Is there a more controversial subject in language learning than grammar? Is there another question than “to learn or not to learn grammar” more often discussed?
So many commercial language programs providers have built a whole religion and based their marketing ploy on “not learning grammar”, that it is very uncool to defend grammar.
I strongly believe and tested it on myself many times that learning grammar the right and efficient way is the best shortcut to learn any foreign language.
It is a great time saver. How much time would I need to explain you all that stuff with “to be” in Spanish, that is “ser” and “estar” and teach you all the forms both verbs take in the present tense? I bet 1 to 5 minutes. After this, you could get round relaxed to learning more interesting Spanish aspects, like conversational phrases or reading fun stuff. Then how much time would you need to understand, and more importantly to use “ser” and “estar” in everyday conversation only by listening and repeating sentences like “You estoy contenta”, “Ese niño es adorable”? Well, it is very probable that, since such phenomenon is not known in English, you will end up frustrated and discouraged to Spanish.
I think the major problem with grammar is the misunderstanding how to learn it. When you hear “grammar” probably you remind yourself of long and boring grammar drills that you had to do in school.
And this is the point where you should stop learning grammar. No exercises, no drills. It is perfectly enough to read a short comment on grammar topic with several examples of usage. You will learn the rest form the context, by using the language.
It really works. Do you know how I learnt Spanish grammar? I used to take with me a Spanish grammar textbook when I was commuting to my university. I was just reading chapter by chapter different grammatical topics and found them interesting.
Did I memorised everything? Of course not, but next time when a found a sentence in a Spanish text, I had this “aha!” effect. Things clicked. The rest is history or rather practice, practice, practice.
Lots of success in your Spanish!