Don't complain, don't ask why, just LEARN

Red Rudolph   Monday, September 27, 2004, 00:07 GMT
"The English progressive is difficult."

-- Nothing is difficult if you have half a brain. Stop complaining about the difficulty of languages on Antimoon! Just sit down and learn them, even if you're so thick that you have to miss a night of sleep to master a single grammatical concept.

"Why don't the words wet, spit, hit...have past tenses?"

-- Also, do NOT ask WHY there is no discrete past tense for "hit", why you should not use the subjunctive for "j'espère qu'il *sera*", why there are cases in German but none in Spanish, why English spelling is barmy, why "moustache" and "barbe" are feminine. Good God! Just learn the quirks of the languages and do NOT try to find out WHY, WHY, WHY as if they were scientific theories!

The answer to all of your "why, why, why" questions is thus: No reason, no explanation, please shut up, especially if you're an English learner (people who speak and write English fluently may be interested in language evolution, etymology, etc. but if you are an English learner, especially if you still can't get your verb tenses right, you should really focus on *learning* and not *questioning*.)
Mxsmanic   Monday, September 27, 2004, 05:11 GMT
I find that students who spend a lot of time asking why English is the way it is tend to learn very, very slowly, since they have a built-in problem with everything to which they are exposed. I think this sort of attitude betrays a kind of close-mindedness that gets directly in the way of learning new languages. With any language, you don't waste time asking questions, you just learn the language. If you treat everything as novel and interesting instead of trying to find what's "wrong" with it, you learn a lot faster.
Steve K   Monday, September 27, 2004, 06:12 GMT
I share the views of these posts.
mjd   Monday, September 27, 2004, 06:32 GMT
I agree, gentlemen, but the individual who is in the habit of asking these questions ("why does cost not have a past tense?"..."why this, why that?") is a native speaker of English.

I don't think he asks the questions hoping to learn more about the intricacies of the English language...I think he just gets a kick out of it.
Jim   Monday, September 27, 2004, 06:34 GMT
But you can ask "Why?" in the spirit of curiosity rather than criticism. True, don't get bogged down with finding "fault" with the language but you can still wonder why. The curious student learns quickly.
Jim   Monday, September 27, 2004, 06:38 GMT
With regard to that aformentioned individual, though, it seems neither to be criticism nor curiosity but just for kicks as mjd writes.
Dulcinea del Toboso   Monday, September 27, 2004, 09:00 GMT
On the other hand, Eric's explanation for the reason why some plurals are irregular (or seem the same, such as "fish") was enlightening.

Within reason, I think an inquisitive mind learns better by asking questions.
Steve K   Monday, September 27, 2004, 14:02 GMT
It is not just the native speaker who asks these questions. It is very often the learner, especially learners who have studied a lot of grammar but still cannot speak. I find this common amongst Chinese learners. To many of them, English is an academic subject and arguing points of grammar is a way of showing off that makes up for the fact that they have trouble communicating.
Xatufan   Saturday, October 02, 2004, 03:01 GMT
I think it's good to ask why. To have curiosity.

Red Rudolph: You have a big red nose and you're menopausic in your mid 40's.

By the way, why don't you use the subjunctive in the sentence "J'espere qu'il sera"?

....Just asking....
Steve K   Saturday, October 02, 2004, 04:09 GMT
I appreciate Rudoolph for his original posting and original thinking. And I agree with him.

Xatufan the kind of person that I am happy to avoid in life.
Ant_222   Saturday, October 02, 2004, 14:20 GMT
IMHO, one should ask why when discussing not a grammar rule or a spelling of a word, but the application of a rule. I think, this is the only case when a learner should ask questions, because it helps in learning. The more you understand, the less you should learn and remember.

Le loup et l'agneau   Saturday, October 02, 2004, 18:33 GMT
"Open-mindness", c'est ça le truc.
Xatufan   Sunday, October 03, 2004, 00:17 GMT
OK, maybe it's all in the evolution of languages so all the questions should be answered: "Because the language is like this". Maybe that's all.

Steve K: We have two different ideas, and you are not acting tolerantly. As you can see, I surrender and I'm accepting your ideas.