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Thread: I thought I had

  1. #31
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    Default Re: I thought I had

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    You know, this typo has only been discussed around a dozen times. I think we need far more explication about what really happened here!
    I wonder if it's more a case of typing what one hears than an actual typographical error. I feel that it's more accurate to say that.


  2. #32
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    Default Re: I thought I had

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    I wonder if it's more a case of typing what one hears than an actual typographical error. I feel that it's more accurate to say that.
    I agree that's likely.

  3. #33
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    Default Re: I thought I had

    Quote Originally Posted by PROESL View Post
    I wonder if it's more a case of typing what one hears than an actual typographical error. I feel that it's more accurate to say that.

    That would be a very common error with "a couple of days ago". However, lycen has told us that it was a typo, so I'm not about to insult him either by implying that he didn't know he should have written 'of' or by insinuating that he lied to us.

  4. #34
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    Default Re: I thought I had

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    That would be a very common error with "a couple of days ago". However, lycen has told us that it was a typo, so I'm not about to insult him either by implying that he didn't know he should have written 'of' or by insinuating that he lied to us.
    I wouldn't suggest doing that either.


  5. #35
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    Default Re: I thought I had

    Quote Originally Posted by lycen View Post
    Actually, if you look carefully, many of the entries have "..I thought, I replied.." which is not the same. Google search is not perfect.
    No, a google search is not perfect, Lycen. Have you done the number crunching? Cut it in half, cut it down to a quarter. It still shows that there is no valid reason to exclude this collocation [a collection of words] in any register of English. If it's available to native speakers it's available to ESLs.

  6. #36
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    Default Re: I thought I had

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    A valid argument, and if we were three English professors at Ohio State talking about another Ohio native and his wish to use a certain phrase, I might take a looser position.

    But in this case we're not simply dealing with the "freedom" of "a writer" -- let them do what they like -- but a student of English who is specifically endeavouring to attain a thorough understanding of our grammatical norms. He or she is no doubt aware, as an adult learner, of the differences between spoken and written norms; but, textbook in hand, and asking us for elucidation of the norms it describes, he or she isn't helped much but rather becomes confused if we have educated native speakers saying something else, for different reasons, according to a different standard of norms. Pedagogy (or andragogy) suggests we help the learner attain the norms he or she seeks, before advising him or her to break the rules.

    When you learn the violin, you are taught how to hold the bow 'properly' for weeks and weeks. Go learn the fiddle and play Swing later on, but you'll never play classical music if you hold the bow however it first strikes you to do so.
    I don't buy the violin analogy, Kon. The grammatical norms for English do not in any way prohibit the use of the past simple, even in this specific instance for any register. The freedom that I have and the freedom that you have must be extended to ESLs for they have to be able to use the language just as we do.

    Again, you make the suggestion that the past perfect is the norm, when it's clear that it isn't. A valid argument would be that the one is more formal and the other less so, but again, leaving students with the impression that grammatically, it's correct/right/the norm, leaves them with a false impression of language.

    Here are a few other English idioms/collocations that one wouldn't expect to find in scholarly works but, hey, ya just can't stop progress.

    ========================

    Google scholar exact phrase search

    fuck you
    Results 1 - 10 of about 17,600.

    sit on it and rotate
    Results 1 - 9 of 9.

    take a flying leap
    Results 1 - 10 of about 511.

    give a flying fuck
    Results 1 - 10 of about 342

  7. #37
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    Default Re: I thought I had

    Quote Originally Posted by albeit View Post
    No, a google search is not perfect, Lycen. Have you done the number crunching? Cut it in half, cut it down to a quarter. It still shows that there is no valid reason to exclude this collocation [a collection of words] in any register of English. If it's available to native speakers it's available to ESLs.
    I don't see that a small number of search hits shows the lack of any validity in my reasoning, which is andragogical. Also, one "difficulty" learners have is that there are too many possibilities available to them, more than are available to native speakers. They are asking for help eliminating the ones we don't find normal, aren't they?

    For example, one of my Hong Kong (Cantonese Chinese) students frequently says, upon discovering new information, "Oh, I think you want X" when he wanted something like "Oh, I thought you wanted..." because Cantonese allows context to guide interpretation there, and no tense or aspect information is needed. When I pointed out I would normally use the past tense there.... "Oh, I thought..." he thanked me and asked to be corrected whenever he used a Cantonese style norm in speaking English.

    Am I usurping his freedoms, or tying his hands as an artist? No, obviously not. I'm trying to help, and I think I am helping. Learners ask us to hold them to a high standard, and welcome the restraints this naturally imposes upon them. They know they can loosen up later on, after knowing the normative rules as well as we do.

  8. #38
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    Default Re: I thought I had

    I'm off this bus. I think there's another one coming soon.


  9. #39
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    Default Re: I thought I had

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    I don't see that a small number of search hits shows the lack of any validity in my reasoning, which is andragogical. Also, one "difficulty" learners have is that there are too many possibilities available to them, more than are available to native speakers. They are asking for help eliminating the ones we don't find normal, aren't they?
    These too many possibilities are available whether you seek to hide them from them or not, Kon. That's why these questions often come up in these language forums and in ESL classes the world over.

    I didn't offer the google search as a refutation of your argument. It's just simply not valid grammatically and I firmly believe that a closer look at corpus studies would reveal that.

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    For example, one of my Hong Kong (Cantonese Chinese) students frequently says, upon discovering new information, "Oh, I think you want X" when he wanted something like "Oh, I thought you wanted..." because Cantonese allows context to guide interpretation there, and no tense or aspect information is needed. When I pointed out I would normally use the past tense there.... "Oh, I thought..." he thanked me and asked to be corrected whenever he used a Cantonese style norm in speaking English.

    Am I usurping his freedoms, or tying his hands as an artist? No, obviously not. I'm trying to help, and I think I am helping. Learners ask us to hold them to a high standard, and welcome the restraints this naturally imposes upon them. They know they can loosen up later on, after knowing the normative rules as well as we do.
    That's not a valid comparison to the simple past/PP issue, Kon. Here, you've done what should be done; note you used "normally". I don't quite understand
    what the issue is, but ESLs often have bleed through from their mother tongue.

    *Do you go to work now?* [for right now]

    *What do you eat?* [for right now]

    Is this what you mean? If so, then you're hardly tying their hands. You're helping them break mother tongue patterns that have become fused into their English use.

    Learners sometimes ask us to "hold them to a high standard" for a very good reason; because they've been misled by false ideas about "correctness" as regards language use.

    As teachers, we have to provide students with meaningful explanations of why different structures/collocations are used. Whipping out the correctness card is, to my mind, an impermissable laziness for a teacher.

    But this forum is full of questions from students asking about real language, the language of everyday. I know what they're taught abroad, as they go through school and I also know that it leaves them woefully unprepared for the real world.

    As The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language says, it leaves them sounding like inexpert users reading out of a book.

    Having said that, I don't want you to get the idea that I'm even remotely suggesting you are a bad teacher for I have absolutely no way of knowing, do I? I suspect that you provide excellent tutelage to all your students. You mislead them on some things, as we all do, for language is an immensely complicated venture and none of us is perfect.

  10. #40
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    Default Re: I thought I had

    Quote Originally Posted by albeit View Post
    I didn't offer the google search as a refutation of your argument. It's just simply not valid grammatically and I firmly believe that a closer look at corpus studies would reveal that.
    Sure you did. In Message #35 you wrote:

    No, a google search is not perfect, Lycen. Have you done the number crunching? Cut it in half, cut it down to a quarter. It still shows that there is no valid reason to exclude this collocation [a collection of words] in any register of English. If it's available to native speakers it's available to ESLs.
    But you haven't explained why my analysis of the 3 times involved in the state of affairs and the statement is not valid in your view.

    Also, you seem to be tempted to make ad hominem attacks, by saying "whether you seek to hide them or not, Kon." I'm not hiding in any way. I'm openly supporting my point.

    You're missing it.

    You and I, along with any native speakers, can change registers knowingly in different social situations. While speaking with less educated friends, I can tone down the grammar like Bill Clinton usually does; when speaking at an academic conference I can respect their norms of speech; when speaking to small children I can simplify my grammar and vocabulary.

    Why should learners be prevented from attaining this ability, by not pointing out differences between the registers and their norms? You seem to be saying "if English allows something anywhere, in any situation, it is suitable everywhere." I suspect that most students are after a grasp that is a little less loose than yours.
    Last edited by konungursvia; 21-Sep-2009 at 18:28.

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