Patterns
and
Language Learning


Language learning depends on recognizing patterns says this recent study. Yes, yes yes!!! No to Chomsky’s Universal Grammar nonsense that has occupied linguistics students and professors for so long. When it come to learning languages, we need to de-emphasize complicated grammatical explanations, as well as grammar drills and questions. We need to put more emphasis on feeding the brain lots of examples of the patterns of a language, in context, through massive input, and for reinforcement, in isolation, in the form of basic phrase patterns. Of course some explanations can also help the brain to recognize patterns, but in my view these should not be overdone.

I have started creating a list of pattern sentences for English. I have recorded them and uploaded them to the LingQ library. I have had these translated and recorded in Romanian, for my Romanian study, and added them to the LingQ Romanian library. I regularly listen to and read these patterns, and vary that activity with listening to and reading more interesting content, from Radio Romania podcasts, for example. This trains my brain to notice the patterns of the language.

I am hoping to get other members at LingQ to do the same so that we can build a vast collection of basic patterns sentences in different languages, with audio and text. As we learn a language, the brain picks up on patterns, but only gradually, and not necessarily in response to specific curriculum goals nor deliberate instruction. Perhaps some people are better at recognizing patterns in general, and therefore better at recognizing patterns of pronunciation or structure in a language. However, I also feel we can help the process along, and help learners to improve their ability to notice patterns, bu providing a rich collection of basic phrases and sentences that learners can choose from and mix in with their regular input activities.

Here is my initial list of the categories for which I will continue to develop pattern sentences for different languages and encourage others to do the same at LingQ. The list will fill itself out and grow. I encourage you all to add to it by either creating example sentences or adding to the subject headings.

Subject headings for patterns sentences:

1)Who
2)What
3)Where
4)When
5)Tenses
6)How many
7)Why
8)Because
9) Therefore
10)To, by with, of, from , for
11) Whenever, however
12) What kind
13) What if
14) Which
15) Should, must, could
16) Even if
17) Although
18) However,
19) It seems to me
20) Since when
21) Want to, plan to,hope to
22) Try to

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