Saturday, December 23, 2006

Imitate English phrases. Don't learn English grammar?

I saw the article 'Imitate English phrases. Don't learn English grammar' on The Linguist. I wonder it is really helpful if we can learn a new language by imitating only. He mentioned mirror neurons which is spontaneous reflection helps people to learn language. I am not sure if it is true. If it is true, why we still learn grammar. We are not English native speaker. We are not young children as well. I think that it is necessary to learn grammar because it can let us understand this language more easily. Dear all what do you think?


  1. Ginyin

    On the other hand, I know there is much truth to it. Sorry, but linguistics and language learning studies also support this view. So does nearly 20 years of my own personal teaching experience.

    Just because you, other ESL students or even native speakers know grammar rules and score well on grammar exercises does not mean you will use that grammar correctly when you speak or write. Actually, the contrary is more likely.

    That does not mean stop studying or get rid of grammar. It has its place and uses. You've heard the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."

    You are probably what Stepehn Krashen would call a "perfectionist over-user"! Turning off the "monitor" that worries about making mistakes would improve your fluency - and ease of writing and speaking. When you edit, then turn the monitor back on.

    This is an important topic - well worth discussing and posting more about.

  2. Yes, I agree with you. Although I know some grammar rules, I do not speak and write very well. Thank you. I think I need to adjust my view about this. Maybe I should read more books to see how they write a sentene, and try to imitate it. It is worthy to try.

  3. What can we do if we don`t have a chance to talk every day in English? Very much, I know. But, actually we need to make some improvisations. And this is not real world of English language. I think that for practise English is very important to learn English in real situation and in real world. For example, I remember much better words in English if I live to see, to hear and to talk about these words. And I think that the winner combination is learning both of them: grammar rules and language phrases. From this combination everyone will build your system for future learning English language.

  4. Irfan

    Don't oversimplify learning! It's a complex neurocognitive process that even brain researchers still do not completely understand. It's also idionsyncratic: different for every learner.

    For that reason (among others), you should not overlook the importance of input or taking in English by reading and listening. Yes, output or practicing using the language and producing meaning by speaking and writing matters. But don't "put the cart before the horse." Input comes first.

    As both a teacher of English and a learner of other languages, I must geg to differ with you on the importance of "learning rules." What you really need to do is internalize rules or make them part of you.
    Some learners need to understand and learn rules in order to internalize them. Others can internalize just from input and imitation.

    Which path has more to do with learning styles and the Multiple Intelligences (MI) of individual learners.

    More about Learning Styles

    More about MI (.pdf format)

  5. Just a comment

    On cableTV I saw a typed phrase, writing the letters in disorder, only the first and the last letter of each word were correct, I understood the phrase and it was cause the human brain "read" not only letter by letter but for complete word.

    So, our magnificient brain works in a way that wonder us, surely imitating English phrases will help us learn English as much as studying English grammar too.

    Jorge Hdez


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