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Moses McCormick’s admirable achievement

 Language Learning Forum : Lessons in Polyglottery Post Reply
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liammcg
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Ireland
Joined 3083 days ago

269 posts - 397 votes 
Speaks: English*, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, French
Studies: German, Italian

 
 Message 209 of 221
23 April 2013 at 11:33am | IP Logged 
luke wrote:
casamata wrote:
And yes, natives pretty much always speak
"grammatically" correct.


The "pretty much" qualifier is important. A native may say, "I aks you to come" and it
is not grammatically correct and has a pronunciation error. (I asked you to come.)

Also, here is a common grammatical error in English. My stupidvisor wrote it in an
email just last week. And lest anyone think I'm being pedantic, I overheard the mother
of a very intelligent 5 year old correct him for this error.

John, Mary, and myself are coming. (wrong)

John, Mary and I are coming. (correct)

For anyone, the easy way to remember this, is to isolate the (I/me/myself) word from
the list, and notice which is correct. (I am coming, not "myself am coming" or "me am
coming"). The later "John, Mary, and me are coming" is more common and one could argue
that it is a correct informal usage, but that's a bit of a stretch. The "John, Mary,
and myself are coming" is still recognized as incorrect. This is especially true in
that I've heard people use it in formal situations, such as business email, and I know
my stupidvisor is just stupid and not being informal, and I've also heard it in The
Apprentice Boardroom when contestants are doing their very best to defend themselves
and sound intelligent and credible. That don't make it right. :)


In writing, I would use the 'correct form' using the word I. In speaking however, I
would almost always use 'me' or even 'meself' (!) because of my dialect. Sure,
according to the standard language my usage is wrong, but I believe it's a perfectly
correct usage of the language. People communicate like this all the time in Ireland,
it's a fully excepted norm (in the west anyway). Of course when people felt the need to
abandon Gaelic and learn English, it would have been wrong for them as T2 speakers, but
it was obviously widespread enough so that the next generation of native English
speakers used it without a second thought.

If I began speaking using sentences like "John, Mary and I are going", people would
think that you're acting posh...no really!
3 persons have voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 3186 days ago

5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 210 of 221
23 April 2013 at 1:04pm | IP Logged 
morinkhuur wrote:
tarvos wrote:
a language is a
communicative vehicle, not an abstract concept learned in a classroom.


I would argue that a language can be both of those things and also more other things
than just a communicative
vehicle.


Fine for a linguist, not for a language learner. These audiences require different
targeting mechanisms. For me as a learner of Romanian, it's much more worthwhile to
know that I can speak it with a Romanian and enjoy myself than it is to know how to
classify the subjunctive tense.

Quote:

the way natives speak is always "grammatically correct", even if it is informal or
contrary to what the grammar books consider "the right way of talking". Actual grammar
is never static and changes all the time but native speakers always use "correct"
grammar because it is them who determine in their interactions what is correct and
what isn't.


Obviously, but that doesn't mean natives can't be wrong, nor err on certain points
(that may be distinguishable dialectal features, such as saying "heb" for "heeft" in
Randstad Dutch, which is correct if I am speaking colloquial Rotterdam dialect, but not
in any standard environment where I need to teach people standard Dutch for use around
the country). These dialectalisms are things I *do* use, but only in a context where
that is dictated by the social norm that I can.

Edited by tarvos on 23 April 2013 at 1:05pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



casamata
Senior Member
Joined 2741 days ago

237 posts - 376 votes 
Studies: Portuguese

 
 Message 211 of 221
23 April 2013 at 6:20pm | IP Logged 
luke wrote:
casamata wrote:
And yes, natives pretty much always speak "grammatically" correct.


The "pretty much" qualifier is important. A native may say, "I aks you to come" and it is not grammatically correct and has a pronunciation error. (I asked you to come.)

Also, here is a common grammatical error in English. My stupidvisor wrote it in an email just last week. And lest anyone think I'm being pedantic, I overheard the mother of a very intelligent 5 year old correct him for this error.

John, Mary, and myself are coming. (wrong)

John, Mary and I are coming. (correct)

For anyone, the easy way to remember this, is to isolate the (I/me/myself) word from the list, and notice which is correct. (I am coming, not "myself am coming" or "me am coming"). The later "John, Mary, and me are coming" is more common and one could argue that it is a correct informal usage, but that's a bit of a stretch. The "John, Mary, and myself are coming" is still recognized as incorrect. This is especially true in that I've heard people use it in formal situations, such as business email, and I know my stupidvisor is just stupid and not being informal, and I've also heard it in The Apprentice Boardroom when contestants are doing their very best to defend themselves and sound intelligent and credible. That don't make it right. :)


Well, I actually posted in another thread how in African American English they pronounce "ask" as "aks". However, if you read a book about linguistics and their version of English, it follows strict grammatical rules, just like "Standard" English.

The John, Mary, and I error is another thing that I would opine is inexcusable, but it's not as bad as messing up "there/their" and "your/you're" in my mind.
1 person has voted this message useful





emk
Diglot
Moderator
United States
Joined 4011 days ago

2615 posts - 8805 votes 
Speaks: English*, FrenchB2
Studies: Spanish, Ancient Egyptian
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 212 of 221
23 April 2013 at 7:46pm | IP Logged 
luke wrote:
John, Mary, and myself are coming. (wrong)

John, Mary and I are coming. (correct)

For anyone, the easy way to remember this, is to isolate the (I/me/myself) word from the list, and notice which is correct.

Note that this rule works fine in standard English, but will give you a horribly incorrect answer in French. Here's the French version, as best as I understand the rules (corrections welcome, of course):
Quote:
Je viens.
I am coming.

Jean, Marie et moi venons.
John, Mary and me are coming.

Incorrect: Jean, Marie et je venons.
John, Mary and I are coming.

As I understand it, this happens because je works less like a standalone word, and more like a clitic verb prefix. As soon as you have anything but a simple subject, you need to switch from je to moi.

Standard, written English follows the rules explained by luke, which are similar to the rules used by Germanic languages. By spoken English is a mess, because sometimes it uses German-style pronouns, sometimes it uses French-style pronouns, and sometimes it uses weird hypercorrections like between you and I. As always, non-native speakers are advised to use the standard rule when writing. In speech, it's a question of who you live with, what context you're speaking in, and who you want to sound like.

In French, I go to great trouble to speak like my friends who grew up in northern France and went to university in Paris. That's who I identify with, and that's the closest approximation to who I'd be if I were French. This means that I sometimes say things like, "Ça, c'est ton truc à toi" (roughly: "That's yours / your very own"). This certainly isn't standard written French, but it's how my French friends speak to children. But if I write a formal letter, I'm all, "Je vous prie d'agréer, Monsieur le Directeur, l'expression de mes sentiments distingués," because that's what my friends do on those rare occasions when they need to be formal.

Moses McCormick seems to identify as a just a friendly, informal guy. So it's no surprise that he might prefer to sound like "just one of the guys" and ignore the formal register. If this is the case, the right way to evaluate his skills is by those criteria: does he sound like "just one of the guys" in his target languages? Does he talk the way natives would talk with the friends in a pub, for example? This can actually be a very hard register to master.

As for his courses, well, I haven't seen them, but it sounds a bit weird to claim you speak "between 45 and 50 languages" (which obviously implies lots of A1 and A2 languages, even for the most gifted polyglot) and then offer paid classes in lots of languages. Of course, if he actually got students enthusiastic about learning a language and got them headed in vaguely the right direction, then it might not matter if his skill level in a given language was really low.


Edited by emk on 23 April 2013 at 7:58pm

1 person has voted this message useful



casamata
Senior Member
Joined 2741 days ago

237 posts - 376 votes 
Studies: Portuguese

 
 Message 213 of 221
23 April 2013 at 8:08pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
[QUOTE=luke]
Moses McCormick seems to identify as a just a friendly, informal guy. So it's no surprise that he might prefer to sound like "just one of the guys" and ignore the formal register. If this is the case, the right way to evaluate his skills is by those criteria: does he sound like "just one of the guys" in his target languages? Does he talk the way natives would talk with the friends in a pub, for example? This can actually be a very hard register to master.

As for his courses, well, I haven't seen them, but it sounds a bit weird to claim you speak "between 45 and 50 languages" (which obviously implies lots of A1 and A2 languages, even for the most gifted polyglot) and then offer paid classes in lots of languages. Of course, if he actually got students enthusiastic about learning a language and got them headed in vaguely the right direction, then it might not matter if his skill level in a given language was really low.


Hmm, the issue is that if you watch the youtube grammar videos (at least in Spanish, the only language i can evaluate), he is trying to write formally and makes a LOT of mistakes. But it is not a matter of speaking informally, it is just wrong. Informal speech is still very grammatically correct, in general, and no native or advanced speaker would ever speak like that. The mistakes are basic and the pronunciation doesn't follow the rules that any 1st semester student would know.

Errors like gender and imperfect/preterite (verbal tenses), conjugations, stuff that even a very informal, speaking native will never get wrong.
3 persons have voted this message useful



patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 3012 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 214 of 221
24 April 2013 at 1:45am | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
luke wrote:
John, Mary, and myself are coming. (wrong)

John, Mary and I are coming. (correct)

For anyone, the easy way to remember this, is to isolate the (I/me/myself) word from the list, and notice which is correct.

Note that this rule works fine in standard English, but will give you a horribly incorrect answer in French.


My grammar is horrible, but isn't the correct rule simply that in English, like in German, the verb 'to be' takes the nomative case, as there is seen to be an equivalence between the subject and the object of the sentence?

So 'Ich bin ich' is correct, rather than 'Ich bin mich', and likewise 'I am I' is correct, rather than 'I am me'.

Edited by patrickwilken on 24 April 2013 at 2:16am

1 person has voted this message useful



Budz
Octoglot
Senior Member
Australia
languagepump.com
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Speaks: German*, English, Russian, Esperanto, Ukrainian, Mandarin, Cantonese, French
Studies: Italian, Spanish, Korean, Portuguese, Bulgarian, Persian, Hungarian, Kazakh, Swahili, Vietnamese, Polish

 
 Message 215 of 221
24 April 2013 at 5:16am | IP Logged 
and there is a tendency for some people to use 'myself' in many cases as it was drummed into us at school... 'and I, and I, and I...' so they can't bear to use the word 'me'... so they use 'myself' instead... but when you think about it, it sounds so stupid...
2 persons have voted this message useful



morinkhuur
Triglot
Groupie
Germany
Joined 3156 days ago

79 posts - 157 votes 
Speaks: German*, Latin, English
Studies: Spanish, Arabic (Written), Arabic (Egyptian), Arabic (Maghribi)

 
 Message 216 of 221
24 April 2013 at 10:24am | IP Logged 
tarvos wrote:
morinkhuur wrote:
tarvos wrote:
a language is a
communicative vehicle, not an abstract concept learned in a classroom.


I would argue that a language can be both of those things and also more other things
than just a communicative
vehicle.


Fine for a linguist, not for a language learner. These audiences require different
targeting mechanisms. For me as a learner of Romanian, it's much more worthwhile to
know that I can speak it with a Romanian and enjoy myself than it is to know how to
classify the subjunctive tense.


Please don't make general statements about which opinions are fine to have for language learner and which
aren't when you're really only talking about yourself.

tarvos wrote:
morinkhuur wrote:

the way natives speak is always "grammatically correct", even if it is informal or
contrary to what the grammar books consider "the right way of talking". Actual grammar
is never static and changes all the time but native speakers always use "correct"
grammar because it is them who determine in their interactions what is correct and
what isn't.


Obviously, but that doesn't mean natives can't be wrong, nor err on certain points
(that may be distinguishable dialectal features, such as saying "heb" for "heeft" in
Randstad Dutch, which is correct if I am speaking colloquial Rotterdam dialect, but not
in any standard environment where I need to teach people standard Dutch for use around
the country). These dialectalisms are things I *do* use, but only in a context where
that is dictated by the social norm that I can.



Yes, this is what I meant, those variations are not grammatically incorrect, as some people tend to think, they are
simply used in a different social environment. Of course it's still important to know when and where to use a
certain variety.


4 persons have voted this message useful



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