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New textbook help

Have a textbook or grammar book that you find particularly helpful? What about a learning tip to share with others?

Re: New textbook help

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 02.25.2009 4:16 pm

astaroth wrote:
So as a last remark -- and probably Chris was not even saying this, and I'm sorry if I misread -- I don't see why to allow students to write "incorrect English" in papers and lab reports, even though they're not for an English literature course. (I had people bugging me because I was correcting grammar.)


People usually are critical of someone only if they are at fault and the critique is just their way of trying to deflect the fact that they are wrong and too juvenile to admit it.
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Re: New textbook help

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 02.25.2009 4:29 pm

If you are in the role of a teacher you should absolutely correct people's English according to well-accepted standards, and you should do the same in your own writing. However, that's not the same thing as actually believing that "correct" English is superior to "incorrect" English.

(The problem is that there is no single accepted standard -- every usage guide has their own pet peeves, and one guide might say X is wrong whereas another guide says X is fine. Some people seem to take pride in having pet peeves that few other people observe in their usage.)
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Re: New textbook help

Postby chocomamma » Wed 02.25.2009 4:33 pm

astaroth wrote:So as a last remark -- and probably Chris was not even saying this, and I'm sorry if I misread -- I don't see why to allow students to write "incorrect English" in papers and lab reports, even though they're not for an English literature course. (I had people bugging me because I was correcting grammar.)



Unless it is really bad or if for an English Lit. / Composition class most mistakes are really not that noticeable by native speakers (I could be wrong and just be talking about me since I suck at grammar anyway :lol: ) Although more attention is paid to it if for say a business proposal or a speech. It really depends on the person or people reading it or hearing it. Those with better knowledge on grammar might cringe, but those who only remember the basics from school will think it is fine, unless it is really noticeable.
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Re: New textbook help

Postby Infidel » Wed 02.25.2009 4:39 pm

astaroth wrote:
Infidel wrote:Klingon and Esperanto are constructed languages, Italian is a natural language.

Well isn't Klingon a natural language too? It's spoken by the Klingon on Klingon, isn't it? :mrgreen:


Maybe people speak it, but no-one teaches it to their children as a first language. A lot of the impetus for the natural evolution of language is the basic misunderstandings children develop because the grammar and syntax and pronunciation is not being explained to them. By the time they reach school age and start taking grammar classes, many false patterns have already been set and passed on to their friends. This is why there is no such thing as a pure living language.

The point in my opinion is that there should be somewhere the distinction between correct and incorrect, otherwise it's is the same as its, and there, they're and their are all the same. (I taught in US, physics by the way, and I had to correct those mistakes my students often wrote, not to mention forgetting to use subjunctive. And sorry but to me the sentence if I was, I would do sounds awfully wrong, and I have friends who often write/say it.)


Correct is the way those in power speak, incorrect is the way those without power speak. This has always been the case and always will be. Any other distinction is false. All ways are equally valid, it is just that those with power and authority use language as one of the tools for maintaining their status and denigrate those who speak differently. Since school teaches people to grow into power, that is the reason "correct" language is taught, but there is no static definition of "correct." In all seriousness, if a bunch of Ebonics speaking Americans suddenly took over American politics, "Proper English" will become Ebonics.
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Re: New textbook help

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 02.25.2009 5:26 pm

Infidel wrote:
astaroth wrote:
Infidel wrote:Klingon and Esperanto are constructed languages, Italian is a natural language.

Well isn't Klingon a natural language too? It's spoken by the Klingon on Klingon, isn't it? :mrgreen:


Maybe people speak it, but no-one teaches it to their children as a first language. A lot of the impetus for the natural evolution of language is the basic misunderstandings children develop because the grammar and syntax and pronunciation is not being explained to them. By the time they reach school age and start taking grammar classes, many false patterns have already been set and passed on to their friends. This is why there is no such thing as a pure living language.
.


The Klingons certainly do and they are very, very strict on proper pronunciation. To the point where they use pain sticks on their children if they pronounce ghy'aahkk as gh'yaahkk. Calling one's mother a horse is not a nice thing to do and those children find out quickly not to do it..
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Re: New textbook help

Postby Infidel » Wed 02.25.2009 5:36 pm

:D

Actually, I heard a story once about an American and a Japanese man meeting on a Japanese train. Neither spoke the other's language, but they both spoke Klingon....

They became fast friends.
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Re: New textbook help

Postby chocomamma » Wed 02.25.2009 6:12 pm

two_heads_talking wrote:The Klingons certainly do and they are very, very strict on proper pronunciation. To the point where they use pain sticks on their children if they pronounce ghy'aahkk as gh'yaahkk. Calling one's mother a horse is not a nice thing to do and those children find out quickly not to do it..



Ahhhh....the memories :lol:
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Re: New textbook help

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 02.25.2009 6:44 pm

Infidel wrote: In all seriousness, if a bunch of Ebonics speaking Americans suddenly took over American politics, "Proper English" will become Ebonics.


I agree with your general point, but change doesn't come that suddenly -- if somehow African-Americans became the dominant power group in the US, with significant presence in both government and media, features of AAVE would start to enter the standard language. The only time language changes really quickly is when a country gets invaded, defeated in a war, or is otherwise culturally humiliated.
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Re: New textbook help

Postby Infidel » Wed 02.25.2009 7:04 pm

True. I was just fishing for an extreme example. However, I disagree with the term African-American as a racial descriptor. Not only is it inaccurate, it can get insulting. I read one article about a reporter that kept referring to an Ambassador or Prime Minister of South Africa as "African American" There are a lot more African non-Americans than there are African Americans . Lumping them all together as African Americans is ludicrous.

Not that, that was what you were doing. It's obvous you are using the term as an ethnic descriptor not a racial one, so it's alright. I just have nightmares about watching National Geographic shows describe the Chagga tribe as African-Americans living in the shadow of Mount Kilmanjaro.
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Re: New textbook help

Postby Sairana » Wed 02.25.2009 8:17 pm

Re: Klingon
Infidel wrote:Maybe people speak it, but no-one teaches it to their children as a first language.


I heard of one guy who intended to do just that with his child. The notion quickly died when he realized that the language was not as robust as he thought it was. You can talk about battle and glory, but there are no words for cup, table, chair, ball, and so forth. Ah well..
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Re: New textbook help

Postby astaroth » Wed 02.25.2009 9:47 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:If you are in the role of a teacher you should absolutely correct people's English according to well-accepted standards, and you should do the same in your own writing. However, that's not the same thing as actually believing that "correct" English is superior to "incorrect" English.
chocomamma wrote:Unless it is really bad or if for an English Lit. / Composition class most mistakes are really not that noticeable by native speakers (I could be wrong and just be talking about me since I suck at grammar anyway :lol: )

Yes, Chris, that was my thought too, but I got now and then the look of "why does he bother? He's not even a native speaker ..."
And I was talking of obvious mistakes, like the their, they're, there I was saying before. Or once I had a student who wrote Plato meaning plateau. And that was for college students, whom I was expecting to be fairly educated. :roll:
two_heads_talking wrote:The Klingons certainly do and they are very, very strict on proper pronunciation. To the point where they use pain sticks on their children if they pronounce ghy'aahkk as gh'yaahkk. Calling one's mother a horse is not a nice thing to do and those children find out quickly not to do it..

Thanks! I was a bit worried that irony and sarcasm weren't allowed over here ... :wink:
Sairana wrote:I heard of one guy who intended to do just that with his child. The notion quickly died when he realized that the language was not as robust as he thought it was. You can talk about battle and glory, but there are no words for cup, table, chair, ball, and so forth. Ah well..

I once met a girl on a train in New York. She told me she is capable of speaking half a dozen languages, among which Italian (and she wasn't bad at all). When I asked her what her native language was she said Latin :shock: Apparently her parents spoke to her only Latin since she was little ...
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Re: New textbook help

Postby Sairana » Wed 02.25.2009 11:50 pm

astaroth wrote:Or once I had a student who wrote Plato meaning plateau. And that was for college students, whom I was expecting to be fairly educated.


I guess it depends on your expectation. Just because they are poor spellers doesn't mean they're not well educated. You can suck at spelling and still be very good at whatever it is you're studying.

The failure of students who make those kinds of mistakes isn't that they didn't learn to spell properly, but that they fail to get someone to at least proofread their work before turning it in. In the real world, it's not how much you are able to do by yourself, but how resourceful you are in getting things done RIGHT. :P
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Re: New textbook help

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 02.25.2009 11:54 pm

I wish I could remember where I read this, but apparently there's some evidence that spelling ability is sort of like musical ability -- it's not connected with intelligence and some people are just naturally better at it than others.
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Re: New textbook help

Postby astaroth » Thu 02.26.2009 12:31 am

Sairana wrote:I guess it depends on your expectation. Just because they are poor spellers doesn't mean they're not well educated. You can suck at spelling and still be very good at whatever it is you're studying.

Probably my expectation were a bit high, as I was expecting my students to at least have heard of a philosopher called Plato. What I thought that time was that to confuse Plato and plateau wasn't just saying about not proper spelling, but also about education.
Yudan Taiteki wrote:I wish I could remember where I read this, but apparently there's some evidence that spelling ability is sort of like musical ability -- it's not connected with intelligence and some people are just naturally better at it than others.

That's interesting. And surely it applies only to languages with messed up spelling like English :evil:
Also it seems that dyslexia is much less common in countries where the language has a strictly codified spelling like Italian and German than where it's not like English and French.
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Re: New textbook help

Postby chocomamma » Thu 02.26.2009 2:43 am

astaroth wrote:
Yudan Taiteki wrote:If you are in the role of a teacher you should absolutely correct people's English according to well-accepted standards, and you should do the same in your own writing. However, that's not the same thing as actually believing that "correct" English is superior to "incorrect" English.
chocomamma wrote:Unless it is really bad or if for an English Lit. / Composition class most mistakes are really not that noticeable by native speakers (I could be wrong and just be talking about me since I suck at grammar anyway :lol: )

Yes, Chris, that was my thought too, but I got now and then the look of "why does he bother? He's not even a native speaker ..."


I really didn't mean it that way. I just meant that if you are used to hearing it or seeing it a certain way you think nothing is wrong with it. It is like going from Ohio to Alabama and thinking "What they said made no sense." It all depends on how you learned it.

astaroth wrote:And I was talking of obvious mistakes, like the their, they're, there I was saying before. Or once I had a student who wrote Plato meaning plateau. And that was for college students, whom I was expecting to be fairly educated. :roll:
.


That would be me. :oops: I use spell check on everything I write in Word, but what is really bad is that I misspell so badly sometimes that the spell check can't figure out what word I am trying to spell :mrgreen:
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