There is a favorite language-related quote of mine that I first read in German:
Man learnt Grammatik aus der Sprache und nicht Sprache aus der Grammatik
This translates as “one learns grammar from the language and not the language from the grammar”. This phrase encapsulates how I recommend learning grammar and why I found the traditional methods of teaching extremely ineffective. Memorizing charts with scores of rules will be of little help when it comes to spontaneously communicating with native speakers in real life. Being curious about the patterns in the language as you come across them will allow you gain a better understanding of how the grammar functions in the language and you will incorporate it into the way you use it far quicker than starting out by reading a grammar book. As renowned polyglot Luca Lampariello pithily surmises, learning grammar is about internalizing the code of the particular language.
Tim Ferriss of the ‘Four-Hour Workweek’ fame has a nifty shortcut for figuring out important grammar structures when you start with new language. Here they are transcribed below with the Romanian equivalents beside them. But studying the patterns and then asking myself and native speakers questions about why Romanian structures the sentences as below, I found this useful for understanding basic Romanian grammar.
The apple is red. – Mărul este roșu.
It is John’s apple. – Este mărul lui Ioan.
I give John the apple. – Îi dau mărul lui Ioan.
We give him the apple. – Îi dăm lui mărul.
He gives it to John. – El i-l dă lui Ioan.
She gives it to him. – Ea i-l dă.
I must give it to him. – Trebuie să i-l dau.
I want to give it to her. – Vreau să i-l dau ei.
I gave the apple to her. – I-am dat ei mărul.
You will give the apple to him. – Îi vom da lui mărul.
If you missed anything here are the three previous chapters on my method:
Chapter 1 Overview
Chapter 2 Accent
Chapter 3 Vocabulary
In these pages, I will briefly outline the fundamentals of my language learning routine. A more indepth description of these principles and their application to language learning will be published in a forthcoming eBook. So please subscribe to my mailing list (below) if you are interested in being notified of when this will be published and other important developments at Language Tsar before they are announced on my website or YouTube channel.