Saturday, September 1, 2012

Grammar Translation Method

Grammar-translation method began in Germany (Prussia), at the end of the 18th century and became popular in early years of the 19th century

·         Traditional Scholastic Approach - to acquire a reading knowledge of foreign langauges by studying a grammar & applying this knowledge to the interpretation of texts with the use of a dictionary
·         Scholastic Methods did not fit group teaching in classrooms for young school pupils

Grammar-Translation Method (G.M.) attempted to adopt these traditions to the requirements and circumstances of schools. It preserved the basic framework of grammar and translation because they were already familiar to teachers and pupils from their classical studies.
·         Feature:
o    to replace the traditional texts with sample sentences
o    entences for translation into and out of the foreign language
·         The concept of "practical" appeared in 19th century language course. For us, practical means "useful," but in the 19th century a practical course was one required "practice"
·         Purpose:
o    to pass the formal written examinations
o    to present the grammar in a more concentrated and clear way
Grammar Translation Method started out as a simple approach to language learning for young school children. The real bad grammar translation coursebooks were not those written by well-known names such as Ahn & Ollendorff, but those specially designed for use in secondary schools by ambitious schoolmasters, Tiarks & Weisse (German).

Tiark: "Introductory Grammar"
·         took out parts of speech in German with their declensions & conjugations (short reading texts, rules of grammar)

Weisse: "A Complete Practical Grammar of the German Language"
·         the test is densely packed, crammed with facts, lists, cross-references to other parts of the book
·         Weissie's book is not a reference book, but a textbook for use in class. The children were expected to learn all of these nonsense
Ahn and Ollendorff
·         Background
o    Emigration from Europe to the United States
o    Industrialization
·         They adopted a grading system that"rationed" the learner to one
or two new rules per lesson and generally tried to keep the detail
of explanation under some control
o    Learners could not expect to learn FLs by traditional methods, unlike academic "grammar school" learner
o    A new approach was needed to suit their particular circumstances and it emerged in the form of "direct" methods which require no knowledge of grammar at all
Frans Ahn (1796-1865): A new practical and easy method
·         Pronunciation and learning materials: each odd-numbered section (1, 3, 5…) gives grammar summary, new vocabulary items, sentences to translate into the mother tongue; each even-numbered section (2, 4, 6…) contains sentences to translate into foreign language and no new teaching points
·         Ahn's grammar requires a minimum knowledge of grammatical terminology: singular, plural, masculine, feminine, etc.; useful vocabulary; practice sentences are short and easy to translate
·         Ahn's textbooks follow his feeling for simplicity; proceed one step at a time, with not too many words in each lesson, plenty of practce
H.G. Ollendorff (1803-1865)
"A new method of learning to read, write, and speak, a language in six months." - taught German to French and English speakers
·         Features of his course
o    obscure theory of interaction: In this exercise, the structure of declarative sentences ('answer') is closed to the structure of interrogatives ('question').
o    He is the first textbook writer to use a graded linguistic syllabus seriously; his grading system is heavily influenced by convention and logic
·         Ahn and Ollendorffs' practical aims were appreciated, but they were criticized for the lack of profundity


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