Miscellaneous How Much Were You Taught About Your Language?

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squeak
Saturday 08th of July 2006 10:28:50 PM
How much were you taught about YOUR language?: Hi!

I was wonderign how much people were taught in school about their languages?

In my school, we were barely taught anything. I remember beintg taught the difference between a noun, an adjective and a verb. That's it. My parents remember being taught about adverbs too.

I was never taught about cases or the tenses. Or any other grammar, active/passive voices, etc

Now that I am learning other langugaes, I'm beginning to learn about English grammar too. I'm trying to find out what I believe I should have been taught at school. I don't think that I can truly understand these things in Greek/German, if I don't have a clue about the equivalents in English.

Although I was never taught about English grammar in school, in German lessons we were expected to know it, but at that point, no-one seemed to know where to turn to to find out. When in Greek lessons, people have often asked why a particular spelling is used, and not another. The tutor will often say soemthing along the lines of "It's in the accusative", which makes is make sense to him, but none of us understood.

Quite often recently, English grammar and reasons for things being the way they are in English ahve actually been explained to me by Greeks. Also, Vito and Goran have tried to explain something about German to me and have first had to clarify some things in English, so that I can understand (thank you both! :D)

I'm interested to know whether this is the same in other countries or even the experience of other Engish people, or if they were taught their languages completely in school?


Goran
Saturday 08th of July 2006 11:06:12 PM
I think that native speakers learn grammar in a different way from the one used by other people who learn that language as foreign language.
I'm more or less good at grammar in the languages I speak, but I can better explain German, English, Spanish or Catalan grammars than Croatian or Serbian ones.
I discovered some things in Croatian grammar when I was learning Russian. The first time I saw perfective and imperfective verbs in Russian I had no idea what it was, but my teacher told me they existed in many slavic languages so I compared it to Croatian grammar and my teacher was right. I discovered we had the same in Croatian. :D Since then it's easy for me to distinguish perfective and imperfective verbs in Russian. ;)
Last year a member of Phrasebase asked me to explain him the four accents that exist in Croatian.
I said: "Four accents?" "I don't think there are four accents in Croatian."
Later I realised that it was true and that we had four accents or four tones. They are also called pitch accent, which exists in Swedish, Norwegian and Lithuanian as well.
I've also discovered other peculiarities of my native language, especially from some people who were learning my language.
To sum up, native speakers are not taught grammar, they just memorise, because when we are children, we have a big memory and we don't need to learn rules to learn how to build sentences, but when we grow, it's when we need to learn the rules.


Laydee
Saturday 08th of July 2006 11:08:34 PM
Well,I remember that I've been taught about nouns,verbs,verbtenses,adjectives,adverbs-The whole package. :) But I reckon this is different from school to school and from teacher to teacher.
At this point,I cannot really remember any of the English grammar we had at school.I cannot even tell you how many genders there exists,and that is really embarassing. Though,I reckon it is because I had to learn English "on my own" and find my way(without really thinking about any grammar thingies:p)..


squeak
Saturday 08th of July 2006 11:10:14 PM
I don't think we use genders, do we? At least, not often.


pableras28
Saturday 08th of July 2006 11:11:09 PM
I think that happens to all of us, but in different degrees. I was taught what a noun, a verb and so was, and also about tenses and passive/active voices, but whenever I asked about cases, nobody wanted to explain saying that they were not applicable to Spanish, but I think they hardly knew about them and that was only an excuse.

I think it's due to a general lack of interest in languages and linguistics, and therefore, in knowing one's language, so many of the people surrounding us will not be able to explain it to us or at schools it is stated that kids don't need to learn that kind of things. It would be as if we were taught how physics work at a hig degree of specialisation.

However, I must say that at schools and high schools, we are taught far more about science than about linguistics. Moreover, if we pay attention to how many people tend to speak in a very wrong way their own language, we'll see that in general, not many people is interested in linguistics and only when they can use it to discredit and insult others. Therefore, they only learn lesser things related to linguistics, like the origin of a word or the correct spelling or use of it, but not general rules and so.

Don't you think so?


Ania
Sunday 09th of July 2006 12:54:56 AM
I have already noticed it. The way we learn foreign and native language at school is totally different than in England for example.
I admit Polish grammar is rather complicated, so our Polish classes were being focused on practising language skills at the very beginning. I still remember days we were doing bunch of grammar exercises, all the conjugations, declinations etc.
But it was very helpful because now I've got the basics and I can start building my knowledge about other languages.
In the Russian or English classes we have daily conversations, things necessary in a normal life, but at each lesson we find out something about grammar structures or - as in the Russian ones - we conjugate a new irregular verb.
But what I've recently found out is that I started to learn a language in a different way. I don't care the stiff grammar. I'm trying to get a language as it's spoken, needed in a daily life.
Is it good or bad?


Goran
Sunday 09th of July 2006 01:05:21 AM
Originally posted by Ana Maria
Is it good or bad?

I don't think it's bad at all. It's better to learn some basic phrases at the beginning and later you can start learning its grammar.

An example: it's easier to learn by heart that "I'm cold" is said "Mir ist kalt" in German than to learn that "mir" is dative case of "ich (I"), that "ist" is the third person singular of the verb "sein (to be)", in present tense, and "kalt" doesn't have to be declinated in this case because there is no noun after it... ;) Do you agree with me? ;)


Ania
Sunday 09th of July 2006 01:12:01 AM
Originally posted by Goran


Originally posted by Ana Maria
Is it good or bad?

I don't think it's bad at all. It's better to learn some basic phrases at the begining and later you can start learning its grammar.

An example: it's easier to learn by heart that \"I'm cold\" is said \"Mir ist kalt\" in German than to learn that \"mir\" is dative from ich (I), that \"ist\" is the third person singular of the verb \"sein (to be)\", in present tense, and \"kalt\" doesn't have to be declinated in this case because there is no noun after it... ;) Do you agree with me? ;)

Yes, I do agree. I think it's good to have some basics at the very beginning and then gradually widen my language skills and vocabulary etc.



Laydee
Sunday 09th of July 2006 01:17:24 AM
Originally posted by squeak


I don't think we use genders, do we? At least, not often.

Hehe,I don't know:p But still,I cannot tell youa bout English grammar.The "only" thing that I am aware of that I can do,is to conjugate a verb=)


Psyche
Sunday 09th of July 2006 02:24:34 AM
I also learned the difference between a noun, adjective etc. Not more. When we had French classes, the French teacher said something as Dani mentioned..."this is in the accusative"...."this is the imperfait"...and...we hadn`t heard about that in our Norwegian classes. Not the Norwegian equivalents either. She was shocked...we didn`t know ANY easy grammar terms...and as Norwegian is easy...we can`t compare our grammar to those of other languages...*sigh* :) :(


Mathieu
Sunday 09th of July 2006 03:01:37 AM
No language lessons here, only spelling. And coping with texts, and learning what a metaphor and an understatement etc. is and how it works..
Dutch spelling is a pain in the ass though, for most people. It's extremely straight forward, regular and logical, however for some reason people just can't spell right. Verbs, I'm talking about. I've never understood why everyone got bad marks for it, I rarely made mistakes..


Danial
Sunday 09th of July 2006 09:46:05 PM
For english classes we don't really get any grammar lessons, though unless we have nothing to talk about then the teacher will bring in things like, 'accusative', subject-object agreement and etc... things that we already know how to do without any lessons like that. (lol, just watch alot of English television :D)

As for Malay we do have some grammar lessons just to learn the Malay terms for Nouns, Adjectives etc... But overall we're all are expected to know how to use them.


Laydee
Sunday 09th of July 2006 11:17:58 PM
I reckon the only reason as to why one doesn't learn too much grammar about ones native language is,well,you're NATIVE:p One do not really need grammar to speak your native language...So,it's like,why care?:)


Mathieu
Sunday 09th of July 2006 11:53:08 PM
Exactly, it's completely circulary - it's like having a dog, observing that it walks on 4 legs, and then trying to teach your dog to walk on 4 legs, since you have observed that is indeed what dogs do :p
Only thing to teach is spelling, since that is an artificial invention. The rest comes natural :)


Osman
Monday 10th of July 2006 12:13:04 AM
here we are not also taught much..hmmm..

Well, all of people have lingusitic grammar in their minds our teacher had told while telling about kinds of languages.. So it is sure that we dont need to learn our native tongue by great efforts except in particular cases. But it is do difficult to teach someone about your language. I think i have learnt many rules of Turkish while helping people :p and i still believe in that there are lot to go on my way.. :D


ladysmyrna
Monday 10th of July 2006 12:14:55 AM
I can say that they did a good job at school with teaching us everything about Turkish, even the smallest details. We even studied the rules of Old Turkish :o

That definitely made everything so easy for me when i started learning English (years ago) :p Cos if you know the grammatical rules of your own language you can make comparisons and learn more than you can ever imagine :D

Now i advise my lil sister to know her language to the fullest, so that she can easily handle every other language by having quick references to her grammatical knowledge.


Osman
Monday 10th of July 2006 12:16:27 AM
LOL Duygu! in Diyarbakır it is so different! :)

i think it is because of my teacher! **feels like having a gun and..** :p


squeak
Monday 10th of July 2006 12:21:32 AM
Originally posted by Ana Maria


Originally posted by Goran


Originally posted by Ana Maria
Is it good or bad?

I don't think it's bad at all. It's better to learn some basic phrases at the begining and later you can start learning its grammar.

An example: it's easier to learn by heart that \\\"I'm cold\\\" is said \\\"Mir ist kalt\\\" in German than to learn that \\\"mir\\\" is dative from ich (I), that \\\"ist\\\" is the third person singular of the verb \\\"sein (to be)\\\", in present tense, and \\\"kalt\\\" doesn't have to be declinated in this case because there is no noun after it... ;) Do you agree with me? ;)

Yes, I do agree. I think it's good to have some basics at the very beginning and then gradually widen my language skills and vocabulary etc.


I think that this is probably the best way to learn a language, learn some basics so that you can start to use the language, then build up your knowledge of how it works based on what you already know.

I was discussing this with a Greek man that I know a couple of days ago. He was saying that when he was at school they were taught all of the rules, but now schools are phasing out this kind of teaching.

I understand what Ladysmyrna said about it being easier when she started to learn English. I think that if I had been taught the English language properly, then I wold find it easier to learn grammar in the languages I am learning. I am of the opinion that you should be taught your native language as though it were a foreign language, so you know how to ue it correctly. That's just me though.

When I started learning German to a more advanced level in school, and now with Greek, I'm trying to learn English grammar, to try to better understand the grammar in the languages that I am learning. I'm also trying to learn it properly in order to better explain things to the people that I try to help with English.

(I hope I've corrected all the mistakes in that, I'm typing too fast and making typos and thinking ahead of where I am :()


squeak
Monday 10th of July 2006 12:23:02 AM
Originally posted by Osman



i think it is because of my teacher! **feels like having a gun and..** :p

Can you help with a couple of my old teachers too? :p


EvanescenceChibi
Monday 10th of July 2006 07:34:23 AM
I have horrible memories of my green grammar book! T_T;

But yeah, even though we speak English natively, we were kind of beat over the head with grammar. Not as much so as learners of English, but still...

I remember learning the different parts of speech and idefnitying them, learning about word order (and how English is SVO, generally), homophones and homonyms (which also helped a LOT with spelling).

I even remember an acitivty in 6th grade when our English teacher gave us sentences and we had to say which part of speech each word was...O.O;

But, as I said, we didn't learn as much as learners. I had no idea what verb declension was (partly because English has very little of it, but they don't teach us that...).

But when comparing it with my German in school, we learn new grammar stuff almost every week, although sometimes every few weeks. But yeah, we learn more grammar in our foreign language, obviously.


ScottM
Monday 10th of July 2006 10:54:36 AM
I was taught a good amount of grammar, but I think that in English, I would mostly run through it pretty mindlessly, since it was so familiar to me. But, now since I've started studying Russian, I think about the grammar and why we do what we do with it more often.

I think learning a new language has improved my English somewhat.


delia
Monday 10th of July 2006 03:17:40 PM
With me it's different than with most of you. We were taught Romanian grammar with thorough details, they insisted on it even and as logically as they could. I enjoyed grammar lessons and later when I started with foreign languages, everything came up easier.
I think it's very useful to know grammar.
And not only Romanian grammar, but Latin grammar,the mother of it.Well,that didn't stick to me as much...I admit.


Osman
Monday 10th of July 2006 03:56:55 PM
Originally posted by squeak


Originally posted by Osman



i think it is because of my teacher! **feels like having a gun and..** :p

Can you help with a couple of my old teachers too? :p

with pleasure :D


squeak
Tuesday 11th of July 2006 12:39:47 AM
Originally posted by Osman


Originally posted by squeak


Originally posted by Osman



i think it is because of my teacher! **feels like having a gun and..** :p

Can you help with a couple of my old teachers too? :p

with pleasure :D

What a wonderful person you are to me, then. :D


kea
Tuesday 11th of July 2006 04:54:48 PM
In Estonian schools they do teach quite a lot of Estonian grammar. Mostly they pay attention that the kids grow up knowing how to write their own language as good as possible. So we learn a lot where to put our commas and other marks and when to use capital letter in the beginning of a word :p But they also talk a lot about of morfology, about cases. But usually kids finish school with a very messy idea about these things. I learned all the grammar terms and got a good idea about Estonian grammar in university where I studied Estonian filology. It has been of very good help with learning other languages and explaining Estonian rules to foreigners.


makt2000
Sunday 16th of July 2006 10:05:07 AM
In Egypt :

Arabic grammar takes so much time to be learnt . Arabic grammar is so hard and "Nahow" , it's what it's called , is a very hard subject . Standard Arabic is very concerned with rules . Also all the words follows a system of construction using primary verbs that consists of 3 or 4 letters .

However , I think only native speakers or maybe specialized scholars can benefit from these studies . But If you want to learn Arabic as a foreign language , you'll be taught a very simple grammar that makes you understand the basics of the Arabic language .


Mathieu
Sunday 16th of July 2006 07:44:15 PM
Hmm I think it's weird how in some countries they tend to teach actual grammar. Grammar is something that you acquire, it is your native language, there is nobody who can teach you anything about the grammar, you can teach others (2nd language learners, linguists). Teaching someone the grammar of his/her own native language is like teaching a dog to walk on for legs, like I said. I think the reason why it is done is simply to create jobs, to keep people busy. A Bushman isn't any worse at his native language than any 'educated' person is.


Osman
Sunday 16th of July 2006 08:07:45 PM
Originally posted by Teup


Hmm I think it's weird how in some countries they tend to teach actual grammar. Grammar is something that you acquire, it is your native language, there is nobody who can teach you anything about the grammar, you can teach others (2nd language learners, linguists). Teaching someone the grammar of his/her own native language is like teaching a dog to walk on for legs, like I said. I think the reason why it is done is simply to create jobs, to keep people busy. A Bushman isn't any worse at his native language than any 'educated' person is.

*agrees* :)

*you expressed my thoughts so well. thanks.lol*


Julianita
Saturday 23rd of June 2007 02:17:32 PM
...well this is a quite old yet interesting topic i would say.;)

In my case (spanish) and I mean I think in all latin american countries -I believe- we are (were) taught almost everything necessary about spanish grammar and as well as literature so you wont make a fool of yourself later on up to the point that you generate this of big hatred to your own language when you are in high school that u start wishing to have been born into an NON spanish speaking country lol, that was my case lol. But then since this is started at such a young age, I would say since elementary school and it gets incredibly boring, monotone and uncomprehensive every year and then thats where many of us lose (lost) interest in it; in my case i used to HATE it, but now since i moved to the U.S. and became an immigrant and seeing how big the demand for bilingual people specially if your second or first language is spaish NOW i see how important it was to do all those endless conjugation exercises, because its sad VERY sad to see people making the biggest and incredibly wrong and stupid grammatical errors; I also agree with Teup that u aquire this, but i dont think most of us would have acquired the knowledge in order to conjugate verbs in all its fifty million different forms like in spanish (not that i learned to do all of them) and on the english side I'm sure that without grammar, syntax and morphology lessons i would probably be saying "I brokeded my nose" or "....helping my kids to read goodder" and etc, (which btw i still think i need a couple of reviews and stuff as well as for spelling. :D). Maybe I'm wrong, but I still think grammar is a key part of language, I think some native spanish speaker can understand me better (Vaca con B o el problema tan visto como con el uso del "Haiga", etc.)

Excuse my spelling errors as well as grammatical mistakes.


BCS
Saturday 23rd of June 2007 11:14:34 PM
I think that you learn about your language by learning about others, however, there are a lot of things in other languages that don't translate into English, like the subjunctive which is almost never used: ex. I want that the letter be written. Whereas, in most other languages it is used to describe unreal/immaterial things


Marja
Sunday 24th of June 2007 06:24:51 AM
Dani and I both went to the same school so I agree with her about how much we were taught about English.
Until I started learning Finnish I knew nothing about grammatical cases, let alone that English had a couple :p
We were never even taught anything about those in French and Spanish lessons!


squeak
Thursday 12th of July 2007 11:09:35 PM
Nor in the German lessons at school, either


Jamovi
Friday 13th of July 2007 03:05:42 PM
I can remember when the German grammar was explained to us in classes 2,3,4. At this time I was very angry at our teacher, because I think she didn't explain it well enough. That's my opinion and I can see this even now (class 11), when students make very hard mistakes..
The only thing EVERYONE knows is that all nouns are capitalized in German. lol :D
However, I think the German Orthography Reform (Rechtschreibreform) had a big influence that students are so bad in orthography
(If you ask a student what an adjective/adverb is, you will mostly get no explanation, not to mention CASES)

It's a pity that grammar is so neglected in German schools today.


Ana_Drobot
Friday 13th of July 2007 04:19:03 PM
I have been preoccupied by languages and literatures since quite young. I took lessons in private, at school we barely touched Romanian grammar (my native language). I needed to know about my language and foreign languages (English and French) because I had decided to study them at university, so I needed that knowledge for my admission exam.


nena77
Wednesday 18th of July 2007 02:38:37 AM
Originally posted by Mathieu
Hmm I think it's weird how in some countries they tend to teach actual grammar.

Actually, I disagree with that. Learning the grammar of your language is necessary in my opinion.
It is a pain in the ..., well, neck :) having to know all about nouns and pronouns and plurals, and how the person has to be in agreement with the verb and all that.
But it is inevitable, especially in languages where they have more than one cases, different endings, moods, lots of rules [Greek being one such language]. Most of the times you already use the rule in your everyday speaking without classifying it as a rule. And it is always good to know why you are using it in such a way. And, to be honest, some grammar mistakes I hear from other native people make me cringe! Such abuse of the language!
And knowing the grammar rules of your language makes it easier to learn another language.
At school we tended to do a lot of grammar and syntax from third grade onwards, which I think was a right age to start learning rules and to apply them to words we had never heard before - i.e the conjugation of male nouns ending in -os, or the way the past tense is formed for verbs ending in -izo.
Later on we started learning ancient Greek, and although the differences betewwn the two are larger than one would think, we could find how modern Greek was derived from the ancient language.
:)


frogg018
Friday 20th of July 2007 11:35:24 AM
At my school here in the US we never learned much grammar either, and what is worse, there aren't even any English grammar classes for natives at my university! All we have are ESL classes for foreign students and a whole lot of English lit.! I've been wanting to really learn English grammar since I started learning foreign languages to see how things compare and contrast. What little English grammar I know I've learned through German, ie. I know German grammar really well and am able to make comparisons and apply some of the rules to English. I wish though that they would teach it to us in schools. I think it's quite a shame really to not know how your own language is put together, and I never know if what i am saying in English is really correct or if it is just colloquial wrongly-put-together hodgepodge!


_ie
Monday 30th of July 2007 08:35:44 PM
Estonia is so lucky compared to some countries or should I say some teachers. Our grammar can be compared to German one, many cases, different verb types...it is much easier to speak it correctly thanks to grammar lessons. However it is necessary to improve it whole lifetime because memory does not last for ever, at least not mine.


Dominick_Korshanyenko
Monday 30th of July 2007 10:48:55 PM
At 14 I'm still taking classes for Engish even though on English standards I mastered it in 3rd grade. However, Florida school systems because of the no child left behind law aren't required to teach grammar or geography so I had to go on my own and master both. Now I am perfect at both grammar and geography even though the schools never taught it. :)


WickedArg
Wednesday 01st of August 2007 11:19:51 AM
Originally posted by kea
In Estonian schools they do teach quite a lot of Estonian grammar. Mostly they pay attention that the kids grow up knowing how to write their own language as good as possible. So we learn a lot where to put our commas and other marks and when to use capital letter in the beginning of a word :p But they also talk a lot about of morfology, about cases. But usually kids finish school with a very messy idea about these things.
The same with Spanish in Argentina, although I have no idea about other Spanish-speaking countries. But, all the same, you do learn. It may be a bit messy, but you actually end up knowing it.
Originally posted by Julianita
In my case (spanish) and I mean I think in all latin american countries -I believe- we are (were) taught almost everything necessary about spanish grammar and as well as literature so you wont make a fool of yourself later on up to the point that you generate this of big hatred to your own language when you are in high school that u start wishing to have been born into an NON spanish speaking country lol, that was my case lol. But then since this is started at such a young age, I would say since elementary school and it gets incredibly boring, monotone and uncomprehensive every year and then thats where many of us lose (lost) interest in it; in my case i used to HATE it, but now since i moved to the U.S. and became an immigrant and seeing how big the demand for bilingual people specially if your second or first language is spaish NOW i see how important it was to do all those endless conjugation exercises, because its sad VERY sad to see people making the biggest and incredibly wrong and stupid grammatical errors; I also agree with Teup that u aquire this, but i dont think most of us would have acquired the knowledge in order to conjugate verbs in all its fifty million different forms like in spanish (not that i learned to do all of them) and on the english side I'm sure that without grammar, syntax and morphology lessons i would probably be saying "I brokeded my nose" or "....helping my kids to read goodder" and etc, (which btw i still think i need a couple of reviews and stuff as well as for spelling. :D). Maybe I'm wrong, but I still think grammar is a key part of language, I think some native spanish speaker can understand me better (Vaca con B o el problema tan visto como con el uso del "Haiga", etc.) (sorry to quote the whole thing)
Exactly. And when you're learning it you find it totally useless (except for rules and spelling stuff). I mean, you already know how to speak, your parents taught you when you were a baby! Still, it's when you see other people making mistakes how rather useful it's been having been taught all that.

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