RUE Episode 98: If

This very small word can take listeners or readers from reality to the world of what could have been. At least that’s how we’re using it in this episode of Ramping Up your English.

Tainos. What if they had been treated differently by Europeans?
This Pic is a grab from the video linked below – What ever happen to the Caribbeans?

Episode 98 Summary

In 1492 and years following, Christopher Columbus became the first European to contact the Taino people in the West Indies. While the Taino received Columbus and his crew with welcome, curiosity, kindness and friendship, the Spaniards responded with unimaginable cruelty, violence and murder. This episode first takes a look at how the Taino are doing today, and explores the possibility of much better outcomes that would have followed different treatment of these gentle people.

Viewing Episode 98: IF has this episode of Ramping Up your English. To watch the episode ad-free, Click Here. An important note to video producers. By mistake, the video on lists “No Derivatives” under Creative Commons license. Derivatives ARE allowed under “Share Alike.” The only restrictions are giving me credit and “No Commercial.” Derive until your heart’s content!

Language Objectives

Use Past Perfect verb tense to construct a conditional clause.

Use Subjunctive Mood to state a non-reality in the past.

Construct a two-clause sentence to communicate a possibility .

Communicate a possible outcome that di not occur in the past, using the functional word IF.

Relate a cause/effect relationship of a non-event in the past, using the Past Perfect Tense, the functional word If, and a conditional clause.

Academic Content Objectives

Characterize the reception Taino Indians gave Columbus on his first voyage to the Americas.

Characterize the treatment given to the Taino people by Europeans during the four voyages of Columbus.

Extrapolate the possible results if the treatment of Native Americans had been different.

Relate the cause/effect relationship between the actions of European explorers and the effects on the native population in America.

Videos Used in this Episode

Our first featured video was about the people of Caribbean Sea – the first people contacted by Europeans. Click here to watch that video. I want to thank Masaman for posting this excellent video on You Tube. He refers to the sources he’s listed on his You Tube page. Here they are below.


Related Videos

Native Americans on the North American continent carried on their lives as normal while Columbus was bringing drastic changes to the lives of Tainos and other Caribbean people. This video is about Native Americans in Arkansas. Click here to watch.

Learning Materials

The concept of using the word “if” to communicate a possibility in the past if actions or events had been different – that’s a very difficult matter to explain and use. Here are some of the visual materials we used to help reach this advance level of communicating in English.

If is a function word in English
Using the word “if” to express possibility in the past
Use the word If to express possibility
If is a very small word that can do mighty big things
Ramping Up your English
We’re using it in th past for something that could have happened, but didn’t happen. If can be used at the beginning or middle of a two-clause sentence.
Content-based ESL
We need to use a helping verb because we’re using the Past Participle of the main verb.
Improve your English Proficiency
We’re forming the Past Perfect verb tense to relate the non-action or event that lets to the non-effect. The tiny word “if” tells us that this action is the opposite of reality.
Subjunctive Mood in English
Now we look closer at the non-effect. This puts us in the subjunctive mood – using “would” or “would not.” There are other words indicative of subjunctive mood, but we’re using this one.
Past Participles
Our examples with this lesson all involve beginning the Sentence with the word “if.” We need to separate these clauses, so we use a comma or semicolon between them.
Past Perfect Verb Tense
Here’s an example, with each clause explained.
Past Conditional
Here are some examples. Sorry about that last sentence with the empty green rectangle. Can you identify the word that’s behind the green Rectangle? Look at the other sentences. I bet you can figure it out.
Cause/effect relationship
Here are some more examples.
Different outcome possibilities
Taking this a step further, using the word “just” between parts of the main verb adds emphasis.
Effects of European diseases on Native Americans who had no immunity
Adding “even” to the the first clause, and “still” to the second changes the meaning completely. Now we’re communicating a totally different thought.
English language functions: expressing possibility in past events.
So we review the construction of the sentences using the word “if.”
Higher English Proficiency
Here, I’ve done the first clause. Now it’s your turn. Complete the sentences with any non-event of your choosing, using the subjunctive mood – and that great conditional helping verb.

About the Next Episodes

The next five episodes of Ramping Up your English contain very long videos. There’s no direct language instruction, yet these present an excellent opportunity to practice the skills of this episode and more.

One the corresponding Episode Pages, I’ll post activities viewers can do to launch into higher proficiency levels using these episodes. There are numerous opportunities to apply previous lessons while viewing any video – whether produced by me are any other artist.

Next Episode

Episode 99 will feature a video entitled Los Epanoles. In the years following the Voyages of Columbus, events occurred that brought unimaginable changes to the world, but for Spain and for Native Americans and even Pacific Island dwellers. There’s plenty in that video for practicing the use of the word “if” to communicate a different possible past.

Episode 99 is focused on the activities of explorers from Spain. These explorers and conquistadors had profound and lasting effects on Native Americans and other people as well. Click here to watch Episode 99: Los Espanoles.