Posts Tagged ‘Novices’

Linguistic Vegetarianism

It CAN be difficult to make language comprehensible to novices. People who are educated usually talk in a sophisticated way, and it’s hard for them to simplify. It’s the case of “What is your final destination today?” versus “Where are you going?” I will be doing a training this summer to help teachers communicate in […]

The mythical “wall”

Speaking English in class is bad. USING English in class is very good practice indeed. There’s an enormous difference. Recently, a teacher wrote on a well-known e-mail list for foreign language teachers: Why are the students writing English in Spanish class? IMHO, you are making them pass through the English (brick) wall to get to […]

ACTFL, why stop at the sentence level?

The new ACTFL proficiency guidelines are out for 2012. But they are still based on the outcomes from traditional rules-and-output language teaching. Yes, they aren’t referencing specific grammar points, which is a definite plus. And the requirements or wiggle room for errors is, in my view, appropriate across the levels. What I have a problem […]

What good is Pinyin for someone in Taiwan (or at all)?

What good do all these super features of Pinyin (like Capitalization, connected (or not connected) syllables etc) in pure language learning, where you have to learn the characters? (One can argue how far characters are needed for learning, but if you want to do classic language learning (= “I want to use the language as […]

How do you learn new words if everything is known?

On a Chinese-learning forum, a user asked: I understand how CI develops the ability to recognise and produce appropriate structures and functions in a language, but if the input is all known to the learner (in terms of vocabulary used) how does the learner acquire the long lists of vocab needed to actually use the […]

Does fluency occur in stages?

Here’s the problem with an all-TPRS Chinese program: there’s no reason why students would not be able to acquire virtually all the structure in modern standard Chinese by the end of the second year. Unlike the FIGS, where there are six forms to be taught for every tense (not to mention different endings within a […]

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