Studying Grammar vs Using Grammar. (ESL)
By Dayne Collins.
I think I could spend my whole life studying the patterns and structure of a language without learning how to speak, write, or read it. I would probably know every little detail of the language, but never be able to use my knowledge and understanding in a practical way. Before I go any further, I would like to clarify that English grammar is important. In this post I simply want to share my views on learning about grammar, and learning how to use grammar correctly.
English is taught internationally with a heavy focus on grammar, but is there too much focus on grammar? I want you to try to think back to when you were an infant, how did you learn your native language? I doubt your parents lovingly whispered the details of complex sentence structure in your little ears. First you began to listen to, recognise, and understand your native language. Then one day your goo goo's and ga ga's began to transform into real words.
By the time we were old enough to go to school, we already had a near fluent verbal command of our native language. But could you read and write? at 5 years old, would you have been able to explain to me why you structured words in a certain way? The answer is most likely no. You learnt the complex structure of your language inadvertently by listening, and speaking. So why aren't second languages taught in a way reminiscent of the natural acquisition of our native language?
Why do so many English learners know more about the technicalities of English grammar than the average native speaker? Also, if these complexities are taught so thoroughly, why do so many learners still struggle to use it in real world settings?
Don't get me wrong, grammar is very important. If you are in school, and you need to pass English exams, I suggest you do focus on the technicalities and terminologies being drilled over and over by your teacher. Otherwise there is no need for you to be able to write a 50,000 word essay on English grammar... You just need to know how to use it correctly!
If you are attempting to complete the transition from being adequate to being fluent at English, then English Club is a great place for it. Don't hesitate to leave the chat room once in a while, and check out all the great information here for English learners.
I don't have all the answers. I would really love to hear your opinion on English grammar. What has worked for you? Please leave a comment in the comment section below.
I have created a short list of advanced vocabulary & meanings from this blog post. (Below)
Inadvertently - without intention.
Reminiscent - to be reminded of something/ to resemble something.
Acquisition - to gain/obtain an asset, object, or even a new skill.
Complexities - parts, details or factors of a complicated process.
Transition - a process of change.
Adequate - Acceptable/satisfactory
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