Hello there! My name’s Doug. I am an English (ESL) teacher with about seven years of experience. I made this website mostly to be an online version of my book on English grammar, aptly titled “Doug’s Language Book”. Right now I am still finishing up the book’s final draft, but the first several lessons are completed and ready to look at. I will continue to release lessons as I complete them, so check back every week and you should find another one or two lessons waiting for you.
Once my book is finished, I will publish a paperback version, as well as an app for those who would prefer to download the entire thing to their smartphones. I will also make a video course that covers all the same information. Some of these will be paid services (definitely the physical books, probably also the app and videos), but the web version of this book will always remain free.
January 1, 2024
Happy New Year! For me, the fireworks on Taipei 101 are the best in the world. That’s why I always do my countdown before 11am on December 31, because for me, THAT’S the real New Year. I also watch the OP of Sakura Trick again, because it feels very celebratory.
I am going to continue working mostly on Japanese for the next few months, so updates to the grammar book will be sporadic for a while. And I am finally finished redoing enough keys of my piano (with bone) that I can practice that a little each day as well. To be honest, the stress of the herculean task of writing a book was getting to me, and since there is no way of knowing how much longer it will take, I think it’s best to take it slow for now.
I have to say, the last couple weeks have felt like my life was on easy mode. Now that I’m not worrying about the grammar book all the time, I can get everything else done that I’ve been wanting to do quite easily. That said, all the grammar study I’ve done in the past two years is making Japanese seem easy as pie in comparison. I’ll be sure to come back and post an update as soon as I reach my next milestone!
I hope all of you reading this are continuing to reach for your own milestones as well. Happy New Year! And may all your New Year’s dreams come true!
December 25, 2023
Merry Christmas! HOHOHO! Here is a message from Santa in Chinese that I made a few years back. Hope you enjoy, and may all your Christmas wishes come true! 🙂
December 15, 2023
WOW that was painful! Reworking my explanation of Distinct Qualities into a new Lesson 4 was so much harder than I thought it would be it’s unreal. But by some Christmas miracle, one of the major problems I thought I was going to have with Lesson 5 ~ Describing Things has evaporated into thin air. I don’t even need to write anything about it. (Well, I could write about it here, but I’m too lazy now.) Suffice it to say that I came to the conclusion a few months ago that Defining Qualities could be either Distinct or Indistinct, but after rewriting my explanation of Distinct Qualities, I suddenly realized that, for various reasons I would love to go into when I have more energy, Defining Qualities can ONLY be Indistinct. This is how I had it originally, when I wrote all previous versions of the Defining Things lesson. Which means there was very little left for me to do in Lesson 5, and I can now upload it on the same day! Hooray! Woohoo! Merry Christmas!!!
And with that, I think I will take a few weeks off for Christmas. I have been wanting to spend time playing piano and learning Japanese, so giving myself a few weeks of only this will be a nice Christmas present to myself. Ooh and maybe I can bake some pie and cookies too! Merry Christmas everyone! HO HO HOOO!!! And to all a good night! 🎅🏼🎄
December 10, 2023
What a masterpiece! Lesson 3 is finished once again!
Many things were added, most importantly the concept of Subqualities, like “fast” and “big”. These Qualities can’t really tell us much until we know what they are modifying. Do you mean “big” like a “big dog”? Or like a “big planet”? Sometimes Subqualities depend on Implicit Qualities. For instance, if I say “Susie is fast”, what is fast in comparison to? Is she fast compared to her classmates? Or fast compared to herself at a previous time? Finally there are Nonrelative Qualities, that split apart another Quality, but not by comparing relative things. For instance, the act of “running” is quite different for a person than it is for a reindeer.
I also made a teeny tiny addition to Lesson 2 again. I realized that the Absorption from Lesson 3 was quite similar to the Naming by Qualities in Lesson 2, so I decided to call them both Absorption. The kind in Lesson 2 can just be called “Naming”, while the kind in lesson 3 can be called “Internalizing”.
Now I really should push straight onto Lesson 4, but my Unit 2 lessons are so interesting to me right now I might have to divide myself between the two!
December 7, 2023
HO HO HO!! 🎅🏼 I’ve finally started getting into the Christmas spirit! It took rewatching the Christmas episode from the first season of “Gochuumon wa Usagi Desuka?”, aka “Is the Order a Rabbit?” Now I want to learn to make marzipan too! Luckily I found a box of candy canes from last year, so those will have to do for now! Wow I have so much baking to do, I still haven’t made any pies or cookies yet this year. And I should watch the Muppet Christmas Carol soon!
Unfortunately, there are no Christmas villages close to my home. But hey, maybe this year I can go back the one in Leavenworth, Washington. That’s got to be the best Christmas village in America! 🎄🎄🎄
December 5, 2023
I’ve taken a break from Lesson 3 (which is almost finished) to revisit some of my old Unit 2 work. These are lessons that I haven’t looked at in over six months. It was pretty fun, and exciting to see that most of it still holds up. And even the problems that did exist were easily solved, now that I have a better grasp of what I’m doing. It felt like going back to an old area in a video game, with a character that is twenty levels higher than the last time you went there.
Looking at Unit 2 for the first time in a while, I was finally able to make some important decisions about what I consider to be the heart of this book. That is the question of exactly how an Expression signals a Complete Thought, which I explain with something I call “Grammar/Context Structures”. These are the combination of Grammatical Structures and Context that are needed for an Complete Thought to be comprehended by the listener. The major part of my book will revolve around teaching thousands of these GC Structures.
I also figured out what I am going to do with “Philosophical Structures”, which were my original “meaning structures” that the Grammatical Structures helped to express. Basically my original idea was to clearly define the difference between what is said (which I called “Grammatical”) and what is meant (which I called “Philosophical”). I had shelved Philosophical Structures quite a while ago, but I have now decided to being them back as a linear representation of a change to the Quality Structure. It may seem difficult to represent these complicated Quality Diagrams in a linear, but the answer is to use terms to represent complex relationship. As long as we can use Quality Diagrams to define the terms we use in our Philosophical Structures, we can then use the terms in a completely linear way. Anyway, you’ll see what I’m talking about when you get to the end of Unit 2.
December 3, 2023
I’ve updated Lesson 2 to mention that sometimes a Composite Referent with a Focus Quality can sometimes be the same as a Composite Quality with a Focus Referent. Sometimes, not always. Also I’ve tightened up the formatting a bit so there isn’t a lot of white space at the bottom of each page. Oh, and I’ve changed the “dotted bubble” of “unestablished Ideas” to a “squiggle bubble”, so I can use the dotted bubbles for Subgrouping Qualities instead. All right then, on to Lesson 3!
December 1, 2023
I’ve had to split Lesson 3 into two lessons now. The first lesson, which will still be called “Lesson 3 ~ Describing Things”, will explain how Indistinct Qualities actually work, and spends a considerable amount of time talking about “Subgrouping Qualities”, which modify by dividing into Subgroups. For instance, “big” doesn’t really tell you how big something is, but “big dog” does because it is based on the Subgroup of “dogs” that is bigger than average.
We also cover “Implicit Qualities”, like the fact that Susie is known to be human determining what kind of “running” she is doing. A human’s running action is quite different from a dog’s running action. If you saw Susie the human running on all fours, or Joe the dog running on two legs like a human, you wouldn’t just say “They are both running”, would you?
Composite Qualities and Subgroups have changed quite a bit, but the most important thing is my decision to make Indistinct Qualities into the “prototypical” or “origin Quality” of our thoughts. From there, we have several ways of combining information, like Composite Qualities and Absorption, that allows us to use more and more complex ideas as simple pieces.
Next is Distinct Qualities, which is now the focus of the new “Lesson 4: Relating Things”. Distinct Qualities, like Composite Qualities and Absorption, are a tool we can use to simplify our ideas. Distinct Qualities are very useful for relating one thing to another, like you would see in an “SVO sentence”. The important thing here is that I can now show how Distinct Qualities are built up from Indistinct Qualities. So it’s a kind of “unifying theory” of Qualities.
The final part is the Defining Qualities, which used to be Lesson 4 but will now be Lesson 5. I realized that both Indistinct Qualities and Distinct Qualities can be Defining Qualities, so I’ve been trying to figure out a way to show that in the diagrams that is clean and intuitive.
Basically I have been going through Lessons 2, 3, 4, and 5 simultaneously, and now I think I have the entire group figured out. From here, I can finally start releasing updates to lessons as I finish them up again, one by one.
November 25, 2023
WOW. I don’t even remember everything I did in the past two weeks, but I basically had to rewrite the last two-thirds of Lesson 2. I realized the “Thoughts as Ideas” stuff needed to come earlier, like right at the same time I was introducing the Quality Structure. This turned into a long, but now much simpler, explanation of how we combine Ideas into larger Ideas with multiple parts, which I call “Composite Ideas”. This was a concept I had shelved for a long time, but now it makes a lot more sense to me, and I can use it to finally understand the difference between when we combine two Ideas into a larger Idea, and when we combine two Ideas into a Thought. I also revised my view of “Reducing and Expanding”, which is another previously shelved concept where we can “merge” complex Ideas into simpler Ideas, and vice versa. Before, I thought that this included transforming between Ideas and Thoughts, but now I realize this is a completely different thing (though I can see why I missed the difference!). Of course understanding this difference finally allowed me to precisely explain how we use Thoughts as Ideas, which is of course where I started with all this. I’ll say it again, PRECISE DEFINITIONS ARE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!!
I also decided that “the Basic Quality” can be introduced later, so I took that section out for now.
I also talked a bit about “Subject-Verb-Object” sentences, which is much more revolutionary for me than you might think. You see, I had been struggling for a long time to find a simpler way to represent what I called “Qualities of Qualities” in my Quality Diagrams. It would take me hours to write a good explanation of all the problems involved (trust me, I just spent an hour trying), so without getting too much into it, I will just say that “Composite Qualities” managed to solve many of my problems all at once. Maybe in the future I will devote time to explaining how my views evolved to this point, but for now I’m just happy to have found such an elegant solution.
Finally, I identified a “turtles all the way down” problem and a “chicken or egg” problem in my grammar, both of which are best left to the philosophers. (Other philosophers, not me.)
Now I suppose I will have to completely rewrite Lesson 3. Again. But hopefully I will be able to apply the things I have learned in the past few weeks, and make everything flow much more smoothly and elegantly.
November 8, 2023
Just like last time, I have not simply revised Lesson 3, I have added some new information that was originally intended to appear later, but now seems better introduced earlier on. I will probably do this with Lesson 4 as well, as “Judgement” seems to follow naturally from “Defining Qualities”.
November 7, 2023
To the untrained eye, it may seem that I’ve revised Lesson 2 YET AGAIN. But what really happened is, after completing Lesson 5, “Qualities of Thoughts”. I realized I was really talking about two different things. The first was something that should be called “Thoughts as Ideas”, and the second was something that showed the equivalence between defining something and making a judgement about something. To make a long story short, it made more sense to put the concepts from “Thoughts as Ideas” in Lesson 2, and perhaps Lesson 3 as well, while “Judgement” seems like something that would fit quite well at the end of Lesson 4.
October 31, 2023
Happy Halloween! This year I was Sailor Moon, but concealed in a shark suit. It was fun to see kids’ reactions when I “transformed” haha. You know the older I get, the more fun it is to make children cringe. Maybe that’s why old guys like telling corny jokes so much.
October 28, 2023
Wow. I was just hung over for three days (with the runs), from a single glass of wine. In retrospect, I’ve had many other cases of “mystery runs” in the past few years that were probably from alcohol. I rarely drink anyway, but now it looks like I’ve found a reason to never drink again. I guess when you live as clean a lifestyle as I do, your body just reacts much more violently, and noticeably, to poison. It’s annoying to feel like garbage when the autumn is in full bloom. Hopefully there are more beautiful days ahead before the winter.
October 25, 2023
Revisions of lessons of Lesson 2, 3, and 4 are complete! Now on to lesson 5, which will be something of a hybrid lesson because there are two short topics I want to cover at once. The first is “Implicit Qualities”, which are basically any Qualities that are expressed indirectly, through context. For instance, a person’s running and a dog’s running are of a completely different style, as one is two-legged and the other four-legged. Another example is the meaning of relative terms like “big” or “small”. A “big” dog is smaller than a “small” horse, you see. That shows that the meaning of “big” is partially determined by what it’s being attached to. Hopefully I can clarify all this without it turning into another monster.
The second part of lesson 5 will cover how we can apply a Quality to a Thought. I think we might also get into my belief that an Idea is just a type of Thought. Again, something I hope I can explain succinctly without confusing anyone, or exploding into yet another separate lesson.
October 21, 2023
I spent today trying to apply my Lexicon formula to Japanese. It took a while to get the formatting the way I wanted, but I’m happy to say that it seems to work, in the same way that my English Lexicon does. That is, it explains each Sense of a word according to how we know a particular Sense is the one being used. I’m only an intermediate student of Japanese right now, so hopefully I can use this format to write reviews of new Japanese words and phrases as I learn them, making them easier to review.
October 20, 2023
Almost finished fixing some things in lessons 2, 3, and 4 that were uncovered when I was trying to write lesson 5. Today I decided to take a break and look at the later unit, “The English Lexicon”.
My goal with “The English Lexicon” is to list all the (A1 Level) English Vocabulary and Grammar as what I call “Grammar/Context Structures”. You know how each entry in the dictionary has multiple possible meanings? Each of these different definitions are called a “Sense”. In my unit “The English Lexicon”, each Sense of a word will be listed according to how we know a particular Sense is the one being used.
So anyway…more great news! I was able to write several entries in the Lexicon in the way that I imagined! It’s going to be a masterpiece when I finish it!
October 12, 2023
Okay, I am having more problems with lesson five. Nothing big enough to break the book, but I have realized a few things that I probably should have explained better/figured out in earlier chapters. So that will take a little while to sort out.
In the meantime, here is another article from “Advanced Topics” that I finished a while ago. It’s from the “Common Questions” aka “Q&A” sub-unit and it answers the question, “What is a Complete Sentence?” (I’m hoping these “Q&A”-type articles will attract people to my website from online searches!)
October 7, 2023
Since it’s been a while since I uploaded anything, I will add something from my “Advanced Topics” unit that is already finished. (I toldja I already wrote a rough of the entire book, didn’t I?) This is part of a sub-unit called “Things in Grammar We Don’t Need”, where I disagree with traditional grammar about all sorts of things. The …article?… that I’ve already finished is called “Prepositive & Postpositive”.
October 5, 2023
Okay, so it looks like the fifth lesson, “Modifying the Quality Structure”, needs to be split once again. Or to be more accurate, it needs to be prefaced by a lesson on how we add Qualities to Thoughts. I will call this new lesson five “Qualities of Thoughts”. Aside from that, “Modifying the Quality Structure” (which is now lesson six) is proceeding smoothly. I am getting tripped up a bit with other unexpected responsibilities but hopefully the next lesson will come out very soon.
Sometimes I think about telling the story of writing this book, and wonder if doing so could possibly be important or interesting to other people. Most of the past two years has been absolute mental chaos, so it’s not easy for me to outline my entire journey from knowing next to nothing about grammar to the point I’m at now. But still, I have saved pretty much everything I ever wrote, so maybe someday I can go back and tell my intellectual (grammatical) journey to anyone who might be interested. Not the whole story of course, that would be impossible. But perhaps I can tell a few stories of the most interesting parts.
September 30, 2023
I took some time off of lessons five and six to write some little necessary things that I have been putting off so far. These include the “Welcome” message above, a provisional Table of Contents (which will be updated as I release more lessons), and an introductory chapter called “Why I Wrote This Book”. (The Table of Contents can be found on the same page.)
I also made the site a lot prettier from a font/formatting perspective, and the links now work better/exist. I think the pages really flow from one to the next now. Very elegant! 🙂
Of course I am still the proudest of the first four chapters (a.k.a. lessons) of this book that I have already written. Lessons five and six are coming soon!
September 25, 2023
The greatest news! It looks like chapter five, “Modifying the Quality Structure” has turned out okay. It did have to be split into two chapters, but the first of those is mostly done after just over a week of working (I have been basically writing both five and six together). I think it’s safe to say that the second major hurdle (and in my opinion the largest one) has been cleared!
The complications were caused by the realization that (1) making changes to the Quality Structure involves deductive reasoning, which (2) ties in heavily to lesson one, and (3) necessitates the creation of yet another type of diagram. Hopefully completing the upcoming sixth lesson, “Logical Cascades”, doesn’t upset anything I’ve written in the previous one.
September 18, 2023
Once I got back to work, chapter four, “Defining Things”, only took about a week to finish. Hopefully this will become a trend! Of course it was already partially written because it was broken off from chapter two, but pretty much everything in my book is partially written at this point. Anyway, four whole chapters complete!
The next chapter, “Modifying the Quality Structure” is something I’ve been worried about for a long time. Just like chapter two, “Qualities & Referents”, it’s something that’s been rolling around in my head for a long time, but haven’t written down much of. I have no idea if it will (1) come out easily, and be finished in a few days; (2) come out with great difficulty over the course of several months, and split into several lessons, much like “Qualities & Referents” did; or (3) completely break my book and force me to start over from the beginning (as I have already done several times in the past two years). Wish me luck!
September 12, 2023
Had to take some time off because some of the blood clot went to my lung (BOOO!). About three weeks where I couldn’t manage much beyond eating, sleeping, and watching youtube videos. But I’m all fine now and only need to take blood thinners for a while (no surgery or anything). (Can do upper body workouts but still no cardio. And crap I missed the end of the summer!)
August 25, 2023
Finally finished chapter three, “Describing Things”. Yay!
But the excitement is ruined because also got a DVT (blood clot in my leg). Looks like no cardio for at least a couple months.
August 3, 2023
Wow, the second chapter, “Qualities & Referents”, took a long time! That’s because it was so incredibly complicated, I eventually needed to split it into three chapters! (I try to keep my lessons at no more than ten pages.) Also there were a lot of bubble diagrams I needed to make, and I’m kind of a perfectionist when it comes to those kinds of things. But the good news is, the logic held up! I think this is actually gonna work!!!
Anyway, the two extra lessons that split off from lesson two will be ready soon! Sheesh, I was so focused on this last lesson that I the summer is almost over and I still haven’t gotten a tan 🙁
Oh, and there were a few typos in chapter one, but those are all fixed now. I guess I don’t need to make an update every time I fix a typo.
May 16, 2023
After over a year and a half of theorizing and writing, I’ve finally finished chapter one! The rest of my book exists only in rough form, but the very first lesson, “Thought Process” is finally complete as a final draft! Hopefully there are no typos! (More importantly, I hope no more major reworks of the entire book are necessary!!)
The next chapter will be my new grammar’s first major hurdle. I have to write out everything I have come to believe about the basics of human thought, which I acquired in my one and a half years of intense grammar study, and see if it all holds up to scrutiny. If not, I will need to go back to the drawing board. From a logical standpoint, everything depends on the next chapter. Here we go!