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  1. #11
    Amigos4's Avatar
    Amigos4 is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Teach English correctly, or as used?

    Let me weigh in on this issue!

    Despite the fact that correct usage is, in a sense, an arbitrary and sometimes an unsettled matter, certain standards do exist; and the careful user of English must abide by them.

    Rules for usage are necessary to maintain the uniformity of meaning that language has had across the years. If everyone were suddenly permitted to speak and write as he pleased, a chaotic situation would soon result. Individuals would not be able to construct legal systems, to write contracts, or to engage in the numerous other activities within society that demand clear, precise, and uniform expression. Guidelines for usage, therefore, are actually one of society's most important safeguards.

    We, as teachers, have the responsibility of setting and maintaining high standards for our students. Allowing students to use incorrect grammar is an admission that we are willing to compromise our standards!

  2. #12
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Teach English correctly, or as used?

    Unquestionably, there are rules for language. There are millions of them, Amigo. But one has to be careful to distinguish what are actually rules. The "rules" that have been taught over the years to primary school, junior high and senior high students and college students were mostly not rules, they were prescriptions, a different ball of wax.

    Some of these prescriptions: use 'that' for restrictive clauses and 'which' for nonrestrictive; use 'who' for people, not 'that'; 'can' cannot be used to ask permission; don't start a sentence with a conjunction; don't end a sentence with a preposition; don't split infinitives; ...

  3. #13
    alienvoord is offline Member
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    Default Re: Teach English correctly, or as used?

    Quote Originally Posted by amigos4 View Post
    Let me weigh in on this issue!

    Despite the fact that correct usage is, in a sense, an arbitrary and sometimes an unsettled matter, certain standards do exist; and the careful user of English must abide by them.

    Rules for usage are necessary to maintain the uniformity of meaning that language has had across the years. If everyone were suddenly permitted to speak and write as he pleased, a chaotic situation would soon result. Individuals would not be able to construct legal systems, to write contracts, or to engage in the numerous other activities within society that demand clear, precise, and uniform expression. Guidelines for usage, therefore, are actually one of society's most important safeguards.

    We, as teachers, have the responsibility of setting and maintaining high standards for our students. Allowing students to use incorrect grammar is an admission that we are willing to compromise our standards!
    I'd say that as teachers, we have the responsibility of educating our students in what the standard is, what the different registers of English are, and how to use them. A standard English is desirable and useful, but it's just a standard. It's not clearer or more precise than another kind of English. Language changes no matter what we try to do to stop it - and language change certainly won't cause the downfall of society. If everyone were suddenly permitted to speak and write as they pleased, I'm not sure what would change. Don't people do that already? They still have to use some sort of standard language to communicate.

  4. #14
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    Default Re: Teach English correctly, or as used?

    Quote Originally Posted by alienvoord View Post
    I'd say that as teachers, we have the responsibility of educating our students in what the standard is, what the different registers of English are, and how to use them. A standard English is desirable and useful, but it's just a standard. It's not clearer or more precise than another kind of English. Language changes no matter what we try to do to stop it - and language change certainly won't cause the downfall of society. If everyone were suddenly permitted to speak and write as they pleased, I'm not sure what would change. Don't people do that already? They still have to use some sort of standard language to communicate.
    I couldn't agree with you more! I am certain that if all English teachers said that their students were allowed to write however they wanted, nothing would change. When I wrote "however they wanted" instead of "in whatever way they wanted", I didn't do so because a grammar book prescribed. On the contrary, I valued the freedom I have to choose which expression suits my needs and, more than that, my will. Students must be aware of the wide range of words and structures they can select to get their messages across. They shouldn't ever be corrected for saying "IT DON'T MATTER" if they are talking informally to their buddies. They have to understand that some forms are more accepted by society on determined occasions. Likewise, I wouldn't interfere with a student's speech in case s/he uttered: "I appreciate your kindness in providing me with this eraser". All I would do is let this learner know that s/he used such a formal register in an environment that does not require it. This has also to do with individuality. Language is part of identity and therefore should be respected.
    When it comes to teaching GONNA, WANNA, HAFTA and so on, I reckon that this is nothing but a phonetic phenomenon and thus should not be considered incorrect English. Indeed it is not! It is again an indication that our speech is not under watch, which doesn't necessarily mean we can't communicate. Once for all, ungrammatical is what cannot be understood: "Joshua beer yesterday cat by black water friends with did drink". Or, not to be so radical, "I stay with a lot of thirst now" for the corresponding "I am very thirsty now", which is a common MISTAKE made by Brazilians due to Portuguese influence.

  5. #15
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Teach English correctly, or as used?

    Quote Originally Posted by williambosich View Post
    ...

    Once for all, ungrammatical is what cannot be understood: "Joshua beer yesterday cat by black water friends with did drink". Or, not to be so radical, "I stay with a lot of thirst now" for the corresponding "I am very thirsty now", which is a common MISTAKE made by Brazilians due to Portuguese influence.
    I, too agree with you, William, and with AV. {it's good to see you back, AV}

    It is my understanding that nonsensical/unnatural collocations are not ungrammatical, just unidiomatic.

    "I stay with a lot of thirst now",

    is, of course, an unnatural phrasing but it follows the rules of English grammar. Just a thought.

  6. #16
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    Default Re: Teach English correctly, or as used?

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    I, too agree with you, William, and with AV. {it's good to see you back, AV}

    It is my understanding that nonsensical/unnatural collocations are not ungrammatical, just unidiomatic.

    "I stay with a lot of thirst now",

    is, of course, an unnatural phrasing but it follows the rules of English grammar. Just a thought.
    I would dare go a little farther and say that "I stay with a lot of thirst now" is not grammatical since grammar is not only based on structure but also in meaning and usage. Thus it keeps native speakers of English from saying:

    I stay with ***hunger now
    ***thirst
    ***cold
    ***heat
    ***headache
    ***...

    In this case, "STAY WITH" does not convey the idea of verbs BE/FEEL/HAVE if we consider:

    I am hungry now
    thirsty
    I feel cold
    hot
    I have a headache

    However, I understood what you meant, riverkid, I will use the following example to illustrate your point:

    "Mr. Kirt was deadly wounded in the last tornado outbreak".

    Is it a possible structure? Yes, it is. Does it sound as natural as (?):

    "Mr. Kirt was mortally/fatally wounded in the last tornado outbreak".

    It does not. Yet it does not hinder communication, only suggesting that the author is probably not a native speaker or simply fell back on that collocation as an element of style. Then I would still say that "I stay with thirst now" is ungrammatical, although it may not be so if you examine it just as a chain of words and grammar is far more than simple structures.

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