The practice during the past in the case of language teaching or learning was actually learning about language not true language learning. What is the difference between language learning and learning about language? Are they same? Though the phrases seem to have similarity in its physical appearance, they are entirely different. They are different because they have got entirely different aims and objectives.
Learning about a language is getting a thorough idea about a language-its origin, its history, the rules and regulations to be followed when framing sentences, and the literary peculiarities. You may get yourself pleased by adding and removing the grammatical items; you may be able to produce intelligent views and reviews on different literary items in the particular language, and you may be able to clarify linguistic doubts of academicians. How ever, if you are not able to communicate effectively in the particular language, you can never claim that you have learnt that language. You may rather utter that you have got very good knowledge on that language.
The core aim of teaching any language is to make you an effective user of it when it is needed. For this purpose, you must not have to know the history of the particular language- its origin, history, grammatical rules, literary peculiarities or anything else. You should only know how to use for conveying what you want to convey, that too, without missing even a single element from your intended theme. You need not to bother about, if you are not a B.A. English Literature or M.A. English Literature student, the features of Shakespearian works which made him the most famous writer that English has give birth. You may have to use some words or phrases connoted by him to make your communication more charming, but you need not to know that it was contributed Shakespear. Language learning is the process of acquiring a language so that to communicate purposefully and effectively in it.
Then there must be a question in your mind, “is or isn’t grammar important in communicating in a particular language?”. Some people like the above mentioned scholars will, of course, will utter there is no communication without grammar while some others will wrinkle their fore heads and utter why there should be grammar for communicating that the native speakers do communicate without learning grammar. The matter is that both groups have mistaken the concept of grammar. Both picture in their mind the knowledge of grammatical rules. Knowledge of grammatical rules are entirely different from accurate grammar. Accurate grammar is inevitable in any sense in communicating in a language. Other wise there is a possibility of altering the entire meaning of a piece of a communication. If a person uses ‘ had’ in the place of ‘has’ the entire meaning of the statement or conversation will be changed. The ability to use ‘has’ in right context is the ability to use accurate grammar. For this you might not know that ‘has’ is an auxiliary verb related to present perfect tense or something like that. If you know that ‘has’ is an auxiliary verb related to present perfect tense and that ‘had’ is an auxiliary verb related to past perfect tense, you can claim that you have got the knowledge of grammar. And if you are not able to use these at right places, that is to say, if you use ‘has’ in the place of ‘had’, and ‘had’ in the place of ‘has’, you cannot claim that you have got accurate grammar in your communication. We always make the wrong statement like grammar is not important in communication out of sheer ignorance or carelessness. Grammar is not the knowledge of rules and regulations of a language. Grammar, in fact, is the core elements used when communicating in a language for reducing confusion or wrong assumptions, and thus for making the communication meaningful in each and every sense. Knowing the grammatical rules and regulations is a part of learning about language while learning to use accurate grammar in communication is a part of language learning.
Assistant Professor of Education, Keyi sahib Training College
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