So we’re doing a class story. The kids are copying the final result off the whiteboard in characters (not without some weeping and moaning, of course. “All those characters?”)

The next sentence proposed is “He took his phone out.” The girl who proposed it started off in Chinese with “He took out…” (“TA nACHUlaI…”) and then stopped. I held my breath. This, of course, requires the “ba” disposal construction in Chinese. I could almost see the wheels turning. Something didn’t sound right to her. She hesitated and then said under her breath, “Take that thing and…”

That is precisely how she had been presented with the ‘ba’ construction — take that thing and do something with or to it.

And darned if the next sentence out of her mouth wasn’t “TA ba DianHua nACHUlaI.”

CI works. Pop-up grammar works. Well, I mean, we KNEW that, but it’s always exciting to see it.