Having a second language in this day and age is essential. It opens the door to greater possibilities in the global workplace, and it allows us to explore and understand different cultures. However, learning a foreign language can sometimes be a challenge.
There are so many methodologies when it comes to learning a new language. An ideal scenario is where total immersion is possible, where vocabulary and idiomatic expressions are learnt naturally. Still, even this approach is limited up to a certain point and a more structured learning aid or environment, like a book or a classroom, is often needed to achieve an accurate command of the language.
Many factors play an important part to have a successful learning experience: an efficient teaching methodology, contextual and meaningful examples, enough communicative practice, a basic knowledge of grammar, etc.
A combination of these and other elements are essential for anyone looking to learn a foreign language.
In times past, when students learnt a foreign language in school, they were made to learn grammar thoroughly with minimal emphasis given to other skills. It became a frustrating task for students to learn rules in detail which were of no use when trying to speak. This limited and rigid approach gave grammar some of the bad reputation it still has today.
In more recent years new and more effective teaching approaches have emerged to attain a more functional teaching methodology, where meaningful practice is given more emphasis; where each skill is given its own time and place and where grammar is seen as the structure of the language but covered in an induced way. Learning is highly successful in this scenario.
However, there are still kinds of teaching environments where grammar is barely studied, in part because it still holds the stigma of being bad and unnecessary and in part because students become too confused and frustrated; and in rare occasions, because the teachers might not know the grammar themselves.
While there are multiple ways of learning a language, and there is no definite method to guarantee an immediate result. One thing we know for certain is that language is written, spoken, read, and heard. And behind a string of sentences, there is a structure that keeps the words together and gives them meaning.
Having a basic understanding of how grammar works, gives a huge advantage to any learner. Knowing how to build and use certain structures makes communication in a foreign language more accurate and effective.
In Yuri’s Study Cards, we believe grammar on its own will take any learner nowhere. Grammar is not to be learnt as an isolated field but as the base of your communicative skills. Look at grammar like the parameters and limits in which you can walk. Grammar is the structure of the language, and if you understand it and create and express your ideas within that structure, through repetition and meaningful context, you will internalise it in a very personal way, making the language your own until you can slowly start thinking in the second language. You will stop using your own mother tongue’s structure, trying to force it into the new language. You will stop translating literally, and as a result, you will stop making the same mistakes over and over. You will gain independence and freedom to express your feelings and ideas naturally and accurately.