Grammar Translation Method

Grammar Translation Method

Member’s Name: 1. Reni Fitriyanti    (06081001021)

2. Apik Soraya       (06081001032)

Introduction

There are many methods that is usually used by teachers to teach foreign language. One of them is Grammar Translation Method. The characteristics of GTM are used to teach grammar in the class, focused on translation and memorizing verb conjugations and forms, and given in native language. The primary skills are reading and writing. Although it is an old method, it is still used by the teachers nowadays.

History of GTM

A traditional technique of foreign-language teaching based on explicit instruction in the grammatical analysis of the target language and translation of sentences from the native language into the target language and vice versa. It was originally used to teach ‘dead’ languages (and literatures) such as Latin and Greek, involving little or no spoken communication or listening comprehension. In the 18th century foreign languages started to appear on the school curricula, requiring a systematic approach to teach them. Grammar Translation was in fact first known in the United States as the Prussian Method. (A book by B. Sears, an American classics teacher, published in 1845 was entitled The Ciceronian or the Prussian Method of Teaching the Elements of the Latin Language [Kelly 1969].)

The Grammar-Translation Method is not new. It has had different names, but it has been used by language teachers for many years. At one time it was called Classical Method since it was first used in the teaching of the classical languages, Latin and Greek. Earlier in 20th century, this method was used for the purpose of helping students read and appreciate foreign language literature. It was also hoped that, through the study of the grammar of the target language, students would become more familiar with the grammar of their native language and that this familiarity would help them speak and write their native language better.

Finally, it was thought that foreign language learn­ing would help students grow intellectually; it was recognized that students would probably never use the target language, but the mental exercise of learning it would be beneficial anyway.

Grammar Translation dominated European and foreign language teaching from the 1840s to the 1940s, and in modified form it continues to be widely used in some parts of the world today. At its best, as Howatt (1984) points out, it was not necessarily the horror that its critics depicted it as. Its worst excesses were introduced by those who wanted to dem­onstrate that the study of French or German was no less rigorous than the study of classical languages. This resulted in the type of Grammar-Translation courses remembered with distaste by thousands of school learners, for whom foreign language learning meant a tedious experience of memorizing endless lists of unusable grammar rules and vocabulary and attempting to produce perfect translations of stilted or literary prose. Although the Grammar-Translation Method often creates frustration for students, it makes few demands on teachers. It is still used in situ­ations where understanding literary texts is the primary focus of foreign language study and there is little need for a speaking knowledge of the language. Contemporary texts for the teaching of foreign languages at college level often reflect Grammar-Translation principles. These texts are frequently the products of people trained in literature rather than in language teaching or applied linguistics. Consequently, though it may be true to say that the Grammar-Translation Method is still widely practiced, it has no advocates. It is a method for which there is no theory. There is no literature that offers a rationale or justification for it or that attempts to relate it to issues in linguistics, psychology, or educational theory.

In the mid and late of 19th century opposition to the Grammar-Translation Method gradually developed in several European countries. This reform movement laid the foundations for the development of new ways of teaching languages and raised controversies that have continued to the present day.

Objectives of GTM

¡  To be able to read literature written in  the target language

¡  To be able to translate from one language to another

¡  To develop reading and writing skill

According to Prator and Celce-Murcia in Teaching English as a Second Foreign Language (1979:3), the key features of the Grammar Translation Method are as follows:

1)  Classes are taught in the mother tongue, with little active use of the target language.

2)  Much vocabulary is taught in the form of lists of isolated words.

3)  Long elaborate explanations of the intricacies of grammar are given.

4)  Grammar provides the rules for putting words together, and instruction often focuses on the form and inflection of words.

5)  Reading of difficult classical texts is begun early.

6)  Little attention is paid to the content of texts, which are treated as exercises in grammatical analysis.

7)  Often the only drills are exercises in translating disconnected sentences from the target language into the mother tongue.

8)  Little or no attention is given to pronunciation.

Choosing a method of teaching or learning English as a Second Language (ESL) mainly depends on the goals of the student. We know that Grammar  Translation Method is a traditional method. It is used for several years ago until now. These are descriptions of some common/typical techniques closely associated with the Grammar Translation Method.

1) Translation of a literary passage

Students translate a reading passage from the target language into their native language. The reading passage focuses on several classes: vocabulary and grammatical structures in the passage. The passage may be excerpted from some work from the target language literature, or a teacher may write a passage carefully designed to include particular grammar rules and vocabulary. The translation may be written or spoken or both. Students should not translate idioms and the like literally, but rather in a way that shows that they understand their meaning.

2) Reading comprehension questions

Students answer questions in the target language based on their understanding of the reading passage. The questions are sequenced so that the first group of questions asks for information contained within the reading passage.

3) Antonyms/synonyms

Students are given one set of words and are asked to find antonyms in the reading passage. Students could also be asked to find synonyms for a particular set of words. Students might be asked to define a set of words based on their understanding of them as they occur in the reading passage.

4) Cognates

Students are taught to recognize cognates by learning the spelling or sound patterns that correspond between the languages. Students are also asked to memorize words that look like cognates but have meanings in the target language that are different from those in the native language.

5) Deductive application of rule

Grammar rules are presented with examples. Exceptions to each rule are also noted. Once students understand a rule, they are asked to apply it to some different examples.

6) Fill-in-the-blanks

Students are given a series of sentences with words missing. They fill in the blanks with new vocabulary items or with items of a particular grammar type, such as prepositions or verbs with different tenses.

7) Memorization

Students are given lists of target language vocabulary words and their native language equivalents and are asked to memorize them. Students are also required to memorize grammatical rules and grammatical paradigms such as verb conjugations.

8) Use words in sentences

In order to show that students understand the meaning and use of a new vocabulary item, they make up sentences in which they use the new words.

9) Composition

The teacher gives the students a topic to write about in the target language. The topic is based upon some aspect of the reading passage of the lesson. Sometimes, instead of creating a composition, students are asked to prepare a précis of the reading passage.

From these list descriptions of common/typical technique, now we know what are several advantages will be mentioned in GTM.

The Advantages (Merits)

1) The target language is quickly explained in GTM.

Translation is the easiest way of explaining meanings or words and phrases from one language into another. Any other method of explaining vocabulary items in the second language is found time consuming. A lot of time is wasted if the meanings of lexical items are explained through definitions and illustrations in the second language. Further, learners acquire some short of accuracy in understanding synonyms in the source language and the target language.

2) Teacher and students are easy to communicate/It does not need native language

Teacher’s labour is saved. Since the textbooks are taught through the medium of the mother tongue, the teacher may ask comprehension questions on the text taught in the mother tongue. Pupils will not have much difficulty in responding to questions on the mother tongue. So, the teacher can easily assess whether the students have learnt what he has taught them. Communication between the teacher and the learners does not cause linguistic problems. Even teachers who are not fluent in English can teach English through this method. That is perhaps the reason why this method has been practiced so widely and has survived so long.

3) The students easy to understand because of grammatical lessons.

ESL students taught successfully under the grammar translation method will have the ability to translate even difficult texts from their native language into English. They possess a thorough knowledge of English grammar, including verb tenses. These students will be familiar with several classical pieces of English literature, which are used for grammatical analysis and exercises.

This method requires few specialized skills on the part of teachers. Grammar rules and Translation Tests are easy to construct and can be objectively scored. Many standardized tests of foreign languages still do not attempt to test communicative abilities, so students have little motivation to go beyond grammar analogies, translations and other written  exercises.

 

 

Disadvantages (Demerits)

Every Method must have advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of Grammar Translation Method have been explained on the passage above. Here are the disadvantages:

1)  No Scope for Effective Communication and Very Tedious for Learners

Direct translation is widely regarded as an inefficient way of becoming fluent in any language. For example, translating a sentence word-for-word from Spanish to English might not result in a sentence with the same meaning because so little attention is paid in class to listening and speaking. Students with years of English lessons through this method are often unable to hold even a basic conversation in English because classes with this method are usually taught in a lecture style, with the teacher mostly speaking the students’ native language rather than English, class can be dull and cause students to lose interest.

2) Ineffective Method

            It is a teaching method which studies a foreign language in order to read its literature focusing on the analysis of its grammar rules, and to translate sentences and texts into and out the target language. In the Grammar Translation Method the teaching of the second language starts with the teaching of reading. Little attention is paid to the content of texts, which are treated as exercises in grammatical analysis. Thus, the learning process is reversed.

3) More Importance on Grammar Rules than on Meaning

Exact translation is not possible. Translation is, indeed, a difficult task and exact translation from one language to another is not always possible. A language is the result of various customs, traditions, and modes of behavior of a speech community and these traditions differ from community to community. There are several lexical items in one language, which have no synonyms/equivalents in another language. For instance, the meaning of the English word ‘table’ does not fit in such expression as the ‘table of contents’, ‘table of figures’, ‘multiplication table’, ‘time table’ and ‘table the resolution’, etc. English prepositions are also difficult to translate. Consider sentences such as ‘We see with our eyes’, ‘Bombay is far from Delhi’, ‘He died of cholera’, He succeeded through hard work’. In these sentences ‘with’, ‘from’, ‘of’, ‘through’ can be translated into the Hindi preposition ‘se’ and vice versa. Each language has its own structure, idiom and usage, which do not have their exact counterparts in another language. Thus, translation should be considered an index of one’s proficiency in a language.

4) Slow Learning Rate and Making Learners Think in L1

It does not give pattern practice. A person can learn a language only when he internalizes its patterns to the extent that they form his habit. But the Grammar Translation Method does not provide any such practice to the learner of a language. It rather attempts to teach language through rules and not by use. Researchers in linguistics have proved that to speak any language, whether native or foreign entirely by rule is quite impossible. Language learning means acquiring certain skills, which can be learnt through practice and not by just memorizing rules. The persons who have learnt a foreign or second language through this method find it difficult to give up the habit of first thinking in their mother tongue and then translating their ideas into the second language. They, therefore, fail to get proficiency in the second language approximating that in the first language. The method, therefore, suffers from certain weaknesses for which there is no remedy.

Teacher’s role

Teachers are just guides because grammar Translation deals with the memorization of rules, manipulation of the morphology and syntax of the foreign language. It requires few specialized skills on the part of teachers because test of grammar rules and translation are easy to construct and be objectively scored. The facilitator main function is that of observation rather than corrective intervention in regards to the learners.

Students’ role

Students are expected to memorize endless lists of grammar rules and vocabulary, and produce almost perfect translations. This method means a tedious experience and often creates frustration for students. Main activities and controls are stated by the students, he or she is the one who provides the course of the learning process and the status of knowledge as well. Collaborative work is of s great importance, a real cooperative behavior from the learner, is required for the lessons.

Conclusion

The Grammar Translation Method was developed for the study of “dead” languages and to facilitate access to those languages’ classical literature.  That’s the way it should stay.  English is certainly not a dead or dying language, so any teacher that takes “an approach for dead language study” into an English language classroom should perhaps think about taking up Math or Science instead.  Rules, universals and memorized principles apply to those disciplines – pedagogy and communicative principles do not.

Sources

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/grammar-translation+method

http://purwarno-linguistics.blogspot.com/2006/01/grammar-translation-method_13.html

http://www.slideshare.net/vacoka/grammar-translation-method-presentation.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/blogs/albertrayan/grammar-translation-method.

http://faculty.ksu.edu.sa/fallay/Extra%20materials%20Eng%20406/Chapter%20Two%20%20The%20Grammar-Translation%20Method.pdf.

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Grammar Translation Method

Member’s Name: 1. Reni Fitriyanti    (06081001021)

                 2. Apik Soraya       (06081001032)

Introduction

There are many methods that is usually used by teachers to teach foreign language. One of them is Grammar Translation Method. The characteristics of GTM are used to teach grammar in the class, focused on translation and memorizing verb conjugations and forms, and given in native language. The primary skills are reading and writing. Although it is an old method, it is still used by the teachers nowadays.

History of GTM

A traditional technique of foreign-language teaching based on explicit instruction in the grammatical analysis of the target language and translation of sentences from the native language into the target language and vice versa. It was originally used to teach ‘dead’ languages (and literatures) such as Latin and Greek, involving little or no spoken communication or listening comprehension. In the 18th century foreign languages started to appear on the school curricula, requiring a systematic approach to teach them. Grammar Translation was in fact first known in the United States as the Prussian Method. (A book by B. Sears, an American classics teacher, published in 1845 was entitled The Ciceronian or the Prussian Method of Teaching the Elements of the Latin Language [Kelly 1969].)

            The Grammar-Translation Method is not new. It has had different names, but it has been used by language teachers for many years. At one time it was called Classical Method since it was first used in the teaching of the classical languages, Latin and Greek. Earlier in 20th century, this method was used for the purpose of helping students read and appreciate foreign language literature. It was also hoped that, through the study of the grammar of the target language, students would become more familiar with the grammar of their native language and that this familiarity would help them speak and write their native language better.

            Finally, it was thought that foreign language learn­ing would help students grow intellectually; it was recognized that students would probably never use the target language, but the mental exercise of learning it would be beneficial anyway.

            Grammar Translation dominated European and foreign language teaching from the 1840s to the 1940s, and in modified form it continues to be widely used in some parts of the world today. At its best, as Howatt (1984) points out, it was not necessarily the horror that its critics depicted it as. Its worst excesses were introduced by those who wanted to dem­onstrate that the study of French or German was no less rigorous than the study of classical languages. This resulted in the type of Grammar-Translation courses remembered with distaste by thousands of school learners, for whom foreign language learning meant a tedious experience of memorizing endless lists of unusable grammar rules and vocabulary and attempting to produce perfect translations of stilted or literary prose. Although the Grammar-Translation Method often creates frustration for students, it makes few demands on teachers. It is still used in situ­ations where understanding literary texts is the primary focus of foreign language study and there is little need for a speaking knowledge of the language. Contemporary texts for the teaching of foreign languages at college level often reflect Grammar-Translation principles. These texts are frequently the products of people trained in literature rather than in language teaching or applied linguistics. Consequently, though it may be true to say that the Grammar-Translation Method is still widely practiced, it has no advocates. It is a method for which there is no theory. There is no literature that offers a rationale or justification for it or that attempts to relate it to issues in linguistics, psychology, or educational theory.

In the mid and late of 19th century opposition to the Grammar-Translation Method gradually developed in several European countries. This reform movement laid the foundations for the development of new ways of teaching languages and raised controversies that have continued to the present day.

Objectives of GTM

¡  To be able to read literature written in  the target language

¡  To be able to translate from one language to another

¡  To develop reading and writing skill

 

According to Prator and Celce-Murcia in Teaching English as a Second Foreign Language (1979:3), the key features of the Grammar Translation Method are as follows: 

1)  Classes are taught in the mother tongue, with little active use of the target language. 

2)  Much vocabulary is taught in the form of lists of isolated words.

3)  Long elaborate explanations of the intricacies of grammar are given. 

4)  Grammar provides the rules for putting words together, and instruction often focuses on the form and inflection of words. 

5)  Reading of difficult classical texts is begun early.

6)  Little attention is paid to the content of texts, which are treated as exercises in grammatical analysis. 

7)  Often the only drills are exercises in translating disconnected sentences from the target language into the mother tongue. 

8)  Little or no attention is given to pronunciation.       

Choosing a method of teaching or learning English as a Second Language (ESL) mainly depends on the goals of the student. We know that Grammar  Translation Method is a traditional method. It is used for several years ago until now. These are descriptions of some common/typical techniques closely associated with the Grammar Translation Method. 

1) Translation of a literary passage

Students translate a reading passage from the target language into their native language. The reading passage focuses on several classes: vocabulary and grammatical structures in the passage. The passage may be excerpted from some work from the target language literature, or a teacher may write a passage carefully designed to include particular grammar rules and vocabulary. The translation may be written or spoken or both. Students should not translate idioms and the like literally, but rather in a way that shows that they understand their meaning.

2) Reading comprehension questions

Students answer questions in the target language based on their understanding of the reading passage. The questions are sequenced so that the first group of questions asks for information contained within the reading passage.

3) Antonyms/synonyms

Students are given one set of words and are asked to find antonyms in the reading passage. Students could also be asked to find synonyms for a particular set of words. Students might be asked to define a set of words based on their understanding of them as they occur in the reading passage.

4) Cognates

Students are taught to recognize cognates by learning the spelling or sound patterns that correspond between the languages. Students are also asked to memorize words that look like cognates but have meanings in the target language that are different from those in the native language.

5) Deductive application of rule

Grammar rules are presented with examples. Exceptions to each rule are also noted. Once students understand a rule, they are asked to apply it to some different examples.

6) Fill-in-the-blanks

Students are given a series of sentences with words missing. They fill in the blanks with new vocabulary items or with items of a particular grammar type, such as prepositions or verbs with different tenses.

7) Memorization

Students are given lists of target language vocabulary words and their native language equivalents and are asked to memorize them. Students are also required to memorize grammatical rules and grammatical paradigms such as verb conjugations.

8) Use words in sentences

In order to show that students understand the meaning and use of a new vocabulary item, they make up sentences in which they use the new words.

9) Composition

The teacher gives the students a topic to write about in the target language. The topic is based upon some aspect of the reading passage of the lesson. Sometimes, instead of creating a composition, students are asked to prepare a précis of the reading passage.

From these list descriptions of common/typical technique, now we know what are several advantages will be mentioned in GTM.

The Advantages (Merits)

1) The target language is quickly explained in GTM.

Translation is the easiest way of explaining meanings or words and phrases from one language into another. Any other method of explaining vocabulary items in the second language is found time consuming. A lot of time is wasted if the meanings of lexical items are explained through definitions and illustrations in the second language. Further, learners acquire some short of accuracy in understanding synonyms in the source language and the target language.

2) Teacher and students are easy to communicate/It does not need native language

Teacher’s labour is saved. Since the textbooks are taught through the medium of the mother tongue, the teacher may ask comprehension questions on the text taught in the mother tongue. Pupils will not have much difficulty in responding to questions on the mother tongue. So, the teacher can easily assess whether the students have learnt what he has taught them. Communication between the teacher and the learners does not cause linguistic problems. Even teachers who are not fluent in English can teach English through this method. That is perhaps the reason why this method has been practiced so widely and has survived so long.

3) The students easy to understand because of grammatical lessons.

ESL students taught successfully under the grammar translation method will have the ability to translate even difficult texts from their native language into English. They possess a thorough knowledge of English grammar, including verb tenses. These students will be familiar with several classical pieces of English literature, which are used for grammatical analysis and exercises.

This method requires few specialized skills on the part of teachers. Grammar rules and Translation Tests are easy to construct and can be objectively scored. Many standardized tests of foreign languages still do not attempt to test communicative abilities, so students have little motivation to go beyond grammar analogies, translations and other written  exercises.

 

 

Disadvantages (Demerits)

            Every Method must have advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of Grammar Translation Method have been explained on the passage above. Here are the disadvantages:

1)  No Scope for Effective Communication and Very Tedious for Learners

Direct translation is widely regarded as an inefficient way of becoming fluent in any language. For example, translating a sentence word-for-word from Spanish to English might not result in a sentence with the same meaning because so little attention is paid in class to listening and speaking. Students with years of English lessons through this method are often unable to hold even a basic conversation in English because classes with this method are usually taught in a lecture style, with the teacher mostly speaking the students’ native language rather than English, class can be dull and cause students to lose interest.

2) Ineffective Method

            It is a teaching method which studies a foreign language in order to read its literature focusing on the analysis of its grammar rules, and to translate sentences and texts into and out the target language. In the Grammar Translation Method the teaching of the second language starts with the teaching of reading. Little attention is paid to the content of texts, which are treated as exercises in grammatical analysis. Thus, the learning process is reversed.

 

3) More Importance on Grammar Rules than on Meaning

Exact translation is not possible. Translation is, indeed, a difficult task and exact translation from one language to another is not always possible. A language is the result of various customs, traditions, and modes of behavior of a speech community and these traditions differ from community to community. There are several lexical items in one language, which have no synonyms/equivalents in another language. For instance, the meaning of the English word ‘table’ does not fit in such expression as the ‘table of contents’, ‘table of figures’, ‘multiplication table’, ‘time table’ and ‘table the resolution’, etc. English prepositions are also difficult to translate. Consider sentences such as ‘We see with our eyes’, ‘Bombay is far from Delhi’, ‘He died of cholera’, He succeeded through hard work’. In these sentences ‘with’, ‘from’, ‘of’, ‘through’ can be translated into the Hindi preposition ‘se’ and vice versa. Each language has its own structure, idiom and usage, which do not have their exact counterparts in another language. Thus, translation should be considered an index of one’s proficiency in a language.

4) Slow Learning Rate and Making Learners Think in L1

            It does not give pattern practice. A person can learn a language only when he internalizes its patterns to the extent that they form his habit. But the Grammar Translation Method does not provide any such practice to the learner of a language. It rather attempts to teach language through rules and not by use. Researchers in linguistics have proved that to speak any language, whether native or foreign entirely by rule is quite impossible. Language learning means acquiring certain skills, which can be learnt through practice and not by just memorizing rules. The persons who have learnt a foreign or second language through this method find it difficult to give up the habit of first thinking in their mother tongue and then translating their ideas into the second language. They, therefore, fail to get proficiency in the second language approximating that in the first language. The method, therefore, suffers from certain weaknesses for which there is no remedy.

Teacher’s role

Teachers are just guides because grammar Translation deals with the memorization of rules, manipulation of the morphology and syntax of the foreign language. It requires few specialized skills on the part of teachers because test of grammar rules and translation are easy to construct and be objectively scored. The facilitator main function is that of observation rather than corrective intervention in regards to the learners.

Students’ role

            Students are expected to memorize endless lists of grammar rules and vocabulary, and produce almost perfect translations. This method means a tedious experience and often creates frustration for students. Main activities and controls are stated by the students, he or she is the one who provides the course of the learning process and the status of knowledge as well. Collaborative work is of s great importance, a real cooperative behavior from the learner, is required for the lessons.

 

Conclusion

            The Grammar Translation Method was developed for the study of “dead” languages and to facilitate access to those languages’ classical literature.  That’s the way it should stay.  English is certainly not a dead or dying language, so any teacher that takes “an approach for dead language study” into an English language classroom should perhaps think about taking up Math or Science instead.  Rules, universals and memorized principles apply to those disciplines – pedagogy and communicative principles do not.

 

Sources

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/grammar-translation+method

http://purwarno-linguistics.blogspot.com/2006/01/grammar-translation-method_13.html

http://www.slideshare.net/vacoka/grammar-translation-method-presentation.

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/blogs/albertrayan/grammar-translation-method.

http://faculty.ksu.edu.sa/fallay/Extra%20materials%20Eng%20406/Chapter%20Two%20%20The%20Grammar-Translation%20Method.pdf.

 

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