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  1. #1
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    Default Teach English correctly, or as used?

    It seems more and more people, including English teachers, are using incorrect grammar, and I wonder if it time to throw in the towel. We hear these errors every day:

    "Mike and her went to the store."
    "Her and Mike went to the store."
    "John asked Mary and I to send the invitations."
    "Him and John agreed to handle it."
    "John said he would teach mother and I to play golf."

    In each case, of course, the correct pronoun is easily determined by ignoring the named individual.
    No one would say, for example,
    "Her went to the store."
    "John asked I to send the invitations."
    etc. etc.

    These errors are so common that I wonder if they have become accepted usage. Do English teachers teach this correctly?

  2. #2
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Teach English correctly, or as used?

    Quote Originally Posted by roboat View Post
    It seems more and more people, including English teachers, are using incorrect grammar, and I wonder if it time to throw in the towel. We hear these errors every day:

    "Mike and her went to the store."
    "Her and Mike went to the store."
    "John asked Mary and I to send the invitations."
    "Him and John agreed to handle it."
    "John said he would teach mother and I to play golf."

    In each case, of course, the correct pronoun is easily determined by ignoring the named individual.
    No one would say, for example,
    "Her went to the store."
    "John asked I to send the invitations."
    etc. etc.

    These errors are so common that I wonder if they have become accepted usage. Do English teachers teach this correctly?
    When "errors" are so common, Roboat, it seems sensible to ask yourself if they are indeed errors. Just because you've been told that something is an error doesn't make it so.

    There have been countless falsehoods about language foisted on unsuspecting students over the centuries and these myths have taken on an aura of truthiness.

    Read this, it'll help you see what's really been wrong with English teaching.


    Consider the possibility that English grammar has been misanalysed for centuries because of grammariansí accepting fundamentally flawed assumptions about grammar and, not least, because of a flawed view of the history of English; and that these failings have resulted in a huge disconnect between English grammars and the genius of the English that really exists among educated native-speakers. The development of the information age and of English as a world language means that such lapses have even greater negative import than formerly. But what is available on the shelves has fallen into sufficient discredit for grammar to have forfeited its place in the curriculum, unrespected and little heeded by the brighter students.


    FROM:

    HOW GRAMMARS OF ENGLISH HAVE MISSED THE BOAT
    THERE'S BEEN MORE FLUMMOXING THAN MEETS THE EYE

    by Charles-James N. Bailey

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Teach English correctly, or as used?

    Wow! That is certainly the first time I've heard that perspective!

    Then, you know, it's like totally OK to dis the old rulz? If alot of people say it or whatever, then how you gonna get up in my face wit it? nowamsain?

    Good Lord, what exactly DO you teach in English class?

    Does anyone agree with you?

  4. #4
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Teach English correctly, or as used?

    Quote Originally Posted by roboat View Post
    Wow! That is certainly the first time I've heard that perspective!

    Without any rancor, Roboat, you really have to read more, in the right areas.

    Then, you know, it's like totally OK to dis the old rulz? If alot of people say it or whatever, then how you gonna get up in my face wit it? nowamsain?

    It's certainly more than appropriate to diss the old rules/prescriptions that never were rules of language.

    Good Lord, what exactly DO you teach in English class?

    Does anyone agree with you?
    I teach the English language as it is used by educated speakers the world over, Roboat, though I hardly make use of the dialects I'm unfamiliar with.

    Actually, over my many years of teaching, I find my views are pretty well right in line with those of informed language science, and what's most important of all, actual language use, for it is the ultimate arbiter of what's correct.

    Would you study, say, pigeons and make up all sorts of rules about how pigeons should behave, how they should coo, when they should coo? Of course not and yet that's exactly what was done with respect to the English language. Is that how any scientific study should proceed, by making up fictions instead of observing what's actually the case?
    Last edited by riverkid; 02-Oct-2007 at 19:38.

  5. #5
    teachactress is offline Newbie
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    Thumbs down Re: Teach English correctly, or as used?

    Roboat (can't remember how you spell it - sorry):

    You shouldn't lower your teaching to the lowest common denominator; but at the same time you should realize that English is (as are all languages) a means of communication. That's why I teach 'gonna' and 'wanna' and 'hafta' but I also teach people to speak correctly. It really bothers me when I hear people say "There's a lot of people here." I would NEVER teach my students to say that!

  6. #6
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Teach English correctly, or as used?

    Quote Originally Posted by teachactress View Post
    Roboat (can't remember how you spell it - sorry):

    You shouldn't lower your teaching to the lowest common denominator; but at the same time you should realize that English is (as are all languages) a means of communication. That's why I teach 'gonna' and 'wanna' and 'hafta' but I also teach people to speak correctly. It really bothers me when I hear people say "There's a lot of people here." I would NEVER teach my students to say that!
    The test for a teacher should never be whether it bothers you personally or not, Teachactress. Like all disciplines, scientific study is how we should be determining what is acceptable and what is not.

    The rules of speech are decidedly different than the rules that govern writing.

  7. #7
    TammyESL is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Teach English correctly, or as used?

    I agree that the rules of writing are very different from the rules of speech.
    Speaking allows for a certain 'fluidity' that writing does not.

    'did you eat?' becomes 'djeet?'
    Every English teacher knows this.

    Generally I teach both correct and incorrect English. Like teachactress said, "I want to, I'm going" to becomes "I wanna and I'm gonna."
    ESL students need to know this. Otherwise, how do you know they aren't mistaking it for a totally different word with a different meaning.

    Your location might have something to do with it. ESL teachers in the suburbs teach slightly different than teachers in urban areas. I teach in a city, therefore my students are conversing in English with people for whom English isn't their first language either, or people who have not had the fortune of going to well funded, uncrowded public schools.
    So, while I try to focus on correct and proper English, sometimes functionality is simply more important. I'm not going to correct "Hector and me" vs. "Hector and I"

    This has nothing to do with slang by the way, which i also do teach my students.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Teach English correctly, or as used?

    I think it depends on the goals of your students, are they studying test-prep? business english? english as a hobby?

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    Default Re: Teach English correctly, or as used?

    From my point of view, the teacher should expose the students essentially to authentic material, whether it is considered correct or not. Only then should the master provide the learners with different theories on what is called REGISTER. One ought to know well how to adapt his or her speech according to specific purposes. As for the grammatical or ungrammatical thing, only the structures that hinder communication, taking into account the acclaimed REGISTER, should be regarded as mistakes.

  10. #10
    alienvoord is offline Member
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    Default Re: Teach English correctly, or as used?

    I agree with williambosich.

    My unscientific impression is that forms like "Mike and me went out" often occur unnoticed in educated speech. They're not common in writing, tho. Here's an interesting essay on possible reasons for it.

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