English Grammar and Vocabulary
DATE @ "d. MMMM y" 30. June 18
Why do we need grammar?
Part 1: Grammar is difficult, challenging and exhausting to learn and teach! I am going to answer mainly the first part of this thesis, because since I am not an englishEnglish teacher I do not know about the difficulties of teaching a language (But I will try to find an answer.).
The essence of language is formed by two main parts: Grammar and vVocabulary. Even if you are having a large amount of vocabulary you cannot use them in the right and precise way. In the worst case your opponent will not understand the message you are trying to deliver.
But firstly: “„Is it difficult to learn grammar and vocabulary at the same time?” Relating to the course I am attending right now, I have to say: “„Well, half the time you have to focus on grammar and the other half you have to learn vocabulary by heart.” But thereby you are learning a language in complete. And even only memorizing vocabulary all the time is tiring and annoying. And: What is easy to learn? Everything that is important or that is good to know is at least at some higher or advanced level hard to learn. Mostly the easy way is the wrong way. Only by the way of an exception, talented people will master something in an easier way. And if you are finding a way, that fits your learning type or style, it will be ways easier to learn grammar ( or everything else). Thus, So do not focus on the time you need or the possible anger you may will have, but try to seek the importance of learning both at the same time.
Secondly grammar ist not always following strict and clear rules. As an easy example the differences between American and British English; why are the saying “„He has a car” instead of “„He has got a car”?
According to this example, this is one thing that you also just have to memorize. But grammar at all as a whole has/consist of is a large amount of rules, which you not only have to know, but you also have to use them in the right way and this is the exhausting part. You do not only have to know, what is “„car” is in germanGerman, you have to know, when to use car instead of bike, in the correct form; to leave this picture: When to use present progressive instead of simple present.
And this is the big deal or difference according to vocabulary classes which explains, why it is difficult to teach. You have to explain the right usage of (for instance) the present progressive and why it is wrong, when talking about habits someone is doing regularly. On the other side, if holding a speaking class, the teacher only has to find a nice topic to talk about, while grammar classes provoke more and other diffcultdifficult questions relating to the grammar topic. A lot (more) of preparation is needed.
On the other side, things or issues, which are more or most challenging, are also quite awarding if they work some time. So do not only focus on the challenging part of learning or teaching grammar; instead, , be happy if the students master grammar or just getting better because they of attend visiting the class.
Part 2: Should we keep the “„Grammar and Vocabulary Courses” at our University? In contrast there are some folks, who advice you do not have to learn and study grammar to speak (not to master) a foreign language. Even more, the focus on teaching and learning grammar leads in a "failure to produce proficient speakers.” A claimed evidence to this thesis should be, that it is possible to learn Gaeilge in 6 months on a level better then people who spent 12 years with studying it in school. Other question: Are they just stupid or is the Gaeilge-learner just this good?
Maybe it is totally right, if not only learning vocabulary by memorizing and repeating lists of lists of lists and instead of hearing and speaking or communicating with people who’s mother tongue is the language you are learning it naturally and you are going to reach a basic or beginners level very fast.
Maybe you can also become a fluent speaker in this way. And on the other hand, if only studying grammar without working on your word treasury you are not going to be able to communicate. There are two parts of speaking and learinglearning a language.
Following picture: Toddlers or small children are mostly able to speak fluently without knowing a lot about grammar or without knowing even one grammar rule. Right, they are able to form and use simple sentences. But you they never master a language without knowing anything about grammar;, they have to learn grammar rules in school, to become good language users. You do not know when to use which kind of words and why to use them. In fact there may be situations in which it is not important to use past simple instead of past participle. But there will also be occasions, for example if making a deal, to use the correct form of the verb or the correct time or as a politician. If comparing Donald Trump to Barack Obama, they are using language in a very different way. Trump´s language skills or at least the language he uses is on a very basic level. The benefit: Every American understands what he is saying.
Leading to the next point it is not only a question of being understandable for a person, whose mother tongue you are using, it is being a matter of being understandable for everyone. But in an academic approach a precise usage of speech is vital;, it is not only about being understandable.
For example, on one hand maybe you can order some ice-cram without knowing a lot about grammar. But on the other hand, you will not be able to read a book that is, more difficulty than “„the BFG”. How do you want to read Hobbes’ Leviathan without knowing a lot of grammar? Even if vocabulary is the foundation of speaking and understanding, you also need grammar skills to understand the sentence in its full meaning. For instance, there are languages in which the meaning of a word changes depending on the form it is used in.
Even it is not a matter of learning grammar or vocabulary first;, in fact, it is easier to learn a langue whenif knowing its rules.
So in the end I have to come to the conclusion: Maybe it is not necessary to learn the grammar of a language to just learn a language or to be able to speak on a basic level. But if you want to become better or you want or to have to communicate on a modest or academic level, you need a proper grammar. You must be able to speak correctly.
This is why university should offer grammar and vocabulary courses. There are courses, I guess, which are only focusing on either grammar or vocabulary, but only by learning both, you will be able to understand a language and not blame yourself when using it.