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  1. #21
    Mary Bright is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Reflecting on 'The'

    Quote Originally Posted by milan2003_07 View Post
    Articles are very difficult indeed. You usually learn them when just starting studying the language and at first everything seems very simple, very obvious. Nonetheless the more you practice English, the more you realize that articles are far more difficult than they can seem at first sight. I myself have many times come across the situation when you need to choose between "a" and "the". I can't give many general recommendations because some have already been posted here, but I know that there are some common truths when you use only "the". For example we usually say "the" before "sky", "earth", "atmosphere", and other nouns that exist only in single numbers.
    Yeah, we can learn the rules. But the problem in all this is that when you get involved in spoken English you realize that rules don't work. Sometimes I come across either of articles in a phrase or a sentence, usage of which no rule about articles can explain. So, the question turns to be quite rhetorical .

    Quote Originally Posted by milan2003_07 View Post
    I suppose the only way of mastering the usage of articles is communication with natives and watching movies in English. Eventually you will understand how to use them correctly. You will develop your intuition.
    It will help but not much, I'm afraid. The only way I see is to live in the country which language you're learning till it can be called your second native one. Until then you are in doubts and rhetorical whys for sure But you probably meant the same. I just let myself express what I think

  2. #22
    Mary Bright is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Reflecting on 'The'

    Quote Originally Posted by freezeframe View Post
    But you should comfort yourself in the knowledge that learning Russian is much more difficult for English speakers than just understanding articles.
    True The question is that how many native English speakers who's eager to learn Russian do you know? You really don't have to learn a foreign language to get successful in business, or politics, or economy, etc. Of course, that's a good thing to know a foreign language in any aspect. What I mean is that it's not that necessarily for English natives.

    On the other hand, English is simply structured and beautiful. So I understand why it's the worldwide speaking lanquage.

  3. #23
    Mary Bright is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Reflecting on 'The'

    Returning to articles. I've just thought about the rule which says what article to use with geographical and proper names. Don't natives learn about that either, for example?
    Of course, I speak Russian 90 per cent intuitively. But as for the other 10 per cent, I for sure use the rules I learned in school. You must have such a subject as English in school where you learn some grammar rules, don't you?

  4. #24
    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Reflecting on 'The'

    Quote Originally Posted by Mary Bright View Post
    Returning to articles. I've just thought about the rule which says what article to use with geographical and proper names. Don't natives learn about that either, for example?
    Of course, I speak Russian 90 per cent intuitively. But as for the other 10 per cent, I for sure use the rules I learned in school. You must have such a subject as English in school where you learn some grammar rules, don't you?
    What is understood by "grammar" in Russian primary education vs. here is completely different.

    I remember doing grammar classes in "the old country" -- it was a lot of morphology and stuff. We had to diagram words and sentences and conjugate and inflect ad nauseam.

    Doing English grammar in a Canadian school was completely different. I started in junior high. It was focused on how to put words together -- some basic sentence structure and punctuation and quite a bit about style. If you wanted to know more, you could take a linguistics course when you start university.

    Maybe it's because Russian is highly inflected. Or maybe the approach to education and the idea of what constitutes necessary basic knowledge to be learned at primary school level is different.

  5. #25
    Mary Bright is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Reflecting on 'The'

    Quote Originally Posted by freezeframe View Post
    What is understood by "grammar" in Russian primary education vs. here is completely different.

    Maybe it's because Russian is highly inflected. Or maybe the approach to education and the idea of what constitutes necessary basic knowledge to be learned at primary school level is different.
    The lanquages are completely different and therefore work in different ways. The way of teaching is also significant. Like many times before, you're right

    Can I ask you something else? In one of your 'correcting' sentences you wrote Belarusian culture without 'the'. Why? You know, I'm just the lanquage learner. I need everything to be explained as if to a kid --

  6. #26
    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Reflecting on 'The'

    Quote Originally Posted by Mary Bright View Post

    Can I ask you something else? In one of your 'correcting' sentences you wrote Belarusian culture without 'the'. Why? You know, I'm just the lanquage learner. I need everything to be explained as if to a kid --
    Either works for me there -- with or without the article.
    I would say the meaning is more or less the same but if pressed to distinguish between the two.... I guess without the article it's more like a somewhat lose set of shared ideas, beliefs, knowledge, etc that develop and change over time. If you add "the", you're making it more unified, as if saying there's one definitive Belorussian culture.

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