The significance of grammar

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The significance of Grammar and the need for a good foundation - quality not quantity - understanding not cramming grammar

It is funny that in 1846 Monier Williams noted something that can be applied to the industry of German language teaching even today. The excerpt is from his preface to "An elementary grammar of the Sanskrit language, partly in the roman character":

depiction of German case of German grammar Excerpt to the preface to "An elementary grammar of the Sanskrit language, partly in the roman character"   depiction ( en , 987 x 429 ): Monier, An elementary grammar of the Sanskrit language, pedagogy, psychology of learning, language learning, methodology of learning

Too much content is forced upon the attention of students. The consequence is that learning becomes a pain. We are going to heed this good advice and learn from what this wise man had to say.

The method of this course

You can skip this if you like. Get to the point and >> continue to the topic "case".

A general statement that you hear quite often is that German is a language which is extremely difficult to learn (it seems especially the Germans are very proud of this) and that to learn English is easy. I think this is not so. German can be easy to learn if you absorb the structure and understand the underlying patterns. On the other hand, though, English can be a hard nut to crack if you don't just want to make yourself understood, but in fact say something in the fashion an Englishman would do. Quite a few aspects of English Grammar are not as easy as they seem, the significance of which is grasped when students want to take their entrance exams to college. Monier Williams also says that to learn Sanskrit, in fact, is not hard, setting out on this journey by first mastering the outlined basics that the experienced teacher has to offer. Also, in the same fashion, without a foundation, that is without having mastered the fundamental structures of German, do what you will, the student will eventually not attain mastery. Forgetting the stuff one has crammed for a few years only to speak a broken sort of German (or any language for that matter), is this what we want? In this course we are not going to follow this line, but we shall achieve our major breakthrough by looking at the phenomena of case. Then another giant step shall we make by understanding the workings of tense and its relationship with time. So these are the two wide fields we are going to explore today: the noun and the verbal system. A major shortcoming of usual grammars or courses is that they think that the student ought to learn everything. And what they forget is that that there is a sensible order of learning grammar, the most important lesson being case and the case requirements of certain verbs, understanding certain groups of verbs, like verbs that take a preposition and verbs that don't, Verbs that take the dative and verbs that take the accusative and why, then the present tense, then the perfect tense. Starting with the passive voice, not having made sure the student has got the foundations, is bound to fail. But when all the basics are in place, understanding grammar like the passive voice or the subjunctive aspect is easier: not easy, but easier.

useful German phrases

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