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Good English-English Dictionary?
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teacherjuli



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:23 pm    Post subject: Good English-English Dictionary? Reply with quote

Can anyone recommend a good English-English dictionary for advanced ESL students?
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fluffyhamster



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Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a sticky thread at the top of the Bilingual Education forum that mentions most of the recent advanced E-E dictionaries, but here's a quick summary: Any of those from British publishers are good - the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary 7th edition, the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English 4th edition, the Macmillan English Dictionary (New/2nd edition) and the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary 3rd edition - but after further consideration, examination and use of the books along with their CD-ROM versions (the two can be bought together for only slightly more than the book alone, and nowadays many people will consult the CD-ROM version more than the book, especially to take advantage of the many extras on such CD-ROMs (see below)), I've now ranked them in the above order (whereas before I'd had the Longman in first place always); that is, the Oxford is probably the most attractive visually (both the book and CD-ROM)*, of the four the most thorough and where there might be a need explicit in terms of grammar coding, has idioms and phrases in a single alphabetical block at the end of an entry (useful if it's students rather than native teachers who are using the book ~ versus the Longman's very explicit but correspondingly strict ordering of everything in an entry by frequency, except for phrasal verbs), very useful 'Other reference' appendices (the ones on numbers, abbreviations, prefixes and suffixes, and particularly the sayings and proverbs, all stand out), and on the CD-ROM, a nifty 'Know-how' function that provides matching examples according to each word or text (and additional word or phrase) that you type or paste into the search box, the Wordfinder dictionary (not quite the equal of the Longman Language Activator, but a welcome addition nontheless) and a reasonable range of "drag n drop into the gap" exercises, though such exercises are pretty standard on these CD-ROMs nowadays. (One could also argue that the slightly larger defining vocabulary of the OALD generally results in more accurate definitions, but in order to arrive at a perfect definition it is probably necessary to own several dictionaries! For example, I find the Macmillan often expresses the functions of a word or phrase just so. Owning more than one dictionary obviously also comes in handy when you can't find what you're looking for - all dictionaries differ somewhat in comprehensiveness, and a dictionary that's good in one entry may well be less detailed in another - or simply want a differing take, or more "vital" examples etc (I have to add that I quite often find the Longman's examples the most preferable i.e. appealing - the spoken component of at least the BNC seems to have had more of a look-in)).

The only truly outstanding features of the competing book-CD-ROM packs are, as far as I am aware, the Longman's aforementioned frequency information (particularly its highlighting of respective frequencies in speech versus writing), and inclusion on the CD-ROM of the Activator and audio for not only words but every example sentence, as well as the option to arrange example sentences by a concordance/KWIC view; the Macmillan's treatment of metaphor, and its 2e CD-ROM's thesaurus (similar to the Cambridge's Smart thesaurus), searchable/full listing of illustrations (as has the Cambridge; can't seem to find this feature on the Oxford or Longman), sound effects, and animations; and the Cambridge book's phrase index (I assume the 3rd edition has retained this, as it allows one to look up a compound or phrase via any of the keywords within it), and its CD-ROM's aforementioned Smart thesaurus and listing of illustrations. (But actually, I think the original Cambridge International Dictionary of English would where still available be a better buy, certainly for the book, than its later incarnations in the revised form of the various CALDs - the CIDE had lots of useful features such as 'Language Portraits', lists of false friends, famous quotations, illustrations etc, and likely a greater number of examples and corresponding sub-definitions too). (NB: Bear in mind that after about a month, my first edition of the Macmillan CD-ROM always seemed to need to be put into and kept inside my PC drive, increasing wear and slowing access - hopefully Macmillan have in the 2e fixed this potential glitch. The Longman just needs reinserting every 30 days and can then be promptly removed again, whilst the Oxford and Cambridge CD-ROM programs do not require any insertion of/reauthentication from the original CD-ROM after the initial installation).

BTW, some of these (at least the books), or their intermediate level counterparts, may be available in local bilingualized versions (see the Bilingual Education sticky for examples, as well as the following thread: http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?p=660384#660384 ).

Anyway you can check out those books and CD-ROMs at the following sites (free online versions of the dictionaries are in bold):

http://www.oup.com/elt/local/global/promotion/oald?cc=global
( > http://www.oup.com/elt/local/global/promotion/compass?cc=global )
( >> http://www.oup.com/shockwave_flash/elt/oald/oald?cc=global )
http://www.oup.com/elt/catalogue/teachersites/oald7/lookup?cc=global

http://www.pearsonlongman.com/ldoce/
http://www.ldoceonline.com/

http://www.macmillandictionaries.com/about/MED2/aboutMED2.htm
http://www.macmillandictionary.com/

http://www.cambridge.org/elt/dictionaries/cald.htm
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/

You'll notice that I haven't mentioned any COBUILD dictionaries, but like I said on that Bilingual Education sticky, 'whilst I respect the innovations they made (particularly the use of stylistically-consistent, full-sentence definitions), I really do not understand why they insist on not separating differing parts of speech into separate entries - it must make finding the correct entry very slow for learners who have already intuited that they are dealing with e.g. a noun rather than a verb...nor do I understand why they chose to make the changes they did with the 4th edition (see antimoon.com's comments). Other dictionaries have got the balance of tradition and innovation right, and have been quicker to add new features (or retain those older ones) that would seem to be of benefit to learners.' But by all means check out their latest offerings (they published an American version a year or so ago), and derived ones such as the BBC English Dictionary, the Collins Plain English Dictionary etc. COBUILD certainly provides a lot of grammar information (more detailed than even the Oxford it seems).

I also haven't mentioned any purely American publishers because they have generally been very slow to invest in computerized corpora and are therefore lagging somewhat behind the best of the modern British publications; the only dictionaries dealing with American English that I can thus recommend are the American English edition of the Macmillan (very similar to the above, except that American spellings and meanings/vocab are to the fore), and the Longman Advanced American Dictionary (now in a snazzy new/2nd edition - see the Longman links above. It would appear however that its CD-ROM is not as feature-packed as the British English LDOCE4(v.2 - which appears to have two as opposed to just the one CD-ROM)).

If your students really are pretty advanced** then they might like to consider getting a native-speaker dictionary, such as the (New) Oxford Dictionary of English, which has very clear breakdowns of meaning from basic to extended/figurative***, and a wealth of encyclopedic information (i.e. that goes beyond the selective cultural allusion stuff culled from other Oxford and Longman cultural dictionaries and included on the respective advanced CD-ROMs); and the American version (the New Oxford American Dictionary) is just as good if not better. Then there is the (New) Oxford Thesaurus of English, surely the best available (the Oxford Paperback Thesaurus, which BTW seems identical to the latest edition of the Concise Oxford Thesaurus, manages to pack in about 95% of the contents of the full-size (N)OTE by omitting the extremely rare or archaic items). Lastly, the Chambers 21st Century Dictionary is interesting in that it resembles an ALD (most closely, the OALD 6th edition), but it is not as comprehensive phraseologically/in dealing with the more common words as ALDs, nor is it anywhere near as comprehensive encyclopedically as the larger yet only marginally more expensive full-size native-speaker dictionaries such as the (N)ODE just mentioned.
http://www.chambersharrap.co.uk/chambers/features/chref/chref.py/main

*Only the Oxford and Longman use full colour throughout the books (and thus have full-colour illustrations); the Macmillan has few illustrations, and the Cambridge (CALD as opposed to the earlier CIDE) none IIRC, and the Macmillan's overall red tones can get to some eyes, whilst the CALD's green (CIDE was black and white, but looked crisp despite being the denser) is the most drab overall.

**Note that the NODE shows pronunciation (in IPA) only for those "harder" words that would give native speakers pause. For example, bake, baby, beach, bewilder, boastful and budget are assumed to be no problem for NODE users, as opposed to say, baba, ganoush, baccalaureate, beatific, bijouterie, bucolic and buddleia, or Kieslowski, or Althusser. '(T)he principle followed is that pronunciations are only given where they are likely to cause problems for the native speaker of English, in particular for foreign words, foreign names, scientific and other specialist terms, rare words, and words with unusual or a choice of stress patterns or alternative/disputed pronunciations generally.'

***The NODE's emphasis on "prototypicality" in meanings certainly results in more focus/less proliferation of needless subsenses than is the case in most other large native-speaker dictionaries, and possibly even than is the case in the best advanced learner dictionaries (not that having more senses or uses or spoken phrases generally in the ALDs doesn't have its advantages - it generally results in more examples, and useful ones at that, for a start).


Last edited by fluffyhamster on Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:56 pm; edited 10 times in total
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teacherjuli



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much for your thorough response!
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fluffyhamster



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh, you're welcome, Teacherjuli! Wink

(The following is to nobody in particular, just something I felt like posting!: ) I recently got a private message from someone and decided a good place to answer it would be here (my answer as you can see below was getting too long really to send via a PM reply - it could've clogged up both our PM boxes. What would've been wrong with an immediate "short and sweet" answer you might ask. Well, they can sound brusque, and I just preferred to lead into mine - I do eventually offer one! - more gradually. Apologies if this tests some readers' patience Cool Smile ).

Here's their PM:

Quote:
You posted about some English book suggestions. For a while, I've been looking for some kind of specific proper usages of prepositions-I'm new to this, but I've already seen a lot of learners having trouble with them. I've seen some books that say when to use a few prepositions, but that's it.

I've been looking for a book that would at least answer several of my boss's questions. She was asking questions like should she use "die OF an illness" or "die FROM an illness".

Any suggestions are appreciated.


Below is my reply:

Hiya X. I know it's frustrating for students that dictionaries and usage manuals present a choice and make no obvious effort to explain what if any difference there is between die of or die from (thus: 'die of/from whatever'), but that's perhaps because there might not be a difference! A teacher may still feel compelled to help students (especially the more querulous ones) with all manner of theorizing and conjecturing, but a) will every formerly "interested" student really still be listening and b) does/would it really matter anyway? (See previous "argument from laissez-faire reference books", to which we might add "and from generally unperturbed native-speaker reactions to non-native speech or writing"). More to the point, would such theorizing hold water (in this instance)? A few random examples from here or there could "imply" so, but what of reference works based on large and representative corpora, such as those decent modern advanced learner dictionaries, or usage guides such as the COBUILD English Usage? The COBUILD says:

Quote:
die

When a person, animal, or plant dies, they stop living. The other forms of die are dies, dying, died.

We thought we were going to die.
Every day people were dying there.
Blake died in January, aged 76.


When someone dies as a result of a disease or injury, you can say that they die of the disease or injury or die from it.

An old woman dying of cancer was taken into hospital.
His first wife died from cancer in 1971.

He died of a heart attack.
...a man who died from a suspected heart attack.

Many of the injured sailors died of their wounds.
Simon Martin died from brain injuries caused by blows to the head.


You do not use any preposition except `of' or `from' after die in sentences like these.

See also entry at dead.


It's obvious that if the likes of COBUILD can't establish a meaningful difference, nor probably will the lone student. That's not to say that empirical investigation can't be undertaken individually and won't ever be profitable, but it wouldn't seem worth it in relation to this particular language point. Students should be happy more with managing to produce 'die' and e.g. 'boredom' either side of who cares what preposition, than unhappy and worrying about that preposition - it's the content rather than the exact form that matters, and the preposition here is not real content but filler.

Actually, I find it a bit strange that a student who is already aware (from either prior, recalled learning, or from consulting a dictionary or usage manual) that there isn't much discernible difference between two items would still be carrying on as if there were (or rather, as if there should be) a difference that they could "appreciate" more (more than native speakers?!).

This leads me into my short answer to the original query: a student should buy a good-quality reference or two (e.g. a dictionary and a usage guide) and learn to trust and depend on it, and in the process get on with looking up and mastering new language, be preparing to be ready to fill their productive canvases with broad bold brushstrokes, not timid little blots that occupy only a dark corner. Some aspects of English usage involve making relatively unremarkable choices (where either or any choice from the set available is and/or becomes another equally valid and simple fact).

And obviously I have no problem in recommending a few dictionaries and usage manuals for those students who are still at the stage of requiring them and/or who are prepared to believe and make inferences from what they can see in black and white. The four dictionaries that I've mentioned in my above first post in this thread - the OALD7, LDOCE4, MED2, and CALD3 - all cannot but include such basic fare as 'die of/from'; then there is the Oxford Collocations Dictionary (OCD), which will swiftly answer most queries such as this with the minmum of fuss and clutter. As for the likes of Swan's Practical English Usage, he provides simple lists of frequent combinations of prepositions coming before and after particular words or expressions; Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage meanwhile often goes into considerable and discursive detail but is therefore perhaps a bit OTT for non-native purposes (I mean, do they really want to themselves get all prescriptive versus descriptive and have nice long arguments LOL - some of them, probably yes! Undoubtedly, this book could be a lot shorter or more genuinely useful if people, especially and "inexcusably" the native-speakers, didn't have such strong opinions/strange fixations).

But wait, a thought and thus a theory has occured to me: is 'die from' unsuited to non-literal meanings such as 'I nearly died of/?from embarrassment!' or 'I'm dying of/??from thirst here!'? Or maybe established phrases just become shorter and more efficient as time goes on (of is just two letters as opposed to from's four, lacks the consonant cluster etc). The OCD before its example ('I could've died of when I saw her standing behind me') at the entry for 'embarrassment' strongly suggests that either 'of' or 'from' could('ve) be(en) used (by means again of 'die of/from ~ '), but the CIDE for example stresses/bolds only 'of' as a collocation (at the entry for the verb 'die'). Personally, I'd go more on the basis of the actual example(s) than the sparse structural shorthand, but this perhaps is an actual instance where students would have a right to be confused (and perhaps to eventually wonder what the OCD was playing at, if they pursued the question empirically?).Surprised Twisted Evil Laughing Wink Smile Cool

A quick mention of different from/to/than (opposite or near 'die', is the only reason it occured to me to choose it!), just so that you (as a native speaker at least, or should that be at most) can compare the aforementioned books a little better (not again that the differences are anything for learners to obssess over):

OALD7 - lists all 3, with examples (actually, all the dictionaries unless noted otherwise expand upon the bare combinations with examples) and clear usage note
LDOCE4 - lists all 3, but usage note not quite as clear as the Oxford
MED2 - lists only d. from and d. in (~ shape, texture), no usage note
CALD3 - lists only d. from, no usage note
You can check all but the MED online for free (see links in my first post above).
(Remember also that on the CD-ROMs that accompany the books you can search for and usually unearth far more examples/the possible combinations within such examples, and that the LDOCE4's CD-ROM allows a 'concordance/KWIC view' of the results).
OCD - only d. from and d. to, no usage note (obviously)
Chambers 21st Century, Swan's PEU, M-WCDofEU - include all 3, clear usage notes

Here again is something from the COBUILD English Usage guide, along with something from the COBUILD3 (CCED for Advanced Learners) Dictionary (neither necessarily as a recommendation, more FWIW, just as a sampling that I could easily copy and paste from the 'Collins COBUILD on CD-ROM' that I have):

Quote:
different

If one thing is different from another, it is unlike the other thing in some way.

The meeting was different from any that had gone before.
Health is different from physical fitness.


Many British people say that one thing is different to another. Different to means the same as different from.

Work can be said to be different to a career.
Morgan's law books were different to theirs.


Note that some people object to this use. In conversation, you can use either different from or different to, but in writing it is better to use different from.

American speakers say that one thing is different from or different than another.

I love the English style of football. It's so different than ours.

WARNING
You do not use `different than' in British English.

`very different'
If there is a great difference between two things, you can say that one thing is very different from the other.

They are in an enclosed community, which is very different from going to work for eight hours a day.

Note that you do not say that one thing is `much different' from another.

If two things are quite similar, you can say that one thing is not very different from the other or not much different from the other.

I discovered that things were not very different from what I had seen in New York.
The food an old person needs is not much different from what anyone else requires.
Inflation during March was not much different from the annual rate that has prevailed for some time.


`no different'
If two things are alike, you can say that one thing is no different from the other.

The fields you could see from the bus window seemed no different from equivalent fields in Iowa.

Note that you do not say that one thing is `not different' from another.


Quote:
different
1 If two people or things are different, they are not like each other in one or more ways.
London was different from most European capitals.
If he'd attended music school, how might things have been different?.
We have totally different views.

(ADJ-GRADED: oft ADJ from n)

+ In British English, people sometimes say that one thing is different to another. Some people consider this use to be incorrect.
My approach is totally different to his.
(ADJ-GRADED: v-link ADJ to n)

+ People sometimes say that one thing is different than another. This use is often considered incorrect in British English, but it is acceptable in American English.
We're not really any different than they are.
...a style of advertising that's different than the rest of the country.

(ADJ-GRADED: v-link ADJ than n/cl)

- differently
Every individual learns differently.
They still get treated differently from almost every other contemporary British band.
The skeleton consists of differently shaped bones held together by ligaments.

(ADV-GRADED: ADV after v, ADV -ed, oft ADV from n)

[2 You use different to indicate that you are talking about two or more separate and distinct things of the same kind.
Different countries specialised in different products.
The number of calories in different brands of drinks varies enormously.

(ADJ: ADJ n)
versus identical

3 You can describe something as different when it is unusual and not like others of the same kind.
The result is interesting and different, but do not attempt the recipe if time is short.
(ADJ-GRADED: v-link ADJ)
= distinctive]



It may be that a few students have invested in an inadequate reference book and therefore have questions that need resolving, but some probably either don't have any reference books at all, or don't make use of whichever good ones they have (which are likely gathering dust somewhere); it's not that the good books aren't good enough, just that some students seem to want the "impossible"!

Hope all this helps,

FH
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mesomorph



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fluffyhamster wrote:
but that's perhaps because there might not be a difference! FH


Clearly there is a difference.
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fluffyhamster



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mesomorph wrote:
fluffyhamster wrote:
but that's perhaps because there might not be a difference! FH


Clearly there is a difference.


How then do you explain the short n sweet treatment that die of/from receives in reference works?
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mesomorph



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fluffyhamster wrote:
mesomorph wrote:
fluffyhamster wrote:
but that's perhaps because there might not be a difference! FH


Clearly there is a difference.


How then do you explain the short n sweet treatment that die of/from receives in reference works?


The short and sweet treatment can be explained thus: 'the difference is to hard to explain'.

Intelligent students who are taught that everything is explainable in grammatical terms naturally ask grammatical questions.

Stupid teachers who can't explain everything prefer to put their students down than admit their limitations.
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fluffyhamster



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mesomorph wrote:
fluffyhamster wrote:
mesomorph wrote:
fluffyhamster wrote:
but that's perhaps because there might not be a difference! FH


Clearly there is a difference.


How then do you explain the short n sweet treatment that die of/from receives in reference works?


The short and sweet treatment can be explained thus: 'the difference is to hard to explain'.

Intelligent students who are taught that everything is explainable in grammatical terms naturally ask grammatical questions.

Stupid teachers who can't explain everything prefer to put their students down than admit their limitations.


You seem to be saying that you believe that there is a difference (a real difference in meaning, rather than obvious form) worth worrying about, but are more or less leaving it at just 'It's hard, perhaps too hard, to explain'.* Could it be that you a) don't actually have a clue what you're on about and b) are just trying to make "friendly conversation" here? Whatever, here's my thoughts for your penny investment: teachers who seem to be preferring to cast aspersions (e.g. who's put students down? I for one am simply referring them to the same dictionaries that I consult, in relation to an ultimately rather trivial point) than explain themselves risk exposing their own limitations. Surprised But by all means continue to apparently be spoiling for an unedifying fight if that's how you'd honestly prefer to spend your time (I myself however may be busy trying to be constructive elsewhere). Cool

*I'm guessing that your 'Too hard' means 'I can't be bothered, especially when these theories that I'm tempted to dream up probably won't withstand empirical scrutiny, will be inconclusive'. You really might as well agree that there isn't a difference worth remarking upon, considering how tight-lipped you're being!


Last edited by fluffyhamster on Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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mesomorph



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think grammatical explanations are limited.

Grammar teachers and students who rely upon grammar are often at a loss for words when it comes to explain the depth of language due to the limits they impose upon themselves. Their strength is their weakness.

This manifests itself in a prejudice towards less 'practical' more 'philosophical' explanations of language.
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fluffyhamster



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mesomorph wrote:
I think grammatical explanations are limited.

Grammar teachers and students who rely upon grammar are often at a loss for words when it comes to explain the depth of language due to the limits they impose upon themselves. Their strength is their weakness.

This manifests itself in a prejudice towards less 'practical' more 'philosophical' explanations of language.


Actually I wouldn't say this is a question of grammar par excellence, or for that matter of lexicogrammar, or even lexis/vocabulary. I would say (and indeed did say) rather that it is a simple matter of fact (or in this case, and to be precise, of facts), and such facts often don't need explaining (one goes more by "force of examples"):

I, fluffyhamster, previously wrote:
Some aspects of English usage involve making relatively unremarkable choices (where either or any choice from the set available is and/or becomes another equally valid and simple fact).


Again, it would be "interesting" to see exactly what deep differences you think there are in this case, and by what means you'd choose to explain them.* (If however you aren't up for this here challenge, feel free to join in anytime on say the AL forum in explaining other language in e.g. more functional/meaning-based terms Wink ).

BTW, when it comes to "depth" generally, some grammar could well be(come) involved (or will seem to be, to the casual observer) - using grammar or whatever analytical framework is often not so much the imposition of a limited, limiting weakness, but a means to at least individual/"idiosyncratic" consistency.

Quote:
This manifests itself in a prejudice towards less 'practical' more 'philosophical' explanations of language.


I would say that I have been the more practical (and certainly the more forthcoming), and you the more "philosophical", on this thread. In fact, it has been hard to make complete sense of your posts here! Cool

*There may well be a neuron or two firing that in the native speaker brain differs depending on the choice of preposition, but how can the learner really be made aware of all "that", beyond masses of concordances or contexts (which like I say don't seem to have been very conclusive in relation to this).
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mesomorph



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fluffyhamster wrote:
mesomorph wrote:
I think grammatical explanations are limited.

Grammar teachers and students who rely upon grammar are often at a loss for words when it comes to explain the depth of language due to the limits they impose upon themselves. Their strength is their weakness.

This manifests itself in a prejudice towards less 'practical' more 'philosophical' explanations of language.


1. Actually I wouldn't say this is a question of grammar par excellence, or for that matter of lexicogrammar, or even lexis/vocabulary. I would say (and indeed did say) rather that it is a simple matter of fact (or in this case, and to be precise, of facts), and such facts often don't need explaining (one goes more by "force of examples"):

I, fluffyhamster, previously wrote:


2. Some aspects of English usage involve making relatively unremarkable choices (where either or any choice from the set available is and/or becomes another equally valid and simple fact).


3. Again, it would be "interesting" to see exactly what deep differences you think there are in this case, and by what means you'd choose to explain them.* (If however you aren't up for this here challenge, feel free to join in anytime on say the AL forum in explaining other language in e.g. more functional/meaning-based terms Wink ).

4. BTW, when it comes to "depth" generally, some grammar could well be(come) involved (or will seem to be, to the casual observer) - using grammar or whatever analytical framework is often not so much the imposition of a limited, limiting weakness, but a means to at least individual/"idiosyncratic" consistency.

Quote:
This manifests itself in a prejudice towards less 'practical' more 'philosophical' explanations of language.


5. I would say that I have been the more practical (and certainly the more forthcoming), and you the more "philosophical", on this thread. In fact, it has been hard to make complete sense of your posts here! Cool

6. *There may well be a neuron or two firing that in the native speaker brain differs depending on the choice of preposition, but how can the learner really be made aware of all "that", beyond masses of concordances or contexts (which like I say don't seem to have been very conclusive in relation to this).


1. Good. However I would say that your use of the word 'fact' is loaded with grammar teacher perspective.
2. The difference in the use of the prepositions points to different conceptual functions. 'Of' and 'from' refer to different conceptual relationships. Grammar is the system of rules which governs the behaviour of language but langauge does indeed point to and hold deeper conceptual meaning. I think the differences here are very subtle and any valuable difference that can be exploited when highlighting the difference would lie in the domain of the veritable expert.
3. Likewise anytime you would like to apply a Jakobsonian method to the criticism of William Blake's 'A Poison Tree' meet me in the Litertaure forum.
4. Roman Jakobson par exemple.
5. Don't worry about it unless they are planning to write a masterpiece of stylistic genius. Asking the question 'what is the difference' is intelligent because there is a difference.
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fluffyhamster



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mesomorph wrote:
1. Good. However I would say that your use of the word 'fact' is loaded with grammar teacher perspective.
2. The difference in the use of the prepositions points to different conceptual functions. 'Of' and 'from' refer to different conceptual relationships. Grammar is the system of rules which governs the behaviour of language but langauge does indeed point to and hold deeper conceptual meaning. I think the differences here are very subtle and any valuable difference that can be exploited when highlighting the difference would lie in the domain of the veritable expert.
3. Likewise anytime you would like to apply a Jakobsonian method to the criticism of William Blake's 'A Poison Tree' meet me in the Litertaure forum.
4. Roman Jakobson par exemple.
5. Don't worry about it unless they are planning to write a masterpiece of stylistic genius. Asking the question 'what is the difference' is intelligent because there is a difference.


You seem to be missing an actual comment in relation to your '6' mark.

In reply to four of your five comments:

1. I would say that simply calling something is in fact a simplifying move (a simplification?), and/so that grammar doesn't have to then enter into things much if at all. R.A.Close's A Teachers' Grammar: The Central Problems of English (with Michael Lewis, published by LTP/Thomson) is sort of where I'm coming from here.

2. I agree that the two prepositions themselves (by themselves) differ in many respects, as a glance at their entries in any dictionary or grammar book (ah, look at those pretty diagrams and pictures!) will show, and there are specialized books or monographs on them to be sure. I guess I should perhaps refer to them if need be than await anything further from you here. Cool

3. I haven't claimed to know anything about Jakobsonian approaches to literary criticism or poetry in general, so there is absolutely no reason why I should have to accept your "challenge" to enter into a discussion on these completely different topics (and on a completely different forum too!). Talk about smoke and mirrors! Next you'll be challenging me to say converse with you in French or something if I dare to post something of potential interest to speakers of Chinese or whatever. Rolling Eyes

5. Again, "debatable". Laughing Wink Very Happy
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mesomorph



Joined: 22 Nov 2007
Posts: 91

PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fluffyhamster wrote:
Mesomorph wrote:
1. Good. However I would say that your use of the word 'fact' is loaded with grammar teacher perspective.
2. The difference in the use of the prepositions points to different conceptual functions. 'Of' and 'from' refer to different conceptual relationships. Grammar is the system of rules which governs the behaviour of language but langauge does indeed point to and hold deeper conceptual meaning. I think the differences here are very subtle and any valuable difference that can be exploited when highlighting the difference would lie in the domain of the veritable expert.
3. Likewise anytime you would like to apply a Jakobsonian method to the criticism of William Blake's 'A Poison Tree' meet me in the Litertaure forum.
4. Roman Jakobson par exemple.
5. Don't worry about it unless they are planning to write a masterpiece of stylistic genius. Asking the question 'what is the difference' is intelligent because there is a difference.


You seem to be missing an actual comment in relation to your '6' mark.

In reply to four of your five comments:

1. I would say that simply calling something is in fact a simplifying move (a simplification?), and/so that grammar doesn't have to then enter into things much if at all. R.A.Close's A Teachers' Grammar: The Central Problems of English (with Michael Lewis, published by LTP/Thomson) is sort of where I'm coming from here.

2. I agree that the two prepositions themselves (by themselves) differ in many respects, as a glance at their entries in any dictionary or grammar book (ah, look at those pretty diagrams and pictures!) will show, and there are specialized books or monographs on them to be sure. I guess I should perhaps refer to them if need be than await anything further from you here. Cool

3. I haven't claimed to know anything about Jakobsonian approaches to literary criticism or poetry in general, so there is absolutely no reason why I should have to accept your "challenge" to enter into a discussion on these completely different topics (and on a completely different forum too!). Talk about smoke and mirrors! Next you'll be challenging me to say converse with you in French or something if I dare to post something of potential interest to speakers of Chinese or whatever. Rolling Eyes

5. Again, "debatable". Laughing Wink Very Happy


The 6 comment was left out deliberately.

1. The difference in prepositions refers to differing conceptual relationships.
2. So you are admitting now that there is a conceptual difference rather than dismissing entire areas of knowledge as quackish. Good for you.
3. Well you did say we could all benefit from using such analysis, 'BTW, when it comes to "depth" generally, some grammar could well be(come) involved (or will seem to be, to the casual observer) - using grammar or whatever analytical framework is often not so much the imposition of a limited, limiting weakness, but a means to at least individual/"idiosyncratic" consistency.', but I won't hold your lack of knowledge against you. Wink
5. This would be the attitude I would generally revolt against, and the reason for my initial post in your thread. I have noticed that grammar teachers like to tell students everything is explainable grammatically then subsequently call the self-same students stupid for noticing grammatical problems ('of' and 'from' are indeed involved in the grammatical system after all) which the teachers themselves have set the students up to find. It doesn't help students self-esteem or endow them with respect for their teacher.

6. There are only two certainties in life: death and human stupidity.
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3008
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mesomorph wrote:
6. There are only two certainties in life: death and human stupidity.


I think the only certainty now is that this game you're playing here will go on as long as I continue to give you any sort of intelligent response. All I can really ultimately do therefore is appeal to others who might be reading this to chime in with their opinions on how you're acting (you seem convinced that you're saying something, but quite what it is apart from 'I have a problem you fluffy and will therefore be disruptive by trying to call you an idiot even though I may appear in the process to be the real one' is anyone's guess).

I will however briefly comment on the less repetitive of the "points" you've just made:

Quote:
3. Well you did say we could all benefit from using such analysis, 'BTW, when it comes to "depth" generally, some grammar could well be(come) involved (or will seem to be, to the casual observer) - using grammar or whatever analytical framework is often not so much the imposition of a limited, limiting weakness, but a means to at least individual/"idiosyncratic" consistency.', but I won't hold your lack of knowledge against you.


I am not sure what you mean by 'such an analysis' - Jakobsonian?! - and YOU were the one who was initially opposed it seems to grammar generally: 'I think grammatical explanations are limited. Grammar teachers and students who rely upon grammar are often at a loss for words when it comes to explain the depth of language due to the limits they impose upon themselves. Their strength is their weakness.' (Free tip: If you are going to quote somebody, make sure that the quote reinforces rather than undermines what you are saying).

Quote:
5. This would be the attitude I would generally revolt against, and the reason for my initial post in your thread. I have noticed that grammar teachers like to tell students everything is explainable grammatically then subsequently call the self-same students stupid for noticing grammatical problems ('of' and 'from' are indeed involved in the grammatical system after all) which the teachers themselves have set the students up to find. It doesn't help students self-esteem or endow them with respect for their teacher.


I am not quite sure what this 'attitude...' is (your "numbering", a convention I've played along with, is becoming a chore to refer back through, and no substitute for more considered and actually connected discourse), but again, the only reason grammar has been mentioned is because, well, you mentioned it (you seem to have completely misconstrued the nature of the "problem" that X was on about)...like I say, facts is facts, there is a choice of preposition following 'die', and it was X's boss-c*m-student who thought it at all remarkable (not that a teacher would be wrong to introduce the choice - how would that be "setting the students up"? Should the teacher not introduce choicces - and I'll repeat, unremarkable ones at that, lest you reply 'NO, not unless they are prepared to give a 20-week masterclass on the "differing conceptual relationships" involved!' Laughing ).

It would be nice actually if you just called it a day, packed it in, considering the constructive contributions that I and others have made to your recent AL thread ('Marks for classroom contributions such as reading out'), but then, you've always seemed the obsessive type who'd hold a grudge. Well, if it'll make you feel any better, I'm really really sorry that everyone (including naughty me tee-hee) who responded on your first ever thread on the Teacher forums gave you such a hard time and apparently hurt your feelings so. Maybe you can now get over it and start exhibiting a bit of maturity and true character (other than ''has no sense of humour whatsoever') in your posts.

So, I won't be indulging your silly "argumentative" nature again here for a while at least. Go bother somebody who actually deserves to be corrected (rather than "corrected"). Idea You've lost the battles and the war here. Time to retreat and regroup, soldier! (And no, I wasn't talking to myself just then LOL).
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mesomorph



Joined: 22 Nov 2007
Posts: 91

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fluffyhamster wrote:
Mesomorph wrote:
6. There are only two certainties in life: death and human stupidity.


I think the only certainty now is that this game you're playing here will go on as long as I continue to give you any sort of intelligent response. All I can really ultimately do therefore is appeal to others who might be reading this to chime in with their opinions on how you're acting (you seem convinced that you're saying something, but quite what it is apart from 'I have a problem you fluffy and will therefore be disruptive by trying to call you an idiot even though I may appear in the process to be the real one' is anyone's guess).

I will however briefly comment on the less repetitive of the "points" you've just made:

Quote:
3. Well you did say we could all benefit from using such analysis, 'BTW, when it comes to "depth" generally, some grammar could well be(come) involved (or will seem to be, to the casual observer) - using grammar or whatever analytical framework is often not so much the imposition of a limited, limiting weakness, but a means to at least individual/"idiosyncratic" consistency.', but I won't hold your lack of knowledge against you.


I am not sure what you mean by 'such an analysis' - Jakobsonian?! - and YOU were the one who was initially opposed it seems to grammar generally: 'I think grammatical explanations are limited. Grammar teachers and students who rely upon grammar are often at a loss for words when it comes to explain the depth of language due to the limits they impose upon themselves. Their strength is their weakness.' (Free tip: If you are going to quote somebody, make sure that the quote reinforces rather than undermines what you are saying).

Quote:
5. This would be the attitude I would generally revolt against, and the reason for my initial post in your thread. I have noticed that grammar teachers like to tell students everything is explainable grammatically then subsequently call the self-same students stupid for noticing grammatical problems ('of' and 'from' are indeed involved in the grammatical system after all) which the teachers themselves have set the students up to find. It doesn't help students self-esteem or endow them with respect for their teacher.


I am not quite sure what this 'attitude...' is (your "numbering", a convention I've played along with, is becoming a chore to refer back through, and no substitute for more considered and actually connected discourse), but again, the only reason grammar has been mentioned is because, well, you mentioned it (you seem to have completely misconstrued the nature of the "problem" that X was on about)...like I say, facts is facts, there is a choice of preposition following 'die', and it was X's boss-c*m-student who thought it at all remarkable (not that a teacher would be wrong to introduce the choice - how would that be "setting the students up"? Should the teacher not introduce choicces - and I'll repeat, unremarkable ones at that, lest you reply 'NO, not unless they are prepared to give a 20-week masterclass on the "differing conceptual relationships" involved!' Laughing ).

It would be nice actually if you just called it a day, packed it in, considering the constructive contributions that I and others have made to your recent AL thread ('Marks for classroom contributions such as reading out'), but then, you've always seemed the obsessive type who'd hold a grudge. Well, if it'll make you feel any better, I'm really really sorry that everyone (including naughty me tee-hee) who responded on your first ever thread on the Teacher forums gave you such a hard time and apparently hurt your feelings so. Maybe you can now get over it and start exhibiting a bit of maturity and true character (other than ''has no sense of humour whatsoever') in your posts.

So, I won't be indulging your silly "argumentative" nature again here for a while at least. Go bother somebody who actually deserves to be corrected (rather than "corrected"). Idea You've lost the battles and the war here. Time to retreat and regroup, soldier! (And no, I wasn't talking to myself just then LOL).


I'm bored.
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