02 October 2005

Jusco message chairs and carrots

I spent the day with a my three favorite people in Japan right now: the missionary Jim, Yoko, and Neal. Together, we make quite a set. I'm not really sure how Yoko managed to put up with four hours of me calling Neil a muthafucka, Jim twisting my nipple, and our constant complaints about Japanese culture. That said, we did get a lot of stares, Jim with his beard, Neil with his almost 2 meter frame, and me and Yoko holding hands. We were like a circus. The best part was when we all hit the massage chairs in Jusco. People actually pointed at us. Incredible. We spent part of the day at Jim's church too, playing music (sort of) and sharing our thoughts on what a "promise" was. I got a picture of Charlie Brown totally putting his heart out on the line in English and Japanese.

Let's talk clauses.

Think about these two sentences: "The jungle is very humid and hot. Plants grow easily in the jungle." Compare with: "Because the jungle is very humid and hot, plants grow easily in the jungle." Which sentence (or two sentences) would you say is (are) easier to understand? Which (one) give(s) us the most clear relation between humidity and heat in the jungle and the effect of plants growing?

I think the answer to question two is pretty clear (the one sentence with the clause-joining word "because"), but I am not so sure about the first. The reading I am doing talked about how children's books sometimes remove clause relation words in an effort to simplify the text, but the author wondered if this was indeed making the story easier to understand or just complicating things by forcing the child to deduce the relationship by themselves.

That's a good question: how do you deduce the relationship between the two sentences in the first example without the help of a clause-relating word? Do you draw on your previous knowledge of heat, humidity, and plant-growing (which you learned by growing Cannabis in the basement)? Or is there something happening in the sentence that implies a cause-effect relationship? I'll be honest, this one has me stumped. I think I am currently leaning towards thinking that we just know the relationship based on past experience, but I'm not really sure.

All this thinking makes me want to eat a carrot.