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Connie
Is it common that native speakers don't know much grammar about their mother languages?
Oct 1, 2016 11:03 AM
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Imagine two people: (A) is a native speaker who speaks no other languages (B) is a non-native speaker who speaks the language quite well and has learnt it for many years If you ask a question like "What is the correct way to use the present perfect?", or "For what grammatical reason is this sentence wrong?", there is no question that (B) will give a more detailed and accurate answer. If you ask a question like "Do these two words have the same meaning?" or "Does this sentence sound natural?", then (A) is a more reliable source. They may not be able to explain their answer, but their natural "feel" for the language will be more accurate that (B)'s learnt knowledge.
October 1, 2016
I once had a colleague who told me "when I started teaching English, I didn't even know what a noun was." Yes, he was a native-speaker. Most people don't need to know the technical terms or the rules of their own language. They just talk like everybody they grew up with, and don't really think about it. Very often, they don't even speak their own language especially well. Most native-speakers would struggle with tests like IELTS or TOEFL, for example. How is it in China? Ask all your friends and family to explain how your language works, and tell me what the result is. Can you do it? Try reading an article in your own language and think about how to explain the rules to me. I teach in a university in China, and when I ask my students "how would you do this in Chinese?" most of them look at the floor.
October 1, 2016
1) Yes. 2) Even when we are taught grammar in our English classes, some of the terminology used is different from that that is used by foreign learners. I had an opportunity to test that. I happened to be having lunch with some English teachers at our local high school, and they confirmed that they had never heard the terms "phrasal verb" or "first, second, and third conditional." 3) When we are taught grammar in high school, it usually has a different focus from what is taught to foreign learners. Many puzzling and illogical aspects of English grammar have been absorbed and mastered, intuitively, long before we enter high school. If we punctuate correctly, it's usually because we read a lot, not because we consciously analyze the grammar of the sentence. To a native English speaker, a lot of the rules of punctuation can be expressed just by saying "a comma shows a short pause, a semicolon shows a longer pause, and a period shows the longest pause." We already have the grammar in our head and we know how long to pause! P.S. What's the difference between an English teacher and a tiger? Answer: a English teacher has pauses at the end of his clauses, and a tiger has clawses at the end of its pawses. (That's the joke the way I learned it, although I see that nowadays it's been rewritten to avoid the nonexistent but funny-sounding words "clawses" and "pawses.")
October 1, 2016
You learn grammar differently for your native language and for a foreign language. Most of the 'rules' for native languages aren't explicitly taught because they are acquired correctly by the age of 6. Language study in your native language is not about basic grammars, but about how to fine-tune your writing [which typically has stricter rules] or speaking. When you're learning how to teach your native language as a foreign language/second language, you have to relearn how to explain the grammar rules you never needed to learn as a child. Most people don't need to learn these rules/names or things for their own language.
October 1, 2016
i am chinese ,i am actually don't know much about my language 's grammer
October 1, 2016
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Connie
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language
English