Grammar, English, and foreign languages

Subject: Grammar, English, and foreign languages
From: Emily Skarzenski <eskarzenski -at- DTTUS -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 1995 09:49:00 CST

I find this thread very interesting, particularly now that it's branched into
how language learning methods affect learning in foreign languages as well as

I was taught English by grammar rules (beginning in 6th grade) and sentence
diagramming (9th grade). I also read *a lot* in my youth because my family
didn't own a TV (by my parents' choice). My parents also insisted on
*speaking* correct English at home, through which I developed a good ear for
the right constructions. I have always been very comfortable with words and I
attribute it equally to my education and circumstances.

I studied Latin in college, and found that of my peers failed miserably
because they had no grasp of English grammar. Because Latin has so many
declensions, students who couldn't identify parts of a sentence in English
were hopelessly lost trying to do it in Latin.

I have studied other languages, and find that I much prefer to take the
grammar route in learning them rather than the "listen and repeat" method. I
feel lost enough while learning a foreign language; simply repeating word
patterns makes me feel silly. It requires learning by induction, which seems
backward to me.

Emily Skarzenski
ICS Deloitte - Chadds Ford, PA
eskarzenski -at- dttus -dot- com

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