into your lesson "my back hurts" or a complaints lesson

PLEASE EXCUSE MY POOR GRAMMAR AND PUNCTUATION
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  #9 (permalink)  
Unread May 25th, 2006, 09:12 pm
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Default Re: I'm fine, thank you.

So to get the problem straight, the students use a grammatically correct response which doesn't sound natural.

I would say this wouldn't be a problem for students in Japan where they would have limited interactions with people in English, probably in very formal situations when they start work. However, if they live in an English-speaking country, it may stop them from making friends and so on if they don't sound natural.

The issue is also that some of the first things people learn when they start learning English, stick for the longest time. Mistakes that people make when they start, like China students saying 'I live in Channa' or 'the eye-nternet' (anyone heard these?) are the toughest to erase.
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  #10 (permalink)  
Unread May 25th, 2006, 11:08 pm
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Default Re: I'm fine, thank you.

A grammatically correct response isn't always an indication of fluency.

The foreign teacher's aim in Japan, as I see it, is too supplement students' grammar lessons with alternatives they really might hear in music, movies and later on, abroad (see "shall we go to the movies" vs. "Do you want to go to the movies" or even "Do ya wanna go to the movies").
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  #11 (permalink)  
Unread May 29th, 2006, 09:13 am
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Default Re: I'm fine, thank you.

I've just been to a barbecue at English friends' ( Last Saturday) and I'm fine or I'm very well was the usual response to the question : How are you? . I was taught this same response when I was young and I still teach it to my students. But I give them other alternatives like : " I'm great or things you can hear in movies or films!

Michèle
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  #12 (permalink)  
Unread May 29th, 2006, 05:19 pm
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Default Re: I'm fine, thank you.

Interesting. I wonder if it's a British/American English thing. Any Brits out there who can let us know?

In the States, I'd say even 'How are you?' isn't used that much. That may be why 'I'm fine.' sounded so strange the first 500 times. (Now, I don't bat an eye at it.)
How are you doing?
How's it going?
How's everything?
What's up?
How have you been?

Those are all far more common in the area I'm from.
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  #13 (permalink)  
Unread May 29th, 2006, 07:59 pm
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Default Re: I'm fine, thank you.

'sup y'all? Time for another 2 cents worth from me...

The way I see it, if you take all the people speaking English on the entire planet right now, the vast majority of them are speaking it as a second language. And they're not speaking it to us (native speakers) - they're speaking it to each other. And the first thing they all learned in their English classes is:

-How are you?
-Fine thanks, and you?

And why not? It facilitates communication and it sounds kinda funky. And it's probably used more often, globally, than 'sup dawg? or even How's it going?
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  #14 (permalink)  
Unread May 29th, 2006, 10:30 pm
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Default Re: I'm fine, thank you.

Quote:
Quote emile
'sup dawg?'

I couldn't even pull that one off in coolest days but I might start teaching it just because

ESL lessons once a week, $50/month.

World Cup tickets and cool soccer jersey, $200

My student goes up to someone and says, 'sup dawg?'

The reaction from the other, 'Priceless!'
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  #15 (permalink)  
Unread May 30th, 2006, 08:30 am
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Default Re: I'm fine, thank you.

I've never heard of " sup dawg" Is it a local greeting? American?

Michèle
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  #16 (permalink)  
Unread May 30th, 2006, 10:16 am
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Default Re: I'm fine, thank you.

'sup' is a shortened version of 'what's up?' It's how it sounds when said really fast and more HipHop style.

'Dawg' is Rap-HipHop as well for 'mate' or 'man'
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  #17 (permalink)  
Unread May 31st, 2006, 03:36 am
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Default Re: I'm fine, thank you.

I have NEVER taught "sup dawg"...where did everyone get their degrees...bob's paint and polish?

"I'm fine" is appropriate for beginners and in everyday situations, but students have a natural curiosity beyond "how are you" "what's this?" and "what sports do you like?"

Allowing the children/students a choice of options and synonyms is why we introduce new vocabulary.

I am NOT always fine--and I don't believe my students are either.
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  #18 (permalink)  
Unread May 31st, 2006, 03:38 am
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Default Re: I'm fine, thank you.

Quote:
Quote michèle 2
I've just been to a barbecue at English friends' ( Last Saturday) and I'm fine or I'm very well was the usual response to the question : How are you? . I was taught this same response when I was young and I still teach it to my students. But I give them other alternatives like : " I'm great or things you can hear in movies or films!

Michèle
Michele, are you an native speaker? Did anyone ever teach you the difference between polite, dismissive small talk and the truth we say to friends?
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  #19 (permalink)  
Unread May 31st, 2006, 03:41 am
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Default Re: I'm fine, thank you.

Quote:
Quote emile
I would say this wouldn't be a problem for students in Japan where they would have limited interactions with people in English, probably in very formal situations when they start work.
actually, I have lived all around the world and with Japan's interegrated teaching system (using foreign english speakers in all public and private schools to teach english) they speak more english than you might think.
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  #20 (permalink)  
Unread Jun 1st, 2006, 03:13 am
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Default Re: I'm fine, thank you.

Vanilla, I'm French. ( was born near Paris)
Some of my English friends live in France so we often get together for dinner and speak English. I was taught English when I was in England, at school, passed an exam at the British Chamber of commerce in Paris, worked for a British insurance broker for a few years. Then 17 years ago decided to teach English and I love it!
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