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Feeling what’s "right"

  Tags: Grammar
 Language Learning Forum : Lessons in Polyglottery Post Reply
27 messages over 4 pages: 1 2 3
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 Message 25 of 27
04 November 2012 at 2:47am | IP Logged 
TzilTzal wrote:
I suppose that learning rules on how to speak a language may be inevitable and even necessary, but I have to admit I find that it interferes with my ability to internalize things properly and really get the "feel" for those constructs.
Thanks for making me understand the changes in my preferences. I've got addicted to natural learning (input, LR) a few years ago, and now I'm no longer able to do explicit grammar study like I used to. So now this makes more sense to me:) When you already know some rules, you have a reference point and you can't be completely free from thinking analytically of it.

However, there are exceptions. About a month ago I went to a lecture on Italian tenses - and it was VERY useful. I need to review the information from it, though :) I think I need SOME guidelines - just not too many and not too rigid ones.

Anyway, what I've been doing is having a lot of comprehensible input, including LR. Using audio is crucial (well, I'm an aural learner, but it's crucial for anyone who wants to speak). I've also found this fantastic page that can generate an exercise from any custom text, rather than the boring sentences tailored to illustrate certain rules. I've not been using it much though - 6WC should be a good excuse???
Before finding this, I used to do a lot of SRS - but I think SRS would give these sentences more value than they deserve.
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 Message 26 of 27
18 August 2013 at 6:45pm | IP Logged 
I can totally relate to it.

I remember I learned how to use the ''neither'' on my own in English, not just the niether but also ''either'' and so on. So, you're probably not the only one who has experienced that. It's really interesting because deep inside you just ''feel'' that that is the correct word.

ps: I'm a self taught.
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 Message 27 of 27
19 August 2013 at 1:08am | IP Logged 
Ygangerg wrote:
lingoleng wrote:
Iversen wrote:
Grammar rules are tools to learn a language, and when you don't need them anymore you stop using them.

I am sorry, but I really don't like this sentence. How could you stop using them? You stop thinking about them, you use them automatically, but you cannot stop using them, of course.

Iversen was referring to prescriptive rules. Lingoleng was referring to descriptive rules. The former are rules in the traditional sense--guidelines that humans lay down for themselves and others. The latter are "rules" in a more abstract way, like any patterns of nature... no one enforces them.

I certainly did refer to rules rules which you have learnt from a grammar or discovered by the same kind of conscious analysis which a grammarian would use. Hopefully they generally fit the language in question, but any grammar will be more or less prescriptive simply by allowing some formulation and rejecting others - which may actually have been used by truly native language users.

It is obvious that you are more likely to cast a certain grammar as prescriptive if you disagree with it, and then you may deliberately choose to internalize a different rule. Like I do in constructions of the type "to boldly go" or in situations where you can simplify a sentence considerably by leaving a preposition at the end. And in this case you can of course say that you stop applying a certain rule. But even then you internalize or automatize some rule - it's just not the rule from your grammar or the one taught by your stern teacher.

But when I say that I referred to explicit grammatical descriptions I didn't only refer to the relatively few cases where the grammars are patently wrong. I also had in mind that you gradually must stop reciting rules formulated in language while speaking and writing - otherwise you can't become a fluent speaker or writer. My own hunch as a language learner is that rules that are formulated as simply as possible, maybe even as graphical patterns, are more likely to sink down into the subconscious while continuing to shape your utterances, and I simply don't believe that those utterances are produced by a mechanism built on seven or seventeen consecutive transformations.

For native speakers a number of frequent word combinations or forms or maybe even whole constructions probably are stored as isolated nugggets of frozen wisdom, but even then the grammatical structure can continue to function as one of several factors that induce your speaking unit to produce a certain construction - just as translations back and forth between different languages may help me to recall a suitable word when I speak, without any concrete base word entering my mind.

For me there isn't any clear limit between conscious and subconscious rules, and once you have trained yourself to produce a certain kind of construction correctly without reciting a complete page from your grammar it is totally irrelevant whether the rule or construction was suggested to you by a grammar or you slowly drifted in that direction while listening through ten thousand hours of TV soaps. I just prefer taking the swift, efficient and politically incorrect shortcut through grammar country.

Edited by Iversen on 19 August 2013 at 1:23am

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