Do you think we should learn the whole grammar to speak a language very fluently? Or can we speak it just practising listening and speaking skills even though our grammar is not good much?
As far as I come across and understand the essays about that on some websites and listen to what my english teachers say, the most important thing is listening.
In a essay, it's said that we should just listen without speaking, like babies or little children. We know that little children are better at learning a language than adults do.
And it's said that because we think what we are going to say before we say the sentence, it's harder to speak. Because while trying to speak, we think the correct words and we may make mistakes.
That is, listening is the most important part of learning the language.
But I don't think in the same way. I believe that without any good grammar, we cannot know what to say. Yes, listening is important but before listening something, we should learn some grammar to understand what one person says in that language.
What do you think about it?
Of course you need grammar. Without grammar you'd never be able to use a language in a meaningful way - you wouldn't know the difference between 'The bus is leaving' and 'The bus has left'. You need to listen and to practise, but you also need grammar. If you speak or write without knowing the correct grammar it's like trying to build a wall without any mortar to hold the bricks together. If you just pile bricks on top of each other, the wall might stand up for a short while but eventually it will fall down.
There is a member of the site who regularly writes long opinionated comments on these Discussion pages and who thinks that English grammar doesn't matter. This member simply translates from their own language word for word. Yes, there are lots of English words in the comment box, and by and large they are the right words. However, because of the total disregard for the rules of grammar most of what they say sounds like nonsense. I'm sure that many learners of English don't understand what this person is trying to say, while native speakers just get irritated at having to work quite so hard at trying to decipher the tangled mess of language.
Yes, of course babies learn their native language by listening and copying. If you have the time to listen to English, day and night, for about a year without saying anything apart from 'gaga' and 'googoo', then spend another year saying 'Mama' and 'Want ball', then progress to simple sentences in your third year, then that's fine. If you haven't got the time, then buy a good grammar book. It will save you a lot of time. Not to say embarrassment.
I agree with you and Su.Ki that grammar is very important in language learning. In order to have an effective and meaningful listening practice, we need to have at least some basic knowledge on grammar, such as the tenses. If we don't know that wrote is the past tense of write and written the past participle, how can we understand if someone tells you that he wrote to you a week ago, but you have not written back to him/her.
Listening is the most fundamental phase of language learning. We need to know how a word is pronounced in the language we are learning before speaking it. However, even though we have learnt 10000 words and been able to pronounce them properly, we will probably still not be able express an idea or ourselves. Because, we have not got any knowledge on grammar, which tells us exactly how to use these words and how they can mean differently when used with different grammtical patterns.
Babies do not know any grammar when they learn how to speak in their mother language. But we should never ignore that what they hear in daily life is mostly grammatically meaningful speeches. That's why when they begin to speak, they can talk naturally and meaningfully, even though they have not yet learnt any grammar in a class. They have already got in touch with grammar subconsciously through everyday speech. Of course, upon schooling, they will be taught good grammar and how to use them to better their speech and writings.
I believe grammar is important, but only up to a certain point. You need it becuase it wil help you to make less mistakes when you speak. But there are so many irregularities and exceptions in most languages that trying to learn all or even most of the grammar rules would be futile. When learning as a beginner I believe simple grammer should be learned, and as you advance obviously more complex things can be added.
Having said that, we never learn grammer when learning our first language. We simply become accustomed to what sounds right and what doesnt through lots of listening. Having to learn everything in a second language this way isnt practical because it would take a very long time. But being able to figure things out certain things from context is definitely possible. I have learned many grammar rules this way.
So grammar is importnat, but you'll be just fine if you learn a bit and listen a lot. Listening is the most important thing. The grammar will come later. Good luck :)
It's an interesting topic. The first point is what's the different between learning foreign language and learning mother language? I think it's the context. When we learn native language, it's easy to find lots of clues to help us understand, and usually we've got more chance to try. In the other hand, we lack these clues when we learn foreign language, so it's very difficult for us to totally understand a sentence in foreign language. In this situation, listening itself cannot help very much. For those easy piece of talking, such as greet, talking about weather, no problem. But more often, we just don't understand a sentence, even it's written down on a paper. So here are my points:
1. Reading is the base of listening.
2. Listening is the base of speaking.
3. Imitating is the base of fluency.
You have to make free discussions with the natives.