Language and English

From: Gordon Zaft <>
Date: Fri Jan 4 18:31:48 2002

At 06:23 PM 1/4/2002 -0500, you wrote:
>What the hell is THIS based on? Certainly not reality. Any sentence
>structure and grammar I learned in English class was actually COUNTER
>PRODUCTIVE to me when trying to learn French that uses a totally
>different sentence structure. I was constantly confused when attempting
>to form a sentence in French, as I tried to speak it in English structure.

         I have to strongly disagree. If you know what the PARTS are and
what they mean (i.e. why is the subject, the subject, and why is the
object, the object -- not just the names but what they really
mean). That's not the same thing as just learning the way sentences are
usually constructed in
English. If you know what the building blocks are, then you can readily
understand that in a
particular language they are ordered differently. At least, it worked for
me with French.

>I would have to conclude, that LACK of basic sentence structure knowledge
>in English will actually HELP a student learn other languages (including
>English in the long run, as their brain becomes programmed to a more open
>thought process towards language).

         I think the problem is that you weren't taught what those things
meant, just how they were usually ordered. That's just a guess of course!

>I base this on my own difficulties in learning a foreign language... and
>on the absolute EASE with which my brother's 3 kids have learned Spanish
>and English by growing up in a bilingual house hold... as well as my
>cousin who was speaking fluent Italian and English by 3 (well, as fluent
>as a 3 yr old speaks any language), since he too grew up in a bilingual

         This is an entirely different question. Children are much readier
at learning languages than teens or adults are. It is much, much easier to
learn a language at 3 then 13, or 30. And of course, if you have to learn
a wacky language like English you are very fortunate if you learn it as an
infant since
it will be much, much harder later.

>Nope... in reality, I think the LESS you know of a given language when
>attempting to learn additional ones, the better chance you have of
>learning the 2nd (or more) language. And for that reason, I feel foreign
>languages should be started at the grade school level, and NOT wait until
>high school (yes, I think learning multiple languages is very
>important... and should be required schooling, at least in the USA. With
>a stronger concentration on English since it is the "accepted" language
>of the USA... in other countries, YMMV, and the "base" language would
>obviously be the accepted language of the area)

         I certainly agree that people should be required to learn at least
one additional language.

Received on Fri Jan 04 2002 - 18:31:48 GMT

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