La Liseuse
An approach to language learning which puzzles me

Can anyone explain the rationale behind a certain style of question which regularly appears in the Answers section of this site? It's the type of query in which the asker presents two sentences, identical apart from a single word or phrase, and then asks 'Does X mean the same as Y in these sentences?'

While I appreciate the value of analysing something by testing its boundaries, and see the value of this approach to grammar, I fail to understand what this can achieve with regard to vocabulary. The usual answers are 'Not really. The meaning is different', or - at best - Well, they mean the same in this particular sentence, but ..'

To my mind, these learners are approaching things from the wrong angle. If I come across a new word, I'll ask 'Can I use X in this context, too?' or 'Can I also use X to talk about ..?'. This seems the logical way to learn how to use new language. Why, then, do so many learners seem fixated on testing the context, rather than the target language?

Jul 27, 2014 9:22 AM
Comments · 2

I don't know how English is taught. It's true in any language that there are many different ways of expressing the same thing, and I've read that English specifically is richer in synonyms than other languages (because of our friendliness to loanwords, perhaps). So perhaps students see a lot of examples of different ways to say the same thing.

July 27, 2014

I think there are nany ways to learn a language, and "the best way" doesn't exist. Actually it seems like if you were asking "why so many people are wrong and I'm not?". And in a way you're right because the way you learn is maybe the best way fot you to do it.


The fact is that no one can learn much using a couple of sentences, but a lot of good sentences can make an "exponential  effect" by comparing them to each other and with grammar.

Maybe you're  also assuming that those questions are the only way someone uses to learn. Maybe that's the reason why you can't understand it, because maybe that's not the real fact.












July 27, 2014
La Liseuse
Language Skills
English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish
Learning Language