Tearlach61 wrote:One post here adviced not losing sight of the forest for the trees and not getting lost in the details of grammar.
When I talked about not seeing the wood for the trees, I was saying something completely
Don't try swallow a whole set of grammar rules with all the exception in one shot. Boil it down it one rule, get comfortable with that rule, then start learning the exceptions.
But then I do agree with this.
Take the article. In the nominative, you can boil it down to one rule: the article 'an'does not lenite a masculine noun and the article ' a' 'does lenite a feminine noun. In the genative, its the opposite, it lenites the masculine, changing to a', it does not lenite the feminine, changing to na. There's all kinds of exceptions and reasons for them, but that's the basic rule.
No, that's four basic rules. If you argue that it's one, you might as well say that all the exceptions are part of that rule and that the whole gamut of definite forms are one rule. You're still relying on choosing a form, and I believe that people criticise the "tr*nsl*t**n habit" what they're really talking about is a habit of making conscious choices about language. Introduce choice, and you introduce a choice habit.
First basic rule. Get comfortable with that. Listen a lot read a lot. Soon you'll notice instances where that isn't always true. Ask your self why.
You can't really get comfortable with a rule if you're constantly exposed to exceptions (and I personally don't think the other forms of the article are "exceptions"), so listening and reading are just going to confuse you, so the only way to get comfortable with the meaningful use of a rule is through guided production.
Even text specifically designed for learners isn't going to work, because understanding relies on context, and if you're a beginner, how do you get that context? Guided production lets you know what you're going to say before you say it and the meaning's all there.
To be honest, I don't know how anyone internalizes that stuff by rote memory.
I'd argue that nobody actually internalises by rote. Rote gives the student a memorised reference book and allows them to act as their own teacher and guide their own production.
Other people use memorised phrases and sentences similarly as a mental reference book.
If you're one of the many who doesn't not learn well by rote, I'd say, hey there are other methods that work. And Fionnlagh's method, for all the crap he gets on this site, is also worth a look to the prospective learner. There are people out there who have done will with his method.
The problem I have with that (and I've said this many times before) is that I have heard so many people saying that they learnt a language by immersion, but under further questioning they slowly reveal that they've been looking at grammar books as they go ("but I only checked what I'd worked out for myself") or that they took other classes before ("but they didn't work because I couldn't speak a word") or that they studied other languages, sometimes closely related, before starting.
I've never seen any good evidence of immersive courses alone being sufficient for anything but a tiny minority of learners.
A lot of the stick Fionnlaigh gets here is for his adherence to the notion of "learning like children". He refuses to accept that when adults go into an immersive classroom, they make connections between the target language and their native language(s). They are (semi-)consciously relating concepts in the two. If you say "good morning" when you walk into a classroom in the morning, the students you say it to will probably assume it's "good morning", even if they can't tell yet which word is "good" and which is "morning". If you say "very good" in a positive tone of voice when one of them says "good morning" back to you, the student now knows "good" means "good". There is no avoiding this.
To develop and optimise a teaching strategy, you've got to start by knowing how the students are learning. By sticking to the line that TIP learners "learn like children do", he's forcing TIP down a road that offers no improvements to the methodology.
I'm not saying it's not useful to some people, just that it could be more useful
if it was based on reality rather than myths.
Plus, it's probably worth pointing out that TIP isn't free from drilling, and neither are communicative approach classrooms (TIP isn't CA -- it's more a variant of the Direct Method). Ùlpan has a lot of drilling too (drilling is a typical feature of the Audio-Lingual method). Can Seo (there's still a few teachers out there using photocopied Can Seo books) is almost entirely drilling (it's pure Presentation-Practice-Production in its approach). And then of course there's the "old school" of Grammar-Translation evening classes that are composed almost entirely of drilling (although given that the Direct Method is over 100 years old, it hardly seems fair that advocates of the Direct Method still refer to Grammar-Translation as "traditional").
When all is said and done, arguing against drilling is really arguing against all
current teaching methods, which I'm happy to do. I don't know if all of you lot are, though....