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CHAPTER I: Theoretical aspects of teaching grammar
1.1. The importance of teaching grammar
During his primary education the author of this paper was faced with the need tolearn the rules of Polish grammar, which at that time sounded a lot like some mysteriousknowledge that his developing mind could barely comprehend and very often he had tolearn them by heart. At the same time he could use the language and communicate hisideas without any real problem, so he often asked himself a question – what is the purpose of learning something that complicated if he can manage very well without it?In his young mind’s perception language consisted of words, so the important thing wasto learn them and not some abstract rules and he assumed that the same mechanismworks in case of foreign languages. It was only later that he discovered that grammarsof various languages differ and more elaborate ideas simply cannot be communicated inthe foreign language without a certain amount of knowledge of its grammar.Unfortunately, such experiences seem to be quite common among learners,resulting in their perception of grammar as something dispensable, at least in the firststages of foreign language learning. It would probably be difficult to find a teacher of English who hasn’t heard at least once a student saying that he doesn’t want to learngrammar, but how to communicate.The question is – how should the teacher actually respond to such a statement?The situation is less complicated if he agrees with it, taking a stance which can beactually supported by a number of methodologists. However, if he disagrees, how canhe convincingly explain to the learner that grammar is indispensable or at least veryuseful? The argument, based on a common knowledge, that grammar is a set of rules of language and that is why it should be learned might be insufficient. Perhaps the matter must be investigated further for us to provide any more convincing arguments. A brief inquiry into the literature concerning the topic of grammar can provide us with somedefinitions of it. One of them comes from Ur (1993):
Grammar may be roughly defined as the way a language manipulates and combines words (or bits of words) in order to form longer units of meaning.