Didactics of intercomprehension

Addressees: Teachers and learners

You have read the ‘Intercomprehension’ page and you already have an idea of what intercomprehension is. The following text shows how easy it is to learn languages intercomprehensively.

Methodologically, the intercomprehension based acquisition of an ‘unknown’ but closely related language requires its systematic usage of your already available relevant language and language learning knowledge. Of course, the fundamental prerequisite for “comprehending” a distant dialect or a foreign language is the identification of its linguistic ‘material’: words, prefixes and suffixes, verb forms, sentence rules, etc. A so-called translanguage identification transfer is carried out in the target language by means of corresponding prior knowledge; more precisely: by the identification of relevant cognitive schemes or transfer bases which entails the construction of a hypotheses-grammar. To provide an example: The knowledge of German and English transfer bases allows to understand Dutch:

Dutch source 1:
Dit is wat het nieuwste onderzoek zegt over migraine
Interlanguage processing:
This is what the newest ??? (ge. Untersuchung) says/said? about migraine
DS 2: en hoe het je vandaag kan verhelpen
IP 2: and how it you (??daag/day/Tag) can help
Result: That is what the newest study sais about migraine and how you can be healed (from it).

As you see, the Dutch text reveals quite transparent because the key words are immediately identified: migraine, nieuwste, over, zegt -helpen. At the same time, intransparent words (elements) are identified, analyzed and disambiguated.

Detailled analysis.

Onderzoek: As English apparently offers no transfer base, consulting a dictionary is necessary! German can help identify the gap thanks to the Dutch-German cognate Untersuchung.

Vandaag: Obviously, daag remembers en. day. Combined with van, German von (of, from), the target word gives *von der Tag. The formula appears in Gericht des Tages (dish of the day). The meaning vandaag = today seems plausible, what is confirmed by a dictionary.

verhelpen: The semantic nucleus seems evident: to help, helfen. But both transitive verbs do not fit into a potential sentence structure. German helps disambiguate: abhelfen (to remedy, to redress, be healed from).

You now summarize what you have learned in a so-called hypothesis grammar. It can look something like this: the/this (dit), is (is), the (het), new (nieuw), ‑est (superlative), zegen sagen/to say, -t (-s in says, sagT), hoe (en. how)This kind of grammar originates in the very moment of the comprehending the target structure.

The examples show that interlingual correspondances can be described in a kind of ‘plurilingual hypothesis grammar’ between related languages as well. The page Phonologic Rules resumes the most important correspondent phonologic and orthographic regularities between the target languages.