Highlighting and noticing

Here’s a good example of where students might not ’notice’ a feature and so it must be highlighted to make them notice it:

“My understanding was that in many instances the sequence of tenses alters
the meaning – subtly and sometimes not so subtly – in dependent clauses
introduced by a conjunction or pronoun. Thus, to understand why an author
chose a particular sequence, one needs to be alerted to the importance of
the choice of tense, and what this may signify, in dependent clauses. In
this case, my Adler states, (pg 527) “the tense of the subjunctive is
always determined by the verb of the leading clause”, which he then gives
what he explicitly calls the laws for, and a great many examples that point
out how this works. Now, I tend to trust Adler, as when rules are broken, or
there are exceptions, or the Romans were cavalier with them, he tells us. As
he is writing a textbook for producing Latin – not just reading it – his
concerns are somewhat different to those of many authors of Latin
Grammars…..However, to say that consecutio temporum is not a rule and need
not be explained, possibly itself requires further explanation. True, one
can pick some of this up from merely reading, through immersion, but some of
the nuances need to be pointed out.”

For myself, I know I can read a fair amount of L2 text and not notice that tenses are being used differently from what I expect. Case endings are a different matter. I think maybe it’s b/c I need to know the case ending to know the role of the word in the sentence, whereas tense kind of suggests itself from the context most of the time and so I don’t attend to it so readily.

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