What is grammar

What is grammar?


by Christine Tettenhammer

What is grammar?

Right at the beginning of our new series about learning the grammar of a foreign language, we want to give you this helpful tip:
It will always be worthwhile for you to first deal with grammar as a general term before dealing specifically with the grammar of the language you want to learn.
Now, when you think about grammar, you will quickly see the challenges, problems and difficulties you face in learning the grammar of a new language.
So we now ask you: how would you define grammar?

Definition of the term grammar

Let us begin by examining the word grammar.
This word originally comes from ancient Greek. The ancient Greek word γράμμα [gramma] means translated Letteror Written. From this word the term γραμματική [grammatikē] developed, which means the Art of reading and writingmeans.
Today we understand the term grammar to mean the teaching of the words and sentences (i.e. the system of rules) in a language.

Learn grammar - then and now

For many years, foreign language teaching in Germany was strongly oriented towards Latin teaching.
And what that meant, many of you have probably experienced first-hand: First and foremost, the grammar lesson in a foreign language (regardless of whether it was English, French or Latin) was a lesson in which the aim was to isolate components of a sentence and to be able to name them with a Latin term.
“What is the predicate / the subject / the adverbial definition of this sentence?” - This was, for example, a series of typical questions that I was asked very often as a student. Quite often I found it difficult to answer these questions ...
When I learn languages ​​today, the first thing I do is look at how the new language differs from my mother tongue.
I constantly ask myself the question “What is different here than in German?” - the happy side effect is that I am constantly learning new and interesting things about my mother tongue or making myself aware of it again. In this way I can sharpen and improve my ability to express myself in German.
Conversely, I often see parallels between the foreign language and my mother tongue. That is of course a great motivation to be able to say “It's like in German!” - I already have the feeling that I have learned something today.
This approach has now established itself in many schools and students today often enjoy grammar lessons more than previous generations.
Learning grammar can and should be fun! In the following articles, we want to provide everyone who is learning a foreign language in self-study with helpful tips and useful tricks for contemporary work and learning with and from grammar.
Speaking of which grammar... did you know?

Curiosities on the subject grammar: What you never wanted to know about grammar :)

  • “Grammar” is the name of a Polish hip-hop group from Warsaw!
  • Grammar is one of the Septem Artes Liberales (German of the Seven Liberal Arts). In ancient times the seven were liberal arts the Canon of subjects that an educated, free man should master. In the subject of grammar, the free man (and not dependent on the exercise of a craft or a profession to secure his existence) dealt with the language and linguistic structure of Latin and read and studied the classical authors, such as Catullus and Ovid.
  • In compiler construction and computability theory, theoretical computer science uses models of formal grammars that are described and generated by so-called formal languages.

Interesting links on learning grammar

If you want to read more about grammar, you should of course look forward to the upcoming articles on this blog.
If you want to shorten the waiting time, you will find interesting, further links here:
  • The entry for the keyword “grammar” in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia can be read here.
  • You can find quotes on the subject of "grammar" here. Here you can read, for example, that Arthur Schopenhauer coined the saying that grammar is related to logic like the dress is to the body.
  • It goes without saying that it is also worth visiting the grammar portal of Sprachenlernen24. There you will find grammars of English, French, Spanish, Czech and Arabic and a detailed glossary of the basic grammar terms.
I hope you enjoy learning grammar
the editorial staff of Sprachenlernen24!