During my over 30 years of experience. Part 1

During my over 30 years of experience as a student of several languages ​​and some less as a language teacher there have been two circumstances that have greatly hindered my passionate enthusiasm to learn other languages ​​and to be able to communicate with other people, to get in touch with other cultures, to know their customs, compare them with mine, and try to stay with the best and get rid of the worst of them all.

The circumstances to which I refer, were not exclusive of my own personal experience, but were quite common in the times and places where my contact with languages ​​developed. I am referring to an approach that for a long time, and still today, permeates the teaching and learning of languages: the predominant role of the form of language (grammar), and the subordination of all content and materials to it. However, as the previous example demonstrates, knowledge of the grammar of a language is not an indispensable factor for communication.

Although the curricula have incorporated more communicative than purely linguistic objectives in recent years, grammar continues to permeate the focus of many of the curricula of various languages, and these follow the teaching procedure called (PPP), presentation theoretical content, practice controlled by means of various exercises, and student production of what is learned in an environment that, optimally, drives their creativity both inside and outside of class. Applied to the teaching of languages, this procedure focuses on the teaching of grammatical and linguistic structures, first; to help the subsequent production of a grammatically correct language, but to the detriment of a more spontaneous and creative communication.

It is proven, that it is very difficult to concentrate on what is meant (meaning), and at the same time, on what is meant (form). Students will not get the most out of the knowledge of the language they possess, if they concentrate on using certain forms; so, in the long run, they will have fewer opportunities to improve their safety and fluency to communicate in real situations. (Willis and Willis, 2007).

The importance of grammar

“Best true consists education yourself getting”.

To understand the previous sentence, you need to know the lexicon used. Although, lacking the minimum grammatical rules, its meaning is very difficult to guess.

“True education consists getting best yourself.”

On this occasion, we can guess its meaning because we are able to recognize the order of words; that is, they follow the recognized order of the sentence in English. The sentence has the structure of “Subject + Verb + Object” (SVO). And it is this minimal grammar rule, which helps us understand the meaning of the sentence. Remember that other languages ​​follow other conventions (SOV, VSO, VOS, OVS, OSV), (Hawkins, J. A. 1983).

From the above example, we can infer that we can build a sentence with sufficient knowledge of the lexicon used and minimal notions of grammar. Now, in order to facilitate understanding and to express more complex meanings, we need a much greater grammatical knowledge.

“True education consists of getting the best of yourself.” Mahatma Gandhi.

Finally, applying the appropriate grammatical rules, we manage to create a perfectly understandable and easy to recognize meaning.