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 7 months, 2 weeks 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.

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