• blah 26.10.2008 4 Comments

    Trying to do the Nina way ;)

    Old paradigm: It is burdening and hard to do

    New paradigm: It is something you can have fun with

    Hope it will work.

  • tips 12.10.2008 5 Comments

    To grammar even kings bow (JB Moliere, Les femmes savants, II, 1672)

    We might have learned English since we were in junior high school. Our teacher might have given us a bunch of grammar exercises to do. The teachers usually give a set of grammatical rules to memorize, while sometimes memorizing rules can be discouraging.

    Some say grammar is not important when learning English or other languages. Well, it is true sometimes, as long as the person (or native speaker) you talk to understands what you say. However, as my professor said, learning English without grammar is nonsense. Grammar is important. You can’t speak accurately if you don’t use the correct grammar. Consider when your boyfriend/girlfriend, for example, says “I loved you” to you. You might not notice the [-d] sound in ‘loved’, and might be happy hearing that. Be cautious though, he/she might be telling you he/she loved you in the past time and doesn’t love you anymore now. Well this is just an example, my favorite one when giving tips about how important grammar is, haha.

    Every language contains a set of grammatical rules. When we study grammar, we study the language pattern. Constant practice of using the language improves our grammar, because we learn the pattern through practicing. In other words, we are exposed to such pattern, over and over.

    First way to start, read. Read as many English texts or books. If you’re a beginner, read children books. They are usually shorter, less complicated, and use simple grammar. Study the sentence pattern. If you find grammar constructions that confuse you, take note and discuss it with your teacher or friend. As your skill improves, select books that are more difficult.

    You can also watch English movies or listen to English songs. The more you are exposed to English language, the easier for you to catch the grammatical rules. Sometimes songs are grammatically incorrect, but they do help me. When I was in high school, I had a grammar test and I was asked to make a sentence using “would rather…than…”. I didn’t remember if I had to use “to infinitive” or “infinitive without to” after “would rather”. Then I recalled a Backstreet Boys’ song that goes “I’d rather die than live without you”, and I could construct another sentence with the similar pattern. See how it helped me?

    Another way to improve your grammar is by writing. Try to write simple stories or your weekend experience for example. It is okay if you write in your language and translate it. Writing directly in English sometimes will make you use simpler grammar and vocabulary. Translating from your native language forces you to write more complex English and it helps you improve your grammar and vocabulary. Then consult your teacher or ask your friend who has a good command in English to correct your writing. It is better if you ask a native speaker, because he/she knows sentences that sound right and do not sound awkward. During the process, make sure you watch for errors that you repeat over and over. Finally, practice using these things correctly. As time goes by, you will be able to think in English without having to translate, and your English will sound “English”.