In this article, you're invited to explore with me how to experience a little bit of love for the structure of language. We'll focus on how to put words together and construct sentences. In other words, you'll learn an awful lot about starting to speak a language.
Now before you all click away from my blog because the word "grammar" has scared you of, let's give this a chance and discover a few joyful sides to grammar.
3 Unexpectedly Easy Ways To Simplify Language Learning
1) Never Start With the Grammar Book
Last week, a friendly lady at my community Welsh class gave me a book she found second-hand. It's called "Modern Welsh Grammar". The worst thing I could possibly do with it is to read it from start to finish, because it would quickly become overwhelming, dull and complicated.
Instead, here's what to do:
Grammar books and courses are designed to solve problems by answering your questions as they come up. So as I'm studying and listening, as I start to wonder how to say someting in past tense, or how to talk about "he is nice" and not just "I am nice", that's when the book will start fulfiling its purpose.
In my German Grammar Course and my French Grammar Course, the structure is carefully set up to guide you through learning from complete beginner to confident speaker. But I've been careful to make every lecture count as an independent resource too. This is because I want you to follow your own path in learning, and those explanations will be right there when you need them.
2) Take Control of How Good You Are
Certain language learning systems will have you believe that the best way to learn a language is to study "naturally, like a small child". In fact, it's a hugely common myth that it's infinitely harder for adults to learn a language than for kids. This myth has led to courses that treat adults as if they were babies, incapable of understanding logic or structure.
Learning like a grown-up means taking control and working what grammar offers.
Notice that I'm not using the word "study" here. Learning a language doesn't mean becoming a slave to tables and books. It means analyzing, trying, playing and growing into things.
Grammar tables are not useless - they can handy tools to keep around when you haven't quite memorized everything yet. But the key is to stop being a slave to grammar, and start making it your building block.
3) Speak the Language Instantly and Playfully
The most important mindset change you can have in language learning is to start understanding how grammar serves you. Armed with simple knowledge about the structure of your target language, your abilities become absolutely incredible.
You can say infinite sentences with just 20-30 vocab words.
Good grammar will help you eliminate that fear of saying wrong things, and provide construction blocks and patterns, so that all you need to do is start filling in the blanks.
Beyond giving you confidence, it's actually fun. You'll quickly realise that speaking in this way is the most playful, creative language learning imaginable. No more restrictions to phrasebooks. You can now go out and speak to anyone, make those sentences, express yourself with more freedom than ever before. And if you make a mistake, you'll now know why and how to fix it.
Do you feel the Grammar Groove?
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