language and mind

April 16, 2011

My travel – grammar without riot acts

Moving about and being aware of it naturally belong with this ‘gear’ in the human head known as the brain. The ‘gear’ stores information about motion in cognitive variables. It starts quite early – telling the horizontal from the vertical begins already in infancy. The variables are sets of values that can correlate to other brain activities – importantly, also to language.

Reading riot acts might be not necessary to teach grammar. The thing is in teaching a way to allow learning – for this, you need to take the ‘gear’ into account. Nope, you don’t attempt to influence anyone trying to tell them your way is the only way and it is the way things sure are or should be (like prescriptive grammarians do). There isn’t such an only way on this Earth. Yet, there might be ways more agreeable to the ‘gear’.

Let us think about a correlate to the cognitive variables as they naturally could be. The prepositions on, in, to, and at could correlate with tense aspects. Importantly, with the correlate, the ‘gear’ does not need to operate verbose definitions for the spatio-temporal orientation in language and can save its working capacity. The prepositional correlate would reflect on natural language acquisition – children tend to comprehend ‘on’ before ‘in’, etc. The cognitive variables have those options.

With language, human brains part rely on reflexes – again, to save the working capacity. If you offer your students an incentive to operate the prepositions like parameters – I gave them the choice to volunteer for points – they begin to form reflexes. Importantly, the students know why they do a thing. Still more importantly, they know that you are trying to teach them something you do yourself  :)

‘Travelers in Grammar – The Whole Journey’

The journey consists of four parts. Two parts can be seen at

Please feel welcome to see my scribbling site

my poetry corner

or my other WordPress posts; they are listed at

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