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English Check?


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#16 VydorScope

 
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Posted 22 September 2006 - 06:56 AM

Yes, it is difficult teaching English and reading on the Internet,


Well at least my perfect spelling and flawless grammer must be a small bit of relief. :lol:
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#17 eKatherine

 
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Posted 22 September 2006 - 08:27 AM

I agree with GFP's statement about foreign languages--I know that my Spanish and Latin grammar is strong, but my ability to express myself verbally in those languages is weak. In addition, my non-native students often have better English grammar skills than my native speakers because they take the time to learn the intricacies of the rules (they just lack the vocab that comes naturally to their classmates).

I am in linguistics, and I definitely have to disagree that you can have strong grammar but be unable to express yourself, or that native speakers do not know their own language.

The part of the brain that controls language acquisition and use is different from the part employed in memorizing rules and lists of vocabulary of a foreign language. It is certainly possible to be able to read and write fluently while having neither listening comprehension - at least given time for critical analysis - nor ability to speak. How would you classify the language ability of a person like this, compared with a native speaker who is illiterate?

The dialect of English that we speak is a different one than that which is written, which has prescriptive/proscriptive (learned) rules rather than intuitive (acquired) ones. It seems they barely teach reading or writing in school nowadays, so I am always pleasantly surprised to see students able to express themselves coherently.

If you feel the need to express yourself verbally in Latin or Spanish, you should look into Rosetta Stone. Their programs work.
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#18 DingoGirl

 
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Posted 22 September 2006 - 08:54 AM

GFP - I read the New Yorker review.....not all of it....am in a hurry...but, some of those things the writer points out I think are style errors and preference.....not entirely sure, though. :ph34r: Perhaps one of our linguists or English teachers could help us here?

Just have to say - reading "Eats Shoots and Leaves" by your firefighter friend to cancel Dan Brown - THAT just made me howl! :lol:

Wanted to add that I've always felt you express yourself inordinately well and have never noticed problems with your English. Just my two cents. And, I've had a combined total of eight years of foreign language (mainly French and Italian and used to be extremely conversant if not fluent in both), have studied a good deal of English structure also, and could NEVER tell you the....uh.....tenses used, except simple past and present. :ph34r: I mean, I can USE them, but can't tell you what parts of speech they are. Impressive that you actually can do this with French.
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"I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells." ~Dr. Seuss

#19 eKatherine

 
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Posted 22 September 2006 - 01:07 PM

I think your main problem is that you are trying to write in an uncomfortably (and unnecessarily) formal style, although you express yourself perfectly well in a more conversational style. This style makes it hard to proofread, and I saw some runon sentences in there that could have been comfortably broken up.
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#20 elye

 
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Posted 22 September 2006 - 03:58 PM

Gfp, I agree with the others who judge you as a very expressive, capable and "correct" writer of English. Yep, the odd run-on and a verb tense or two that may be questionable, but for the most part your text is always well put-together and your language very innovative. I think it would be very interesting and telling to HEAR you speak. That, I am certain, would be a different story. You have none of this discomfort in English speech, do you? I teach English as a second language at the French embassy here in Ottawa, and I remain fascinated by something that has always appeared through all my years of teaching this language to adults: those beginners who learn the fastest, who pick up the grammar the most quickly and move ahead in leaps and bounds (and once you are an adult, it is rare to be able to do this with any language) are ALWAYS very musical. Most are proficient instrument players, many at a concert level. Language acquisition and musicality are very connected, at least in my experience. Fascinating, indeed...So, gfp, I assume then that you are no Liberace? :)
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Emily

diagnosed type one diabetic 1973
diagnosed celiac winter 2005
diagnosed hypothyroid spring 2006

But healthy and happy! Posted Image


11 year-old Son had negative blood panel, but went on gluten-free diet of his own volition to see if his concentration would improve, his temper abate, and his energy level would increase. Miraculous response!

The great are great only because we are on our knees.
--Pierre Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865)

#21 gfp

 
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Posted 23 September 2006 - 02:29 AM

I am in linguistics, and I definitely have to disagree that you can have strong grammar but be unable to express yourself, or that native speakers do not know their own language.

I think its a question of what is appropriate.
I just wrote a letter to my lawyer, its in passe simple and bears little relation to a spoken letter however I often hear native French people misusing tense, especially the subjonctifs.

Any french speakers I have a slightly crude joke, actually it was a comeback last night when some guy grabbed my ass in a bar! (OK its sexist too)
J'ai dit, « tu prends la bouteille par la cou et tu peut prendre les moufs par les culs mais tu ne jamais prendre l'homme ni par la cou ni par le cul »

The part of the brain that controls language acquisition and use is different from the part employed in memorizing rules and lists of vocabulary of a foreign language.

I think those two must be seperate as well..... seriously I have never actually made any effort to learn French vocabulary, I just read books and pick up the vocab or do cross-words etc. I have never picked up a vocabulary list yet I know probably over 90% of the words in a mini dictionary. (I know this because any time I do need a dictionary the word I want is not in.... yesterday it was houlette - a shepards crook and the damned mini-dictionary in the bar didn't have it - so I was unable to complete the crossword ... AHHHHHH.

It is certainly possible to be able to read and write fluently while having neither listening comprehension - at least given time for critical analysis - nor ability to speak. How would you classify the language ability of a person like this, compared with a native speaker who is illiterate?

Good question....
eleep? (did you meet yet?) Casey (Karen) speaks much better French than I do but she specialises in 13C French literature and as she gets progressively drunker she slips further into 13C French....with which she is most comfortable....

The dialect of English that we speak is a different one than that which is written, which has prescriptive/proscriptive (learned) rules rather than intuitive (acquired) ones. It seems they barely teach reading or writing in school nowadays, so I am always pleasantly surprised to see students able to express themselves coherently.

Yes, and I should be grateful, I suppose that I can express myself clearly in at least one language but I find it irksome that whenever a "professional" looks over my writing they completely miss the content and just point out gramattical errors. I mean, I don't even understand the WORD grammar checker when it tells me something is wrong ...

A have a friend teaches English at two American universities in Paris and he often bounces tests off me. I actually do very well (considering but not 100%) but I am completely unable to say why a certain construct is correct.


If you feel the need to express yourself verbally in Latin or Spanish, you should look into Rosetta Stone. Their programs work.

Yes I dined with a friend yesterday who speaks flawless French, Italian and German including several regional dialects to the point a Bavarian does not know he isn't Bavarian or a Sicilian would not know he's not Sicilian. He also speaks Spanish rather well but with a strong Mexican accent and therefore doesn't count Spanish but is currently learning Turkish.
He recommended the Rosetta Stone series as well (I keep meaning to learn better Italian, its embarassingly bad). I used the real old stuff they did about 10yrs ago when I had to learn Russian.

I assume then that you are no Liberace?

Well....hard question. I had perfect pitch as a child but an accident with a matchstick kinda knocked that on the head... (please don't make me explain its so embarassing) and I really wanted to learn an instrument but ... well never actually did. I did try the guitar ... but I never really put in the effort nor bothered to restring it left handed ... so my musical skills are somewhat limited! I can listen to something and actually pick it out on a piano but that's about it!
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Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt. (JC, De Bello Gallico Liber III/XVIII)

#22 VydorScope

 
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Posted 23 September 2006 - 02:44 AM

As I struggle to learn a second language, and teach my son both of the langauges, it amazes me how often we use words and realy can not define them. I will say something in American English and then try to translate it, thne realize I do not know how to explain what I just said!

Am I alone with this? It is excedingly odd. :huh:
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#23 gfp

 
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Posted 23 September 2006 - 02:51 AM

As I struggle to learn a second language, and teach my son both of the langauges, it amazes me how often we use words and realy can not define them. I will say something in American English and then try to translate it, thne realize I do not know how to explain what I just said!

Am I alone with this? It is excedingly odd. :huh:

You are not alone!
You just perhaps rather succinctly summed up my problem!
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Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt. (JC, De Bello Gallico Liber III/XVIII)

#24 elye

 
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Posted 23 September 2006 - 04:50 AM

It happens to me all the time when I'm teaching. Of course, I do not translate English words to the students but rather have them discuss what the meaning could possibly be given its context. In a lower intermediate class, it goes something like this:

Me: The last sentence could read, "No one ever respects my privacy".
Student: Privacy. What this means?
Me: (Quick review of simple present question forms, then:) He's talking about how no
one respects him, his parents don't trust him, and they insist on knowing everything that is
happening in his life. What are they not respecting?

I then usually elicit the French word in response, and from there I introduce a new vocabulary word. Some words are tougher than others, though, to explain their meaning without translating to beginners. Try to define "hardly" or "remember", par example....
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Emily

diagnosed type one diabetic 1973
diagnosed celiac winter 2005
diagnosed hypothyroid spring 2006

But healthy and happy! Posted Image


11 year-old Son had negative blood panel, but went on gluten-free diet of his own volition to see if his concentration would improve, his temper abate, and his energy level would increase. Miraculous response!

The great are great only because we are on our knees.
--Pierre Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865)

#25 gfp

 
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Posted 23 September 2006 - 05:03 AM

It happens to me all the time when I'm teaching. Of course, I do not translate English words to the students but rather have them discuss what the meaning could possibly be given its context. In a lower intermediate class, it goes something like this:

Me: The last sentence could read, "No one ever respects my privacy".
Student: Privacy. What this means?
Me: (Quick review of simple present question forms, then:) He's talking about how no
one respects him, his parents don't trust him, and they insist on knowing everything that is
happening in his life. What are they not respecting?

I then usually elicit the French word in response, and from there I introduce a new vocabulary word. Some words are tougher than others, though, to explain their meaning without translating to beginners. Try to define "hardly" or "remember", par example....



Do you use ne guère in quebecois?

but LOL.... I spent 10 minutes trying to think of a good translation of hantisse yesterday! Its like phobia but....???

The most difficult concepts I find are time/space .. like avant, apres, pendant depuis etc.

p.s. mouf is slang for woman.....
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Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt. (JC, De Bello Gallico Liber III/XVIII)

#26 elye

 
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Posted 23 September 2006 - 09:12 AM

Yep, the Quebeqois translation of "hardly" is ne guere (cannot figure out how to put these *!@#!!* accents above the letters! I do very little French typing, I guess)...Doesn't "hantisse" mean a kind of intimacy?
I must say it is great teaching the French diplomats. They are wonderful people, and I hope to visit France in the next couple of years. I tell you, though, it is challenging because there are a lot of differences between the Quebec French and the France French, particulary in idiomatic concerns (I am not Quebeqois, but all of the French I have ever learned is Quebec French). I probably learn as much from them as they do from me! :)
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Emily

diagnosed type one diabetic 1973
diagnosed celiac winter 2005
diagnosed hypothyroid spring 2006

But healthy and happy! Posted Image


11 year-old Son had negative blood panel, but went on gluten-free diet of his own volition to see if his concentration would improve, his temper abate, and his energy level would increase. Miraculous response!

The great are great only because we are on our knees.
--Pierre Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865)

#27 eleep

 
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Posted 28 September 2006 - 02:16 PM

eleep? (did you meet yet?) Casey (Karen) speaks much better French than I do but she specialises in 13C French literature and as she gets progressively drunker she slips further into 13C French....with which she is most comfortable....


Wow -- I missed this thread, but it's a good thing since I'm a graduate student in English right now and about the worst lame pickup line I hear from guys these days runs something like: "I'll have to watch what I say around you!".

Anyway, Steve, I haven't heard from Casey -- but have you heard from her since she came to UF? The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is imploding right now -- the provost is trying to dismantle it but we've got a really active and vibrant resistance going among the graduate students and faculty. I'm actually doing my RAship with the GA union this semester, so I'm in the thick of it!

There's also another celiac UF graduate student on this board from Romance Languages -- maybe she knows Casey? Wow -- I need to start making good on these celiac connections so I have someone to eat Thanksgiving dinner with when I get stuck in Gainesville in November!
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#28 heathen

 
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Posted 28 September 2006 - 02:51 PM

i find it refreshing that you care enough to get a proofreader. and i love the british spellings. my personal favorite is "oestrogen." not that you mentioned it in your response.
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#29 gfp

 
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Posted 29 September 2006 - 01:18 AM

Wow -- I missed this thread, but it's a good thing since I'm a graduate student in English right now and about the worst lame pickup line I hear from guys these days runs something like: "I'll have to watch what I say around you!".

Anyway, Steve, I haven't heard from Casey -- but have you heard from her since she came to UF? The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is imploding right now -- the provost is trying to dismantle it but we've got a really active and vibrant resistance going among the graduate students and faculty. I'm actually doing my RAship with the GA union this semester, so I'm in the thick of it!

There's also another celiac UF graduate student on this board from Romance Languages -- maybe she knows Casey? Wow -- I need to start making good on these celiac connections so I have someone to eat Thanksgiving dinner with when I get stuck in Gainesville in November!


Casey isn't celiac but she's on the very short list of people I trust to cook for me....:D


i find it refreshing that you care enough to get a proofreader.

Well, I figure that a newspaper like 'The Observer' does care about spelling, however they don't seem to care enough to have answered....
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Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt. (JC, De Bello Gallico Liber III/XVIII)

#30 VydorScope

 
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Posted 29 September 2006 - 04:02 AM

It happens to me all the time when I'm teaching. Of course, I do not translate English words to the students but rather have them discuss what the meaning could possibly be given its context. In a lower intermediate class, it goes something like this:

Me: The last sentence could read, "No one ever respects my privacy".
Student: Privacy. What this means?
Me: (Quick review of simple present question forms, then:) He's talking about how no
one respects him, his parents don't trust him, and they insist on knowing everything that is
happening in his life. What are they not respecting?

I then usually elicit the French word in response, and from there I introduce a new vocabulary word. Some words are tougher than others, though, to explain their meaning without translating to beginners. Try to define "hardly" or "remember", par example....



Sure, and then theres the expresions that mean nothing like what the words the mean say. Such as "Take my side". If I were to translate that literely, I would be telling someone to get a knife and cut the side fo my body off! :lol: Its funny how much more I am learning about American English by studying another language. :huh:
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