Sunday, 3 January 2016

Grammar sucks

Somewhere along the line, people got the idea that the way to learn another language is to study its grammar, and then to practice applying those rules, translating from one language into the other. That's the  'Grammar Translation Method'.

It is derived from the 'traditional' or 'classical' way of teaching Greek and Latin. Well, you know how useful that was for your schoolboy Latin!

Intuitively, grammar translation seems to be the way you'd go about learning another language. Trouble is, it doesn't work. Or rather, it does work (because every method will eventually get you there) but slowly, painfully, boringly, and tediously.

The Grammar Translation Method has been deemed ineffective by the authorities themselves.

We don't even get taught the grammar of our own language at school anymore for that very reason.

How can I get across that point most succinctly and forcefully?

How about this: no one out of all the billions of people in the world ever ,earned their own language through studying its grammar. Not one. And yet 99% of people could use their mother tongue within a year or two of birth!

The grammar of a language is NOT the language itself. They are two totally different subjects. No one confuses Physics with Physical Education. 

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