Thursday, February 7, 2013

It's OK to use the "familiar imperative" in Phase 1, for goodness sake.

Session 24 is over and Session 25 is similar to it. Can't get much closer to Phase 2 without being there!

Our wonderful nurturer has generally given TPR commands in the "familiar imperative", though often with a helping verb or some such thing added to the root that to us makes it seem a bit more formal. Yesterday he seemed to really "get familiar", and used a ton of simple, bare-root commands, with the verbs as simple as he could make them. That is great, as I think it employs the "base form" from which other verb forms differ in various ways, and it really makes that base form clear.

This is a difference between the GPA and what many "language learners" understand they should do, and is an example of something that causes objections to the GPA. The whole idea of learning commands in the "familiar imperative" seems so counter-intuitive to most people who think much about it, since "We'll never use that form in 'real life'." "Counter-intuitive" really means, "in conflict with my unexamined folk-theory of language and language learning".

Saying, "We'll never use it in 'real life',"  assumes that supercharged participation sessions are not "real life," though in fact, they are, overwhelmingly, the primary host-world "real life" in Phase 1. The complaint also misses the time dimension, which is so often missed by so many, in so many ways. Man, get a couple hundred common verb stems in your mental lexicon, for goodness sake! That is something you can do well now following the principle that you grow best when a nurturer interacts with you in your growth zone.

The dreams people have in mind of "real life language use", are just that—dreams. Such "language use" is not remotely within reach for GPs within the first 100 hours. In the richest, most supportive setting of social  interaction that is possible (which means in your supercharged participation with your paid nurture), by the end of Phase 1, for you to get an intelligible sentence together and out of your mouth is an enormous struggle. You're just not out there "in public" richly addressing all sorts of people using imperative sentences. So who cares, if you mainly know the familiar forms during the Phase 1 games, if that helps you to get to know a lot  that is easy to build on, and to grow really well at this point?

The familiar imperative is in fact, in this and many languacultures, an excellent foundation for the range of verb forms yet to flood in at the right time through the right games and discourses.  Adding the polite forms to already known familiar forms will be so relatively easy once you are ready to start using a lot of imperatives "in public" (Phase 3?), having hundreds of base forms to build on. You did what helped you grow best at time X (the simple, familiar imperatives) and that made you ready to grow further, in ways in which you grow best at time Y (picking up polite imperatives). By the time any imperatives are really relevant to "real life" you'll know how to form them, and to use them (though you won't likely be using them in a host-like manner for a considerable time) . So what is the big hairy deal about only hearing polite imperatives from the first day.

We have become explicit that in Phase 1, we grow well if our nurturer interacts with us by playing with us in our growth zone. So the word "play" is now a serious technical term of the GPA.

Anyway, Angela and I are again surprised how much we've changed in a measly 100 hours, both becoming those "new yous" (the plural of "new you") within the experience of our nurturer inside his languacultural world (and soon that of other host people). We have a lot more "new yous" to become in the experience of host people.

Today we started out our supercharged participation session with a whole hour of Session 22 Game 7, using the setup pictured a couple of posts ago. I noticed a turtle among the toys, and so asked Angela to get out the rabbit. I then forced her to tell the story of the Hare and the Tortoise, as I acted it out with the toy rabbit, toy turtle, and other props. Pretty Phase-2-like, eh! Well, Phase 2 is only a couple of hours away.