deardron wrote:I don't agree with that, because you can't avoid a share of rote-drilling in the learning of a language (or music, sport etc).
Language is nothing without meaning. Rote drilling is meaningless, therefore it is not language.
If you look at sport, what exercises do is build up a muscle, a movement or a reflex that will be useful in playing the sport -- if you consider music to be partly a physical skill, you could argue that a scale teaches movements. However, a straight run of adjacent notes is not a useful
movement to the musician as it rarely occurs in real music.
The only physical part of language is phonetics, so these are the only things where rote drilling can be excused as useful.
deardon wrote:Obtaining a profound knowledge without excersises is impossible.
There is a difference between "exercises" and "rote drilling". I'm all in favour of exercises, but rote and mechanical exercises will just bore you whereas meaningful exercises make your learning exponential.
deardron wrote:While learning Gaelic I used first CSG (a "communication" one), then TAIC - that "boring old stuff" with substitution exersises. The second handbook gave me much more control of the language than the former. Now when I read a Gaelic text, I only need a dictionary, most of the grammatic phenomena that I encounter in the text aren't to me a mystery (what it used to be when I was only using CSG).
I put it to you that neither Colloquial or TAIC were solely responsible for your learning. I suggest that both are incomplete, and (just like the many learners who do things the other way round and move from rule based learning to topic-led or conversation-based learning) you are merely crediting your success to the second half of your learning.
deardron wrote:I fully agree that without the colloquial part the learning of a language is impossible.
A heavier epmhasise on the colloquial side to the detriment of the grammar (like in many modern handbooks) won't give students a trustful control of the language.
You've made a false dichotomy here.
There is no absolute link between language register (colloquial vs formal) and teaching method.
You could write an old style text-book that teaches foreigners to say things like "Y' alright mate?" "Yeah, I'm brill! How's yerself?" and you could equally well write a modern-style course that teaches "Goodday, sir. How do you do?" "I am well, and my thanks for your asking. I trust that you too are well, my good man."
You seem to be suggesting that colloquial language is in some way "ungrammatical". However, the fact that there is regularity in colloquial speech proves that there is a grammar to it, and if the published grammars of the language state that a colloquial usage is incorrect, then the grammar is quite plainly wrong: grammar rules for a living language should only describe what genuinely occurs in a language -- no-one "owns" the language, after all.
deardron wrote:But I don't see either what's wrong with substitution excersises and stuff like that. A reasonable combination of both policies is IMHO the way to go, on the condition that the grammar is covered satisfactorily.
Rather than splitting learning tasks into the meaningless-yet-grammatically-rigorous and meaningful-yet-grammatically-unconstrained, wouldn't it be better to have a single unified set of exercises that were simultaneously meaningful and grammatically rigorous...?
Seonaidh wrote:I was using all the complexity of English grammar quite correctly before I even knew there was such a thing as grammar.
But it took over 6 years of literal full-time study (ie every waking hour of your life) to learn it.
Not only that, but your brain was fundamentally physiologically different back then.
Seonaidh wrote:At one point in my life I studied Latin, with a very grammar-based approach and, while I became reasonably proficient at tronsloting etc. to or from Latin, I was never able to communcate in it.
Other languages I've had dealings with have been presented in a more communication-oriented way, with particular grammatical points arising out of such communication, rather than some vain attempt to formulate communication from a book of grammar.
Ah but consider this:
Your classical education may not have given you an intuitive command of Latin, but it did teach you a lot about the concepts of grammar. As you learn other languages, you will be better placed to "notice" these concepts as you go: a little part of your brain would only need to see a few examples before going "ah, that must be the ablative". I, on the other hand, have absolutely no idea what an "ablative" is and I would have to see thousands upon thousands of examples before really getting the slightest notion of why these nouns look different after those particular words.
Seonaidh wrote:Really, you need to consider whether it is more useful (a) to know the declension of Gaelic nouns off pat or (b) to make yourself understood and to understand when in a Gaelic environment. In my opinion, if you concentrate on (b), (a) will follow with no appreciable effort.
(B) is the goal of all language learning. (A) is merely one strategy to get you there.
It's like saying
analogy wrote:Really, you need to consider whether it is more relaxing (a) to be in a car driving to the beach or (b) to be lying on a beach. In my opinion, if you concentrate on (b), (a) will follow with no appreciable effort.
...whereas you should be comparing the efficiency of cars, buses and bikes.
reductio ad absurdam wrote:Really, you need to consider whether it is better (a) to be eating or (b) to have a full stomach. In my opinion, if you concentrate on (b), (a) will follow with no appreciable effort.