Grammar nazis?


#41

[quote=“Bled”]I’ve heard dozens of times how Krashen has been proven wrong or he’s old but not really presenting any counters.[/quote]Well, there IS plenty of research/scholarship that purports to show how the limitations on grammar acquisition can be partially overcome. But the trouble is that most of it is done on a short-term basis. There’s little evidence that anything makes much of a difference to the long-term order of grammar acquisition, although some approaches to grammar learning may well be useful for speeding up the overall process. Again, Truscott’s the guy to read for reviews of the post-Krashen research.

I’m doing what I told myself not to do, though. I’d like to discuss this more but have a ton of stuff to do. Anyway, I’ll get that PDF to you, Fenlander, and anyone else who wants it.

And BigJohn, no one ever said that “grammar need not be taught”.


#42

[quote=“Bled”]I agree, Fendlander.

From Urban Dictionary:

“Grammar Nazi – One who uses proper grammar and spelling to subtly mock or deride those who do not; an exhibitor of grammatical superiority.”

It’s their arrogance that gets me. I’ve heard English teachers say everyone should learn how to speak correctly. When I mention to them, how many British Grammar Nazis think Americans will be the death of English and would like for them to speak correctly–I get blank cow looks.

Well, we did win the Revolutionary and it freed us from the British Grammar Nazis only to replace them with our own unique American ones. The new boss same as the old boss.[/quote]

Ha ha well there are plenty of Americans more English than the English I can assure you of that lol :roflmao: I’m half Irish so maybe a little bias :roflmao:


#43

[quote=“joesax”][quote=“Bled”]I’ve heard dozens of times how Krashen has been proven wrong or he’s old but not really presenting any counters.[/quote]Well, there IS plenty of research/scholarship that purports to show how the limitations on grammar acquisition can be partially overcome. But the trouble is that most of it is done on a short-term basis. There’s little evidence that anything makes much of a difference to the long-term order of grammar acquisition, although some approaches to grammar learning may well be useful for speeding up the overall process. Again, Truscott’s the guy to read for reviews of the post-Krashen research.

I’m doing what I told myself not to do, though. I’d like to discuss this more but have a ton of stuff to do. Anyway, I’ll get that PDF to you, Fenlander, and anyone else who wants it.

And BigJohn, no one ever said that “grammar need not be taught”.[/quote]

Yah I teach grammar for writing but keep it to a minimal as I feel like grammar correction is a bit more useful in the teaching of writing. For example I do teach quite a lot on the use of the passive voice. I majored in science so often used passive; I guess I enjoy teaching passive! Probably shouldn’t really :slight_smile:

Yah so i just give grammar a low priority (slightly more for writing) and focus on producing meaningful input at a level students can grasp. :thumbsup:

Yes I still do teach a little grammar when necessary.

I also learned grammar rules in order that I can answer grammar questions from Taiwanese students. Self defense to keeping my job ha ha


#44

You guys have gotten me to go rooting around for some old books I bought at Caves a long time ago.

According to Rod Ellis’s beginner’s text, the idea of negative transference has not only been questioned, but some scholars have actually tried to discredit it. He starts by attributing the idea of interference to the behaviorists:

[quote]In the heyday of behaviourism, it was believed that errors were largely a result of interference (another term for negative transfer). [/quote](Second Language Acquisition, p. 52. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1997)

Ellis notes that behaviorism fell into disrepute in the early 1970s, that it cannot account for L2 acquisition, and that other ideas filled in the void left by it. (Ibid.) Then he observes:

[quote]Some theorists, espousing strong mentalist accounts of L2 acquisition, sought to play down the role of L1 They argued that very few errors were the result of L1 transfer. An analysis of the errors produced by Spanish learners of L2 English, for example, led one pair of researchers to claim that less than 5 per cent of the errors were the result of transfer. This minimalist view of L1 transfer, however, has not withstood the test of time.[/quote] (Ibid.; italics mine)

Some of the Ellis book, including the page I cited and quoted above, can be read on Google Books at this URL.


#45

[quote=“Bled”]I’d say it is not interfering because I do not know the correct word to interfere with.[/quote] I guess so, if you didn’t know the correct word (although my students have sometimes tried to make do with a word that they thought would come in the neighborhood of the correct word–I think I’ve done the same in Chinese, and sometimes produced a hilarious effect thereby).

[quote=“Bled”]Interference presumes that there is an L2 knowledge already there to be interfered with.[/quote] I think it presumes there is some amount of L2 lexis but inability to use the L2 structure.


#46

Different page numbers, mate. I’ve got the second edition Rod. :laughing:


#47

I’ve got the “Seventh Impression,” but I guess it’s the first edition (I never finished it by the way, to my shame). In my book, my quote is on the second page of Chapter 6, “Psycholinguistic aspects of interlanguage.”

Does Ellis have anything new to say about negative transfer in your edition? Especially, does he have anything to say that would rebut or question what I quoted from my edition? (serious question, not a rhetorical one)


#48

I’ve got the “Seventh Impression,” but I guess it’s the first edition (I never finished it by the way, to my shame). In my book, my quote is on the second page of Chapter 6, “Psycholinguistic aspects of interlanguage.”

Does Ellis have anything new to say about negative transfer in your edition?[/quote]

I doubt it. He’s just cutting the sausage thinly, as academics say.

When a Taiwanese kid says “Teacher, you see” there’s only one possible reason why the kid is speaking that way. Either the teacher can let it go, or correct the error knowing that the error will still be repeated because correction on its own rarely works. The argument, it seems to me, can only revolve around what percentage of errors come from the L1, which may be of interest to academics but isn’t of much use to teachers. Teachers just need to be aware of the errors their students are likely to make, and teach accordingly. To refuse to accept that L1 errors could possibly occur is going to make teaching less effective.


#49

Teacher, give you: :beer:


#50

[quote=“tomthorne”]
When a Taiwanese kid says “Teacher, you see” there’s only one possible reason why the kid is speaking that way. Either the teacher can let it go, or correct the error knowing that the error will still be repeated because correction on its own rarely works. The argument, it seems to me, can only revolve around what percentage of errors come from the L1, which may be of interest to academics but isn’t of much use to teachers. Teachers just need to be aware of the errors their students are likely to make, and teach accordingly. To refuse to accept that L1 errors could possibly occur is going to make teaching less effective.[/quote]

No, there’s a third option: model the correct utterance without ignoring the substance of what the student is trying to communicate. “Oh, you want me to look? I’ll look. See, I’m looking. What do you want me to look at?”

The only reason the kid is saying “you see” is because he learned sometime that see = Kan [in Chinese] and has not yet had enough exposure to language in context to learn that it isn’t a one-to-one correspondence. If he had the chance to frequently hear and understand his teacher say “Kids, please look at me” he would probably use “look”. L1 errors can be avoided by providing a rich context of comprehensible input and making sure that students are not called upon to output more than they have acquired (and acquired is not equal to “have covered in a textbook”). This requires some planning and talent on the part of the teacher. It is not easy to express complex ideas within a 50 word vocabulary and NEVER go out of bounds and use words that are not known, but it is possible. I teach optimized immersion and get good results this way, but you have to be aware and you have to work to hone your craft if you’re going to easily and naturally use language in this way to provide comprehensible input as opposed to just input.


#51

Thanks for that, Ironlady. I clearly need to work on comprehensible input.


#52

[quote=“ironlady”][quote=“tomthorne”]
When a Taiwanese kid says “Teacher, you see” there’s only one possible reason why the kid is speaking that way. Either the teacher can let it go, or correct the error knowing that the error will still be repeated because correction on its own rarely works. The argument, it seems to me, can only revolve around what percentage of errors come from the L1, which may be of interest to academics but isn’t of much use to teachers. Teachers just need to be aware of the errors their students are likely to make, and teach accordingly. To refuse to accept that L1 errors could possibly occur is going to make teaching less effective.[/quote]

No, there’s a third option: model the correct utterance without ignoring the substance of what the student is trying to communicate. “Oh, you want me to look? I’ll look. See, I’m looking. What do you want me to look at?”

The only reason the kid is saying “you see” is because he learned sometime that see = Kan [in Chinese] and has not yet had enough exposure to language in context to learn that it isn’t a one-to-one correspondence. If he had the chance to frequently hear and understand his teacher say “Kids, please look at me” he would probably use “look”. L1 errors can be avoided by providing a rich context of comprehensible input and making sure that students are not called upon to output more than they have acquired (and acquired is not equal to “have covered in a textbook”). This requires some planning and talent on the part of the teacher. It is not easy to express complex ideas within a 50 word vocabulary and NEVER go out of bounds and use words that are not known, but it is possible. I teach optimized immersion and get good results this way, but you have to be aware and you have to work to hone your craft if you’re going to easily and naturally use language in this way to provide comprehensible input as opposed to just input.[/quote]

Thanks that was a great post and very useful. :thumbsup:


#53

[quote=“ironlady”]

The only reason the kid is saying “you see” is because he learned sometime that see = Kan [in Chinese] and has not yet had enough exposure to language in context to learn that it isn’t a one-to-one correspondence. If he had the chance to frequently hear and understand his teacher say “Kids, please look at me” he would probably use “look”. L1 errors can be avoided by providing a rich context of comprehensible input and making sure that students are not called upon to output more than they have acquired (and acquired is not equal to “have covered in a textbook”). This requires some planning and talent on the part of the teacher. It is not easy to express complex ideas within a 50 word vocabulary and NEVER go out of bounds and use words that are not known, but it is possible. I teach optimized immersion and get good results this way, but you have to be aware and you have to work to hone your craft if you’re going to easily and naturally use language in this way to provide comprehensible input as opposed to just input.[/quote]

are there any books on optimized immersion ironlady? I’m trying something like it with adult students I am teaching at the moment and trying to work out a methodical system so I don’t have to script everything I say. Can you recommend any shortcuts please?


#54

I’m writing one at the moment but it’s not yet finished… :aiyo:


#55

Well said Iron Lady! Hope you finish writing your book soon. I sure am looking forward to reading it! :notworthy: :notworthy:


#56

Jolly good. put me down for a copy when it comes out.


#57

Yeah me as well. Thanks largely to some posts on here a few years back, Joesax comes to mind in particular though I’m sure there were others, I’ve been incorporating such methods into my course the past couple of years, in particular increasingly and now doing all correction more or less as ironlady says. It seems to have some good knock-on effects and overall is very effective.


#58

One immersion method I’ve been using lately is ‘newspaper fact finding’ (intermediate and above).

Materials: 1 newspaper.

Q1. Page 9. How did Mr Pang die?
Q2. What word in the article means ‘to kill yourself’?

It really makes them swim around in English just like when granddad threw you in the swimming pool.

Over time I hope to train them by taking away the flotation devices such as page numbers and just point them to sections of the newspaper.

After that they’re on their own.


#59

Language immersion refers to teaching all academic content in a foreign language, doesn’t it? Like European Schools in the UK that teach foreign students maths, science etc in English.

I’m not sure what you guys mean when you say ‘immersion’, other than using a lot of authentic English materials in an English only classroom?


#60

[quote=“tomthorne”]Language immersion refers to teaching all academic content in a foreign language, doesn’t it? Like European Schools in the UK that teach foreign students maths, science etc in English.

I’m not sure what you guys mean when you say ‘immersion’, other than using a lot of authentic English materials in an English only classroom?[/quote]
Not sure what the others mean, but for me, immersion is studying, working or living in the country of the target language and, if possible, having no contact with anyone who speaks your language.

For example, I have several students whom I’ve helped to go to Oz for a year on the work holiday visa thingy, but on their Facebook pictures all I see is them hanging out with other Taiwanese doing the same. Whereas I can understand the tendency to seek out “your own” when in a foreign country, their main mission for doing this year was for immersion and to improve their English. IMVHO, they are failing dismally, because they are not being immersed at all.

Kind of like an ex-girlfriend of mine who went to Canada for a six month “immersion” course at great expense. At first I couldn’t understand why her English had actually gotten worse, after all, she had even taken the “homestay” option…
Later I found out that her “homestay” family was actually her mother’s friend who had immigrated to Canada, and so she spoke Taiwanese in their home all day except for when she went to ESL classes. She never made any local friends or did anything with English speakers. She spent close to NT$1 000 000 for six months to live with a Taiwanese family, speak Taiwanese and take ESL classes for a few hours a week in Vancouver.

She came back with a few nice pictures, though. :unamused: