to correct or not to correct


In a restaurant today, the waiter said to us “Finnish?” and I had to stop myself before I rudely corrected him with “Have you finished?” However, perhaps I should have corrected him and offered him a more appropriate phrase. What do you think? Maybe he would have appreciated it. I will never know. I guess it depends on the learner. Some learners really seem to appreciate being corrected and appear to learn from the correction. Many do not want to be corrected or even though they say they want correction, receive the correction gratefully but then do nothing to try to change their language output as a result.

While learning Spanish I appreciated the teacher when she refused to accept anything that was wrong. With the mere raising of the eyebrow she indicated that what I had said was wrong. I immediately tried to correct myself. It made my brain hurt, but I could see that  it was the only way forward if I was going to make any progress with my language learning. When I did not know the correct form, I simply asked her and she would provide it. We both knew that I would not be able to adopt the correct form immediately, but with practice and gradually increased familiarity with the phrase I would probably pick it up later.

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