Learn English Free – 7 Stages Of Language Learning (part 3a)

STAGE 3: GRAMMAR – DOESN’T THE WORD JUST MAKE YOU SWEAT?

I know from experience that above all other points in language acquisition, students in our English courses Dublin fear the word

“GRAMMAR”

Like the elephant in the room, they avoid dealing with it, they hide from it, and yet they think about it constantly. Therefore, before they even begin to start learning English they have created an obstacle for themselves. But like any awkward topic the best thing to do is to introduce that elephant in the room. Normally you’ll find it’s not so scary once you talk it through.
What new learner wants to sit in a class and be confronted with titles like

“PAST CONTINUOUS Vs PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE”

Uninviting isn’t it? It is a dull kind of banner, and while it may address an important topic the approach is not going to excite any student in a meaningful way.
If this type of thing has turned you off learning English, then don’t worry, you are not alone. What we must remember, however, is that grammar is a system of rules that helps us structure our communication. Here are two important points (which should make everybody feel relieved):
1. Language learning does not start with grammar, it starts with listening
2. Grammar is not necessary for communication in English
Language learning really begins with parroting, or repeating what you hear. The meaning is extracted slowly and once you can transmit this meaning you can begin to interchange and exchange the various parts of learned phrases. By experimenting like this your teacher (and your brain!) will help you to assimilate a set of rules.
Another useful angle is to imagine yourself speaking to a foreigner in your native tongue. When you hear non-natives speaking to you and their words are not grammatically correct, you can usually piece together what the person is trying to say. The same is true for you speaking in English. So speak first. Get confidence through improving your fluency. Don’t worry about the grammar. It will come.
At its most simple, the steps to beginning (and continuing) your language learning are
1. Repeat – parrot the phrases you hear
2. Produce – begin to use the phrases to communicate your own information
3. Experiment – play with the structures by exchanging the words.
Now let’s continue and consider the following methods and examples.
Sentence Templates
Take a very simple phrase such as

“What did you do?”
We note from above that the first step is to repeat and learn the phrase. The next step is to begin to substitute different words to learn how to use them.

“What did he do?”
“What did she do?”
“What did they sing?”
“What did they write?”
“Why did they write?”

You can continue this pattern and for all stages of learning. It provides a solid lexical methodology for utilizing your vocabulary while at the same time becoming familiar with a grammar structure. Notice how much faster you can learn using this method. It’s a better way to go and you can apply it to any grammar structure no matter how complex.

In the next article we will discuss the outcome of ULearn’s English schools Dublin poll. We will discuss the very relevant issue of how NOT to study grammar. See you then!