RandallButh wrote: ↑
January 13th, 2020, 4:39 am
GT "works" when the student finally gets many a month to use the language in a communicative context.
I'd like to expand a bit on what ὁ ΜΔ Buth says. I agree with him, but there's more to say.
There are those who the Latinist CLT teachers call the "four percenters
." I've never seen research that gave them this number. I think it's become a short-cut for talking about the few who succeed at learning through the Grammar-Translation method. They are that minority of learners who have high self-motivation, who have long working memories, who are high visual learners (the kind of people we usually call "really smart"), and who therefore can hold enough of the rules, exceptions, and paradigms in their head so that when they then engage in the "communication" of reading intensively, they attain to a degree of genuine comprehension of a language. I am not talking about those who simply excel at treating the language as code to be deciphered. The litmus test for those who have attained a level of comprehension is whether they can fairly easily do simple output. For example, can they say "I went to the city" in Greek without serious mental contortions.
These four percenters can still benefit
from Communicative Language Teaching since it will expose them to ways of engaging with the language they have not experienced before (e.g. being in the position of deciding which word or construction to use in communication).
In contrast, we can say without qualification that normal learners (the 96%-ers
, I suppose) can learn Greek via communicative methods. If they understand and speak one language well, they have proven ability to learn another. The biggest obstacle they have is nerves, the affective filter
that tells them they cannot succeed, often based on some language learning myths (learning language means tons of memorizing, you can't learn language after age x, only smart people know multiple languages, etc.).
Those 96%-ers can still benefit
from grammar and translation exercises since it may consolidate some learning they have acquired and clarify some confusing interference they might have from their first language.
Even if Greek is studied only through the grammar-translation method, there are some benefits:
1. Appreciation of the potential value of reading Scripture in the original.
2. Ability to understand the commentary and exegesis of others.
3. Understanding the hermeneutical limitations of translations.
4. A better sense of languages in general.[/list]
for those who study Greek as a language and as communication, and who also are motivated and stick to regular patterns of study, will be that they end up reading Greek. By "reading" we mean reading in the natural sense of the word. There may be pauses and mistakes and some reference help may be needed while reading, but the end result is "reading" (not contiguous parsing, sentence diagramming, and explanations that require special knowledge of esoteric terms). A litmus test for genuine reading is "Are your eyes ahead of your mouth?" If so, you're probably doing the kind of genuine reading that results from learning a language as communication.
If you have gotten there by means other than communicative methods, I applaud you and am awed by your raw intelligence and grit. For somewhat less intelligent and less gritty people like me, CLT offers a great option.