Grammar is a big block for people who are learning a foreign language, but grammar can be one of your many friends as you learn a language. Here is one way how!
With my mind on my grammar and my grammar on my mind. Not. Lately I have been on a Japanesepod101.com rush. I listen to a listen on my 35 minute walk to the Writers Room and then using timeboxing, I try to finish up a lesson and then move on to other fun stuff in Japanese. I have changed my method a little bit. I used to follow ten or more different kinds of lessons but I have limited it to three (onomatopeia, lower intermediate, and beginner lessons). Limiting the lesson types to three satisfies my game-playing mind by allowing me to see the progress bars move a little faster from day to day. Because I am using time limits, it feels more like a mission impossible spy game than mind-numbing study.
I am enjoying the grammar explanation in the Japanesepod lessons. You would think that this goes against the immersion techniques that AJATT writes about, but I think the fact that I also “immerse” makes the grammar study more fun. My grammar study is more like a confirmation. I’ve heard so much Japanese dialogue, movies, Youtube, songs, podcasts et cetera that the grammar is “in there” somewhere. My quick in and out grammar reviews are less “I have to memorize this!” and more “Oh, right, that’s what I’ve been hearing.”
Grammar pullin’ ain’t grammar pushin’. I give a quick listen to grammar lessons and read over grammar explanations but I keep it quick and dirty and don’t really stop to review. By doing this way, I am probably learning a whole lot more grammar than if I put on my hair shirt and tortured my way through grammar.
Big ups to Khatz at AJATT.com. I’ve been reading his blog for a long time and while he has recommended grammar resources like Tae Kim and a few books, he keeps riffin’ on the don’t kill and drill message. Here are a just a few choice tweets were Khatz points the way to Stephen Krashen and his view on grammar:
“We don’t need to focus on grammar because if you give people enough…input, the grammar is there” youtube.com/watch?v=shgRN3…
Stephen Krashen says: put conscious grammar study in its (very small, very peripheral) place. youtube.com/watch?v=shgRN3…
I’m not suggesting that there is one way to approach grammar in a language. Find the approaches that are the most fun and useful to you. If you enjoy studying 20 pages of rules and exceptions go for it! Grammar off, grammar on samurai!