Wednesday, October 14, 2009

An example of a narrative speech

Watch this short TED video in which William Kamkwamba narrates the extraordinary story of how he brought power to his village in Malawi. Notice William's use of simple past and past perfect. (William is not a native speaker of English, and he makes a few mistakes in tense. Can you find them?) Also, observe his use of time expressions ("Before that time," "that day", "then", "right now", "today", "one year," "in 2001", and "within five months". Use the subtitles if you need to. (Note: If you want to read the interactive transcript of William's talk, you must go to


Anonymous said...

I'm Fahad.

s08040kr said...

this is Rie.
I found these mistakes,but I'm not sure about some of them.

Queues of people start linging up
and the poor
→they are poor
the food passes
we drop down to nothing
I was ditermined to do
→I ditermined
Using bicycle frame

Nina Liakos said...

@Fahad, welcome to the blogosphere!
@Rie, you have found some mistakes but in other cases, William was correct.
"...started lining up" is correct. Good for you!

"the poor" = "people who are poor" (William was correct.)

"The food passed....We dropped down...": These are correct--good for you! Note the double 'p' in 'dropped'.

"I was determined to...receive education" is correct as William said it. "To be determined to V" means to want something so much that you will not accept failure. William wanted an education so much that he would do anything to get it.

"Using a bicycle frame..." is a participial phrase dependent on the main clause, "I built my machine." This is correct as William said it.

Thanks, as always, for reading the 003 Grammar Blog!

Ploy said...

I could be swallows in sentence "Only three swallows of nsima for each one of us."

It should be swallowed.

I'm not sure.


Nina Liakos said...

"Swallows" is a plural noun in this case. William is correct. Thanks for your input! :-)