Thursday, January 20, 2011

Words or Grammar?

Currently in Italy, where I live, a huge emphasis is put on teaching grammar in English classes in high schools. Apart from the fact that most often the teachers themselves don't really get all the intricacies of English grammar let alone their students, this approach is also hugely counter-productive. Let's see the following example.

Two Italian tourists, Giulio Grammatica, and Vittorio Vocabolario go on vacation in the US. Giulio Grammatica has a full grasp of English grammar, knows all the rules but absolutely no words in English. Vittorio Vocabolario, on the other hand, has no idea about grammar, can't even tell a verb from an adjective, but has 1500 words safely tucked away in his grey brain matter. (He also has two arms, hands as well as an expressive face with which to help along comunication.) So which one of these gentlemen will find a reasonably priced hotel room first? Or the local disco and nice people to have a drink with?

Guess you got it.

Words speak louder than grammar. It is more important to speak with errors, than be silent and make no mistakes.

So if you don't have a lot of time but need to speak fast, learn ten words a day. Of course,learn those words with their correct pronunciation.You don't know an English word until you know how to pronounce it CORRECTLY. See next blog.

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