English: Wonder in a Nutshell
About the Book
The learning of English – there are a lot of good books on this subject already. So why do I want to write another one? It all started when I was invited to write a weekly blog for Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) – a statutory national broadcaster in Australia, and later provide a talk segment. When I delved into the subject I began to realise the complexity of the task. I could start from the most basic, such as verb, subject, noun… like all the good books do. However, one obstacle facing the learner is that all the basic elements are interrelated, so knowledge in the others is often a prerequisite to probing into any. A child born into his/her native language would experience all the basic elements holistically, and not sequentially. This opportunity is not available to learners of a new language. It soon dawned on me that to overcome the above, we need to firstly explain how the English speaking world has put its sentence together, before presenting the various elements that fit into it. This book begins with a conceptual understanding of the English sentence, before commencing with basic grammar, then proceeds to language skills and common faults. As well, a lot of cross-referencing are employed so that the readers know where to access the related elements. A chapter on letter writing is also included My excitement in writing this book goes further than just explaining grammar usage. I want to share the beauty and efficacy of the English sentence, such as one by Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa (2-02H in book): We dedicate this day to all the heroes and heroines in this country and the rest of the world who sacrificed in many ways and surrendered their lives so that we could be free. And to those who already have a good command of the language, I trust this book can serve as a handy reference. Francis
About the Author
Francis Lee received both English and Chinese education from childhood, and excelled in both. When he left Hong Kong for Australia at the age of sixteen he already had a perfect command of English grammar, and as an evidence of his gift in languages – earlier in that year he had achieved a top 1% placing in an all-Hong Kong junior high school students essay competition (in Chinese). In Australia Francis completed his high school studies and entered Sydney University, graduating with honours in civil engineering. His knowledge of the two languages continued to provide him with deep insights into the peculiarities of the English language. He became an official translator of the New South Wales government and later achieved full translation qualifications with NAATI (National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters). While working as an engineer, Francis continued to complete a Master Degree in the University of New South Wales, winning the Senior Prize in Civil Engineering upon graduation. He progressed through being a design engineer of Public Works Department to becoming its Environmental Engineer. Francis’ interest in languages prompted him to take up casual broadcasting. In 1993 he followed his heart and left the engineering profession to become the head of the Chinese Cantonese broadcasting group with SBS Radio – Australian government’s national broadcaster. He continued to pursue and further his skills in both languages. He introduced an English educational series in his broadcasts which entailed more rigorous research into the English language. The popularity of those segments led him to publish two bilingual essay collections: English Idioms – a cultural fascination and English Idioms – under the lucky stars. Not long ago he published his autobiography Out of Bounds: Journey of a migrant (in English, with a Chinese version as well). Following his retirement from SBS he was invited back to publish a weekly blog and present a weekly talk segment on English grammar. His works are mentioned in a website: www.universebooks.net For over twenty years Francis has dedicated much energy in promoting the two languages of his passion. He has been invited on many occasions to give talks covering subjects such as English usage, recital, public speaking, broadcasting and translation. He has been the head judge for the youth awards (English oration) of two Lions Clubs in Sydney many times since 2008, and a judge for the all-Australia Chinese Eisteddfod (student recital) since 1991. Francis is a current member of Alexandria Creative Writing Group. He was the founding chairman of Asian Media Council of Australia, former Vice-President of Sydney Chinese Writers Association and former President of Australian Chinese Forum. He was awarded the Order of Australia (OAM) on Australia Day 2004 for outstanding service to Society.