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The topic is already my question. Do you think that english is an overrated issue?
Maybe this is an odd question. But when I think about German, there are often incidences where others talk to each other, use wrong tenses and no one even notices it. There is some kind of understanding within language that enables us to understand the meaning even when there is wrong usage of tenses. Not in every case, but often. I can only talk for German, but when someone talks to me and suddenly uses the Past Perfect instead the Present Perfect, or vice versa, I will still understand him perfectly. Maybe I am wrong. What do you think about it?

I just ask because I have the impression that we sometimes are afraid of talking to native speakers because we seem to believe that every native English speaker immediately discovers all the grammar mistakes that we have produced while talking English.

There may be grammar mistakes in this text as well....... If that´s the case, I will never ever post something in here again Emotion: wink
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I'm sure it's the same for all natural languages. In the flow of conversation, people make mistakes in their grammar. Tenses and agreements go awry, but the benefit of context and non-verbal communication allows the meaning to be understood regardless.

It's harder not to be tripped up and confused by errors in written language though, particularly in formal contexts, because we lack the non-verbal cues given in a live interaction. Wouldn't you agree?
Oh yes - when speaking, things do NOT follow the correct grammatical path. We change our mind about what we want to say or decide to emphasize something else or just get distracted, and our sentences are not grammatical at all. If you are telling a story, you switch from present to past to whatever, and no one notices, because you're interacting. If you ever read transcripts of interviews, this is clearly demonstrated.

But that doesn't mean that grammar is over-rated! If you decide that no one is in sight and you are going to roll through a stop sign instead of coming to a complete stop, that's not the same as not knowing that big red sign means you are supposed to stop in traffic!
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I completely agree that written papers, especially in formal context must agree with grammar aspects. Otherwise ambiguities can arise. @ grammar geek: The stop sign comparison is a very good one. You are right, not using correct grammar does not mean that we do not know how to produce a well formed sentence.
It´s just a funny phenomena that I have observerd here in Germany. People sometimes tend to avoid conversations because they are not really sure about grammar aspects, it´s just that they forget about the wonderful brain that connects contexts often in an appropriate way. At the moment I do not know why I started that topic here.... but somehow it interested me very much, and still does.
The mistakes a person makes in his own language are completely differentfrom the mistakes he makes in someone else's language. Therefore, if only so as not to make a fool of oneself, a person should realize that it is more important to know the grammar of a foreign language than of one's native language. It would be a very unusual person indeed who, in learning a foreign language, started making all the same sorts of mistakes that the native speakers make while simultaneously never making the mistakes that native speakers would never make. Emotion: smile

CJ
That´s true..... it would a very unusual person.....
Maybe I see your point now. Grammar is not an overrated issue, it is very important to know the basics, even to a higher extend than is actually needed, to avoid mistakes that may make a fool of oneself.
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CalifJimThe mistakes a person makes in his own language are completely differentfrom the mistakes he makes in someone else's language. Therefore, if only so as not to make a fool of oneself, a person should realize that it is more important to know the grammar of a foreign language than of one's native language. It would be a very unusual person indeed who, in learning a foreign language, started making all the same sorts of mistakes that the native speakers make while simultaneously never making the mistakes that native speakers would never make. Emotion: smile

CJ

I completely agree with CJ’s comment. From my own experience, knowing a language means differently from person to person. Some only care about getting enough to get around which is fine if that is his objective. I personally watch my own grammar as well as others when engaged in communication. So the presumption to think that people do not pay attention to grammar is not true. But that’s only my experience.
Hi everyone,
I know nothing at all about Italian grammar, if I have to speak in Italian I just say what sounds good to me, what I've heard many times and I know it's ok. So if anyone made a "strange mistake", I would understand immediately that they are foreigner. Plus, regional dialects make Italian a very flexible language. I even often asked here about sentences that I'm not even sure how to say correctly in Italian! (but not in my dialect, hehehe) Emotion: stick out tongue
So, I believe idiomaticness is more important than grammar sometimes, especially when learning a second language, like ESL students do.
This is very interesting. Idiomatic expressions a more important than grammar sometimes. I totally agree with that. It occurs quite often that I read a lot of post here and think:" Hmmm, I would have written this one in another way. This is one of the reasons to be in this forum here. To learn as much about idiomatic expressions as possible. I just have to use them to get used to them Emotion: smile I really dig you for that idea. (Just an attempt to use such an expression) Emotion: smile

The problem is that we talk a lot about scientific issues at university and do not really learn how to use a language like English when talking to native speakers about ordinary stuff...... Idiomatic expressions .... I have to look out for them.
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