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  1. #1
    Will Guest

    Default Astounded Yet Confused

    Here's the situation: I'm astounded at how well all the Chinese people on here know the structure of the English language. I mean, as their second language it astounds me that they know more about English structure than most Americans do. Why is it that this kind of structure isn't taught in American schools? <-- (thats the confusing part)

  2. #2
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    Grammar is quite often used to teach students a second language. As far as I know, English speakers in the U.K. and the U.S. aren't taught grammar because by the time they have reached school they've managed to learn the bulk of the language. I believe that at some point in the past educators did teach grammar, but, it appears, in monoglot cultures there's not much advantage to learning grammar. Consequently, the practice was dropped.

    I know that German schools teach german grammar, but that's a unique symptom of their heavily gammar-based language and the heavily structured culture.

    Iain

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Many languages teach their grammar and many people yearn for the old days when grammar was taught in this country.

  4. #4
    Will Guest

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    I see the logic in that, dduck. But I think that it has hurt me, and many other Americans, when we're trying to learn a second language. I've had to retrain my brain to think in terms of nouns, verbs, and adjectives, and I've had to think about sentence structure a lot more. I'm taking Spanish in high school, and it's been a bit of a challenge because I had to learn (because they were never really taught in previous years) exactly what an adjective is, or an adverb, and sentence stucture. I guess, in English, that all these things are just innate.

  5. #5
    shane is offline Senior Member
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    I didn't know what a 'gerund' was until I came to China and I had to teach them - how sad is that??

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    I heard of a teacher who was told to do 'relatives' and was happily doing a lesson on uncles and aunts until a student suggested that 'which' and 'that' might be nearer the mark.

  7. #7
    Will Guest

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    I heard of a teacher who was told to do 'relatives' and was happily doing a lesson on uncles and aunts until a student suggested that 'which' and 'that' might be nearer the mark.
    Gold.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shane
    I didn't know what a 'gerund' was until I came to China and I had to teach them - how sad is that??
    I didn't know what a gerund was until I started learning Spanish, and then again it's not the same a the gerund in English. I learned afterwards! Doh!

  9. #9
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Then there's the difference between a gerund and a present participle. Yummy.

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