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1C: Grammar

Unlike Esperanto, Klingon, and Elvish, most languages are not invented. Languages are created through thousands of years of chaotic evolution. They do not have "rules".

School teaches us that we produce correct language by following grammar rules. This is a lie. Grammar rules are formed, after the fact, based on how people actually use language.

Grammar is not a set of “rules”; grammar rules are just an attempt to explain the chaos of language. Unfortunately, this chaos is inherently unexplainable, which is why there are so many grammar exceptions. Exceptions are the areas of language where grammar explanations fall apart.

Do We Need Grammar?

The short answer: No. Your brain can figure out grammar on its own without study. Unfortunately, that process is really slow.

When you first start learning, grammar study is a useful tool to support and accelerate your comprehension. Grammar is a crutch that you use until your brain can make sense of the language subconsciously.

Because you only need grammar for basic understanding, there's no point studying the complicated nuance of advanced grammar topics. You will learn those through immersion.

Instead, only focus on the absolute basics necessary to understand your immersion.

How to Study Grammar

Studying grammar is tedious when done in bulk so we recommend learning grammar gradually alongside your immersion and vocabulary study.

Spend 10 to 20 minutes each day studying basic grammatical concepts in your target language (TL).

Since you don’t need a deep understanding of nuanced grammatical concepts, it doesn’t really matter which grammar guide you choose. Anything that helps you understand the basics of your TL’s grammar will suffice.

Do a quick search to find recommended grammar guides for beginners. YouTube videos, online courses, stand-alone websites, introductory textbooks, and language apps are all good sources. Pick whatever suites your tastes and lifestyle.

If there is something about the grammar you can’t make sense of, just ignore it and move on. You will gain an intuitive understanding of grammar through repeated exposure in your immersion. If it still doesn't click into place, you can always return to your grammar guide once you have more experience.

Remember, the goal of grammar study is to help you comprehend your TL. DO NOT try to speak or write using grammar rules. You will develop both of those abilities through immersion.

What to Study

The goal of grammar study is to understand. In order to understand a sentence, you need to be able to:

  • Tell the words apart
  • Identify the subject of the sentence
  • Identify what is happening to the subject
  • Determine when this thing happened

Tell the Words Apart

Many languages combine words or don’t leave spaces between words. Grammar study will help you identify where one word ends and the next word starts.

Identify the Subject of the Sentence

You will learn nouns through vocabulary study, but most languages use pronouns and conjugations to implicitly denote the subject. Grammar study will teach you the pronouns and basics of subject-based conjugation.

Identify What is Happening

This is not grammar. You will develop this ability through vocabulary study of verbs.

When This Thing Happened

Learning to identify the past, present, and future tenses is key to comprehending stories.

Don’t try to understand any of these things in detail through grammar study. The goal is to unlock the first level of comprehension.

For example, it’s not important to understand the nuance of every past tense conjugation. It’s only important that when you see them in your immersion, you know they are past tense.

Once you research the grammar above and have a basic mental model for comprehension you can stop daily grammar study.

As you progress, you will find grammar in immersion that you don’t yet understand. Feel free to research explanations for these issues as you encounter them.

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