Many people find that studying grammar is a boring thing, that it is a lot of work and that they can learn a language without studying. Yes, it is possible if you live in a country dealing with natives every day. In that case yes, you will end up learning only by practice. But in your country it’s different because you go to second language classes two or three times a week and when you leave school, you don’t talk, listen to it or write anymore. We need to try to understand the importance of grammar in the study of language and demystify its difficulty.
Grammar is not like math, but it has an underlying logic to the functioning of the language. If it was not the grammar and its rules, the languages wouldn’t have a structure. It would be like a human body without a skeleton. A language would be an amalgam of nonsense words. The grammar and its rules, are what make us build perceptible phrases and interpret what we read and hear. It’s the only way we have to communicate with our interlocutor.
The grammatical understanding is the basis of our language skills in different areas of language functioning. For example, if we know that for example in Portuguese, the articles have to be in accordance with the substantive and / or adjectives or verbs have to be in accordance with the personal pronouns, our verbal speech or writing becomes confusing and slightly noticeable.
Even in our mother language, although in a more natural way because we already know how to talk, we need to study and understand it. In a foreign language, learning is not as intuitive or easy because we have to study and learn everything at the same time.
Grammar is not the only component of the language and no one can communicate only with grammar. To better understand and learn you need to write, speak, read and hear. You may have heard “it doesn’t sound right”, this conveys the importance of orality in learning and unconsciously we have the notion that there is something wrong. In order to provide either through writing or conversation, we must know the grammatical structure of the language.
With the practice of all language components, grammar understanding will become much easier because we will recognize it when we are reading, when we are writing, when we talk and when we hear.
Today the exercises are much more appealing, either in your presentation or in its explanation. There are also many online exercises presented in a creative and innovative way to make learning a fun task.
The most important role is up to the teacher who has the task to untangle, make simple and appealing learning, explaining and clarifying the doubts in an accessible way, noticeable and helping the students to understand the different rules and their exceptions. During a class, the time devoted to different aspects of language, must be controlled so that none of them become boring. No one can handle an entire class of grammar! Most of the students want to talk and this has to happen in every class.
The importance of grammar in learning a language, is indisputable. But equally indisputable are reading, listening, oral production and oral interaction. Language is a whole and its aspects are not separable.