This essay is about the inconvenience of giving or attending a grammar lecture. Some believe that it is difficult, challenging, and even exhausting to learn and teach grammar. Almost everyone I know would emphasize this statement and even I tend to do it. However, I daresay that learning grammar is essential and it is worth the effort.
There are many reasons why learning grammar is difficult. One of it is the native language of the person who wants to learn the English grammar. English is a Germanic language. Hence, it is easier to learn for people whose native language is also Germanic like German or Dutch. For people from Asia, for instance, learning the English grammar is much more complicated.
Another reason is the magnitude of the grammar. The English language has twelve tenses which the learner has to know. If he accidentally changes the tense in a sentence, it probably does not make sense anymore. Even if the aspirant knows when to use which tense, there are exceptions and signal words which indicate a usage of another tense. For someone whose native language is German the amount of tenses is 200 percent of the tenses he has to know in German (the German language has only six tenses).
There exist also somethingWord choice that is called ‘phrasal verbs’. A phrasal verb is a verb whose meaning has changed due to an added word – mostly an adverb or a preposition. Usually, phrasal verbs are not liked by learners. There are thousands and thousands of it in the English language and nobody could know them all. There is no consistent pattern which you can learn to improve your usage of phrasal verbs or even to identificate one. Phrasal verbs can be made by two or three words, adverbs or prepositions and so on. The aspirant has to learn them by heart, which makes it such a difficult topic.
Furthermore, the learner has to deal with idioms. Idioms are groups of words in a fixed order that have a particular meaning. They do not always make sense literally; they are more likeWord choice metaphors. Due to the requirement of the correct interpretation of the idiom, it is a difficult matter. As with phrasal verbs, the quantity of idioms is (too) excessive to learn them all.
One more reason why learning the grammar of the English language is difficult is the existence of two kinds of it: British English and American English. While British English is more formal and ‘snoblike’ (or ‘butlerlike’), American English is rather informal and adolescent. There are also grammatical differences. Prepositions, for instance, are not used completely similar. ‘What are you doing on Christmas?’ would ask an American, ‘What are you doing at Christmas?’ would ask the British. When describing something that recently happened, Americans tend to use the past simple, while British people would rather use the
present perfect. In addition, in written language regular and irregular verbs are used differently. Verbs that are irregular in British English have been made regular in American English. The –t ending becomes a –ed ending in America.
To put it in a nutshell, learning grammar is difficult, challenging and even exhausting. Due to my lack in English-teaching experience, I can not say if this is also the case for teaching. Considering the fact that English is the most-spoken second language, I recommend to anyone to learn English and especially the English grammar. Without grammar knowledge one is not able to build correct sentences and therefore communication becomes difficult. (Do) you want others to understand you? Learn grammar!
In my opinion the university language center should not keep the grammar & vocabulary courses.
Of course, vocabulary is important and grammar is even more important as I argued in the text above. The students should learn grammar and vocabulary. But offering courses which only focus on this topic is the wrong way. English should be taught as an overall package. The courses have to include all facets of the language. What are the benefits of learning grammar and vocabulary when you are not able to pronounce the words correctly?
The differences of the offered courses should just pertain the English level. For instance, there should be b1, b1-b2, b2, b2-c1 courses and so on. The structure and topic allocation of all courses should approximately be the same. In every offered course, the participant should learn grammar and vocabulary as well as fluency, pronunciation and the ability to give presentations.Very interesting suggestion.
All in all, whether the university should keep the grammar and vocabulary courses is a tricky question. Some would say that the possibility to choose courses with a thematic priority is a good thing, but in my opinion it is better to learn foreign languages as a whole.
27.06.2018, Clemens Bertram