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Friday, 25 July 2008

Studying Grammar When You Learn a New Foreign Language

Learning grammar is likely your least favorite area about studying a foreign language. It is usually full of rules that are hard to remember and make it difficult to construct sentences. It would be so much simpler if every language had similar grammar rules and all we had to do is translate each sentence word for word. In reality if we did that, we wouldn't make any sense. Memorizing grammar shouldn't be hard as long as you learn it efficiently.

You can learn grammar without studying grammar. It sounds crazy, but it's completely possible. Instead of having a textbook with sections that are 'grammar', use a technique of immersion. Some great systems that use this are the Berlitz self-teachers, and Rosetta Stone. To learn more about these programs, click the link at the end of this article. Instead of saying, "this is how you translate -er verbs", and list the different conjugations, these programs get you involved in the language. By including the grammar in what you are learning, you are learning grammar without even realizing it.

You can also do this on your own by reading and translation. It's a good idea to include translating newspapers, magazines, and books into your language learning program. Jump into the language by reading and translating newspapers and magazines into your target language. When you come across a word that is unfamiliar to you, translate it. You might not find words in the dictionary that are in different conjugations, but as you move along, you will begin to understand it and realize how it works.

A lot of the immersion programs say they teach you how to learn a language like you learned your first language as a child. This is great, but even after you learned English, or another language if English isn't your first language, you eventually did learn grammar, right? Learning like a child is great, but it should be supplemented with other learning methods too. You can use a standard textbook with it and take on a new grammar topic every day or every couple of days. Work with it and try to see if it comes up in your other programs.

Language immersion will get you the fastest language learning results. In order to do this, include the following:

* Textbook Grammar * Continuous vocabulary * Learning program as a child or through actual speaking * Listening program or watching and translating television shows or movies in your target language * Reading and translating text in your target language such as with books, newspapers, and magazines * Practicing writing in your target language

You can add just about anything with your language learning. Don't focus solely on one thing, such as grammar. Instead of thinking that you need to learn grammar and vocabulary, remember that you need those and all the other skills of a language including writing, reading, listening, and speaking. As you use programs and materials to study these other ways, you will be automatically using grammar and vocabulary and will learn everything.

Learning a foreign language is never complete. Do you know every English word there is? You are never done learning a language. You should always keep studying. To learn a language effectively you need to stay focused and have well-rounded skills.

Source : Samantha Asher


Diana said...

I totally agree with you! I have been an English teacher for the past three years and most (if not all) my students focus too much on grammar. If they tried to USE English more and immerse themselves in the language they would learn so much faster.

I wrote an article listing different activities to use and study English daily. You can read it at the following URL.

Thanks for the great blog entry. :)
Diana Tower

Brian Barker said...

Can I put in a word for Esperanto, as well.

I request not because it is now a living language, but becase it has greate propaedeutic values, as well.

Confirmation can be seen at