Michael Nicholson 29 Degrees (including a Doctorate)

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Garp, Jan 29, 2023.

  1. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    You can learn English grammar by studying English grammar. I, personally, don't see the point in learning grammar rules for a language they don't apply to, but to each his own. There are non-Indo-European languages that don't gender words. The reason why I mentioned Lithuanian is because it's believed to be the most conservative of the Indo-European languages having fewer changes in relation to Proto-Indo-European.
  2. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    You don't learn the rules for individual languages (except as examples) when you learn grammar. From grammar, you learn the whole system of language - all the things like gender, verb tenses, word order, etc. that are part of language. You understand how it works. Then, when you go to learn other languages, you know what to look for and what you've got to learn. It's like engineering; you see how the thing works - you can take it apart and you know how it goes together, for your particular (language) use.

    "Seeing (and understanding) how things work" - then applying that knowledge. I've seen the process work - for engineering, business - and languages. No learning should be treated as simply rote learning. A common mistake in the past. methinks.
  3. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Yes - I realize that. And there are those that do. Not necessarily harder or easier, either way. I had a couple of semesters of Mandarin in college. Mandarin doesn't gender nouns - but Holy Cow, it was difficult enough without that -- at least for me. But our teacher, Liang Jun, was one of the nicest people I ever met. She was also one of the most patient, thorough, and understanding language teachers I ever had.
    Xièxiè liáng jūn. (Thank you, Liang Jun)

    100% true. I realize that. My take: if you want to see the similarities on the Euro side - then you need to see the Indo side, too.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2023
  4. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I didn't say that lacking grammatical gender is the only language feature that makes it easier to learn a language. As I stated earlier, languages with more verb tenses can be more difficult to learn. Tonal languages are also, generally, more difficult to learn.

    Since we're on the topic of grammatical gender, I'm glad that linguists have mostly stopped using the term for languages that don't have sex-based noun cases and are, instead, just calling them noun cases.
  5. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Neither did I.
    Of course. Did I contradict that, somewhere? I think not. All I said that relates to any of this - is that knowledge of grammar - the whole subject - will help a person learn languages.

    Gender and case are two different things. In language, Gender is grammatical gender - nothing to do with biological gender. E.g. the German word for girl is "Mädchen" (neuter) - clearly not biologically accurate. Yet it is grammatically correct.
    Cases are, e.g., Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative, Ablative, Vocative, Locative, Instrumental ... some are common to many languages - others pertain to only one or a few. Consequently, might you mean noun classes, not cases? And Bantu noun classes appear to have undergone the exact reverse of what you stated. Many former noun classes are now referred to as (grammatical) genders.

    I have been unable to find a reference that supports your statement about noun cases and gender. You may choose to provide one, or not. Your choice. Other than that, I think I'm done here. I'm getting the feeling it's argument for the sake of it - again - and I don't wish to engage in it further, on that basis. You may, as once before, declare yourself the winner, if you feel you are. I won't mind. I won't even notice - I promise.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2023
  6. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    And - from grammar - you need to know the (grammatical) gender so that you can use the correct form of articles or modifiers - and pronouns to agree (grammatically) with the word. Gender, number and case. Those are the three biggies for agreement of nouns and pronouns with other parts of speech. In languages that require that, of course. I've never studied a Western language (including English) that didn't.

    You know grammar - you look at the word (noun or pronoun) or you think it, and you know what to do, when using it in a sentence. Gender, number and case. Make sure the other pieces (that need to) match. Duck soup! :)
  7. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I still am. But I just realized what you might have been talking about. The dropping of specific gender (sex) related pronouns etc. and choosing a neutral "They, them" etc. OK - but that's nothing to do with (grammatical) cases, as described before. Instances maybe - but not grammatical cases. That's why I've been up till 2 a.m. trying to figure this out.

    That's a suspension of grammatical gender rules - and a good one too, as I see it. And I'm assuming that in other Western languages, only people will be affected -not inanimate objects like cars, houses etc. which, unlike English, still carry grammatical genders. (English had them until around 1200 C.E.) Dunno how that's gonna work in Latin-based languages, e.g. French, Spanish and Italian, where there is no neuter (grammatical gender) or forced-neutral form of "Them, they" etc. It's either masculine or feminine. With a mixed crowd, the masculine form is used. No neuter - no neutral, either. Lot of languages like that. Maybe some are inventing new pronouns or something... haven't heard.

    So... G'night. Ms. Sanantone, wherever you are. I promise not to bother you tomorrow.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2023
  8. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

  9. Michael Burgos

    Michael Burgos Active Member

    We use the trivium for homeschooling. Fortunately, the homeschool movement and its influence on evangelical schools have reinvigorated the use of classical education. So it is with language study, particularly Latin and Greek.
    Johann likes this.
  10. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    You're mostly responding to yourself at this point. I didn't quote you a half a dozen times last night; you quoted me and yourself repeatedly.

    Swahili, a Bantu language, has noun classes, not really grammatical gender. Grammatical gender is one type of noun classification system.


    There are people who study grammar for the sake of studying grammar. They usually major in linguistics. This isn't a lost field of study. Otherwise, people tend to focus on learning the grammar of a language they're studying. From what I've read, the consensus among experts is that English's grammar is Germanic. As you already stated, English and Latin are on two different branches of Indo-European languages. Farsi has a lot of borrowed Arabic words, but it's still an Indo-European language and not a Semitic language. Farsi also has a lot of French vocabulary, but it still isn't a Romance language.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  11. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I knew Farsi isn't Semitic, but I didn't realize the Indo-Iranian languages were a subset of Indo-European languages. TIL!
  12. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Yep. I remember reading about them while learning about Ukrainian pre-and early history. Lot of Indo-Iranians around there. We know they were Indo-Iranians because some of them left their names carved - names like Sandakhsatra for one, that were def. of that origin. Can't remember any other names right now - but there were a couple of others listed.
  13. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Mar 1, 2023
  14. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

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