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Re : [dogme] Re: Grammar Question

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  • Daniel O'DONNELL
    Hello all, Ah, the fascination with grammar. Having taught adults in France for the last twenty years, I can attest to the fact that French learners are not
    Message 1 of 48 , Dec 1, 2010
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      Hello all,

      Ah, the fascination with grammar. Having taught adults in France for the last twenty years, I can attest to the fact that French learners are not only interested in learning grammar, they're obsessed with it! Why?
      Well, in the French educational system, it's practically all they learn about English. This is fortunate for language schools like ourselves, because even after years of learning English at school, they're (largely) unable to string two sentences together. More the proof that learning grammar doesn't help you speak a language better.
      However, while we concentrate on the short time we have together (on average 1.5 hours per week) on improving their speaking skills, most learners in France are extremely concerned about making errors, even to the expense of moving more slowly in communicative competence.
      So, in my understanding of a dogme approach, these learners are bringing what motivates them to the class. Grammar and error correction! I've even had learners be frustrated with me as a teacher when I didn't "correct" them enough.) Needless to say, I don't completely bend to this grammar/error correction format completely, but I do respect their inherent need for this aspect to be present.
      I usually try to get them to come up with a reasonable explanation of why something is not "correct" in English, but they also look to me to give them an explanation or pattern when they don't manage to come up with it themselves. So, while prodding them to concentrate on getting the message across (even with errors), I also have to be sensitive to this need. This requires my being able to give simple explanations to grammar questions.
      I'll give an example. A question that has been asked of me on several occasions is "What is the difference between "I've worked here for ten years" and "I've been working here for ten years", and "which is the best one to use"? As a native English speaker, I usually say there is no contextual difference in these two sentences, but there are times when you need to use the simple or continuous tense. (ex : John, why are you all hot and sweaty? Because I've been running and NOT Because I've run). This usually helps them to stop thinking about the details and the grammar, while at the same time answering their intellectual question about these. I feel that imposing a "non-grammar" teaching style is as un dogmetic as imposing one.

      Best to all,

      Dan O'Donnell
      Paris, France

      --- En date de : Mar 30.11.10, mcjsa <mcjsa@...> a écrit :

      De: mcjsa <mcjsa@...>
      Objet: [dogme] Re: Grammar Question
      À: dogme@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Mardi 30 novembre 2010, 17h51







       









      I think teachers like grammar because it's easy to test. You can even do it with multip0le choice questions. When you can test something, then you are "accountable." You can reduce learning to a one or two decimal points below zero and it can go into a spreadsheet.



      That will show everyone that you have done your job, even if your students show no real improvement in skills.



      Students like grammer it because it sounds like they're learning something. They can memorise stuff and imagine that they are studying. They can impress one another with corrections and ask questions like, "Should it be 'whom' or 'who'? Bright sparks can read Fowler.



      The fascination with grammar is not restricted to language teachers. Pod casts like Grammar Girl are enormously popular. Grammar seems to appeal to the secret - or not so secret - pedant in everyone.



      Mark



      --- In dogme@yahoogroups.com, Dennis Newson <djn@...> wrote:

      >

      > Dear list,

      >

      > Grammar. Grammar.

      >

      > What IS it about that word that turns teachers on? Discussions about grammar

      > just run and run and run........and carry on running. I REALLY would like

      > to understand why that is so.

      >

      > In the meantime...

      >

      > Mark,

      >

      > I agree with just about all that you are saying EXCEPT that "knowing how to

      > manipulate language" is grammar.

      >

      > Surely, surely grammar is not that. What you describe is, amongst other

      > things:

      >

      > rhetoric

      > saying what you mean and meaning what you say

      > discourse

      > creating and maintaining interest/relationships through the skilful use of

      > language

      >

      >

      > and many other better classificatory labels, but surely "grammar" is not one

      > of those labels.

      >

      >

      >

      > Dennis

      >

      >

      >

      > On Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 1:53 PM, M C Johnstone <mcjsa@...> wrote:

      >

      > > Dogmetics,

      > >

      > > Well, why not approach grammar as the solution to a problem?

      > >

      > > The problem is multi-faceted:

      > >

      > > I have good ideas. How to I explain those ideas to people so that

      > > they

      > > * listen to me

      > > * understand what I am saying

      > > * help me by offering informed and critical feedback

      > >

      > > Most people are inarticulate at least some of the time, so the

      > > experience of not being able to express what we mean is common to

      > > everyone. This experience is unplesant, so we want to avoid it

      > > whenver possible. We are emotional beings. Emotion underlies

      > > motivation. It is why we learn.

      > >

      > > There are other reasons for knowing how to manipulate language

      > > (grammar). You can use it to

      > > * make yourself look smart so people respect your opinion, even

      > > if it's lame

      > > * intimidate people so they will leave you alone when you want

      > > them to go away

      > > * confuse people when clarity would place you in danger

      > >

      > > These uses mobilize the affective network of the brain. Everyone

      > > is interested in survival and language is the greatest weapon a

      > > human being has. It is a personal nuclear bomb.

      > >

      > > So, grammar is not a question of right or wrong answers, but

      > > rather a tool for ensuring that our communication that does what

      > > it's supposed to do - it either make connections or burn bridges,

      > > as required.

      > >

      > > Students themselves can arbitrate clairy and suggest solutions

      > > that are appropriate to any particular problem.

      > >

      > > This process raises a gaggle of open-ended problems:

      > >

      > > What is clear? (objective truth)

      > > When is it clear enough? (pragmatic choice)

      > > Who is it clear to? (register /audience)

      > > Who is it not clear to? (pragmatic: sometimes you don't want some

      > > people to understand what you're saying)

      > > Why should it be clear, or unclear? (purpose)

      > > How do I make it clear, or unclear? (context and deliberate

      > > choice)

      > >

      > > and do on....

      > >

      > > There are many ways of integrating grammar into a curriculum, but

      > > first we need to be straight about why we are teaching it and why

      > > anyone should care about it anyway.

      > >

      > > Mark

      > >

      > > On Tue, 30 Nov 2010 11:05 +0000, "Adrian Tennant"

      > > <adrian.tennant@...> wrote:

      > >

      > >

      > > Rather than talking about grammar why not get students thinking

      > > about

      > > the way language is used? Why not get students to work out their

      > > own

      > > rules? A kind of 'interlanguage' but with concepts about grammar?

      > > Give

      > > students enough examples of a particular language item and let

      > > them

      > > work out how to use it. Then,. every time they come across more

      > > examples they can check it against their idea of the use and

      > > refine it

      > > as necessary.

      > > Dr Evil

      > > On 30 Nov 2010, at 10:35, Luke Meddings wrote:

      > > > Your thoughts on Scott's A-Z blog are seconded, Dennis. It is a

      > > > wonderful

      > > > resource and an exemplary blog (short, regular posts;

      > > references

      > > > generously

      > > > shared; engaged and engaging comment from all concerned; a real

      > > > sense of

      > > > looking for answers, not trying to win arguments).

      > > >

      > > > Reading the posts here, and having just read through the G is

      > > for

      > > > Gerund

      > > > post and comment at

      > > >

      > > [1]http://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/2010/06/06/g-is-for-gerund

      > > /

      > > > reinforces

      > > > my sense that the best way to approach these questions in class

      > > is

      > > > often

      > > > talking (to talk?) about the grammar. Many adult learners - and

      > > > their level

      > > > is often irrelevant here - have heard almost as many

      > > explanations as

      > > > we

      > > > have! It can be a breath of fresh air to explore (exploring?)

      > > > different

      > > > usages and even showing how, to paraphrase a well-known book,

      > > > English - as a

      > > > set of rules, a predictable system - doesn't work.

      > > >

      > > > Luke

      > > >

      > > >

      > > >

      > > > On Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 7:39 AM, Dennis Newson

      > > <[2]djn@...>

      > > > wrote:

      > > >

      > > >>

      > > >>

      > > >> O wow, folks. How about that A-Z reference? . I mean, don't

      > > you

      > > >> honestly

      > > >> think we should campaign to get that A-Z blog Blog of the ELT

      > > Year or

      > > >> something of the kind?

      > > >>

      > > >> Dennis, the self-confessed scott doggie, sorry, dogme

      > > enthusiast

      > > >>

      > > >>

      > > >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      > > >>

      > > >>

      > > >>

      > > >

      > > >

      > > >

      > > > --

      > > > Luke Meddings

      > > > ELT writer, teacher, trainer

      > > > [3]http://lukemeddings.posterous.com/

      > > > m. 07766200065

      > > >

      > > >

      > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      > > >

      > > >

      > > >

      > > > ------------------------------------

      > > >

      > > > To Post a message, send it to: [4]dogme@...

      > > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:

      > > [5]dogme-unsubscribe@...

      > > > ! Groups Links

      > > >

      > > >

      > > >

      > >

      > >

      > > References

      > >

      > > 1. http://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/2010/06/06/g-is-for-gerund/

      > > 2. mailto:djn%40dennisnewson.de <djn%2540dennisnewson.de>

      > > 3. http://lukemeddings.posterous.com/

      > > 4. mailto:dogme%40eGroups.com <dogme%2540eGroups.com>

      > > 5. mailto:dogme-unsubscribe%40eGroups.comYahoo<dogme-unsubscribe%2540eGroups.comYahoo>

      > > 6. mailto:adrian.tennant@...

      > > ?subject=Re%3A%20%5Bdogme%5D%20Re%3A%20Grammar%20Question

      > > 7. mailto:dogme@yahoogroups.com

      > > ?subject=Re%3A%20%5Bdogme%5D%20Re%3A%20Grammar%20Question

      > > 8.

      > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dogme/post;_ylc=X3oDMTJxcTl2cWJiBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzE2NTM2NzIEZ3Jwc3BJZAMxNzA1MDQzMzM2BG1zZ0lkAzE1ODU2BHNlYwNmdHIEc2xrA3JwbHkEc3RpbWUDMTI5MTExNTEyMw--?act=reply&messageNum=15856

      > > 9.

      > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dogme/post;_ylc=X3oDMTJlZTQ5aXE5BF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzE2NTM2NzIEZ3Jwc3BJZAMxNzA1MDQzMzM2BHNlYwNmdHIEc2xrA250cGMEc3RpbWUDMTI5MTExNTEyMw--

      > > 10.

      > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dogme/message/15846;_ylc=X3oDMTM2bTNrZzEyBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzE2NTM2NzIEZ3Jwc3BJZAMxNzA1MDQzMzM2BG1zZ0lkAzE1ODU2BHNlYwNmdHIEc2xrA3Z0cGMEc3RpbWUDMTI5MTExNTEyMwR0cGNJZAMxNTg0Ng--

      > > 11.

      > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dogme/members;_ylc=X3oDMTJmaDllMjZ0BF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzE2NTM2NzIEZ3Jwc3BJZAMxNzA1MDQzMzM2BHNlYwN2dGwEc2xrA3ZtYnJzBHN0aW1lAzEyOTExMTUxMjM-?o=6

      > > 12.

      > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dogme;_ylc=X3oDMTJlbjltZWpnBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzE2NTM2NzIEZ3Jwc3BJZAMxNzA1MDQzMzM2BHNlYwN2dGwEc2xrA3ZnaHAEc3RpbWUDMTI5MTExNTEyMw--

      > > 13.

      > > http://groups.yahoo.com/;_ylc=X3oDMTJkYzh2bjRkBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzE2NTM2NzIEZ3Jwc3BJZAMxNzA1MDQzMzM2BHNlYwNmdHIEc2xrA2dmcARzdGltZQMxMjkxMTE1MTIz

      > > 14. mailto:dogme-traditional@yahoogroups.com

      > > ?subject=Change%20Delivery%20Format:%20Traditional

      > > 15. mailto:dogme-digest@yahoogroups.com

      > > ?subject=Email%20Delivery:%20Digest

      > > 16. mailto:dogme-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com?subject=Unsubscribe

      > > 17. http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/

      > > --

      > > mcjsa@...

      > >

      > >

      > >

      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      > >

      > >

      > >

      > > ------------------------------------

      > >

      > > To Post a message, send it to: dogme@...

      > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: dogme-unsubscribe@...!

      > > Groups Links

      > >

      > >

      > >

      > >

      >

      >

      > --

      > *

      >

      > Dennis Newson

      >

      > Formerly University of Osnabrueck, GERMANY

      > **

      >

      > Committee member | Discussion List Manager IATEFL YLT SIG

      >

      > Creator: YLTSIG NING | http://ylandtsig.ning.com/

      >

      > Winner British Council ELT 05 Innovation Award

      >

      > Unrepentant grammarophobe

      >

      >

      >

      > YLTSIG Website: http://www.yltsig.org

      >

      > Yahoogroups: Subscribe:

      > younglearners-subscribe@yahoogroups.com<Subscribe%3Ayounglearners-subscribe@yahoogroups.com>

      >

      > Personal homepage: http://www.dennisnewson.de

      >

      > Skype: Osnacantab

      >

      > Second Life: Osnacantab Nesterov

      >

      >

      > *

      >

      >

      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      >

























      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Dennis Newson
      Vance, don t tempt me. You write, re the factive... Does this help, or is it just more rubbish ;-) . I can find no medication to deal with the gut feeling
      Message 48 of 48 , Dec 5, 2010
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        Vance,

        don't tempt me. You write, re the factive...

        "Does this help, or is it just more rubbish ;-) ".

        I can find no medication to deal with the gut feeling that the contortions
        that erudite people go through to explain the waywardness of many features
        of natural languages are fundamentally misplaced. The assumption in the
        case of the sentences you quoted, or Adrian's is, surely, that is there a
        logical, identifyable, repeatable, generalizable, applicable descriptive
        rule to be articulated, learned and correctly employed. My gut tells me that
        aint necessarily so.

        I wonder if in the case of tenses - and, of course, linguists love telling
        us, for example, there is no future tense (which people often assume means
        that linguists are denying that we can talk about future time and write off
        linguists as loonies )- I wonder if there aren't in the question
        of tenses and time explanations of the same kind as one from the explanation
        of why one English word is spelled the way it is. GHOST.Why is GHOST spelled
        with a gh i.e. why is the g sound represented with g and a redundant h? It
        seems that William Caxton c. 1415-1422, England's likely first printer
        learnt the trade in what is now Holland with places in the vicinity like
        Ghent where the convention was to represent the sound with GH and took that
        printing habit whom with him. In other words there is no rule of English
        spelling to be uncovered here just, if the explanation is true, a quaint
        historical fact.

        On Sun, Dec 5, 2010 at 9:05 AM, Adrian Tennant
        <adrian.tennant@...>wrote:

        >
        > Vance,
        >
        > First of all it looks like you've not read the whole exchange. The
        > sentence you're commenting on was an illustration as to why another
        > supposed explanation didn't hold up.
        >
        > Secondly, the factive explanation is another with holes so big you
        > could drive a truck through them. Let me illustrate using a sentence
        > from a 'reader' I'm currently working on (I'm writing worksheets for
        > students to complete - if they want - after reading the book). So,
        > here's a sentence from a book called 'Officially Dead':
        >
        > Linda needed a change, so she started looking for a new job.
        >
        > But we could equally well say:-
        >
        > Linda needed a change, so she started to look for a new job.
        >
        > Now how does the factive concept explain these two sentences?
        >
        > The fact is, if people stopped to think they might get their facts
        > right.
        >
        > Dr E
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > On 5 Dec 2010, at 07:32, Vance Stevens wrote:
        >
        > > You might find some insights here:
        > >
        > >
        > http://books.google.com/books?id=WCCk829jmzUC&pg=PA518&lpg=PA518&dq=factive+grammar&source=bl&ots=iGUQx4gzmt&sig=rOq5bk3FIEUHKoQoRzmAMmulEvE&hl=en&ei=TTz7TKCqDIOl8QOQlYjOCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CDkQ6AEwBQ#v
        > > =onepage&q=factive%20grammar&f=false
        > >
        > > According to this it's not the verb tense but whether the verb is
        > > 'factive'
        > > or not.
        > >
        > > And we stopped is past indeed, and that's the time reference. But
        > > the reason
        > > for stopping was 'to buy', something that had not yet occurred, so
        > > this is a
        > > future event transposed to a past time (we stopped).
        > >
        > > That is, the action had not taken place and was therefore not yet
        > > factive.
        > >
        > > However, in we stopped buying ice cream, this refers to events that
        > > had
        > > taken place many times before the stopping, and so this refers to
        > > something
        > > that had been a recurring fact.
        > >
        > > I suggest that you focus on the first part of the verb and start
        > > buying ice
        > > cream again (obviously buying ice cream was something you used to
        > > do). You
        > > might start to buy ice cream with an initial purchase tomorrow, and
        > > after
        > > that you can keep buying ice cream (when you keep doing something, the
        > > factivity is so pronounced that there doesn't appear to be a way to
        > > keep to
        > > do something, how would you keep to do something that you had not
        > > yet done?)
        > >
        > > There is some research on this issue. I think I may have read the
        > > Kapersky's article (1970) in my MA program. It would be interesting
        > > to know
        > > if this research is supported through corpus linguistics. A quick
        > > Google
        > > check turned up Kristin Davidse's (2003) A corpus check of the factive
        > > presupposition. In A. Remael and K. Pelsmaekers (eds.)
        > > Configurations of
        > > culture: Essays in honour of Michael Windross. Antwerpen: Garant.
        > > 115-126.
        > >
        > > Does this help, or is it just more rubbish ;-)
        > >
        > > Vance
        > >
        > > ----- Original Message -----
        > > From: "Adrian Tennant" <adrian.tennant@...>
        > > To: <dogme@yahoogroups.com>
        > > Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 11:17 AM
        > > Subject: Re: [dogme] Grammar Question
        > >
        > > >I knew this would get Dennis going ...
        > > >
        > > > But the simple thing to say is, Delpha, no it doesn't work. Look at
        > > > the following sentences:
        > > >
        > > > We stopped to buy ice cream.
        > > >
        > > > Clearly an event that happened in the past, so why the infinitive
        > > and
        > > > not the gerund? The simple reason is that in this sentence we're
        > > > talking about an intention (but in the past). We know they stopped,
        > > > but did the actually buy ice cream?
        > > >
        > > > Maybe the final sentence reads:
        > > >
        > > > We stopped to buy ice cream, but ended up making love instead!
        > > >
        > > > One of the biggest problems of using isolated sentences to try and
        > > > 'explain' grammar is that you lose the context. The only way it
        > > really
        > > > works is if you take tens of examles and look fotr patterns. So, as
        > > > Dennis says, get on an online Corpra and check out reality.
        > > >
        > > > Oh, and tell the person you overheard that they've made scrambled
        > > egg
        > > > and not an omelette.
        > > >
        > > > Dr E
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > On 30 Nov 2010, at 05:37, delphareihs wrote:
        > > >
        > > >> Hello again everyone,
        > > >>
        > > >> It's been over a year since posting here, but I have been playing
        > > >> with some *alternative* approaches to explaining some pesky things
        > > >> in grammar. Well, I've stumbled on a new concept and I would like
        > > to
        > > >> get some expert advice on the validity of this idea.
        > > >>
        > > >> I recently overheard someone explaining that the use of gerunds
        > > tend
        > > >> to express past experiences and infinitives have a sense of future
        > > >> or present ones.
        > > >>
        > > >> So I ran some tests:
        > > >>
        > > >> a) He denied killing and eating his victims.
        > > >> b) I promise to help you later.
        > > >>
        > > >> Yup. The concept of 'killing and eating' definitely took place
        > > >> before he denied, while you promise first, and then help at a
        > > future
        > > >> date.
        > > >>
        > > >> Do you get a different sense from the sentences:
        > > >>
        > > >> a) I love cooking
        > > >> b) I love to cook.
        > > >>
        > > >> So, aside from the verbs that are followed by both forms, to what
        > > >> extent does this idea of past and future/present hold water. Can
        > > >> anyone help me find examples that don't work. Where did this
        > > concept
        > > >> originate and is there anyone I can read on the topic?
        > > >>
        > > >> Curiously,
        > > >> Delpha
        > > >>
        > > >>
        > > >>
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > ------------------------------------
        > > >
        > > > To Post a message, send it to: dogme@...
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        > > > dogme-unsubscribe@...! Groups Links
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
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        >


        --
        *

        Dennis Newson

        Formerly University of Osnabrueck, GERMANY
        **

        Committee member | Discussion List Manager IATEFL YLT SIG

        Creator: YLTSIG NING | http://ylandtsig.ning.com/

        Winner British Council ELT 05 Innovation Award

        Unrepentant grammarophobe



        YLTSIG Website: http://www.yltsig.org

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