We haven't got up to 'yes" yet!

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Cavesa
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Re: We haven't got up to 'yes" yet!

Postby Cavesa » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:23 pm

Thanks, Iversen, you are the best!

Iversen wrote:After all I have been painting surrealistic paintings for decades so a red book can't scare me.

I've got plenty of red textbooks. They scare me.


In the meantime I have become so fed up with the idea that any sentence in a textbook must have an immediate relevance that I would accept just about anything, including sentences like "the book is colourless with red spots, and it will be three miles long tomorrow". I just want a machine that can produce sentences and words that can be used as input to that machine, and I can live with rarely seen phenomena in the sentences as long as I learn valid grammatical patterns and and a slew of useful words from them.
......
PS: I had originally written that the polar bear would be green with read spots, but then I feared that this sentence would be accepted as a variant of "the polar bear is white", which definitely would be possible since it refers to a certain species of bear as opposed to other bear species. "The book" in the original would be understood as one book among many, which changes the meaning of the word "the".


Exactly! Let's look at the bigger picture sometimes, not just at the immediate use for the first phrase or two in a course.

It's a bit like those Duolingo users complaining that the content of skill 2 should have been in skill 1, because they find it more useful, should they give up after one skill :-D I want to think more about the results of the whole course. (Sorry about using Duolingo as the example, but those discussions there are really funny)

That's why I actually love the weird sentences Duolingo includes in the courses, that is one of the few absolutely awesome aspects of it in my opinion. Most course authors don't have enough imagination.

The one book among many, or the one green bear among many white ones.
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Hashimi
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Re: We haven't got up to 'yes" yet!

Postby Hashimi » Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:14 am

Iversen wrote:Besides Google now has 1140 hits on "The book is red". That should be proof enough that there are situations where this sentence can be uttered, and that things may become more common while we talk about them.


I don't think so. Go to the last page and see how many hits are there.
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Re: We haven't got up to 'yes" yet!

Postby Cainntear » Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:20 pm

Iversen wrote:In the meantime I have become so fed up with the idea that any sentence in a textbook must have an immediate relevance that I would accept just about anything, including sentences like "the book is colourless with red spots, and it will be green tomorrow". I just want a machine that can produce sentences and words that can be used as input to that machine, and I can live with rarely seen phenomena in the sentences as long as I learn valid grammatical patterns and and a slew of useful words from them.

I completely understand where you're coming from on that -- "relevance" is often a joke.

My point is that the usual notion of "relevance" is superficial and not helpful. I don't care too much if an example is relevant, just if it has clear and intuitive meaning. The colourless book has no clear and intuitive meaning.
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Re: We haven't got up to 'yes" yet!

Postby reineke » Sat Jan 05, 2019 2:18 am

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CompImp
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Re: We haven't got up to 'yes" yet!

Postby CompImp » Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:38 am

Iversen wrote:Besides Google now has 1140 hits on "The book is red". That should be proof enough that there are situations where this sentence can be uttered, and that things may become more common while we talk about them.

The problem is they all link back to this very thread :lol:
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Re: We haven't got up to 'yes" yet!

Postby Random Review » Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:29 am

CompImp wrote:
Iversen wrote:Besides Google now has 1140 hits on "The book is red". That should be proof enough that there are situations where this sentence can be uttered, and that things may become more common while we talk about them.

The problem is they all link back to this very thread :lol:


I think that was clearly intentional humour on Iversen's part, mate. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: We haven't got up to 'yes" yet!

Postby CompImp » Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:48 am

Random Review wrote:
CompImp wrote:
Iversen wrote:Besides Google now has 1140 hits on "The book is red". That should be proof enough that there are situations where this sentence can be uttered, and that things may become more common while we talk about them.

The problem is they all link back to this very thread :lol:


I think that was clearly intentional humour on Iversen's part, mate. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

The sentence 'That should be proof enough that there are situations where this sentence can be uttered' made me think he was being serious.
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Iversen
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Re: We haven't got up to 'yes" yet!

Postby Iversen » Sat Jan 05, 2019 3:41 pm

I'm never totally serious, but the fact is that we have increased the use of the sentence simply by having this discussion.

And I still claim that not only that there are situations where it can be used even outside forum discussions, but also that it represents a pattern which newbee learners not only can, but also MUST learn as fast as possible. If you prefer to use another object than a book and another characteristic than the red color to teach them pattern "the [substantive] is [adjective]" then it is OK with me.

Cainntear wrote:The colourless book has no clear and intuitive meaning.

No, and my point was that if I can't even be allowed to say that the book is red, then I can just as well start saying that it is colourless with red spots. Or that it is alive, evil and eats small careless hogwarts students for lunch.

Cavesa wrote:I've got plenty of red textbooks. They scare me.

All dictionaries from the Danish editing house Gyldendal are red, and I like them. Now I'm going you to show you a picture of one of them ...

Gyldendal Ru-Da.jpg
Gyldendal Ru-Da.jpg (3.28 KiB) Viewed 96 times

and as you can see the book is red.
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Re: We haven't got up to 'yes" yet!

Postby zenmonkey » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:37 pm

I learned English about 45 years ago with sentence constructs that went much like this:

This is Pam.
Pam has a pan.
The pan is hot.

Tom has a book.
The book is red.
Tom’s book is red.

Is the book hot?
Is the pan red?

Is it Tom’s pan?
...

The sentence construct might seem boring and simplistic but it was effective for my age (7) and speed. Doing about a thousand of those a week and boom, English speaker in 3 months. And I still remember some of those specific examples (I’d pay good money to get copies of the books I used - Pam and Pat are seared into my mind).

My point is that these example sentences aren’t isolated they are used in an ensemble and hopefully the learned moves away from definite obj - copula ... quickly. Learning adjective placement, colors, etc... isn’t that bad in that the sentence has vocabulary and contextual information.

“[thebook] red” would be the Hebrew equivalent (no copula). “[this/that] book red [asserted state/something I know because I saw it]” is the Tibetan (no definite article without placement and copulas of assertion or observation). Both convey basic information about the language early on and tell you a bit about grammar and vocabulary.

Are they good sentences? I think I’m only able to judge in the context of a full lesson...
Last edited by zenmonkey on Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: We haven't got up to 'yes" yet!

Postby Random Review » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:40 pm

Don't hate me for keeping this going, but I think I understood Cainntear as saying two separate things here. The first one is the debate about whether it is natural and that has been done to death and probably won't benefit from further going round in circles. The other, however, is that he seemed (to me) to be also claiming that it is very difficult for an adult learning their first L2 or pretty much any child to give a real meaning to it. Yes, I acknowledge that for people on this forum who know how this game works and if it's given an appropriate context, then it's a good illustrative sentence that we can and do find meanings for. I'm not trying to open that debate up again. Even as an adult I find such books as zenmonkey describes immediately above useful and actively seek them out sometimes. Nevertheless I can't help coming back to the fact that most Anglophones fail in learning an L2 and the Anglophone regulars on this forum are not typical in that regard (in many cases and large part thanks to advice we received on this forum).

So it seems to me that Cainntear is right about this second point and that from the point of view of designing textbooks or "coursemaps", this is important and worth further discussion. I at least would be interested in hearing him elaborate on how to identify language that students and learners can more easily and intuitively give meaning to.
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