Gender

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Chandith
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Re: Gender

Post by Chandith » 21 Mar 2011 17:27

Tanni wrote:Thanks for backing me up, Chandith!
Ossicone wrote:The problem is that articles and gender have no real meaning making it harder to remember.
Articles are function words, and as such you are required to learn them well.

At least articles have real meaning, although no lexical one, normally. Otherwise, you could also state that every morphological element dosen't have ''real'' meaning, which is not correct, obviously.

Gender can have real meaning, because there may be words whose meaning depends on gender, like in your conlang exemple. German is such a language, even though the exemples are quite marginal. (''Der Tag'' vs. ''das Tag'', where the latter is a loan form English and probably not used outside computer science. Or ''der Service'' vs. ''das Service'', but maybe in Austria, it's justs the same.)
You are right, but those are bad examples. And I would say "Der Tag" to both "Tag" as in day and "Tag" as in tag.

Better examples are:

Das Gehalt = the salary
Der Gehalt = the content

Der Partikel = the physical particle (floating in the air)
Die Partikel = the lingustic word-class "particle"

Die Kuh (/ku:/) = the Cow
Der Coup (/ku:/) = the coup
Das Q (/ku:/) = name of the letter "Q"

Der See = the lake
Die See = the ocean

Tanni wrote:It is easiest to learn ''der Baum'', because otherwise, you would have a really wierd compound. Compound means that the stress is on the first syllable and the second isn't stressed. (Maybe very young children would hear it like that at the beginning, but if you start learning a foreign language, you are in a quite different situation.) For learning purposes, it's always best to present things like they actually are, not trying to make it ''easier''. That will never work, it just leads to distortion and misunderstanding. (And for the wrong ones to make easy money!) There are lots of languages where you have concepts assumed to be one unit, but composed of more than one word, see English. And we should not forget that ''der'' and ''Baum'' can be separated by a lot of more words, e.g. articles, adjectives, participles etc.
Like i said, i didn't mean "Derbaum" as one morphological or phonological unit, but as one unit of information. Maybe WRITING it as "Derbaum" was the wrong way to show what i meant.

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Re: Gender

Post by Ossicone » 21 Mar 2011 19:17

Tanni wrote: Sorry, Ossicone, we weren't taught to learn the articles with the words.
Sorry, I assumed teachers weren't that shit. That could be the root of this whole ridiculous argument.
Tanni wrote:And this isn't or at least needn't be obvious to a pupil at least. You're not a pupil anymore, right? As an ''adult'', you forget how it was being a pupil. You then take for granted what you had to learn very hard as a pupil.
As a teacher, I haven't forgotten
Chandith wrote: But Tanni was speaking to Ainuke, not to you. So how does your personal German learning experience make Tanni's advice to him (Ainuke) needlessly obvious and unhelpful?
It was obvious because I assumed that most students were told this about 5 millions times like I was.
I have now learned this is an incorrect assumption and you all have bad teachers.
Chandith wrote:I think you do not quite understand, what is meant with "learning the article together with the word".
Because doing so IS what actually circumvents the problem of remembering the articles.
I know exactly what it means. I was actually saying that to support learning them together. I never actually said learning the articles together was a bad thing.

Chunking is a good concept to apply to this. However students still run into the problem of the articles having no inherent meaning to them. Because of this they have no proper feedback to tell them when they're wrong.
I could just as easily remember 'dog' as 'die Hund' as I could 'der Hund.' I've seen this happen all the time.

Anyway, I think you guys are up in arms that I think learning the article together is a bad idea when I don't. I just felt that Tanni's advice was obvious and therefore unhelpful.

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Re: Gender

Post by Chandith » 25 Mar 2011 22:19

Ossicone wrote:
Tanni wrote: Sorry, Ossicone, we weren't taught to learn the articles with the words.
Sorry, I assumed teachers weren't that shit. That could be the root of this whole ridiculous argument.
The majority of foreign language teachers (especially outside of schools and universities, but also there) are didactically untrained native speakers.


Ossicone wrote:
Chandith wrote:I think you do not quite understand, what is meant with "learning the article together with the word".
Because doing so IS what actually circumvents the problem of remembering the articles.
I know exactly what it means.
Well, apparently, you don't. Because here you say:
Ossicone wrote:This is useless and obvious:
Tanni wrote: Learn the articles together with the words.
But later, in the same post you say:
Ossicone wrote: So when I say:
Ossicone wrote: A large part of language learning is repetition.

For some things working it out is helpful, but this is not one of them.
Considering the articles are pretty important they should be stated directly.
Der Hund, der Hund, der Hund!
It is me giving actual useful advice on how to memorize the articles.
So, you say "Learning the article together with each word" is useless but "Repeating the article together withe the vocable" is useful, as if they were two different things. This looks to me, like you don't realize, that these two things are one and the same, just differently worded, which implies, that you have a wrong understanding, either of the first, the second, or of both of them.

Maybe you confuse "Learning the article together with each word" with "Learning the gender together with each word". The latter would really be obvious (because gender is a property of each word) and useless, because it doesn't tell you how to learn the gender.
Ossicone wrote:I never actually said learning the articles together was a bad thing.
You called it useless on certain occasions ... useless sounds bad (like: wasting your learning time) to me.
Ossicone wrote:Chunking is a good concept to apply to this. However students still run into the problem of the articles having no inherent meaning to them. Because of this they have no proper feedback to tell them when they're wrong.
Yes, apparently you really don't understand what learning an article together with the word, as if it were part of the vocable, really is about.

The students have no proper feedback to tell them when the article is wrong? This is about learning the article as part of the vocable! How do you get feedback on the correctness of any part of the remembered/repeated vocable? You compare it to the vocable entry in your book/flashcard/dictionary/whatever! If you try to remember the German word for "dog", and you remembered "Hund", how do you know that it really is "Hund" and not "Land"? How is this different from not knowing if it is "der Hund" or "die Hund"?
The articles have no inherent meaning to the students? How does any part of a one-lexeme vocable have any more inherent meaning than the article? How does the "Hu" part of "Hund" have any more inherent meaning than "der" has in "der Hund"?

All your brain has to do is learning one syllable (consisting of two to three phonemes) additionally with every noun you learn.
Ossicone wrote:I could just as easily remember 'dog' as 'die Hund' as I could 'der Hund.' I've seen this happen all the time.
Then you weren't really treating it as inherent part of the vocable. Or do you also just as easily remember "Diele" (floorboard) as "Derle" or "Dasle" ?

Or let's look at it like this:

Imagine that German wouldn't have any articles. Instead all German nouns in nominative singular would end with one of three possible syllables: -o, -a, -um:

the tree = Baumo
the table = Tischo
the dog = Hundo

the lamp = Lampa
the bag = Tascha
the candle = Kerza

the house = Hausum
the plate = Blechum
the wheel = Radum

If you would learn these vocables, would you learn the word stem "Hund-" separately from the ending "-o"? No! You would learn "Hundo", and later, when building a sentence, you would segment "Hundo" into "Hund-" and "-o" if required by the grammar (for example if the "-o"-words would take "-õno" when used as object of the sentence: "Hundõno").

But, is there any more effort needed to learn a word if the "-o" is a grammatical affix instead of it simply being part of the lexeme itself? How does it take more effort to learn "Hundo" instead of apollo, to, ratio or hippo? (I specifically(!) mean effort at the stage of remembering and repeating the vocabulary)

It doesn't.

And now, when only considering the effort to learn end repeat the vocabulary: Does it make any differences when the grammatical morpheme is not a bound affix but an unbound adposition?
Yet again: NO! It does make a difference later in sentence construction, because it is not morphological and/or syntactical the same. But during the learning of the vocabulary it too means only one additional syllable to learn.

I alway find it funny when people say: "Well language X has gender as well, but there I can deduce the gender form the ending of the word." Well, what they actually did, was learning the nominative-singular morpheme for each gender together with each word. You can do the exact same thing with German, only that you learn an unbound adposition instead of a bound affix with every word. And, as the affix or adposition has only grammatical function and makes no difference in the meaning of the vocable, one can learn it just as one would learn any other part of the vocable (meaning: every other part of the wordstem).

It is a difference in grammar, but it is not a difference in the number of "things to learn" with every word. And therefore also no difference in the effort to learn each word.
Last edited by Chandith on 25 Mar 2011 22:52, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Gender

Post by Tanni » 25 Mar 2011 22:35

Chandith wrote:But during the learning of the vocabulary it too means only one additional syllable to learn.
It's even easier, because it's not a random syllable, but exactly one out of three.
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Re: Gender

Post by Yačay256 » 25 Mar 2011 23:34

In Sumerian, it is easy to remember the gender: Deities and humans take the animate gender, while everything else takes the inanimate gender (I do not know why Sumerologists did not borrow the Tamil gender terms "Rational" and "Irrational" for this, which seem much more suitable.) Gender is only marked on the verb via personal affixes: (Hamtu verb stem) Munuse munsar "The woman has wrote (Animate)" vs. Ab2e Mubkas4 "The cow has ran (Inanimate)."

EDIT: Clarification of Sumerian.
¡Mñíĝínxàʋày!
¡[ˈmí.ɲ̟ōj.ˌɣín.ʃà.βä́j]!
2-POSS.EXCL.ALIEN-COMP-friend.comrade
Hello, colleagues!

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Re: Gender

Post by Chelsara » 26 Mar 2011 00:18

I'm not a fan of gender, but I frequently use animate/inanimate roughly as the same thing. But it's more black and white that way compared to choosing if an inanimate object is male or female.

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Re: Gender

Post by zelos » 26 Mar 2011 08:58

I dont understand why so many have against gender, it would appear rather obvious it does have some purpose/natural tendency considering how many languages has it
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Re: Gender

Post by eldin raigmore » 26 Mar 2011 18:48

zelos wrote:I dont understand why so many have against gender, it would appear rather obvious it does have some purpose/natural tendency considering how many languages has it
(1) Most natural languages don't have gender.

(2) Gender is indeed useful.

Classical example:
"Maria took this snapshot of John in front of the beach-house when she was ten years old."
"Maria took this snapshot of John in front of the beach-house when he was ten years old."
"Maria took this snapshot of John in front of the beach-house when it was ten years old."

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Apparently it's fairly easy to get along without, even though it's rather useful.

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Re: Gender

Post by Omzinesý » 26 Mar 2011 21:00

But if the language has obviative instead of gender, there are always different pronouns, though the words would be same gender. Gender is complicated to learn, thus most conlangs are hard purposefully.

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Re: Gender

Post by MrKrov » 26 Mar 2011 21:14

No, it doesn't have to be and citation?

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Re: Gender

Post by Omzinesý » 26 Mar 2011 21:17

What doesn't have to be? It earlier?

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Re: Gender

Post by MrKrov » 26 Mar 2011 21:53

Bloody zombie on a stick: "Gender is complicated to learn, thus most conlangs are hard purposefully."

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Re: Gender

Post by eldin raigmore » 26 Mar 2011 23:58

Omzinesý wrote:But if the language has obviative instead of gender, there are always different pronouns, though the words would be same gender. Gender is complicated to learn, thus most conlangs are hard purposefully.
Most natural languages don't have obviatives.
Most natural languages don't have logophoric pronouns.
Most natural languages don't have long-distance reflexives.
Most natural languages don't have any other kind of "fourth person".
Most natural languages don't have dual nor paucal nor other numbers besides singular and plural.

In every natural language there are things that the most obvious way to say is ambiguous and could be misinterpreted. In nearly every case they are usually not misinterpreted. In every case it is possible to elaborate and disambiguate.

Many natural languages have greater expressive power and economy in some ways than many other natural languages. (That is, they can say some things with less effort and less ambiguity than some other languages can. Every language can say anything any other language can say; just not always as easily, as clearly, as precisely, and as unambiguously.)

There is a tension -- one is tempted to say "a dialectic" -- between expressiveness and economy.

"Kitchen sink" conlangs (Tariana could be a "kitchen sink" natlang) often include several different ways of unambiguously expressing several things, when most natlangs include only one or a few or even none of them.

Thus maybe I'll have all three kinds of "fourth person" -- obviatives, long-distance reflexives, and logophoric pronouns -- as well as five or more grammatical numbers (singular, dual, trial, lesser paucal, greater paucal, lesser plural, greater plural) -- as well as many genders (say, maybe, ten of them).

And maybe I'll have thorough-going double-marking as well, having verbs agree with two or even three or four participants, in gender as well as person and number and maybe other qualities like definiteness, and have adpositions marked to agree with their object noun-phrases, and adjectives marked to agree with their head-nouns in case, number, gender, and so on and so forth.

Languages differ not so much in what they allow their speakers to say, as in what they require their speakers to say. It's hard to use a noun-phrase in English without specifying whether it refers to only one or to more than one referent. That's not true in all languages. It's hard to say a main clause in English without saying whether it has already happened, or is happening right now, or will happen after the speech act. That's not true in all languages. It's awkward in English to make a pronominal reference to a person without committing oneself to that person's gender. That's not true in all languages. In some languages it's quite awkward to say a clause without giving some hint to how you know that it's true. In English it is easy.

Even the most enthusiastic "kitchen-sink" conlanger is eventually going to find that there are some features s/he can't possibly need if s/he has all the others.

Even the most enthusiastic minimalist conlanger is going to find that most (though not all) features that are required in natlangs are going to have to be available, if optional, in his/her conlang.

Gender is not any more difficult (nor any less difficult) than any of the others.
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Re: Gender

Post by Systemzwang » 27 Mar 2011 11:35

eldin raigmore wrote:
Omzinesý wrote:But if the language has obviative instead of gender, there are always different pronouns, though the words would be same gender. Gender is complicated to learn, thus most conlangs are hard purposefully.
Most natural languages don't have obviatives.
Most natural languages don't have logophoric pronouns.
Most natural languages don't have long-distance reflexives.
Most natural languages don't have any other kind of "fourth person".
Most natural languages don't have dual nor paucal nor other numbers besides singular and dual.
Please, Tom, whenever you have more than two sentences (and most times even with two) that share more than three (and many times even two is enough) initial words, FACTORIZE it. We have brains too, and despite not being blessed with aspergers, we do use them - even though I know you've expressed doubts about this.

Anyways, there's this thing I mentioned, factorization. With strings and stuff, and using the term a bit loosely, this means reuttering the thing you just said this way:
Most natural languages have neither of obviatives, logophoric pronouns, long-distance reflexives, any other kind of "fourth person" or dual, paucal or other numbers besides singular and dual".

This saves a lot of mental bandwidth for us, and is _more efficient_, something one'd think you would appreciate. I don't get how you haven't appreciated it yet, despite us telling you about it for years!

Is this your way of projecting an image? This is not the logically optimal way of expressing things! And optimizing is the logical thing to do, no? This just makes reading things you write a bothersome ordeal.

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Re: Gender

Post by zelos » 27 Mar 2011 12:29

eldin raigmore wrote:
zelos wrote:I dont understand why so many have against gender, it would appear rather obvious it does have some purpose/natural tendency considering how many languages has it
(1) Most natural languages don't have gender.

(2) Gender is indeed useful.

Classical example:
"Maria took this snapshot of John in front of the beach-house when she was ten years old."
"Maria took this snapshot of John in front of the beach-house when he was ten years old."
"Maria took this snapshot of John in front of the beach-house when it was ten years old."

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Apparently it's fairly easy to get along without, even though it's rather useful.
checked it its about a 50/50 split give or take

so my point stands even if slightly corrected.
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Re: Gender

Post by Chandith » 27 Mar 2011 12:45

Systemzwang wrote:This saves a lot of mental bandwidth for us, and is _more efficient_, something one'd think you would appreciate. I don't get how you haven't appreciated it yet, despite us telling you about it for years!
Ts ts ts ... Systemzwang, efficiency is a metric that can only be measured in relation to a certain goal. A certain linguistic structure is more efficient, if it realizes the given goal with less effort than another structure. But one structure cannot simply be "just efficient" ore "more efficient" without taking the goal or purpose of the utterance into account.
Your are apparently under the wrong assumption, that eldin raigmore's goal with his statement was to simply get the fact across, that "Most natural languages have neither of obviatives, logophoric pronouns, long-distance reflexives, any other kind of "fourth person" or dual, paucal or other numbers besides singular and dual".

I think that it is quite obvious, that this wasn't the only purpose of his utterance, and therefore one cannot simply state, that the fashion in which he made his statement, was inefficient in realizing it's purpose.
Systemzwang wrote:This is not the logically optimal way of expressing things!
It is logical to use those linguistic structures, which are best suited to realize the purpose of a certain written/spoken statement ... what ever those structures may be ... it is not logical to always keep it short and simple no matter what the goal of your statement actually is.
Systemzwang wrote: And optimizing is the logical thing to do, no?
Yes, but the question is: Which parameter is optimized in what way, and for what goal.

The superficial base information inside an utterance isn't always the only thing you want to get across with it. In fact, most of the time there is much more you want to communicate, things which you communicate not by what you say, but by how you say it.

For example, if I want to get on your nerves, if I want to be annoying, so that I get your attention and WHAT I say gets stuck in your memory, if I want to do that, steadily repeating "Most natural languages don't..." seems to be a quite simple and efficient way to accomplish this goal in addition to stating the base information about WHAT certain languages lack.

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Re: Gender

Post by Tanni » 27 Mar 2011 15:35

Systemzwang wrote:This saves a lot of mental bandwidth for us, and is _more efficient_, something one'd think you would appreciate. I don't get how you haven't appreciated it yet, despite us telling you about it for years!
Not just mental bandwidth, but ordinary transmission bandwidth throught the Internet, too.
Chandith wrote: Ts ts ts ... Systemzwang, efficiency is a metric that can only be measured in relation to a certain goal. A certain linguistic structure is more efficient, if it realizes the given goal with less effort than another structure. But one structure cannot simply be "just efficient" ore "more efficient" without taking the goal or purpose of the utterance into account.
Your are apparently under the wrong assumption, that eldin raigmore's goal with his statement was to simply get the fact across, that "Most natural languages have neither of obviatives, logophoric pronouns, long-distance reflexives, any other kind of "fourth person" or dual, paucal or other numbers besides singular and dual".

I think that it is quite obvious, that this wasn't the only purpose of his utterance, and therefore one cannot simply state, that the fashion in which he made his statement, was inefficient in realizing it's purpose.
The goal is understood, I think, it's to help others with an answer. And according to that goal, he's quite inefficient. For you Chandith, see here: Ranschburg-Phänomen. For the others, see here: Ranschburg effect.
Systemzwang wrote:This is not the logically optimal way of expressing things!
Seconded!
Chandith wrote: It is logical to use those linguistic structures, which are best suited to realize the purpose of a certain written/spoken statement ... what ever those structures may be ... it is not logical to always keep it short and simple no matter what the goal of your statement actually is.
Yes, but that don't mean to just repeat things that are understood again and again. That's just boring, and it makes it difficult to weed out the essential information or scares you away form the subject altogether.
Systemzwang wrote:And optimizing is the logical thing to do, no?
After things are established, they'll get opimized.
Chandith wrote: Yes, but the question is: Which parameter is optimized in what way, and for what goal.

The superficial base information inside an utterance isn't always the only thing you want to get across with it. In fact, most of the time there is much more you want to communicate, things which you communicate not by what you say, but by how you say it.

For example, if I want to get on your nerves, if I want to be annoying, so that I get your attention and WHAT I say gets stuck in your memory, if I want to do that, steadily repeating "Most natural languages don't..." seems to be a quite simple and efficient way to accomplish this goal in addition to stating the base information about WHAT certain languages lack.
This goal would be a rather nasty one, and it would be only temporary, I hope. Systemzwang, like most of us, assumes that eldin has only honest intentions here, and according to the implicit goal to help someone else, his means are quite inadequate.
Last edited by Tanni on 27 Mar 2011 15:59, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Gender

Post by Chandith » 27 Mar 2011 15:56

Tanni wrote:The goal is understood, I think, it's to help others with an answer. And according to that goal, he's quite inefficient. For you Chandith, see here: Ranschburg-Phänomen. For the others, see here: Ranschburg effect.
I'm acquainted with the Ranschburg effect, and I can't see how it is even applicable here.
Tanni wrote:
Chandith wrote: It is logical to use those linguistic structures, which are best suited to realize the purpose of a certain written/spoken statement ... what ever those structures may be ... it is not logical to always keep it short and simple no matter what the goal of your statement actually is.
Yes, but that don't mean to just repeat things that are understood again and again.
No, depending on the actual goal, it can mean exactly that.
Tanni wrote:
Systemzwang wrote:This saves a lot of mental bandwidth for us, and is _more efficient_, something one'd think you would appreciate. I don't get how you haven't appreciated it yet, despite us telling you about it for years!
Not just mental bandwidth, but ordinary transmission bandwidth throught the Internet, too.
These few additional characters are negligible.
Tanni wrote:This goal would be a rather nasty one, and it would be only temporary.
Not necessarily. This is called the "head first"-approach ... It's about getting the learner to be anything: interested, happy, sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated ... everything ... just NOT bored.
Tanni wrote:... and according to the implicit goal to help someone else, his means are quite inadequate.
No, I don't agree with that either, but that might be a matter of taste. For example, I find eldin raigmore's way of vertically stacking each feature "that most natural languages don't have" much easier to parse than systemzwangs' horizontal factorization. Remember, this is a text based bulletin board, not a spoken conversation. I can scan through all the "Most natural languages don't have"s and look at the end of each line for the actual features, almost like in a dotted list. I don't have to wait for every repetition "Most natural languages don't have" to end, like if eldin raigmore would speak in this way. This is about reading.
Last edited by Chandith on 27 Mar 2011 16:07, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Gender

Post by Tanni » 27 Mar 2011 16:06

Chandith wrote:
Tanni wrote:
Systemzwang wrote:This saves a lot of mental bandwidth for us, and is _more efficient_, something one'd think you would appreciate. I don't get how you haven't appreciated it yet, despite us telling you about it for years!
Not just mental bandwidth, but ordinary transmission bandwidth throught the Internet, too.
These few additional characters are negligible.
I wanted to add that, and it's true if just one person does it, but if that spreads, ...
Chandith wrote:
Tanni wrote:This goal would be a rather nasty one, and it would be only temporary.
Not necessarily. This is called the "head first"-approach ... It's about getting the learner to be anything: interested, happy, sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated ... everything ... just NOT bored.
Barring interested, all of that isn't good for learning and understanding.
Chandith wrote:
Tanni wrote:... and according to the implicit goal to help someone else, his means are quite inadequate.
No, I don't agree with that either, but that might be a matter of taste. For example, I find eldin raigmore's way of vertically stacking each feature "that most natural languages don't have" much easier to parse than systemzwangs' horizontal factorization. Remember, this is a text based bulletin board, not a spoken conversation. I can scan through all the "Most natural languages don't have"s and look at the end of each line for the actual features, almost like in a dotted list. I don't have to wait for every repetition "Most natural languages don't have" to end, like if eldin raigmore would speak in this way. This is about reading.
But this still requires you to weed out the relevant information. And for ''vertically stacking each feature'' without having boring repetitions, there are BBCode lists. Read that Ranschburg thingy!
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Re: Gender

Post by Chandith » 27 Mar 2011 16:17

Tanni wrote:
Chandith wrote: These few additional characters are negligible.
I wanted to add that, and it's true if just one person does it, but if that spreads, ...
It will still be negligible. All the graphics on this page far exceed a few lines of text in bandwidth.
Tanni wrote:
Chandith wrote: Not necessarily. This is called the "head first"-approach ... It's about getting the learner to be anything: interested, happy, sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated ... everything ... just NOT bored.
Barring interested, all of that isn't good for learning and understanding.
Maybe I expressed myself wrong. I didn't mean getting the learner to be annoyed or frustrated about what he learns, but keeping him on a constant emotional investment in what is going on.

Tanni wrote:But this still requires you to weed out the relevant information.
No, it doesn't. The visual regularity of the repeated sentence fragments makes it possible for the brain to nearly instantly skip the following bits after reading the first one.
Tanni wrote:And for ''vertically stacking each feature'' without having boring repetitions, there are BBCode lists.
Of course, using an actual dotted list would be more efficient to realize an optical list like presentation than what he wrote ... but the way he stacked the sentences is still better at that than writing in in a continuous line.
Last edited by Chandith on 27 Mar 2011 16:44, edited 1 time in total.

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