A discussion in favour of teaching grammar, but against declaring one form of English as being the standard.

Wayne Mack

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The reality is that more refined speakers and writers will garner more respect than the less refined. Rather than getting hung up on an oddity of accepted grammar in one small area, help children (and adults) present themselves in the best possible manner in more global settings. Non-conformity to standard grammar expectations interferes with the sharing of reasoned thought.
 

Brian G Turner

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Modern languages usually have a standard form that is taught in school, but it's a given that there are deviations from this according to location and class, among other things. I think that's pretty much understood by anyone who learns another language. :)
 

Elckerlyc

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This discussion could be held about ANY language. There are more than 7000 spoken languages in the world, of which many have several variations on the 'standard' form. The variation you speak depends on your social background or education, your profession or field of study. Theoretically it is possible you speak different variations at a different time and place; at home, at work, at your hobby club or when you apply for a job.
Language is a living phenomenon that ultimately is defined by the spoken word. If enough people constantly say 'were' in stead of the standard 'was' it will eventually become the standard. Purism doesn't work with language because it changes all the time, together with all the variations that exists and endure, like ripples in a pond.
This doesn't interfere with the sharing of reasoned thought. True, almost no one understands Legalese, even though (or so I assume) it is formulated in standard English. But communication - even more so between different groups - has always been difficult. It is simply a matter of finding the common variation.
 

Valtharius

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I basically agree with this, but the truth they want to communicate (the way you speak subjectively marks you as being of a low social status) is arguably more humiliating than the nonsense they want to counteract (the way you speak is objectively wrong).
 

Montero

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Mmm I thought they were rather arguing that various grammatical forms have validity - regional, national - and the teaching of English should include examples from multiple sources - like the example they gave regarding verb tenses. They are not trying to say that they think the way you speak shows your social status, they are saying that it has been seen that way, and are presenting methods to eradicate that and to encourage acceptance of a wide range of English, without assigned greater merit any one way of speaking. They do point out that the sentence structure is effectively the same - noun, verb - but the verbs in particular vary with different flavours of English.
 

Mon0Zer0

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Syntax trees helped me learn Chinese. It's a big shame we didn't learn them until the third year as they would have been a big help earlier in my "learning journey". Formal grammar training did make me pay attention to how I constructed sentences, and opened up creative possibilities for playing with language.

I don't think British has wide differences in regional grammar, certainly not at the level they would teach at schools - I think social / regional signifiers are mostly in pronunciation. It's a long time since RP was taught in schools as a matter of course.
 

Montero

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Never even heard of syntax trees.....
I learnt more grammar in French lessons than in English lessons.
My mother used to mourn how little grammar was taught at my school compared to schools in her day - and then go on to say that a friend had joined their school who'd spent her initial schooling in Northern Ireland - and how much more grammar that friend had been taught......
Though I was firmly taught received pronounciation at home. "Got" was utterly banned for being an ugly sounding word. You can construct sentences without "got" and use have.
 

CupofJoe

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Smack The Pony from donkeys years ago, must've been topical then too;)
How I miss StP.
There is a grain of truth wrapped up in this gag. To be taught English as if you don't know it might be interesting.
Most people that I have met that speak English as a second [third or fourth] language, usually understand the mechanics of English far better than I do as a native speaker.
 

AnRoinnUltra

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How I miss StP.
There is a grain of truth wrapped up in this gag. To be taught English as if you don't know it might be interesting.
Most people that I have met that speak English as a second [third or fourth] language, usually understand the mechanics of English far better than I do as a native speaker.
It seems to be the way, I wonder is it because if ya learn a language from birth then you already have enough knowledge to do what you want and so anything else is (relatively) unimportant -had forgotten about StP till this thread brought the joke back ...was a very funny show.
 

Mon0Zer0

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Smack The Pony from donkeys years ago, must've been topical then too;)
English as a foreign language, you say?


Any excuse to post this!

Edit: off-topic, but I've just noticed the stressed bass drum in this does something really clever, starting off accenting the first beat in the bar, and then, without calling attention to itself shifts first to second and then third beat in the bar!
 

AllanR

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Most people that I have met that speak English as a second [third or fourth] language, usually understand the mechanics of English far better than I do as a native speaker.
They make excellent line editors (of English works) --they see mistakes that native English speakers miss.
Also, I found when I learnt foreign languages; I reflected on the rules of English and understood it even better.
 

Phyrebrat

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I think it's incredibly important for us as writers to have strict demarcation of standard English. Along with globalisation and the explosion of social media, language and its use are changing, but so is spelling. Online you see interchangeable use of US and UK, CAN and AUS English.

I recently had feedback from a beta noting I was switching between US and UK spellings - and meanings! This isi because I'm exposed to so much US English, I often do it without thinking.

Check out the differences between the word 'moot' in UK and US English and you'll see why standardisation is very important.
 

Valtharius

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Echoing what others have said, for years English teachers tried to teach me what a subject and object of a sentence are. I never figured it out until I started trying to study other languages seriously on my own.
 

AnRoinnUltra

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English as a foreign language, you say?


Any excuse to post this!

Edit: off-topic, but I've just noticed the stressed bass drum in this does something really clever, starting off accenting the first beat in the bar, and then, without calling attention to itself shifts first to second and then third beat in the bar!
Dammit, that thing is stuck in my head now!
 

Montero

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I think it's incredibly important for us as writers to have strict demarcation of standard English. Along with globalisation and the explosion of social media, language and its use are changing, but so is spelling. Online you see interchangeable use of US and UK, CAN and AUS English.

I recently had feedback from a beta noting I was switching between US and UK spellings - and meanings! This isi because I'm exposed to so much US English, I often do it without thinking.

Check out the differences between the word 'moot' in UK and US English and you'll see why standardisation is very important.

Hhhm, well, I went and looked up the meanings and found the Guardian saying that US uses it as a noun (or adjective - my grammar is more instinctive than well labelled) as in a moot point and UK uses it as a verb - mooted - as in proposed.
My main use of moot, as a UK person, is as "moot point" in the entirely US fashion. At times my English tends to the old fashioned, and I was taught quite a bit by my fairly old fashioned parents, so I don't think I've gained this from the US, I suspect it is a UK usage that has fallen out of fashion. I realised I was aware of the meaning of mooted, but it is not a usage I'd regularly reach for.
 

The Judge

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Hhhm, well, I went and looked up the meanings and found the Guardian saying that US uses it as a noun (or adjective - my grammar is more instinctive than well labelled) as in a moot point and UK uses it as a verb - mooted - as in proposed.
How strange -- I'd have said that the main use for each nation was exactly the opposite! I, too, know it best as "moot point" or "it's moot" (secondly as a term for an old legislative assembly, and third as a kind of debate that US students have, especially law students) and I'd rarely if ever use it as a verb, nor have I heard it commonly used as a verb here.

I just checked with Collins online and while it has much the same definitions for both British and US English, for us it lists them in order of adjective, verb, noun while for the US it's noun, adjective, verb. I don't know if that's meant to suggest an order of use, with the main use first, or the difference is just haphazard, but for the UK "moot point" appears in the first definition as an example of the adjective, while for the US it's not included at all in that precise term.
 

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