Butzkamm: The Language Acquisition Mystique: Tried and Found Wanting

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Kraut
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Butzkamm: The Language Acquisition Mystique: Tried and Found Wanting

Postby Kraut » Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:53 pm

https://www.hueber.de/sixcms/media.php/ ... versen.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Butzkamm

The Language Acquisition Mystique: Tried and Found Wanting

Wolfgang Butzkamm

page 83

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But terminology apart, what Krashen really wants to get across is that – putting it crudely - acquisition is good, and direct instruction is bad. The latter is equated with “language teaching in grammar-based approaches which emphasize explanations of rules and corrections of errors”, and should be replaced by acquisition-type activities (Krashen & Terrell 1983: 26). In other words, in order to promote these activities in the classroom, Krashen is setting up a straw man, at least from a European perspective: “The idea that we first learn a new rule, and eventually, through practice, acquire it, is widespread” (Krashen 1982: 83). However, I have yet to find a methodologist of the 20th century who advises us to do so. Ever since the days of Harold Palmer, of Jespersen in Denmark or Philip Aronstein in Germany grammar rules have been presented only in close conjunction with demonstration and practice. The learner first encounters past tense forms, gerunds or if-clauses in texts which he listens to, reads and talks about, before practising them and analysing them in special exercises. This is also supported by research: For difficult constructions, explanations should come before practice, but after introductory presentation in texts or situations (Elek & Oskarsson 1973). “Conven-tional” classrooms, as we have known them for decades, even when roughly following a grammar-based syllabus, expose learners to meaningful language, try to deal with all kinds of classroom business in the foreign language, include communicative interactions of many kinds and provide comprehensible input via listening and reading. Krashen tends to see his acquisition-learning distinction as an either/or position, which doesn’t describe what normally happens. It is, to say the least, a misrepresentation of good practice as recommended by the vast majority of methodologists (all the methodologists I know of). In fact, classroom reality is much more complex. However, the distinction between “acquisition” and “direct instruction” is useful, as it provides different perspectives on the teaching-learning situation.

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Sahmilat
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Re: Butzkamm: The Language Acquisition Mystique: Tried and Found Wanting

Postby Sahmilat » Sat Aug 03, 2019 4:27 pm

Reading the quote, it seems that Butzkamm is arguing that classrooms, for the most part, already focus enough on acquisition rather than just doing grammar. As a non-specialist, I can't meaningfully dispute this as a generalization, though there is, to me, one important exception. In Latin and Ancient Greek classes, at least in the US, and I believe in Europe as well, focus is almost entirely on learning grammatical rules by rote with minimal exposure to the written language and absolutely none to the spoken language. I think there are still certainly teachers who could learn something from Krashen, even if it cannot be said that most teachers focus too much on grammar rules.

I, personally, don't see any particular problem with grammatical explanations, as long as 1) they are accompanied by a large amount of input, both written and spoken, and 2) they are done as much as possible in the target language as soon as possible.
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Elexi
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Re: Butzkamm: The Language Acquisition Mystique: Tried and Found Wanting

Postby Elexi » Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:23 pm

'In Latin and Ancient Greek classes, at least in the US, and I believe in Europe as well, focus is almost entirely on learning grammatical rules by rote with minimal exposure to the written language and absolutely none to the spoken language.'

Does the US still use this method? My understanding is that state education in the English speaking world has largely adopted the near-Krashenite principles of the Cambridge Latin Course (or those that follow it in a modified form like the Oxford Latin Course or Ecce Romani). The Cambridge course is certainly used in 85% of British schools and the rest mainly use the Oxford course. The only learners who do otherwise are either private schools where the Wheelock type approach is still in vogue because that is what pater used, or Roman Catholic homeschoolers who prefer Henle's Latin because of its RC confessional content.
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Sahmilat
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Re: Butzkamm: The Language Acquisition Mystique: Tried and Found Wanting

Postby Sahmilat » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:25 pm

Elexi wrote:'In Latin and Ancient Greek classes, at least in the US, and I believe in Europe as well, focus is almost entirely on learning grammatical rules by rote with minimal exposure to the written language and absolutely none to the spoken language.'

Does the US still use this method? My understanding is that state education in the English speaking world has largely adopted the near-Krashenite principles of the Cambridge Latin Course (or those that follow it in a modified form like the Oxford Latin Course or Ecce Romani). The Cambridge course is certainly used in 85% of British schools and the rest mainly use the Oxford course. The only learners who do otherwise are either private schools where the Wheelock type approach is still in vogue because that is what pater used, or Roman Catholic homeschoolers who prefer Henle's Latin because of its RC confessional content.


You're right that CLC and similar are the most common in public schools in the US. My state officially uses Cambridge. I would argue that these are still woefully inefficient, because as far as I know most teachers still just have their students translate the stories aloud and spend no time on speaking Latin, because the teachers never learned to. It's a step in the right direction from just hitting students over the head with Gildersleeve until they learn their paradigms, but we still have a long way to go to be anywhere close to modern language classrooms. The (imo) most important part of language learning, the listening and speaking, is entirely absent in the vast majority of Latin classrooms.

I don't know whether CLC, OLC, Ecce Romani, etc are common in universities. For whatever a sample size of one is worth, my uni uses Wheelock's for Latin and Hansen & Quinn for Greek.
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Beli Tsar
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Re: Butzkamm: The Language Acquisition Mystique: Tried and Found Wanting

Postby Beli Tsar » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:48 am

Elexi wrote:'In Latin and Ancient Greek classes, at least in the US, and I believe in Europe as well, focus is almost entirely on learning grammatical rules by rote with minimal exposure to the written language and absolutely none to the spoken language.'

Does the US still use this method? My understanding is that state education in the English speaking world has largely adopted the near-Krashenite principles of the Cambridge Latin Course (or those that follow it in a modified form like the Oxford Latin Course or Ecce Romani). The Cambridge course is certainly used in 85% of British schools and the rest mainly use the Oxford course. The only learners who do otherwise are either private schools where the Wheelock type approach is still in vogue because that is what pater used, or Roman Catholic homeschoolers who prefer Henle's Latin because of its RC confessional content.

And in Greek JACT or Athenaze, both reading-based courses, which like the courses above are certainly not Grammar-only approaches like Wheelock.

And in the UK, where hardcore grammar-translation is used, (e.g. in getting postgrads up to speed in Latin or Greek - for instance, I believe Oxford has often used Moreland and Fleischer which is really hardcore) it's because they are getting a few weeks intense teaching followed by massive immersion in texts for an extended period. That makes up for a lack of input early on.

The main group of people still using anything approaching classic grammar translation in the UK, that I am aware of, are theological students, and that's largely because they have so much to cover, and not enough time for a method that involves more exposure to texts.
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