Home Forums Reflection Forum Reflection 1.2 – Correctness in Language

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    • #2343
      admin adminadmin

      Thank you for the information in this part of the course! I have to start by saying I got thorough 3 minutes of teacher Ronnie’s video on double negatives before I had to turn it off. I was genuinely shocked at her attack of artists and their lyrics and the kind of language she used to describe these. I have admittedly recommended to my students before to use YouTube as a tool for revising grammar, given that there’s a multitude of teachers offering lessons on there. I might think twice after watching this particular lesson….

      As someone who has learned English in a quite prescriptive classroom environment (as I’m sure many of us have) and then later taught it the same way, I’m guilty of having taught that double negative are “incorrect” and that the McDonald’s slogan “I’m loving it” is “wrong” and you cannot use the stative verb ‘love’ in the continuous form. I no longer agree with these strict views and have taken a totally different approach in class now. It is still difficult, however, when you are teaching EAP, for instance. Does anyone have any experiences with “correctness” inside or outside the classroom?

      To view past replies go to: https://changingenglishes.proboards.com/thread/8/correctness-language

      • This topic was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by admin adminadmin.
    • #3351

      As a teacher in English I have personally come across many instances when I’m not sure whether to correct or leave alone some of the expressions used by the students in my English classroom. I find myself in a conflicting situation because the institutional responsibility that is imposed upon me is to ensure that the students learn the “correct” English in my class so that they will be “properly” equipped with the academic activities they are to engage in as university students whereas my awareness of the discourse of different Englishes and diversity makes me feel guilty every time I’m obliged to correct a student’s “ungrammatical” expression in speech or writing. Such conflicts occur because these ideas regarding different ways of using English have not really got too deep into fields like ESP/EAP teaching which take a rather matter of fact approach to English language teaching/learning as far as I’m concerned.

    • #3565
      Joshua TanJoshua Tan

      Language requires rules. Without which, none can effectively communicate with another party. This segment however leads me to reconsider the rules which I dearly hold onto. Linguistic rules such as no continuous tense for stative verbs will probably inform us that “I am understanding it” is grammatically illogical. However, if everyone surrounding the speaker can interpret and understand the grammatically incorrect sentence just fine, who am I to say that the grammatical rule is wrong?

    • #3675

      My perspective of learning and emphasizing the English language changed after starting this course. Monolithic and plurilithic concept of English learning and the grammatical perspective is what helps to see the development in English. Teaching English to students, be it young/adult learners is always a challenge as the ‘rule’ in grammar plays a vital role. Rule, syntax and usage is what makes the language complicated but definitely the focus would on amalgamating all the three and learning the language. ‘Correctness’ is always a debate when language undergoes change in the context of the region, learners and adaptability.

    • #3706

      I’m an English trainer focused on teaching adults in international business context and I’ve been leaning towards the plurilithic concept of English for some time. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to make decisions on what to correct and what to teach due to extremely large number of dialects of English that exist around the world. Prescriptive approach is much easier to implement as it is transparent and based on explicit rules. Once you start teaching English as a Lingua Franca, you hit a wall and you constantly question your knowledge of even basic things (e.g. double negation). It is an eye-opening but extremely challenging experience.

    • #3734

      if everyone surrounding the speaker can interpret and understand the grammatically incorrect sentence just fine, who am I to say that the grammatical rule is wrong

    • #3795

      In a language speaking, it’s really important that we use correct usage of grammar and appropriate words to communicate. There’s a big issue here. When the students use slang to talk, they think that they look smart and proud of themselves.I totally agree with the teacher from this video, there is no class by using slang.
      Before I watch the video lesson, I knew that I need to fix my thoughts of using double negative sentences. I’m going to share this to my class.

    • #4034

      Up to a’certain stage’ of learning, it’s a bit alright to make the learners do mistakes in language, but thereafter they need constant correction, i.e. corrective feedback so that they are able to correct themselves and establish as users of correct English. Whatever said and done, correct usage of Englush is regarded a social prestige and a winning factor in securing promising careers.

    • #4053

      Actually, even though I know that the speaker commits grammatical mistakes, I seldom correct them. I just want them to be comfortable on speaking the language (fluency over accuracy). But, if I think that their mistakes affect the meaning of the message, that’s the time that I help them to say it in a right way.

    • #4327
      Dauda PikawiDauda Pikawi

      I think teaching the ‘correct English’ doesn’t warrant outright condemnation of any other form of usage.

    • #4679

      I couldn’t make it all the way through the video because I didn’t really like Teacher Ronnie’s style.

      When I teach English, I like to teach the whole language, which means formal versus casual English in my mind. Most of my students are encountering native speakers all the time, so they need to know how to interact, but they also have academic goals in the language. I just do my best to teach them the rules, and how to break them.

    • #4682

      The beliefs about correct English are ingrained unfortunately.

      I am conflicted as I believe using language to communicate is much more important. However, my students need to use ‘Standard’ English in standardized tests. If I don’t offer corrections, I am doing them a disservice.

      Consequently, I try to use different activities to focus on form and to focus on meaning.

    • #4687

      “Correctness” associates with the rules and regulations. Therefore, it is difficult to refer standard variety of English as only “Standard British English” or “Standard American English” which belong to inner circle countries like UK and USA. Because there are another two circles and especially, the Outer circle where there are Standard English varieties are existed. For instances like Standard Sri Lankan English, Standard Indian English, Standard Canadian English are existed. These standard varieties of English are shaped with a set of rules and regulations. Therefore, according to my linguistic point of view, correctness of a language (Standard variety) associates with rules and regulations.

    • #5189

      As a linguist whose view of language use is more descriptive more than it is prescriptive, my view of the correctness or incorrectness of language use is largely based on what is generally acceptable in the environment of usage.

      On another hand, being a language teacher, it is required to abide by the rules of the standard language. How then do we define what’s correct when there are different varieties of standard language? I generally resolve to what is generally acceptable in my environment, in the case of English, it is British English.

    • #5202

      Correctness is the notion that certain vocabulary, grammatical and syntactic structures meet the standards and conventions prescribed by traditional grammarians (I wonder who these people are and who granted them the power to decide what is correct or wrong). Therefore, everything that contrasts correctness is an error. Prescriptive rules no doubt are useful for instance for language teaching: grammatical correctness. I do believe that learners of English should be introduced to StE forms but also should be informed about the existence of English as a Lingua Franca.

    • #5241

      In my opinion, even the teacher has the right to make a mistake. Correctness is determined by the ability to realize that in each case there are exceptions. The ability to admit that you were wrong even if you are a teacher is a talent.

    • #5274

      Even teachers like me have been taught about all these regulations and rules. The point is that the sources and materials that we have are based on Standard English. Furthermore, the Teacher Training Programs are organized to be an advocate of what good teaching is and how good English should be taught. I think it is better to have plurilithic perspective towards English language learning teaching which communicates more understanding than power.

    • #5292

      I think, to an extent…

    • #5316

      I am a practicing teacher of English in my home country, and I must say, most of my learners sometimes think I am a tad bit barmy when I use Northern terms, words, phrases and expressions during my lessons. Unfortunately, I cannot (and also do not want to) use Standard English in different scenarios because it/they would sound unnatural to me due to the fact that I used to live in the amazingly unique City of York and interacted with the folk who were extremely kind to me while I was dwelling in the UK. I fell in eternal with the accent and dialect, which still holds a special premise in my heart. Some words, phrases, expressions, even saying had incorporated themselves into my subconscious psyche and I honestly do not want to erase them out of my mind and my feelings either, so I tend to pepper my speech with them even dur8ng lessons. And when I hear, during listening comprehension tasks, a recording spoken in a Northern dialect, I always tend to shed some teardrops. Weird, i’n’t i’? 🙄

    • #5373
      Bruno BritoBruno Brito

      Someone here said “Language requires rules. Without which, none can effectively communicate with another party.” and I totally agree with that, but it is important to know acknowledge that language rules must be something possible of personalization.

    • #5381

      Reflect on how convincing you find the linguistic view of ‘correctness’ and let us know what you think.

      With reference to my predominantly pre-A1-B2 students, I think inculcating a healthy degree of ‘correctness’ in their language development is appropriate and useful to them as they grapple with the language. Accuracy is king in my context so I often veer to encouraging my students to communicate, warts and all. That said, EAP texts written by the same students (often for publication) would have to be ‘correct’, as stipulated by the Journal. I am very open to questions from my students when they chance on something in the language landscape and have the gumption to question it (learning in general is very prescriptive in my context). Discussions like McDonald’s “I’m loving it” can be very fruitful, leading to other considerations of how languages work.

    • #5406

      As an English teacher myself I think we need a standard form and teaching the correct form of the grammar teaches us how we use language so that we can communicate among different cultures. However, we need to acknowledge and respect that language changes and some choose to continue to use their lingua franca. We can teach the rules but we should not have to enforce it. I do believe teaching how to use the English language with its rules is important but for communication language is used according to who is using it and who you are communicating with. We should embrace that spoken language is forever changing and evolving based on external factors.

    • #5414

      Accuracy versus fluency: should the teacher teach the former or should the teacher assist students with becoming fluent? Certain rules-regulations must be followed in order for a language to have a structure and its elements meaning. But too many regulations can hinder fluency, which is what is sought in learning and acquiring a language. Both teachers and students should be oriented to communication and not to a strict application of rules.

    • #5509
      Saul SantosSaul Santos

      Somewhere in this previos section says: “We all use grammatical rules, following the regularities we hear in the usage around us”. A lesson learned is that rather than trying to ‘teach’ my students the so called ‘correct’ rules of English, I should be focussed on providing with oportunities for them to notice regularities in the usage around them, and oppostunities to reflect on alternative ways of sayng things, and perhaps on pragmatic implications…

    • #5552

      I had to turn teacher Ronnie off, too. I found her almost insulting, in spite of (me) having learnt English in prescriptive courses. As a teacher, I’m trying to have a more descriptive approach.

    • #5586

      The issue with many native English teachers is they may be monolingual or not have an accent/dialect, it is therefore easy for them to characterise any variations from Standard English as stupid. Accuracy is key during the early stages of language acquisition but an over-emphasis on Standard English can be damaging for more advanced learners who want an authentic depiction of the language they encounter. It is vital that teachers consider the different “dress codes” more readily and move to the more plurilithic approach with authentic resources that show different types of English. That way, learners will be able to feel confident that they are adhering to the “regularity” of the language in each setting and, crucially, understand natural conversations between native speakers of English.

    • #5746

      When teaching English it could be helpful to conduct a needs analysis on the students. This will give an idea of their goals and need for speaking English. Depending on what these are & the level of English they require, some flexibility could be adopted in the adherence to ‘rules’ & the correction of grammar. If the students’ meaning can be clearly understood & they can communicate then this may be enough for them to function in whatever world they inhabit. Living in a multi-cultural society means that we have many opportunities to listen to & grasp the meaning of English spoken in a variety of accents & adaptations of grammar. It’s part of the dynamism of language. Problems may arise when writing English & a certain formality is required. I’m not sure how much the rules can be bent then.

    • #6087

      English has been imposed on a lot of people to the extent that to be able to use it is a necessity in their lives. I strongly believe that non-native users need to make it their own and that native speakers need to be made more aware of the increasing multilingualism in the world and see languages as resources and as something individual. Having said that, to be able to call it English some forms should be taught, to facilitate international communication.

    • #6602

      As English learner, music teacher, and researcher, I think is equally important to understand and be able to handle the use of StE, and, at the same time, be able to adapt my English for communicative purposes. If I have to choose, I prefer the linguistic view of describing language as it actually is rather than trying to establish a rigid set of norms. However, I’m aware that in today’s world my English should be flexible enough to follow a Standard, according to the monolithic view, in some contexts, and to embrace variation in other.

    • #6763
      Trang NguyenTrang Nguyen

      In the national education system in my country, teaching and learning English focus a lot on ‘correctness’ (whether it is grammar, vocabulary). And I do think that it is still important to acquire the accuracy since it is the key in the early stage. It will help learners to avoid misunderstanding. However it is also worth-mentioning that the definition of correctness is becoming more and more vague. Different people from different contexts have distinguished views of standard language.

    • #7171

      The language – rules vs regularities – is very helpful. Is there an alternative term for ‘mainstream’ (used in the video) – this usage automatically excludes speakers who use other variants of English’?

    • #7422

      It is true that correctness in language is important because we need to understand how correctly we use language. However, many teachers overuse ‘correctness in language’ to correct students’ mistakes which makes them less confident.

    • #7437
      Quan Duong HongQuan Duong

      Correctness in any language is essential; however, it seems to work under certain circumstances. It should contemplate the time and situation. Otherwise, it can hinder learners from achieving their goals.

    • #7635
      Kai WardKai Ward

      While I haven’t experienced any issues with ‘correctness’ outside my secondary schools English classroom. My teacher would constantly express how ‘anyways’ was wrong and people should stop using it, and also on how ‘literally’ has taken on a new meaning. I do see a lot of people commenting on the grammar and slang used in African American communities online. Generally, regarding them as improper or wrong version of the language.

    • #7649

      I don’t agree with these views of ‘right and wrong’ however teachers do have to follow a curriculum, and aid their students in passing exams. In any formal written assessment, marks would either be deduced or not given for using a double negation. Should this be changed?

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    • #7741
      carys kerrcarys kerr

      I believe that there is no ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’ approach when it comes to speaking language, however due to the education system, there unfortunately is a ‘corr4ct’ way to teach English. This shouldn’t occur, as people all learn in different ways.

    • #7754

      As an English learners, I find it quite confusing sometimes to learn English through movies or songs because native speakers use grammar rules which are different from what I learnt. However, through these movies and songs, I learn some authentic languages and expressions.

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