What's your take on grammar rules?

Torsten   Wed Aug 23, 2006 7:20 pm GMT
Hi, Tom of Antimoon says that trying to learn grammar rules is rather stupid and I agree with him on this. The question, however, is how do you get this concept across to the average learner? Most people strongly believe in learning grammar rules, especially Germans who have a tendency to love rules, systems and order.
So what is your approach to learning grammar? Do you learn grammar or do you see the language as a whole?
Kirk   Wed Aug 23, 2006 7:58 pm GMT
When I learn a language I love sitting down with a good, thick book with detailed descriptions of grammatical rules about the language I'm learning. For me such an activity is pleasure reading but I know others may not share such a sentiment. Of course, if you're aiming to actually *speak* the language you're learning (instead of just being able to read and write in it) you need to practice speaking, ideally with native speakers because you actually absorb a lot of grammar rules that way, as well, often without consciously realizing it. This is similar to how native speakers acquire their language--by listening the rules are reinforced.

In any case, in order to learn a language you must know grammar, whether you read it explicitly from a book or learn it by speaking with native speakers (or, ideally, both, if possible).
Turchanka   Wed Aug 23, 2006 8:50 pm GMT
I love learning languages.But I hate the languages still with "genders".No need to use them really.Why do you call a pencil feminine or a book masculine.Do they have sex really?They have sexual organs?Instead of memorizing the genders of nouns, I learn another language at the same time.
Joana   Wed Aug 23, 2006 9:11 pm GMT
Well, we Brazilians still learn grammar in school, it's good because in this way we can read classic writers with ease, and talk to all Portuguese-speaking countries in the world with which we share the same formal/written grammar we learn in school.

For almost every nice job, there is a test of proficiency in Portuguese language, and you have to score it very nicely in order to get a job. So, learning/understanding grammar is a matter of to-be-or-not-to-be in Brazil.

In order to get in higher society, we need to speak correctly, in order with normative grammar rules.
Carolina   Wed Aug 23, 2006 9:55 pm GMT
If Americans learned some propper grammar in schools, they wouldn't write things like "No mother should be forced to testify against their child" .

It is HER and not THEIR.
Pabz   Wed Aug 23, 2006 10:16 pm GMT
My view is, I think that when learning a langauge as an adult, normally you need to learn more quickly and more correctly than a child does. This is because the minute you start speaking the language, you are speaking as an adult and there is an expectation of a certain level of correctness that is not there for children. So I agree with Kirk -- luckily, adults know how to read so they can read books on grammar and get up to speed quicker.
Kirk   Wed Aug 23, 2006 10:28 pm GMT
<<learned some propper grammar>>

Presumably learning "proper grammar" as you define it here would entail spelling "proper," well, properly.
guest   Wed Aug 23, 2006 10:30 pm GMT
<<Hi, Tom of Antimoon says that trying to learn grammar rules is rather stupid>>

a comment that render him extremely stupid! (with all do respect)

<<Do you learn grammar or do you see the language as a whole>>

In order to "see" the language as a whole (learn it) you need to include all aspects of the language (any given language). Grammar is a vital part that you need in order to complete the "picture".
Thara   Wed Aug 23, 2006 10:50 pm GMT
<<What's your take on grammar rules?>>

They're like all other rules: made to be broken. Or at least, bent.
Kelly   Wed Aug 23, 2006 11:27 pm GMT
''speaking as an adult and there is an expectation of a certain level of correctness that is not there for children''

this is true. as we grown old, we seem to speak more according to the norm, that is, more formally...My grandma says ''It's he/she'' and not ''It's him/her''
Guest   Thu Aug 24, 2006 4:30 am GMT
what are u talking ?????
the beauty of english is grammar!
typically the long scentence
Torsten   Thu Aug 24, 2006 11:06 am GMT
Regarding grammar rules, I agree with Tom. Trying to learn them is rather ineffective for a number of reasons. Most people believe that when they learn a second language the most important thing for them is to learn grammar rules. This is not true. The most important thing for you is to get as much authentic input of the language as possible as fast as possible. Don't try to memorize grammar rules, they slow you down rather than speeding up the learning process. I also agree with Tom when he says that a native speaker uses a certain language pattern not because of there is a grammar rule. It's the other way round. A linguist analyses the way native speakers use the language and then the linguist detects a rule and fixes it in writing. So if you listen to native speakers carefully and analyze the way the use the language you will learn much faster than if you try to cram grammar rules into your head.
Aquatar   Thu Aug 24, 2006 12:12 pm GMT

I have to say I don't really agree that it is a hinderance to learn grammar rules. Grammar is the framework of a language, how can it hurt to study it? I am sure the brain can eventually pick up on the patterns of a language simply by listening to or reading it, but isn't it quicker to study them so that you already have the basic structure of the language in your head and can then build on the rest of your knowledge by listening and reading.

For example, when I started learning German, I was totally flummoxed by the cases and adjective endings. However after sitting down and really studying the rules I quickly came to understand them, and as a result was then able to start producing German sentences which were much nearer correct. If I hadn't done this and just waited until my brain somehow absorbed and figured out the pattern, how would I have been better off?
Lorenna   Thu Aug 24, 2006 5:43 pm GMT
In most US movies and sitcoms, the language used is COLLOQUIAL EDUCATED SPEECH, not VERNACULAR SPEECH. So, you never hear things like: ''Anyways'' or ''ain't''. Only in some shows (like Jerry Springer show) you can hear REAL AMERICAN USAGE, the language common people speak. It's unfiltered speech, with many non-standard forms that never enter Hollywood products.
Txema   Thu Aug 24, 2006 6:34 pm GMT
Well. Having knowledge of grammar is important to become other-language speaker. But carrying out deep grammatical dissertations to learn a language depends on your own interests: whether you are going to learn to then teach it or just want to learn to speak for business or other purposes. I tried many ways to learn English and I succeeded only when I learned grammar through functional language. That is, basic knowledge of grammar learned through speaking.