The discussion on grammar continues. Chris seems to see drilling as the alternative to grammar insructions.
Chris says in his comment
“Sure, learn and drill the patterns, “s moim bratom” (Sorry, I can’t type in Russian), but first learn how to form it and learn the exceptions so that when you have drilled enough locatives, for example, in “-ye” you won’t be taken by surprise when you suddenly come across a mono-syllabic masculine noun that takes “u”…………..”
I have now been studying Russian for 10 days. I have no idea what a locative is and I do not care. As for a mono-syllabic masculine noun, I am happily unaware of why I should fear them, but I am understanding more Russian every day and enjoying it.
Chris goes on to say “I have nothing against extensive drilling. In fact it is a key element of my method, but I think the grammar should be understood first, otherwise you are putting the cart before the horse.”
At The Linguist we are not against grammar so much as we are against drilling, quizzes, theoretical grammatical explanations and all the rest of the things that discourage so many people from learning languages. I believe in enjoyable content, lots of input with little pressure. No pressure to perform before you have absorbed enough of the language. However, when you do write or speak, we will correct you. We give you phrases that reflect normal usage to replace the phrases that you got wrong. We encourage you to look for similar phrases in your listening and reading.
Chris tells me that learning Russian grammar will help me learn
Maybe. But I will worry about Czech when I go to study
Meanwhile I have learned 4 Asian languages without reference to grammar because the grammar I learned for French in school was irrelevant to those languages.I learned the Asian languages faster than I learned French. Now I am enjoying my Russians without trying to remember any rules of grammar.
At this stage it is difficult enough to remember the words, which, as is the case when you start learning a language, all seem to sound the same. Already I can make sense of a lot of content that was just noise to me a week ago. I can pronounce the words. I can explain some simple concepts with errors., but mostly I read and listen. After much more enjoyable listening and reading I will look at the grammar explanations. And yet I know that even as I read the explanations, I will have little chance to remember these rules and use them when I go to speak. If I have learned some standard phrases and have them ready to use, however, I will actually sound quite natural.
I agree with Art’s analogy from his comment.
“I think in Steve’s language house grammar is the roof. First the solid foundation in words, phrases, a lot of input and only after that the finishing touch to the house — the roof as grammar.
Start to build my own home from a roof? No! :)”
Right on. That does not mean that you do not look at the occasional grammar rule, you just do not make that a focus of your studies.
Input, input, input! but with structure, as we do in The Linguist. If I had The Linguist system for Russian I would not be constantly looking up words that I learned the day before yesterday and have forgotten. I would learn the words and phrases more systematically. But all that will be possible in another 6 months I hope.