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Key Elements Of Learning A Foreign Language Grammar

Aug 17, 2007
Think about a language's grammar as the glue that keeps the puzzle pieces tight to form the bigger picture. Regardless if you have a large vocabulary in the foreign language you're studying, regardless if you can spell or pronounce words close to perfection or if you can pull off understanding what you read/listen to in that language, without a proper hold of the grammar you'll have a hard time in any conversation, no matter how basic it is. Not only you won't be able to make yourself understood but you also risk making a fool of yourself by messing up virtually every rule the language imposes in what regards word order, genders and so forth.

Whenever you're studying a foreign language, regardless if it's through a free online language course or from a dusty old course book, an important and continuous chapter will be dedicated undoubtedly to grammar. A few of the most common elements that you will be focusing on include word order, word shaping (or shape shifting) and gender. Let's take a look at what each concept is and how to study it with more ease.

Word order

Well you guessed... this concept refers to (gasp!) word order. It's probably the most important aspect of a language's grammar since even if you can't shape your words to perfection or even if you don't hit all the word genders right, if you get the word order correctly then at least you can make yourself understood. The trick here is to notice the SAO order of the language. SAO refers to the order of the Subject, Action and Object inside a sentence. For example, English sentences are usually in a SAO order, whereas Japanese ones are SOA. Northern languages such as Swedish, Norwegian or Danish use an ASO sentence word order for the most part.

Word shaping

Verbs, adjectives, nouns and other word types can vary in form depending on the sentence's context, word order, the subject of the sentence, the number of subjects and the tense. This is not necessarily a nailed-in fact for ALL languages, but it applies to most, hence it's treated as one of the most important concept in learning any language's grammar rules.

The power with which the words change shapes depends on the above mentioned factors and some can even change the meaning of the word in cause, whereas others will e simple "grammatical markers" or affixes.

Gender

Gender classification varies from language to language, some language using two genders to divide nouns (masculine and feminine) while others use a third type (usually neuter). Examples of languages using two gender classifications include French, Italian or Spanish, whereas languages using three gender classifications include German, English or Romanian. Unfortunately, each language has its own rules that determine the gender. For example, in Italian, if the noun ends with the letter "o" then it's masculine, if it ends in "a" it's feminine and if it ends in "e" it could be either (it's not a third gender, but it can be both masculine or feminine). In English, the gender is determined by the choice of pronoun: he, she or it. In Romanian, an easy way to determine the gender of a noun is to "count" the noun up to 2. For masculine the counting will be "un" ; "doi" . For feminine it will be "o" ; "doua" and lastly, for neuter it will be a combination of the two: "un" ; "doua" .

Well that's about it for grammar, now make sure you go study the flow of the above-mentioned elements so that you can start having a normal conversation in your new language. It might help if you look around the Internet for free online language courses that could provide further help with grammar rules for the specific language you're studying.
About the Author
Increase your foreign language vocabulary at http://www.InternetPolyglot.com by playing online games and become a true polyglot. The site contains thousands of lessons in different languages from English, Spanish, French, Russian to Hindi, Turkish, Ukrainian and many others.
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