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Author Topic: Language acquisition - must it start with the basics?  (Read 1011 times)

Calach Pfeffer

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Re: Language acquisition - must it start with the basics?
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2018, 12:01:30 AM »
Maybe I can say it in terms of frameworks. Seems like the "framework" for beginner language teaching is "daily life". The kind of language chosen for delivery to the student, the kind of language practice offered, focuses on commonly occurring mundane activities and bodily survival.

But what if you want to keep your mind alive too? What if you're more concerned with the life of your mind, and maybe you're looking for like-minded people in some other country? Only sophisticated frameworks at native speaker level can do that?

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Escaped Lunatic

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Re: Language acquisition - must it start with the basics?
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2018, 04:09:10 AM »
All men are created equal.

Take bus #5 to the restaurant.


Language student me has something to use language with in sentence number 1. Language student me gives little to no damn about sentence 2.


I probably started this thread wrong in that I asked "must it start with the basics?" What I meant all along is why must seemingly all language instruction be so resolutely concrete. A single abstraction, for the love of learning! A conceptualization! But no. It's all counting and turn left then go straight.

Unfortunately, I thinks some general basics are required before leaping into philosophy debates.  Without them, how would you understand real world examples tied to your deeper discussions.

Bus #5 goes to the restaurant.  The man is only allowed to sit in the back of bus #5.  The man was not allowed to use the front door of the restaurant.  Despite this, the law said that all men are created equal.
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Calach Pfeffer

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Re: Language acquisition - must it start with the basics?
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2018, 05:25:51 AM »
I think there are more frameworks. "Daily life" after all is but one type of discourse. There doesn't seem any truly compelling reason for making "daily life" be the primary discourse. What, scientific discourse contains no simple words, no mundane grammar? Academic discourse won't include examples? And so on. I'm pretty sure any *form* of interest (as opposed to the interest area itself) can be adapted to the needs of language teaching. Whatever way discourse is usually structured in that interest area, let's call that the form of the interest area, and let's acknowledge all the arcana - the big words and the highfalutin concepts - that go with the interest area to be suitable for *intermediate* instruction, and let's pause a moment and say, what, you can't use the form with little words?

Daily life isn't the core of beginner language learning because it's necessary. It's not even the lowest of the lowest common denominators.

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Escaped Lunatic

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Re: Language acquisition - must it start with the basics?
« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2018, 06:55:07 AM »
I'm not saying you need to learn all the bus directions, but you need at least some background before leaping into dealing with philosophical complexities like "How do you know you exist?" or "What makes Gong Li the most beautiful woman in history?"

I suppose it would be possible to start with some lower level philosophical debate examples instead of starting solely with ordinary items that might or might not come up in examples.
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Calach Pfeffer

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Re: Language acquisition - must it start with the basics?
« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2018, 11:37:02 AM »
Some kind of interaction where participants present concrete examples as a way of beginning some discussion or derivation of principled logic underlying or supporting those examples is but one instance of one version of philosophical discourse. I might even go so far as to claim it's one instance of one part of one way of doing philosophical discourse. Probably mostly the analytical part. In fact, the part where the examples were presented probably should be considered as formally distinct from the analytical part. Indeed, if one wanted the analytical part to go well, seeing as how it is focused on some example, there probably should have been some agreement earlier on kinds and types of background knowledge or practice that will be used. (and that agreement can be changed as discussion progresses, but it's worth recognizing it as - seems like - formally distinct from the actual analysis or the example presentation...

Etc and so on and if I keep building on this supposed form, then I'm describing the 4-skills "academic discourse" form again: knowledge, application of knowledge to some situation, analysis of revealed situation, evaluation in light of analytical discoveries....

I wonder how much language one has to learn before one can know they're on the way to that kind of organized speech. (That's kind of a rhetorical wonder because I think the answer is obviously "NONE AT ALL!!!! YOU DON'T NEED ANY AMOUNT OF SECOND LANGUAGE TO KNOW ABOUT ORGANIZING DISCOURSES!!!"

I think it'd be a substantial move forward in language learning if overall organization of language production could be known in advance, or at least gestured toward. People could use pre-existing education to get a cognitive leg up on learning. For the people who don't ordinarily pay that much attention to their daily experiences even in their first language, it'd be a boon.

Or so I speculate.

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