“I’m just learning to converse; I don’t need grammar!” How many learners out there can honestly say they’ve either never heard or never said this themselves? On the surface, it can seem like quite a reasonable assertion. If your main aim is to merely make yourself understood in another language through speaking, then a deep knowledge of the technical workings is arguably not necessary.
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In today’s blog post, however, we want to smash that assumption and point out that grammar is, regardless of your personal views, an essential and inseparable part of the language-learning experience. You may dislike it, but even when only learning to converse, you have to get a handle on the grammar. Here’s why:
🤝 To Master Grammar is to Make Oneself Understood
One of the main justifications for the reasoning mentioned in the introduction is that language doesn’t need to be 100-percent accurate. Just as long as your interlocutor can understand what you’re saying, your language skills are doing their job. If only this were the case. In fact, good grammar is part and parcel of making yourself understood, whether it be word order, tense, part of speech or something else, even slight changes to words, their order or their nature can dramatically alter the meaning of a sentence.
🤥 You Don’t Want to Come Across a Fool
No matter what people outwardly say about “not minding” what others sound like, there’s an undoubted and unavoidable prejudice that will always follow those who speak a language improperly or without following its rules. It shows a lack of academic attention, as well as a failure to grasp the mechanical parts of the language. We often think of grammar as dry and wooden, but the truth is we take it for granted. The grammar of a language is what helps it flow, sound the way it sounds, and also how pleasing it is to the ear that receives it.
🧠 It Can Show a Lack of Respect to Ignore Grammar
Once again, even though many native speakers of individual languages are somewhat unaware of how their grammar technically works, they can still detect when the language is being used wrongly. They may not be able to tell you why something is wrong, but they know it’s wrong. Furthermore, when you ignore the grammar, dismissing it as superfluous, perhaps even “beneath you,” then you’re demonstrating a significant lack of respect for your target language and culture. We may take grammar for granted, but it’s an essential part of the essence of language, and simply can’t be ignored.
💬 Grammar Knowledge Will Aid Your Speaking
Moving on from respect and reverence for language, there is practicality to grammar that will help you in your goals of improving your speaking ability. Why settle for merely being understood, when you can make yourself a master of the spoken word? The fuzzy thinking behind “making yourself understood” actually makes the process of speaking a language much harder. If you understand the grammar and how it works, then the language starts to make sense and you can put words, phrases and ideas together more fluently and logically in your mind.
👨🏽🎓 Grammar Helps Boost Fluency
Following on from above, as you gain confidence in your target language and it starts to become second nature, grammar will continue to help in understanding the connections between various linguistic elements, and allow you to generate a much more fluid, fluent and natural cadence in your speech. Knowing how sentences are correctly built in that language, for example, will help you understand word stress and intonation, an invaluable step to gaining native-level competence in any language.
🏆 Overall – Grammar Helps to Make us a Better Language Learner
When you put all of the above 5 factors together, what you realize is that grammar is one more element in helping us to become a better learner of foreign languages. It’s a kind of adhesive; a cement that brings together disparate “bricks” of knowledge to form a coherent and solid wall of understanding.
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