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Which one is first to study; the English grammar or vocabularies?



 
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Which one is first to study; the English grammar or vocabularies? #1 (permalink) Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:35 am   Which one is first to study; the English grammar or vocabularies?
 

Hi all..

It is sometimes hard for me to believe if some people say that studying the grammar first for English learning and then the others. I get confused how we study the grammar that is so complicated (for most English learners in the beginning stage) than vocabularies, for instance.

For me, studying a second language is simply like how a baby studying his first mother tongue. It is an automatic process. When the babies grow up, let's say when they can already produce clear words at the age of 2 or 3, they can clearly speak the mother tongue even very fluently. They do not understand any single structure they make in their speech. But It is the point. The basic purpose one studies a language is to speak it out (communication purposes).

Based on this, vocabularies development and enrichment should be first to consider. And after this, the mastery of one's grammar will follow automatically. Exposing words (new words) through reading (any forms of reading; from the easiest ones of course), making direct contact with native-English speakers (if this is available, but this is very hard for most learners), or any activities directing to vocabularies improvement are all the basic needs for the English learners.

Moreover, it is very important to build the learners' confidence for the language they are learning. After they feel secure with their vocabularies and they will be more and more motivated for the other points of English to learn.

What do you think my friends?

Best regard

Adinn
Adinn
I'm new here and I like it ;-)


Joined: 19 May 2010
Posts: 37
Location: Bali

Which one is first to study; the English grammar or vocabularies? #2 (permalink) Fri Jun 04, 2010 7:05 am   Which one is first to study; the English grammar or vocabularies?
 

I am not an English learner but an English teacher, having taught students from all around the world for almost 20 years. Although I was able to learn English as a child, I have tried learning French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese as an adult. My vote, without hesitation, goes to learning grammar first. Here's why:

We need grammar to even put two words together. Even the simplest English sentence, "I am", requires grammar, otherwise it could mistakenly be said as "Am I", which is quite different in meaning. Students who learn words out of context end up using those words in random ways that don't make sense to other speakers of that language. By learning grammar, you will still learn some words. By learning words, however, you will learn zero grammar and end up with little to show for your efforts.

Now, I do NOT approve of learning grammar in the traditional way. I agree with you that it is much too complicated - it is MADE complicated by teachers and textbook writers. When I teach, I start very slowly, with simple questions. Questions, after all, are included in grammar, aren't they? My students actually USE questions correctly and, little by little, learn to give grammatically correct responses. (All the time, of course, they are also learning vocabulary, without even noticing it, just like children do in their first language!) After questions and simple responses, my students learn how to extend their answers, using grammar such as adjectives, adverbs, prepositiions and conjunctions naturally. Eventually, they learn to read, which is where the REAL vocabulary building begins. When students reach the point where they can start to read interesting things, their vocabulary expands rapidly and they reach real fluency.

That's what I've seen in my own teaching, as well as in my own learning. Too bad it's so hard for me to read Chinese! I'm still trying though, and I believe one day I'll figure out Chinese writing.

Good luck with your studies, whatever approach you decide to take.
Teacherjoe
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Joined: 18 May 2010
Posts: 5
Location: New York, Paris, Osaka, Honolulu, Beijing

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