Pop-Up Grammar

Novice language learners (acquirers) often don’t even hear and certainly don’t attend to verb endings, as they are focused on meaning.  But we’ll expose them to a barrage of contextualized and correctly spoken Hebrew (that’s what grammar is!), and when their brains have heard and unconsciously patterned the input and are ready to note the subtle differences in word endings, they will…deductively.  After a time, the teacher may even get a student question or comment about different verb forms, like, “What’s the difference between הולך and הולכת?,” at which time she can ‘pop-up’ that specific grammar in 3 seconds:  “Class, why does this one have a ׳ת׳ on the end?’  That’s right, it’s for a girl/female.”

Notice the absence of grammatical terminology, like masculine/feminine, singular/plural, and tenses.  Grammar pop-ups are minimal, provided on an as-needed basis, and employ plain language, often initiated by a student question.  Those (All?) of us who’ve studied grammar must resist the temptation to (squander precious target language input time and) explain how the language works…because those English explanations don’t result in acquisition….Comprehending compelling messages does!screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-11-08-51-pm

Enjoy listening to grammar and rule-related podcasts from Second Language Acquisition professor, Bill vanPatten:   Tea With BVP, especially Episode 5:  ‘Does Explicit Language Teaching Do Anything?’  and Episode 10:  ‘Are There Rules to be Learned?’

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