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make / do: Spanish speakers and conversation

 
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jooooooey



Joined: 08 Sep 2009
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 5:20 pm    Post subject: make / do: Spanish speakers and conversation Reply with quote

Hi, I was wondering if anyone had any advice. I have an advanced adult student (a Spanish speaker) who is largely self taught but knows English very well. I teach conversation classes with him, so we do not usually use worksheets or go over grammar points or that kind of thing.

My problem is that, like many Spanish speakers, he confuses make and do since they don`t distinguish them in Spanish. I have done some activities with him such as "who does the housework--do the laundry/dishes/, makes the food, decisions, etc.

He understands the differences, but he has been doing this for so long that I don`t know if we`ve made much progress. Since it is only conversation, I am running out of ideas of how to work on this with him. Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions? He is enthusiastic but I am kind of at a standstill with him. Thanks
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 2993
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is flawless production of 'do the housework' versus 'make the bed' that important here though? Your student isn't a housemaid needing to be careful about irritating the lord of the manor with her collocational slips, and there is often a fair bit of contextual freedom (I'll just have/do/make a sandwich for lunch); then, there are quite a few more collocations of interest than do versus make for e.g. decision: arrive at, come to, make, reach, take; announce, give; abide by, affirm, uphold; reconsider; appeal against, challenge; overrule, overturn, quash, reverse; defer. (Those are all the 'V + decision' items listed in the Oxford Collocations Dictionary).
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jooooooey



Joined: 08 Sep 2009
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That`s a good point. However, the thing is that he is fairly advanced, and he can already use a large variety of verbs for, for example, decision making. The problem, due to the frequency that do or make are used in everyday English, is that he frequently and consistently uses make, do, or have in situations where they are not appropriate.

You are right that housework is a pretty cut and dry subject for this cause, but I used that example because I am having trouble coming up with activities that can focus on this ambiguity. Maybe because there are so many other ways to say the same thing without using those 3 words.

Thanks for the reply.
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 2993
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, apart from 'make a bed' (although even that can be seen as deriving from the basic meaning of 'make'), there don't appear to be any other non-creative, household chore-related "idiomatic" uses of 'make', so it shouldn't be too hard for your student to grasp the difference between 'make the beds' and 'make a sandwich' or e.g. 'I do the cooking (=I cook), and my husband does the washing up (=He washes all the plates, cutlery, pans etc)'. As for the wider uses, phrases, collocations etc of 'do', 'have' and 'make', you'll really need to consult and "mine" some good advanced learner dictionaries (i.e. those from Longman, Oxford, Macmillan, Cambridge, and Merriam-Webster); then, there are some quite useful free online bilingual dictionaries available such as: http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-spanish/make .
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Outercircle



Joined: 07 Jun 2011
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:58 pm    Post subject: make-do Reply with quote

Hi jooooooey. I teach integrated skills classes in a Mexican university, so I understand the problems with make and do. I used to tutor an advanced learner who primarily wanted to improve her social speaking skills. What seemed to work best was combining the acquisition of vocabulary and grammatical forms with other skills. Writing, for example. Working side-by-side in a computer room, we would IM each other. We used email, as well. You could even text each other do and make questions and answers if computers aren't handy. All of the above provides the visual component of language learning that most students need. Would your student be open to that?
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