Register  Login  Active Topics  Maps  

Language Learning Orthodoxy You Ignore

 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
116 messages over 15 pages: << Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 10 ... 14 15 Next >>


Iversen
Super Polyglot
Moderator
Denmark
berejst.dk
Joined 5071 days ago

9078 posts - 16471 votes 
Speaks: Danish*, French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, Romanian, Catalan
Studies: Afrikaans, Greek, Norwegian, Russian, Serbian, Icelandic, Latin, Irish, Lowland Scots, Indonesian, Polish, Croatian
Personal Language Map

 
 Message 73 of 116
05 December 2014 at 2:04pm | IP Logged 
I have heard things from native speakers which are as gruesome as using "organe" instad of "orgue(s)". Just to take one example from my own language: since time immemorial "gøre nogen en bjørnetjeneste" (a bear service) has meant doing them a disservice, but people who just knew that real bears are big and teddy bears sweet and cuddly thought it meant doing somebody a big positive service - and now this meaning is becoming so common that it may become the new 'correct' meaning. Those who knew the old meaning are becoming wary of using it because they often got misunderstood, but those who have adopted it with the oppositive interpretation have clearly no such inhibitions (and they wouldn't accept corrections from grumpy old 'grammar nazis'). Our modern languages are actually just collocations of errors or this kind, committed by generation after generation back to somewhere around Homo erectus.

But languages are not only immense heaps of fossilized blunders, they are also immense heterogenous heaps of blunders - due not only to dialectal differences or difference tied to age or social group, but also to sheer ignorance of certain topics by a majority of the native language users. And in situations where I can see that most, but not all native speakers are heading in a direction which I find idiotic I may choose to side with the minority (which may be the old guard, but just as often those who disregard some weird old rule - like the ban on prepositions in final position in English). This would of course mostly happen in languages where I have a reasonable sure footing so that I know what the alternatives are.

Most of us end up sounding slightly odd no matter what we do, so we can just as well sound odd in the way we personally find most satisfying.

Edited by Iversen on 05 December 2014 at 2:32pm

10 persons have voted this message useful



Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4965 days ago

9753 posts - 15777 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 74 of 116
05 December 2014 at 2:32pm | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
As we all know, the problem with mistakes is that most of the time we are totally unaware that we are making them.

We may not know which exact mistakes we are making, but unless enthusiastic native speakers repeatedly tell us we speak perfectly, we generally know that our speech will always contain some mistakes (and eventually the excessive enthusiasm can be ignored, too). As I've tried to tell you at least twice, confidence and fluency don't indicate an assumption that you're making no mistakes. Out of those who want to speak early, the best learners are those that have the courage to make lots of mistakes and learn from speaking. (a silent period can reduce the number of the mistakes you make and improve the ratio of known mistakes to "blissfully unaware" mistakes)

Edited by Serpent on 05 December 2014 at 2:37pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



Retinend
Triglot
Senior Member
SpainRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2676 days ago

283 posts - 557 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Spanish
Studies: Arabic (Written), French

 
 Message 75 of 116
05 December 2014 at 3:14pm | IP Logged 
In that case let me tell you that you don't in fact make any mistakes in yours posts,
here. Neither do any of the other regular non-English posters. At least, no more
frequently than a native like me does.
1 person has voted this message useful



s_allard
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3798 days ago

2704 posts - 5424 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 76 of 116
05 December 2014 at 5:09pm | IP Logged 
iguanamon wrote:
Most of the time I'll catch my mistakes. When I don't, I laugh at myself and my
silly mistake and move on. Whenever I meet someone in TL, I may get a compliment on my language. If
I know we may speak for a good while, I will explain that I am not such a good speaker. While I may
know quite a lot of their language, I will make mistakes. I will ask the TL speaker to correct me if I
make egregious errors.

As much as we try not to in our learning, we will make mistakes. I think the key is to be able to
laugh at your own missteps, learn from them, and make different errors the next time. I think
that's what tarvos may be talking about with "deal with it".

Thanks to iguanamon for telling me what this fuss is all about. I agree that we can laugh about our
mistakes, learn from them and move on. I actually like to study mistakes, my own and those of other
learners because they usually reveal how the learning the process works.

One basic source of mistakes is of course the influence of the native language. This is particularly
striking in pronunciation, but is also present in other areas, such as in the case of organe and orgue.

Another big source of mistakes for me is imperfect learning. Something like the Spanish subjunctive is
a constant source of bewilderment for me. Even though much of it is identical in function to the
subjunctive in French there are certain uses that I simply can't get my head around. So I tend to use the
subjunctive when not needed and not use it when needed.

Just the other day, three different people tried to explain to me a particular use of "no falta..." and I
have to admit that I never got it. Basically, I just avoid this construction because I know that I will
probably get it wrong.

The issue here isn't whether to make mistakes or not. Learning a language certainly involves making
mistakes. The question is what to do about them. I believe in correcting my mistakes and avoiding
them in the future.

Now, an interesting question that has been raised here in the midst of all the nastiness is what to do in
the presence of mistakes by other people. We know that adults are loathe to correct the speech of
other adults. While I rarely correct other people, I have found that most learners are very grateful for
corrections because they are so rare. Of course they must be handled in a tactful and diplomatic way.

I look at this in terms of embarrassment. I'm sure most of us have seen situations where a person's
shirt may have button undone, a fly may be open or a piece of food on one's face. I once saw a man
get on an airplane with some toilet paper sticking out of the back of his pants. What do we do about
it?. I like to think that if it happened to me, someone would tell me so that I can "deal with it." We
certainly wouldn't hesitate with friends. In the case of the toilet paper, I mentioned it to the person
who thanked me profusely.

In my mind it's similar with language. If I have to give a speech in a foreign language, I want to avoid
ridicule and embarrassment. If I'm writing to a colleague or a counterpart in Spanish, I want my writing
to be of similar quality to what I produce in French. I would be embarrassed to send a letter in French
with grammatical and spelling mistakes. Similarly, I want my Spanish correspondence to be
impeccable. What's wrong with this?


Edited by s_allard on 05 December 2014 at 5:10pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4965 days ago

9753 posts - 15777 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 77 of 116
05 December 2014 at 5:51pm | IP Logged 
To me it's more similar to criticizing someone's choice of clothes. Don't assume that this person (especially a woman) is dressed to impress you or someone else. Maybe they just wear clothes in order not to be naked.
4 persons have voted this message useful



dampingwire
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3033 days ago

1185 posts - 1513 votes 
Speaks: English*, Italian*, French
Studies: Japanese

 
 Message 78 of 116
05 December 2014 at 7:51pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
To me it's more similar to criticizing someone's choice of clothes. Don't
assume that this person (especially a woman) is dressed to impress you or someone else. Maybe
they just wear clothes in order not to be naked.


In the story as told, the English speaker made what amounts to a difficult to miss blunder in
front of a whole bunch of people. In that case, I've no idea whether the speaker wanted to be
told (politely, afterwards, in private) what the problem was, but I do know that I
would have appreciated such a correction under those circumstances.

On the other hand, if it had been a simple error of gender or plural - orgue seemingly
changes in the plural - I think it would be difficult to convey that without it sounding like
"you think the speech was OK, but you got this wrong ...".

1 person has voted this message useful



s_allard
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3798 days ago

2704 posts - 5424 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 79 of 116
05 December 2014 at 7:55pm | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
I have heard things from native speakers which are as gruesome as using "organe"
instad of "orgue(s)". Just to take one example from my own language: since time immemorial "gøre
nogen en bjørnetjeneste" (a bear service) has meant doing them a disservice, but people who just knew
that real bears are big and teddy bears sweet and cuddly thought it meant doing somebody a big
positive service - and now this meaning is becoming so common that it may become the new
'correct' meaning. Those who knew the old meaning are becoming wary of using it because they often
got misunderstood, but those who have adopted it with the oppositive interpretation have clearly no
such inhibitions (and they wouldn't accept corrections from grumpy old 'grammar nazis'). Our modern
languages are actually just collocations of errors or this kind, committed by generation after
generation back to somewhere around Homo erectus.

But languages are not only immense heaps of fossilized blunders, they are also immense
heterogenous heaps of blunders - due not only to dialectal differences or difference tied to age
or social group, but also to sheer ignorance of certain topics by a majority of the native language
users. And in situations where I can see that most, but not all native speakers are heading in a
direction which I find idiotic I may choose to side with the minority (which may be the old guard, but
just as often those who disregard some weird old rule - like the ban on prepositions in final position
in English). This would of course mostly happen in languages where I have a reasonable sure footing
so that I know what the alternatives are.

Most of us end up sounding slightly odd no matter what we do, so we can just as well sound odd in the
way we personally find most satisfying.


With my usual due respect to iversen, I disagree strongly here because I think he is confusing historical
language change or evolution with contemporary errors. While it is true that usage and meaning can
evolve and give words totally different meanings, we can observe the change in groups and
generations for whom the new thing becomes the norm. In iversen's example, what we are seeing is
one norm or usage displacing the other.

This happens all the time. In French for example, faire long feu has evolved from "to fail at a task" to
now mean exactly the opposite, i.e. "to succeed at something". There are still purists who rail against
the new usage and claim that the majority of users are totally wrong.

This is not the case of organe and orgue. There is no evolution of one into the other. There is
not one speaker of French who thinks the words are interchangeable. This is a totally embarrassing
mistake that no native speaker of French would make.

Let me give an example of some real mistakes. Here is an e-mail from a Cuban colleague that I
reproduce with permission.

Dear Serge,
Thank you for your answer!!

I am agree it may be a better idea to way for all entries.In that moment we will have to find a way to
recibed payment complete.
I thinks the better way is for Western Union, this is the agence which can send money for Cuba from
USA, but they ask which is the relationship wiht the persons you send money, so you have to say, we
are a good frinds,and maybe they accept.
Never you can say it is the payment for a work.
Until once I will be waiting.
Thanks!!!
Best,

This person wrote this to the best of their ability and without access to someone for review. I didn't
mind receiving this e-mail because I can figure out what is being said and this is just between the two
of us. On the other hand, if this same person were applying for a research grant from an English-
speaking foundation, I would strongly suggest - and even volunteer my services - that the application
and supporting materials be reviewed by a good speaker of English.

Are there people here who believe that it's not necessary or advisable to do this last step?
2 persons have voted this message useful



Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4965 days ago

9753 posts - 15777 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 80 of 116
05 December 2014 at 8:10pm | IP Logged 
I was speaking of corrections in general, not this specific one. Many corrections aren't worth it simply because you can't incorporate them into your speech without deliberate practice, and if the person is still learning the language they'll get to that eventually.


2 persons have voted this message useful



This discussion contains 116 messages over 15 pages: << Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15  Next >>


Post ReplyPost New Topic Printable version Printable version

You cannot post new topics in this forum - You cannot reply to topics in this forum - You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum - You cannot create polls in this forum - You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page was generated in 0.3281 seconds.


DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript
Copyright 2020 FX Micheloud - All rights reserved
No part of this website may be copied by any means without my written authorization.