In praise of mistakes and incorrect grammar explanations

At LingQ we often have people report errors in our content. These can be typos, misspelled words, incorrect usage by native speakers, strange accents, or whatever. We also occasionally have one native speaker pointing out that grammatical explanations, provided in the target language of course, by another member, are not clear, or are incorrect.

I would just like to say that I find these errors, and confusing grammar explanations quite helpful and certainly not harmful. They help me to notice what is happening in the language.

If it is an error in usage, I often don’t notice the error, and therefore it does not bother me. (I will see most of these words and phrases again in a normal usage pattern so that there is no harm done.) However, if I notice the error, and identify it as an error, this makes me more conscious of the correct form, when I next hear it or see it.

The same is true of grammar explanations. I find it difficult to understand even the best explanations of grammar. If I see even more incomprehensible explanations, or obviously wrong explanations,  it does not bother me.If the explanations are obviously wrong or particularly confusing, but in the target language, and if there are enough examples, these points of usage really stick in my mind. It is not obvious that what is clearly taught will be clearly learned. Sometimes it is the reverse. 

Ultimately it is only lots of listening and reading that will help me learn, and not some kind of selected diet of perfect language or clear as a bell (to the explainer) grammatical description.



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