New aspects of language; Teaching Teachers
New aspects of language using a language is so much a part of our everyday lives that we do not realize just how complex an activity it is. Linguistics is the science responsible for investigating this activity. We take so much for granted during this series some of the tools and methods used by linguists to study the complexities of language will be demonstrated. The series is prepared and narrated by Dr GERD Franco associate professor of English and Linguistics at George Peabody college for teachers in today's program. Barbara Wiseman a teacher a freshman English. Linda Garrett a college undergraduate. Mike Ford a graduate student in linguistics joined Dr. Frankel in a discussion of Applied Linguistics. Talking about teaching teachers the classroom situations he used in this program were recorded during a linguistics class at Peabody college. Well why don't we repeat the definition of a sentence before we do
anything else today or perhaps even better the definition of language. OK well. How about you. Language seems to be a system of communication between people in vocal communication. Ok fine how what you give me the definition is you have a complete language system. Rather than language as communication names as a system. Language is an arbitrary sound system and sounds and meaning there's nothing intrinsic you know. All right this was one of the definitions you may recall that we also had another one which is similar of another exactly the same about language being a complete fact. Remember this was closer to the homes committee area read that. Remember that if say as many sentences that are possible to be created what's in there and the like.
Yes I do have the complete set of all grammatical sense of the language when I got it. Now if you have this particular definition what will it do to you in order to convey a better understanding of the sentence to your student. Well Barbara I will share them. What can be done with this and how do you generate other families to express. Now if you start out with having your students generate First of all that's a basic sentence us. All right simple cards and the basic sentences. How would you go about doing that with. Well Barbara would be nice if you could answer that question yourself because you know what we're doing today and here with you two girls here who participated in the class discussion but we're trying to do is to define some of the things with more rigor which have come up. So how would you answer that question was What would you do if you had basic sentences and you wanted to explain to your students the basic term sentence where you would first begin by smiling at a
sentence complete a sentence composed of matter known phrase and a verb phrase. OK I mean I began on the simplest level right now. OK. Instead of going on directly with that I would like to ask another question. You said you explain what's in the sentence. Do you feel that defining a notion like a sentence for a classroom like you the students you're working with is important in order to understand what's in a sentence is a definitional approach important. I am really don't think that a definitional approach is important for every very first I think perhaps it's best to look at what it does along I want to get to the definition that means go from the structure to the definition. How about the teacher definitions help you to work with more rigor and more precision. Mike you feel that the teachers should be familiar with all the definitions even though he may not even use it immediately. I think the teacher definitely has to be familiar with a number of definitions because it will help him determine in a sense where his class as individuals are going when they start talking about
languages or about sentences. Yes you feel Linda it prepares you better for a teacher when you are fully aware what the units are with which you operate in language that you learned as sentence and language and so even though you may not need it in the first classroom you are going into it doesn't prepare you better. Oh definitely because I think it helps prepare you in a direction in which to go from dire instead of just developing a definition with your children. Then I guess what you're trying to say is that you feel you ought to shape your own thinking with Reagan precision before you can do it with the students. Even though this approach to the student is practical more than theoretical. OK thank you. Love because that is so because we have this infinite repetitiveness of the possibility to include adjectives. What kind of a rule would bring an adjective into a sentence.
OK I'm on it. I don't what kind of a rule here we really come to a delicate point what kind of a rule would bring an adjective into it then. All right what kind would do that somebody and then name. An adjective transformation many go now. How would you explain the difference between let's say a phrase struck through and a transformation route to your students. That is quite a point and perhaps somebody wants to try that. Well somebody has enough cut minor. You say if you say that of a sentence consists of two phrases noun phrase then praise and you then expand them you say the noun phrase has a noun and somebody is an object I determine that was very good and somebody that the verb phrase has at least one they're a bit older than I was also very good. Now this kind of rule is simply an expansion rule you say you need a has units B and C in them. Right that's what you meant the guys right.
But how would you explain the transformation rule that's not quite that easy. Let's see how you're going to do that then never would you try. OK. Reference that you might give you example of the Senate and White went to plan and share their demand for a white dog in Wayne County Fair. Yes but how do you get the word why didn't you read the language what you're really saying you want to dive went to Tehran and then any and now. The surface scratching you have done anything because you have the wind down his wife. Right but I think you're really proposing two ideas here to the student. Read both what the action of the dog and second of certain property which the dog has and which you would then say they really Okura in the underlying notions in the way in which we approach what you want to say in two ways and they're only put together later. Right now how are they being put
together. You still have that how the word wide gets into the into the sentence The white dog goes to town. You only spoke about to underline one eye does it get in. Do you simply pluck it out of one and stick it into the other by leaving some kind of a blank when you write it on the board there must be something more systematic. You know that I mean point of generality. Yes that. Right. No. Why. Not. When you leave your. Name what is embedded. One would never ever make didn't hear from me for your very. Own writing and in general I think I'm going to do what we what we wanted to do. Now how do we get a conflict that is going to sympathetic
then that the wide documented that the very thing that matter how do we get a sentence for Informatica think that they're going to come to get it. Let's say the doc or his wife goes to town that's the same double I did but it's an entirely different way to get that from. What. Would you. Want. In your. Life. Why. OK well what you really thing is Lee and that which is of course exactly what we're driving at is that why don't went to the doc which was White went to town it's the same kind of transformational process only in one instance we include the modified before the non The white duck and the other anthems mean good the modify after the noun.
Here we really get into some complicated terminology and really modern terms for the purpose that. First of all it shows that the modern teacher apparently has to master a certain thing with a giant professional jargon. Is that really true. Mike do you think that without weather transformation Im betting it would be hard to be direct. Oh I don't think there's any question about it I think not only has he got to begin to learn one kind of jargony and may have to learn several kinds in terms of the number of grammars that he has to cope with. So if we talk at the moment of transformation Ramage means as a whole lexicon of terms which he would have to master. Some people saying that is bad makes it difficult and even unnecessary What do you think Barbara. Do you have the feeling that he clarifies that did. Impedes your doing with it thinking and I think that it isn't necessary to have to always use the
theory of jargon day is to know what you've been about not doing rather than you know you look at the big different that's what's so important. You talk to writing about definitions without the teacher should know the definition but it doesn't have to convey all of them before you start teaching. Now how about the set on this. You have to have it in your mind don't you. Linda before you ever go to a classroom. Yes I definitely fall for your outside You're always searching for the cycle to start. Hey man I want to know what you're talking about him I want to go beyond just you know I jam on Andrea. We had a very good example here with the D.A. We started out talk about too I did miss that there are two ideas embedded in the sentence. The why dog goes to town to see a famous sentence. And I've heard that too I dess the dog goes when and the dog is white. And I mean I think I did as a number of times but the I really mainly interested in with the help of transformation Graham is not the ideational aspect of the sentence but the structure
aspect and I think that the transformation the approach we'll have to separate between the two underscore the importance the overriding importance of the structure. I hope listeners will excuse the for not being able to explain 100 percent here and now what transformations are. But it is a new type of grammar. However it ties in with the traditional one doesn't it. Mike this is very much tied in with in some way with what teachers used to do all the time. I think so except that it's well briefly I think what you can say is that transformational grammar has taken some of the same attitudes as the tradition of the American. Yes I think and made stricter. The good yes or more rigorous and more rigorous measure or whether we're going to Thais. Yes and probably some of you may have had some structural Graham at an earlier stage of your career and or you may have seen structured books and you may have noticed the structure of command so-called structure
the Marians are somewhat different and that the transformation of Marion's are more along the lines of additional grammar what they mainly do is a systematized things which have been said by tradition and this all along and if you have applied to something like that in your class already Bamma you tried it yet and I think you can apply ideas of transformational. I have done it already. Yes I have flabby IBF Yes teacher. Oh I see how good you are explain what transformations are if you use the term I think I used the term transformation but only in that interesting experience as we were using it they're not going into the fact that this was definitely a new kind of grammar. You see in front of them what you do is you transform. So the term as such is of course understandable without a definition because everybody knows what it means to transform and I think it is very useful to do that without frightening them by mentioning Konski every other in every other sentence. How about
you learn that which of these ideas you feel not yet having taught as being the most helpful. I think transformational is most helpful because it does generalize and just generalize. Yes you know how structures are like after all have I different of a systematic why so that the two terms which we may stress here in the short time we have with transformation gramma has with other grammars do not provide a generalizability and the realization of into relationships right now thank you. Maybe interesting they've been there at the very end you say the doc who is why don't the doc which is white what about the pend on which of the two is correct. What is the determining factor here. Why might you say I did that or would you condemn one is wrong. What is the determining factor of a thing who awaits. Any idea.
Yeah non-human Alright let me know when you are talking really about fetus which nouns have rights. That means we are getting into an area here which again is a problem of the greatest amount of analize ability of generalizability about the nominal part of our language. One thing that every known has certain features which determine its dramatic relationship very good. So the doc is animate but it is not human. And accordingly we may sometime hesitate whether we use one or the other whether we put the stress on one aspect or the other aspect of the noun you are talking about that of course happens to practically own right. Would you ever have a situation where you can say old let's say the table who is. That you never consider the people who you would never say the table who
asked about the table is not human either and neither is the dog. So what's the difference. Well the table material was in ahead of my life you know. Alright so which of the two features is the determining for using who or which the non human ness or the animate ness. The non-human if that means you would say the dog which and the table which is that correct. Now it's somebody else who may say that the animate mist as the determining factor would say the person who the dog who and the table which read so if you have a number of features which determine your grammatical relationship it depends which one you make the distinctive one image when you make redundant. And this gives you the correct answer to the question of relationships. Well here again we have an area of it's a 16 interesting which has been treated in this way only with the help of money ending
with it in general and with the home skin approach in particular namely the interrelationship between semantics and syntax or semantics and all other aspects of grammar. Where in today's schools is semantics usually treated like what traditionally has been treated as part of a vocabulary study skills area where you have had a list of 20 were here you were teaching and you went into the etymology of the educator words and then it went through a period where it moved into being taught as part of the spelling and then in literature books at the end of a story you have a list of what act as cool which has special classes which hold etymology I believe and it claims to me that most teachers erroneously believe that knowing something about the etymology and the basic Latin meaning of what makes a person use it better in English. Now in our sense of the word here we use the relationship between semantics and syntax in order to explain
certain features we are using in fact what may be called a semantic feature analysis. What is such a feature you remember what they're saying. For instance at the table what feature did it have. When the parable was an animate you say and the dog rather I was left out one can imagine that as a deference and using these features we can for instance explain why some people say the baby who was a baby which right the baby is human that is of course true but if in our awareness it is class human then we say the baby who if we say it is up to a certain age it is minus human that means that human is not fully developed and we are not yet sure whether we should say the baby who when we say well feature wise it is minus human we say the baby which And that is true for the dog and others. There is one important difference between syntax and semantics he generalises. Can you think of what I'm driving at
and that the syntax of a syntactic pattern of a sentence can be treated like a tree. You know you have two branches. You have a noun phrase and a reference we said that earlier in the program I believe you said Barbara that we have a noun phrase and a phrase. However in semantic feature analysis we don't have any of that. Let's say made or human. If you talk about a boy you have both. A voice mail and human it probably has some other properties too. Can you apply that in a classroom situation mommy. Can it help you to show Will it be of let's say Put differently will be of advantage for your students to realize that their mentor X is an integral part of an overall grammatical pattern over language rather than an outside level. Yes I think definitely that it would be advantageous for Andrea and I just as in example that year in gave us a baby this would this would be a perfect application I mean which means you don't have to qualify any more with your students.
Which one is correct but it is a matter of awareness which feature is the dominant feature in this particular instance. How do you see it. Linda Yes I definitely think that a lot of questions. Lack of understanding could be cut back spline I'm. Wrong fly past bad grammar in from all countries being in an already lighted. Are you then saying that you feel that the same person should teach vocabulary study and grammar that that would be advantage Mike rather than let's say give one to a linguist and the other to literature math arm. Yes I think you have to run it this way if you're going to have anything intelligible certain about the relationship between the two. So I think at this point we can say that for teach us the most important advantage of seeming semantics as a part of the whole grammatical set up as the unity of language it's not cut into independent levels but it is one continuum of levels from the lowest to the highest
and it forms one systematic set right. Thank you. Let's go to with Sam here and you are not a native speaker of English so you must have a very special interest in this approach because you would probably be invested anything away in teaching English to I don't know now you can speak it not how does it strike you as a means to get things across. I think it makes seeing things quite. A lot simpler than it got in before I think I was in the grammar ask what I was brought up to try to show where you know if you had to do with a lot of. Learning something by brain instead of just one and one coming up here on creating monster and didn't see that one coming. Yeah now it is of course more abstract. Do you think that makes it more difficult I did with my b f what I'm going to give language by the way that would be interesting if every lead that's spoken that
spoken in eastern Nigeria I think you know used in that company because of the name it had. Not for me and for millions and. Regular earning their core it's good it's good. OK now let's go back to my question it's an intellectual effort and this abstract scheme is it worthwhile you think does it make you think so much easier in the long run. I did beginning it might be difficult necessarily has to be here because Wendy from and I said Don I don't memorize and get into the brand. Yeah I think it works now. So you believe in the fact that it can be used for teaching English to non-native speakers. This is a problem which has been bandied about by many many people in books and in nectar and so on and it's still a moot point whether this type of grammar is really useful for teaching English to non-native speakers and I'm glad you find it useful because you know any remember some of the great thing with although you disagree with some of it.
Now this was Sam Akpan one of Peabody students who unfortunately cannot be with us today. In fact maybe we will have him on a program which will be devoted to teacher of English to us because of other languages or abbreviated TESL. Now we know there are two possibilities either the native speaker teaches the non-native speaker or the non-native speaker teachers his fellow countrymen the non native speakers. Apparently Sam the non-native speakers thinks that this matter bears valid for teaching English to his fellow countrymen. I would be interested in your opinion as native speakers of English and as potential teachers of non-natives whether on the basis of your experience which we have had so far you feel that this kind of grammar we have been discussing today would also be valid for teaching English to non-native speakers. What would you say. My reaction would be and I can't base this on any experience I've never tried to use it but
off hand I would say that would be difficult. I think it would and I'm not sure that I would be that you would be willing or unwilling to use it since it seems to me that this system presumes a great deal are present in the language system. Yeah yeah what would you say. Well I think it could be a very good method for teaching English too and I'm glad if you're going to be telling the West look at this method lets you see into the real nature of language not just English language writing to a language I think that's true and even if then you correctly you're saying that since research has extended into the deep structure it may have become more valid than it was before this notion was taken up. That's very interesting. I'm afraid it is because it after the program ended what would you say. I would agree with Bob or because of this idea. Actually I am still a devotee. Come on guys that's all you have to say and I'm afraid that really at this point not enough has been researched in this area to make
reaching statements. Thank you I'm not going to go from here. We haven't done so much riffling Westlake Now of course we have not covered the whole language that's impossible. How do really you know they are about to do the rest of your language work with this after having had that limited amount of inside your things you have now enough in order to find your way through the additional difficulties of your fantasy life. Things denying it their way for one that by thinking are fundamentally license yet linguistics and we can gather from the Senate to the paragraphs and and use these relationships and building better paragraphs and therefore perhaps better. Well I'm glad that you are among those who believe that this kind of chemical be extended beyond the Clintons into the paragraph. Again you're in good company. What would you do next where would you go from here if you wanted some more information. I mean somehow you must broaden your basis now because the booklets we had a really comparatively
primitive. Where would you go from here. Yeah yeah yeah yeah. I think one possibility is to go to. Well the program mentioned well help you to find a linguist at the end of the series but where do you find linguistics teaches now and please. Since we don't have much time left I'm getting a Ph.D. in linguistics at Peabody professional journals which contain linguistic material very often. What are you going to take whether you think you would like me. That would help you to become teachers as well. I think it was a very useful discussion and I
think all three of you are very much. Today's programme has been about teaching teachers. Barbara Wiseman a teacher a freshman English. Linda Garrett a college undergraduate and Mike Forte a graduate student in linguistics join Dr. Frankel in the discussion of Applied Linguistics. The classroom situations used in this program were recorded during a linguistics class at Peabody college. New aspects of languages prepared and narrated by Dr. Frankel associate professor of English and Linguistics at George Peabody college for teachers and is produced in the studios of WP Allen. This is Richard Roth Bell speaking. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
- New aspects of language
- Teaching Teachers
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