Am I an idiot? I really think so.

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Re: Am I an idiot? I really think so.

Postby ehophi » 09 Jun 2012, 18:46

archylgp wrote:
ehophi wrote:小一點的[,]新一代[的]「街霸」款便宜[得]太多了。
(...)


That comma should actually be a "、" .


Do you know how to type that on the New Phonetic Pinyin IME? I've tried most combinations for it.

archylgp wrote:
ehophi wrote:1.21111. 「街霸」款便宜[得]多了。"Street fighter" boats are much cheaper.
1.211111. 「街霸」款[是]便宜[的]。"Street fighter" boats are cheaper.
1.2112. 「街霸」款[是]小一點的。"Street fighter" boats are slightly smaller.
1.21121. 「街霸」款[是]小的。"Street fighter" boats are small[er].
(...)


Looking at these sentences, it's not hard to see the problem with this method.

1.211111. 「街霸」款[是]便宜[的]。"Street fighter" boats are cheaper.
This could mean that they are cheap, not necessarily cheaper. It all depends on context. Another reason to learn language naturally in context opposed to memorizing "patterns/rules". Many sentences have this problem. If you want to make an comparative, there is a better way to do it...比較/較

1.2112. 「街霸」款[是]小一點的。"Street fighter" boats are slightly smaller.
It is just smaller. It does not (as far as a native speaker and myself know) mean slightly smaller. I think the default understanding would always be smaller and slightly smaller would need to be inferred through context or said with other words. Several sentences have this problem.

Language is not arithmetic; it can't be broken down into rules and patterns. It needs to be learned in context. There is a basic structure that is needed of course, but this goes way, way too far...


Yes, yes. Sentences establish contexts of words. Paragraphs establish contexts for sentences. Texts establish contexts for paragraphs. And this contextualization expands to infinity. Blah, blah, blah... I'm establishing some of that context by linking to the article from which I pulled the sentence, but even if you took the whole text, I could just as well criticize it, so it's a moot venture here.

Since we only have behavioral criteria to judge the adequacy of a translation (read Quine's gavagai problem for more on this), and since arguing that sometimes people don't mean it one way, and yet I translated it that way, doesn't imply that a translation that I gave is the necessary translation. To allot for the possibility (but not the necessity), is not to suggest another sentence, but to allow for the difference elliptically (i.e., writing "cheap[er]"), which would be an improvement.

Your next criticism makes it sound like anyone who uses this method would never parse a sentence with [比]較 in it. I have, and I understand it. I think that it's better to think of the adverb "[比]較" matching more closely to "comparatively," because it maintains analogous syntactic form AND semantic function (which, despite what you hear here, are not the same thing [e.g. when some say, "Form is function."]).

The claim that language cannot be broken down into rules and patterns spits in the face of just under a century of very successful linguistic work on the topic. Beyond that, it ignores the obvious fact that you don't just repeat the sentences that you hear, but construct original sentences from previously heard ones, which means that you doubtlessly do learn patterns and apply them. The debate on language education has never been that languages don't have patterns, because in that claim you risk a very deep problem of incommensurability, which denies the legitimacy of your own translations, no matter what they are.

Every lexicographical resource that I found labels "一點" as an adverb marking "a bit," or "slightly." If you don't agree that your translation should have that, there is no problem with the formal method. There's no rule in the method that we employ which says that a removal or addition of a string on one side of a translation must involve the removal or addition of a string on the other side. However, it is preferable to see it when it is available, since it gives learners a means to connect meanings to utterances. That is, if a certain syntactic string also has semantic content, most readers find it preferable to know it and understand it, than to assume that some strings have no meaning or a meaning that another language cannot explicitly state.

You probably don't see wider consequences of your claim, since you actually are arguing that formal mathematics and logics, which must be translated into hundreds of languages for comprehension among its users, are somehow a failed project, when they obviously aren't. We even know that people who are raised in cultures whose native languages don't even have terms for numbers can be taught formal mathematics and use them appropriately (to engage in commerce, to estimate distances and travel times, etc.)

It may shock you, but some people are analytically oriented, and they do prefer rule-based approaches, quick-and-dirty approaches to make themselves immediately comprehensible, even if not terribly expressive. To complain that it doesn't fit your preconceived ideas about how languages should be "acquired" or what is "natural," doesn't win analytically minded people over.
Study Chinese at your leisure.
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Re: Am I an idiot? I really think so.

Postby Belgian Pie » 09 Jun 2012, 19:26

ehophi, one more post of you and I really feel like an idiot ...
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Re: Am I an idiot? I really think so.

Postby ceevee369 » 09 Jun 2012, 20:20

Belgian Pie wrote:ehophi, one more post of you and I really feel like an idiot ...


I simply feel retarded which is 3 steps higher above idiot. Never should have given up my Chinese lessons some years ago. Big mistake...
I’m a dog shaped ashtray
I’m a shrugging moustache wearing a speedo tuxedo
I’m a movie with no plot, written in the back seat of a piss powered taxi
I’m an imperial armpit, sweating Chianti
I’m a toilet with no seat, flushing tradition down
I'm socialist lingerie
I'm diplomatic techno
I'm gay pastry and racist cappuccino
I’m an army on holiday in a guillotine museum
I’m a painting made of hair, on a nudist beach, eating McDonald's
I’m a novel far too long
I’m a sentimental song
I’m a yellow tooth waltzing with wrap around shades on

Who am I?
I am Europe
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Re: Am I an idiot? I really think so.

Postby archylgp » 09 Jun 2012, 21:53

ehophi wrote:
archylgp wrote:
ehophi wrote:小一點的[,]新一代[的]「街霸」款便宜[得]太多了。
(...)


That comma should actually be a "、" .


Do you know how to type that on the New Phonetic Pinyin IME? I've tried most combinations for it.

archylgp wrote:
ehophi wrote:1.21111. 「街霸」款便宜[得]多了。"Street fighter" boats are much cheaper.
1.211111. 「街霸」款[是]便宜[的]。"Street fighter" boats are cheaper.
1.2112. 「街霸」款[是]小一點的。"Street fighter" boats are slightly smaller.
1.21121. 「街霸」款[是]小的。"Street fighter" boats are small[er].
(...)


Looking at these sentences, it's not hard to see the problem with this method.

1.211111. 「街霸」款[是]便宜[的]。"Street fighter" boats are cheaper.
This could mean that they are cheap, not necessarily cheaper. It all depends on context. Another reason to learn language naturally in context opposed to memorizing "patterns/rules". Many sentences have this problem. If you want to make an comparative, there is a better way to do it...比較/較

1.2112. 「街霸」款[是]小一點的。"Street fighter" boats are slightly smaller.
It is just smaller. It does not (as far as a native speaker and myself know) mean slightly smaller. I think the default understanding would always be smaller and slightly smaller would need to be inferred through context or said with other words. Several sentences have this problem.

Language is not arithmetic; it can't be broken down into rules and patterns. It needs to be learned in context. There is a basic structure that is needed of course, but this goes way, way too far...


Yes, yes. Sentences establish contexts of words. Paragraphs establish contexts for sentences. Texts establish contexts for paragraphs. And this contextualization expands to infinity. Blah, blah, blah... I'm establishing some of that context by linking to the article from which I pulled the sentence, but even if you took the whole text, I could just as well criticize it, so it's a moot venture here.

Since we only have behavioral criteria to judge the adequacy of a translation (read Quine's gavagai problem for more on this), and since arguing that sometimes people don't mean it one way, and yet I translated it that way, doesn't imply that a translation that I gave is the necessary translation. To allot for the possibility (but not the necessity), is not to suggest another sentence, but to allow for the difference elliptically (i.e., writing "cheap[er]"), which would be an improvement.

Your next criticism makes it sound like anyone who uses this method would never parse a sentence with [比]較 in it. I have, and I understand it. I think that it's better to think of the adverb "[比]較" matching more closely to "comparatively," because it maintains analogous syntactic form AND semantic function (which, despite what you hear here, are not the same thing [e.g. when some say, "Form is function."]).

The claim that language cannot be broken down into rules and patterns spits in the face of just under a century of very successful linguistic work on the topic. Beyond that, it ignores the obvious fact that you don't just repeat the sentences that you hear, but construct original sentences from previously heard ones, which means that you doubtlessly do learn patterns and apply them. The debate on language education has never been that languages don't have patterns, because in that claim you risk a very deep problem of incommensurability, which denies the legitimacy of your own translations, no matter what they are.

Every lexicographical resource that I found labels "一點" as an adverb marking "a bit," or "slightly." If you don't agree that your translation should have that, there is no problem with the formal method. There's no rule in the method that we employ which says that a removal or addition of a string on one side of a translation must involve the removal or addition of a string on the other side. However, it is preferable to see it when it is available, since it gives learners a means to connect meanings to utterances. That is, if a certain syntactic string also has semantic content, most readers find it preferable to know it and understand it, than to assume that some strings have no meaning or a meaning that another language cannot explicitly state.

You probably don't see wider consequences of your claim, since you actually are arguing that formal mathematics and logics, which must be translated into hundreds of languages for comprehension among its users, are somehow a failed project, when they obviously aren't. We even know that people who are raised in cultures whose native languages don't even have terms for numbers can be taught formal mathematics and use them appropriately (to engage in commerce, to estimate distances and travel times, etc.)

It may shock you, but some people are analytically oriented, and they do prefer rule-based approaches, quick-and-dirty approaches to make themselves immediately comprehensible, even if not terribly expressive. To complain that it doesn't fit your preconceived ideas about how languages should be "acquired" or what is "natural," doesn't win analytically minded people over.


ehophi,

You are mixing up descriptive linguistic research and language learning. There is a ~500 page book about the various uses of 把. It is an interesting book theoretically and useful for the already-fluent student, but it won't help out a basic learner. They need to learn the high-frequency language "chunks", not 12,000 different 把-sentence patterns!Your use of 是adj的 as a comparative is wacky and really not useful. It would be deep into the book on comparatives. I used the sentence you wrote with a native speaker (in a comparative context) just now and the reply I got was 誰會這樣講? She2 hui4 zhe4 yang4 jiang3? 'Who speaks like that?' I asked the native speaker how to say it naturally and they replied with 比較 bi3jiao4 sentences; 比較 ADJ bi3jiao4 marks comparatives, and is not like the English adv. 'relatively / comparatively'. (You do know that, right?) What the beginning student needs to learn is the "prototypical" way 是...的 is used, which is found in high-frequency everyday language "chunks".(他是昨天來的. Ta1 shi4 zuo2tian1 lai2 de. 'He came yesterday.' )

Your analysis of 小一點 xiao3 yi4dian3 'smaller' seems to be simply wrong. It is not functioning as it would if it was a clause by itself. It is marking the ADj as a comparative. The dictionaries you are using are not listing 一點's morphological function. (And people say Chinese has no morphology. I say they have been 笨蛋化! (idiot-ized) (bad joke).)

Anyways, my last post was poorly written. Of course language is systematic. That is the crux of linguistic research. Breaking down language into lame sentences patterns (好不容易 vs 好容易 - the books will tell you they mean the same thing) is what I mean when I am criticizing the rules. Making something rule-based doesn't mean it's right...(I admit that my last post was sloppy.)

Now can you reply to my post without getting too theoretical -- Linguistic theory isn't too helpful in the real world (thus all the linguistics majors teaching English for 600 NT and hour.)
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Re: Am I an idiot? I really think so.

Postby ehophi » 10 Jun 2012, 22:55

archylgp wrote:ehophi,

You are mixing up descriptive linguistic research and language learning. There is a ~500 page book about the various uses of 把. It is an interesting book theoretically and useful for the already-fluent student, but it won't help out a basic learner. They need to learn the high-frequency language "chunks", not 12,000 different 把-sentence patterns!Your use of 是adj的 as a comparative is wacky and really not useful. It would be deep into the book on comparatives. I used the sentence you wrote with a native speaker (in a comparative context) just now and the reply I got was 誰會這樣講? She2 hui4 zhe4 yang4 jiang3? 'Who speaks like that?' I asked the native speaker how to say it naturally and they replied with 比較 bi3jiao4 sentences; 比較 ADJ bi3jiao4 marks comparatives, and is not like the English adv. 'relatively / comparatively'. (You do know that, right?) What the beginning student needs to learn is the "prototypical" way 是...的 is used, which is found in high-frequency everyday language "chunks".(他是昨天來的. Ta1 shi4 zuo2tian1 lai2 de. 'He came yesterday.' )

Your analysis of 小一點 xiao3 yi4dian3 'smaller' seems to be simply wrong. It is not functioning as it would if it was a clause by itself. It is marking the ADj as a comparative. The dictionaries you are using are not listing 一點's morphological function. (And people say Chinese has no morphology. I say they have been 笨蛋化! (idiot-ized) (bad joke).)


I have never been questioned on my competence with use of 比較. Further, "comparatively" marks comparatives. I won't get technical with your poor assessment of 比較, or of your sense of English comparatives, and provide counterexamples of all of the inequities with what you've just written, because that would become "too technical." But I doubt you'll take me as any authority on the matter, so perhaps my hand will be forced.

On the whole, I would blame this whole "natural"/"artificial" folk-theorizing that means nothing (and is actually thinly veiled prescriptivism) for your misunderstandings. You have sentences that people understand and sentences that people don't understand. Just because, sometimes, you can use certain syntactic forms in certain ways doesn't imply that you must always use them in that way. But I've already walked you through those elementary mistakes, not even with linguistic research, but simple modal logic.

archylgp wrote:Anyways, my last post was poorly written. Of course language is systematic. That is the crux of linguistic research. Breaking down language into lame sentences patterns (好不容易 vs 好容易 - the books will tell you they mean the same thing) is what I mean when I am criticizing the rules. Making something rule-based doesn't mean it's right...(I admit that my last post was sloppy.)

Now can you reply to my post without getting too theoretical -- Linguistic theory isn't too helpful in the real world (thus all the linguistics majors teaching English for 600 NT and hour.)


A BA in anything isn't a qualifier for much these days, for one thing. Secondly, I know plenty of linguistics majors who don't teach English. I don't even have a linguistics major, but I sure as hell have a greater knowledge of the subject than you've demonstrated. Given the gross errors in your responses, I wouldn't hold your opinion of the applicability of linguistic research to "the real world" with much esteem.

To the remainder, I'm not giving sentence patterns. The phrase "sentence patterns" is a coinage for mad-lib language learning (technically speaking, Markov chains), where people are told to just put certain words in a preset mold to make a certain sentence. I don't do that because it artificially narrows the domain of permissible sentences, which is unhelpful. I'm not telling anyone to memorize a certain form, but showing them schemes on how to decompose any sentence of a language into its simplest sentences. I didn't prescribe a sentence pattern or artificially narrow the domain. I picked a sentence from a real-life source, inserted the elliptical pieces to make the decomposition clearer, and continued from there. If you disagree with a translation, that's not a criticism of the approach, but of my narrow reading of one sentence. Fair enough, but there are (a) infinitely many other sentences besides the one that I did on this forum post, and I can decompose plenty of them in the manner that I just showed, and (b) you're assuming that teaching a method for understanding the syntactic structure of sentences involves memorizing the sentences as I've provided them. It involves understanding general principles of sentences' constructions across languages.

If you agree that languages are systematic, then you perhaps might agree, too, that there are sentences that are so simple that removing any one part of it would make it incomprehensible as a sentence. That agreement would mean that you believe that some sentences are (technically speaking) atomic. If you accept that there are atomic sentences, and then that there are various ways to make complex sentences from those atomic sentences, then you have all of the understanding that is necessary to do the work that I do.

If you believe that it's not helpful, you're going to have a hard time controverting the people who made good sense and good use of this very approach to tackle increasingly complex material.

The simplicity of the "chunks," as you call them, are, for me, those atomic sentences. I don't learn or teach atomic sentences with the previously used tool. I use an EBMT method.

那個人有一個問題。That person has a/one question/problem.
那個人問一個問題。Those people ask a question.
一個人有兩個問題。A/one person has two questions/problems.
那些人問四個問題。Those people ask four questions.
那隻狗有兩個問題。 That dog has two questions.
這個人有一隻狗。 This person has a/one dog.

Anyone on this forum can take these six sentences, and they can make pretty much any atomic sentence that they desire with the following elements: demonstrative determiners, nouns, cardinal numbers, present indicative transitive verbs, and measure words (a subclass of nouns). They only need to learn more terms that fit into those four/five categories.

There will be occasional errors, of course, but they are mended very easily.

* 這個人有一象。 This person has a/one elephant.
v 這個人有一象。 This person has a/one elephant.
Study Chinese at your leisure.
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Re: Am I an idiot? I really think so.

Postby ironlady » 11 Jun 2012, 00:06

Visual ALM.

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Re: Am I an idiot? I really think so.

Postby Rotalsnart » 11 Jun 2012, 11:38

ironlady wrote:Visual ALM.

Google it; you're too young to remember.


Googled it, but still don't know what you're referring to. Explain please?
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Re: Am I an idiot? I really think so.

Postby archylgp » 11 Jun 2012, 12:49

ehophi wrote:
archylgp wrote:ehophi,

You are mixing up descriptive linguistic research and language learning. There is a ~500 page book about the various uses of 把. It is an interesting book theoretically and useful for the already-fluent student, but it won't help out a basic learner. They need to learn the high-frequency language "chunks", not 12,000 different 把-sentence patterns!Your use of 是adj的 as a comparative is wacky and really not useful. It would be deep into the book on comparatives. I used the sentence you wrote with a native speaker (in a comparative context) just now and the reply I got was 誰會這樣講? She2 hui4 zhe4 yang4 jiang3? 'Who speaks like that?' I asked the native speaker how to say it naturally and they replied with 比較 bi3jiao4 sentences; 比較 ADJ bi3jiao4 marks comparatives, and is not like the English adv. 'relatively / comparatively'. (You do know that, right?) What the beginning student needs to learn is the "prototypical" way 是...的 is used, which is found in high-frequency everyday language "chunks".(他是昨天來的. Ta1 shi4 zuo2tian1 lai2 de. 'He came yesterday.' )

Your analysis of 小一點 xiao3 yi4dian3 'smaller' seems to be simply wrong. It is not functioning as it would if it was a clause by itself. It is marking the ADj as a comparative. The dictionaries you are using are not listing 一點's morphological function. (And people say Chinese has no morphology. I say they have been 笨蛋化! (idiot-ized) (bad joke).)


I have never been questioned on my competence with use of 比較. Further, "comparatively" marks comparatives. I won't get technical with your poor assessment of 比較, or of your sense of English comparatives, and provide counterexamples of all of the inequities with what you've just written, because that would become "too technical." But I doubt you'll take me as any authority on the matter, so perhaps my hand will be forced.

On the whole, I would blame this whole "natural"/"artificial" folk-theorizing that means nothing (and is actually thinly veiled prescriptivism) for your misunderstandings. You have sentences that people understand and sentences that people don't understand. Just because, sometimes, you can use certain syntactic forms in certain ways doesn't imply that you must always use them in that way. But I've already walked you through those elementary mistakes, not even with linguistic research, but simple modal logic.

archylgp wrote:Anyways, my last post was poorly written. Of course language is systematic. That is the crux of linguistic research. Breaking down language into lame sentences patterns (好不容易 vs 好容易 - the books will tell you they mean the same thing) is what I mean when I am criticizing the rules. Making something rule-based doesn't mean it's right...(I admit that my last post was sloppy.)

Now can you reply to my post without getting too theoretical -- Linguistic theory isn't too helpful in the real world (thus all the linguistics majors teaching English for 600 NT and hour.)


A BA in anything isn't a qualifier for much these days, for one thing. Secondly, I know plenty of linguistics majors who don't teach English. I don't even have a linguistics major, but I sure as hell have a greater knowledge of the subject than you've demonstrated. Given the gross errors in your responses, I wouldn't hold your opinion of the applicability of linguistic research to "the real world" with much esteem.

To the remainder, I'm not giving sentence patterns. The phrase "sentence patterns" is a coinage for mad-lib language learning (technically speaking, Markov chains), where people are told to just put certain words in a preset mold to make a certain sentence. I don't do that because it artificially narrows the domain of permissible sentences, which is unhelpful. I'm not telling anyone to memorize a certain form, but showing them schemes on how to decompose any sentence of a language into its simplest sentences. I didn't prescribe a sentence pattern or artificially narrow the domain. I picked a sentence from a real-life source, inserted the elliptical pieces to make the decomposition clearer, and continued from there. If you disagree with a translation, that's not a criticism of the approach, but of my narrow reading of one sentence. Fair enough, but there are (a) infinitely many other sentences besides the one that I did on this forum post, and I can decompose plenty of them in the manner that I just showed, and (b) you're assuming that teaching a method for understanding the syntactic structure of sentences involves memorizing the sentences as I've provided them. It involves understanding general principles of sentences' constructions across languages.

If you agree that languages are systematic, then you perhaps might agree, too, that there are sentences that are so simple that removing any one part of it would make it incomprehensible as a sentence. That agreement would mean that you believe that some sentences are (technically speaking) atomic. If you accept that there are atomic sentences, and then that there are various ways to make complex sentences from those atomic sentences, then you have all of the understanding that is necessary to do the work that I do.

If you believe that it's not helpful, you're going to have a hard time controverting the people who made good sense and good use of this very approach to tackle increasingly complex material.

The simplicity of the "chunks," as you call them, are, for me, those atomic sentences. I don't learn or teach atomic sentences with the previously used tool. I use an EBMT method.

那個人有一個問題。That person has a/one question/problem.
那個人問一個問題。Those people ask a question.
一個人有兩個問題。A/one person has two questions/problems.
那些人問四個問題。Those people ask four questions.
那隻狗有兩個問題。 That dog has two questions.
這個人有一隻狗。 This person has a/one dog.

Anyone on this forum can take these six sentences, and they can make pretty much any atomic sentence that they desire with the following elements: demonstrative determiners, nouns, cardinal numbers, present indicative transitive verbs, and measure words (a subclass of nouns). They only need to learn more terms that fit into those four/five categories.

There will be occasional errors, of course, but they are mended very easily.

* 這個人有一象。 This person has a/one elephant.
v 這個人有一象。 This person has a/one elephant.


ehophi,


I haven't said anything that is wrong in my last comment. I am just saying that some of your decompositions are incorrect (是ADJ的 and ADJ一點). And that instead of learning odd or incorrect decompositions, students should begin by learning high-frequency language.

I don't agree that 比較 ADJ should always be translated as comparatively ADJ. For example:

A: This meal is more expensive than the other place we went to.
B: But it's *comparatively better, too.

Many Chinese speakers would use '比較' in B. But I would be surprised to hear anyone say 'comparatively better'. So why not just translate it as 'better' and think of 比較 as simply marking the ADJ as a comparative? It means the same thing...Also, in English, sometimes people use 'relatively ADJ' without directly comparing the subject to anything. 比較 is never used like that. That's why I think it doesn't correspond directly to a English word.
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Re: Am I an idiot? I really think so.

Postby ironlady » 12 Jun 2012, 03:06

Rotalsnart wrote:
ironlady wrote:Visual ALM.

Google it; you're too young to remember.


Googled it, but still don't know what you're referring to. Explain please?


Pattern sentences with replacement drills. Only these are written, and not even organized to allow repeated practice.
Works fine if you're a bookish, very motivated individual, but the average person's eyes glaze over rather quickly using this method.
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Re: Am I an idiot? I really think so.

Postby archylgp » 12 Jun 2012, 12:46

ehophi wrote:Do you know how to type that on the New Phonetic Pinyin IME? I've tried most combinations for it.


I use 新注音. (I'm not sure if that is New Phonetic Pinyin IME or not) On the language bar, select 工具選單(tools)and within that drop-down menu select 標點符號(punctuation marks); select '、' and that's it. (You can select which input method you use in the properties tab for 新注音.)
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