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February 26, 2014

Best (And Worst) Ways To Teach And Learn Grammar

Grammar in any language can be tricky - and sometimes tedious - to learn. Vocabulary in the English language can be difficult enough, but when you...

...mix in subtle, difficult and sometimes seemingly contradictory grammar rules, language learning can turn from fun to awkward and embarrassing in a hurry.

Perhaps this is the distinction between formal learning and the informal learning that defines a native speaker. A native speaker absorbs, attempts and tries out language, vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar hundreds of times and, one would hope, gets corrected consistently and gently, until they are ready to face the world of strangers, friends and neighbors.

One example of the dilemma of a native speaker is that many of us read words that we never hear - which means that we see them but don't hear how they are correctly pronounced. This can produce many embarrassing experiences when it comes time to publicly use one of these words.

This is just one of the reasons I recommend listening to NPR. Solid, factual news is a bonus. You can listen (or read) here - http://www.npr.org/.

But when it comes to grammar, by far the best way to learn is how a native learner would learn - by enormous amounts of reading and listening. Here's an article exploring this principle - http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/02/the-wrong-way-to-teach-grammar/284014/.

As always, send us any new words, slang terms or grammatical structures that baffle you and be sure to let us know what it is about language learning that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


Posted by mmorf at February 26, 2014 11:43 PM


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