When children start attending school, they get to know the other great vehicle of word transmission: the written language. Written language, which allows associating words with precise and clear symbols, help the messages to be transmitted in large quantities and in a very effective way.
- Reading is the other great tool to learn a language.
Either by the text books of every subject, or by just reading for fun, the truth is that due to this exposure children improve a lot in the use of the language. Reading allows the process and rules of a language to keep recorded in the mind in a subconscious way, while we are focused in the contents.
It is a proven fact that, in all cultures and nations, those who use the language best, are those who read more. The culture is strongly reflected in the way we express ourselves. The more we read in the target language, the better, because then we can integrate its structures without realizing. I must add, that a large part of the vocabulary that we learn in our lives, comes through reading.
- Don’t forget to add some nice readings to the process. Look only for things that you really like, that make you enjoy, and suitable for your level.
As in the case of the listening, remember that the process is slow, so that, we have to be patient. Besides, we should always choose the most attractive topics for us, because fun makes us relax, and relaxation makes much easier this process.
The last point is probably the most polemic, and it is the grammar. As I commented before, languages used to be generally studied through grammar books and rules in the past, but the results were poor and students didn’t get hooked. It is clear that by studying only the grammar, learners won’t improve much because we are ignoring the two great pillars of learning, listening and reading. However, I disagree with the big opposition that some current gurus have declared to grammar. Let’s see why.
Grammar gives us rules, and rules are good in a lot of occasions. Knowledge of grammar rules reduces making mistakes by learners. Those parts which are more irregular and don’t have rules, are more difficult to learn. It takes foreign learners much less time to learn grammar rules that are explained than to figure out grammar rules on their own intuitively from texts because grammar rules may have exceptions and other peculiarities.
We learn basic grammar when we start to put sentences together as children. But, the actual knowing of a language is much more complex. Grammar teaches us how to build sentences, about the types of words that we use and when we should use them. The organization of grammar all depends on the logic. And, understanding grammar will mean you can think more logically.
In conclusion, neither we should base all the learning in the repetition of grammar exercises, as in the past, nor leave it apart as some of the current methods intend. It is always positive to know and to understand the grammar, and to use it whenever we have doubts.
- Have always a good grammar manual to help you know, understand and to solve your doubts.
And that’s all! I hope you like this saga of articles and find them useful. Soon we will analyze much more things. See you!