Language grammar

Feel welcome to the open scroll
Feel welcome to the open scroll | Source

A journey in language

Language is not just another school course. Language is part the human thinking matter. Further, good language skills can be a good idea for a better job and a better living.

English is one of the linguae francae of the contemporary world. More and more people learn it. More and more people happen to experience failure, too.

The language has become mandatory in many educational systems. This means that success or failure with English weighs on the student's overall progress in gaining educational recognition, as well as prospects for employment.

Living pret-a-porter?

Could human thinking come pret-a-porter, hand-made, and ready-to-wear? Naturally, the answer is — NO. At the same time, most grammar books will offer rules and definitions, as

We use the present simple to talk about general facts ... (Cambridge);

The simple present tense in English is used to describe an action that is regular, true or normal. (Woodward Grammar)

We would have to take on some philosophical job, to tell what is true or permanent — generally. There would be another job, in psychology and similar fields, to tell what is as generally normal. Many people just memorize the rules, and many teachers grant credits just for the theoretical knowledge.

Mommy's gone TO shopping; screenshot credit Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Mommy's gone TO shopping; screenshot credit Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer | Source

Space and time

In Stanley Kubrick's Space Odyssey, the girl says that mommy's gone TO shopping.

Not only children think there has to be a place for a thing to be done. This natural thinking only is more visible in childhood, we do not leave it behind with maturation.

All natural languages spatialize. We can say before that house at the end of the road, as well as before twelve hours. Toddlers, we people learn places first. Growing up, we learn the hours. Hence spatialization: use of part the terms we have learned regarding earthly space also for time.

Importantly, however we learn to say someone has gone __ shopping, without an overt marker for space, we still know the person has gone some place.

The linguistic spatialization is different from that in psychology or social sciences. It is not a recommendation to make things happen. It observes on the natural fact that part verbal reference for space expands on that for time, in all natural languages.

Dynamic Language Mapping

Whether we speak one language or many, we can make an abstract map. We always use abstract thinking for grammar, whatever the language. We can use a picture generally of a suburban area. We do not have to know where the place could be exactly. We do not need to find out. The picture can symbolize an area.

Basic variable: ON
Basic variable: ON | Source

We can process the picture, to mark it is abstract. What and how we think cannot be bound to particular geography. People can speak English world-round.

We can think about grammatical tense patterns and human cognitive variables. We can give the patterns spatial attributes, and focus on first elements.

Four Aspects visualized as spatial variables.
Four Aspects visualized as spatial variables.

Naturally, we need the Present, Past, and Future. We can remain visual, and view our knowledge as the light we have. Knowledge needs memory. We happen to forget the detail in PAST things, as the study matter we do not work with. We can envision the light as with a setting sun: there is shine enough, if we want to return to the matter. We do not have memories of the FUTURE, but we can plan our learning: our shine can be as with sunrise. It is our PRESENT we are most capable of shaping.

Time reference visualized as three fields in light
Time reference visualized as three fields in light

We can keep our Fields of Time the same, for all languages we speak. Labels such as the Unreal Past or Future in the Past may become redundant, when we develop our linguistic relativity. Everyone can have one Present, one Past, and one Future really.

Our relativity is not about families or physics. It is about language and natural, brain logic:

If you had eaten the cookie, you would not have it now.

In the example, we use a verb form we can associate with a time before a past, to tell about the Past. We use a Past Modal form, to tell about the Present. Again, we find such relativity in many languages, to include French, German, or Russian.

Why think about variables? Tense patterns are permanent. They have not changed in centuries.

Cognitive variables are not "changeables". They are values that we can apply flexibly. Verbal first elements and relative time reference are strong regularities. They are worth integrating.

There is not and there cannot be a grammar rule to decide if we want to say that we live somewhere, we are living somewhere, we have lived, or we have been living somewhere, especially as long as we make correct phrases and sentences. Our grammar will depend on how we perceive our staying in a place

Nature versus nurture

At the same time, we do not have to believe we are discovering principles in human thinking. If we can make wheels or build houses, this does not mean we have wheels or houses in our heads. It does not mean we were born with ideas for wheels or houses. We yet can learn to choose a good place and vehicle. Likewise, people can learn to use variables.

Stative verb uses do not give trouble even to young learners, when mapped.
Stative verb uses do not give trouble even to young learners, when mapped.

Visuals are just to help learning, as with the often confusing "stative verbs". We can think about stative verb uses and mapping. With practice, we become less dependent on the picture.

This is a dream come true. And I am loving  every minute of it. Example from Corpus of Contemporary American English, COCA.
This is a dream come true. And I am loving every minute of it. Example from Corpus of Contemporary American English, COCA. | Source

Further, we do not need to view language as a system. Systems are finite. We can think about grammar as a logical set that can provide for infinite utterances. By infinity, we do not mean speech or writing never ends. We mean language is not mathematically calculable.

Importantly, we do not change language at all. We refer for examples to the Corpus of Contemporary American English: This is a dream come true. And I am loving every minute of it.

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Comments 9 comments

Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 4 years ago from United States

Tell me, does "More and more people happen to experience failure" mean that more people experience failure, or does it mean that the reason for the existence of more and more people is failure?

Also, does "Grammar rules become memorized" mean that people memorize rules of grammar, or does it mean that the rules get themselves memorized somehow?

Thank you. :)


teresapelka profile image

teresapelka 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland Author

English, especially American English, has become the language of choice in many countries to have previously limited access to American resources for political reasons.

More and more people learn the language; this also has a side effect, such as greater numbers of people having had some unsuccessful experiences trying to learn English (there is no difference as regards difficulty between American and British, naturally).

I can't see how a conjecture like failure being the reason for human existence might even relate to my article.

Grammar rules become memorized by humans - memorization may impede the learning process. I was a teacher for more than 10 years, never thought about trying to teach any UFO or animal, though according to some uses I don't necessarily follow, I taught aliens, that is, foreigners.

I wouldn't be missing out on a significant experience, would I? ;)


teresapelka profile image

teresapelka 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland Author

@Tom Rubenoff,

Let me add that as a teacher I saw human pessimism about learning English (I always made it clear that I could teach American - naturally, everyone is capable of English to an extent ;) - human frustration, yes, verging on anger, as well as these 'negative' feelings going away with success.

I put negative in quotes, as I wouldn't divide feelings in positive or negative feelings. I hope you admit this actually could be only bi-polar.

I am not advertising now and I do not intend to advertise for some time - I am about to finish my work on Part Two; the whole of this stage of the journey is four parts.

I can work the Advanced and Proficient levels after I market the Intermediate; the picture for the intended book cover shows on this page.

I hope you understand that I don't want some sarcastic attitudes.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 4 years ago from United States

I am not being sarcastic. In the first instance the sentence is unnecessarily complicated by the phrase "happen to," making the second meaning possible. Better, "More and more people experience failure" or better still, "More and more people fail." In the second instance, the word "become" is confusing, and would much better replaced by "are," but more importantly could be made much clearer by simplifying syntax: "Students memorize rules of grammar for tests and then forget these rules."


teresapelka profile image

teresapelka 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland Author

@Tom Rubenoff,

What 'happens' doesn't have to be a rule, a principle:

- Many people learn. Many people happen to experience failure, too.

My intention is to remain non-qualifying to an extent. Failure is failure. I wouldn't say, 'some people fail', like - this is their nature to fail?

I know from my teaching experience - please remember I'm not advertising and I'm not likely to begin advertising soon - that many people fail because they never get the guidance to actually enhance their language potential.

As a private teacher, I happened to be a kind of an 'emergency' - a parent telephoning and saying his or her daughter or son would fail their school term - 'any help, anywhere?'

I happened to be hired by people who had the ambition for their sons or daughters to be the top of the class.

There were people who just wanted to have lessons, felt it was better than not having them.

Whatever the circumstances, people want quality for money and I provided it. My use of the verb 'to happen' comes from my experience.

English is not obligatory in many educational systems. It has become mandatory, actually recently - an option in some of the countries of the ex Eastern bloc. However, once you take it up, you succeed, or fail the school term.

Feel welcome to visit my grammar blog,

http://travelingrammar.com

I could also send you a free download for your evaluation. :)

Finally, students happen to remember rules 'for ever and ever', too. The grammar formulations happen to go in conflict in test and exam situations, especially when the test or exam takes oral skill.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 4 years ago from United States

Thank you very much for explaining this to me. I appreciate and wish you good fortune in all your endeavors.


teresapelka profile image

teresapelka 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland Author

@Tom Rubenoff

Thank you for reading.


Rafiq23 profile image

Rafiq23 20 months ago from Pakistan

Interesting and really informative article , Teresapelka!


teresapelka profile image

teresapelka 20 months ago from Dublin, Ireland Author

@Rafiq23

Thank you for reading. :)

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