word order (was Re: Random DWJ discovery of the day)

Colin Fine colin at kindness.demon.co.uk
Sun Apr 3 07:26:52 EDT 2005


Rene Fleischbein wrote:

> When I was teaching English in Jordan I had to teach the order of 
> adjectives.  This was very frustrating because I knew the right order 
> but didn't know why or even how I knew.  It was strange to have to 
> read the teacher's manual to find out why which type of adjective went 
> where.  It was even stranger to have the students asking me why I 
> didn't know how Iknew this.  Convoluted, no?

That's exactly my point. In contrast to the many rules that used to be 
taught to generations of English speaking children to get them to speak 
something which wasn't their native language, but rather a hoop they had 
to jump through to be acceptible in society, this is a bit of the real 
grammar of English which never has to be taught to native speakers, but 
takes considerable work to describe.

Colin

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