Languages such as English and Spanish can essentially be divided into two components: vocabulary - the words of the language, which include meanings, parts of speech, accepted spellings, pronunciations and usage norms - and grammar - the rules by which those words can be used.These components, however, receive a drastically unequal amount of attention.In fact, vocabulary warrants about 90 percent of language-learners' attention, for the following reasons:
First, grammar, which affects production (for example, verbs have to be conjugated and must agree with their subjects), has little impact on meaning when the right vocabulary has been used.If an English learner says, "Two boy speak yesterday," the phrase may sound unnatural, but it's understood as a poorly formed version of "Two boys spoke yesterday."
Second, language learners read or listen to the target language much more than they write or speak in it, so their grammar knowledge is tested very infrequently.Even when writing or speaking, their vocabulary is tested to a much greater extent than their grammar, since grammar only comes into play once they use the right words.As a result, if they don't know which words to use to express an idea, their knowledge of grammar is useless.
Thus, grammar should unquestionably be subordinated to vocabulary.But that doesn't mean that grammar is not important.On the contrary, speaking and writing like a native speaker is the ultimate goal of a language learner, so knowing the rules of the target language has definite value.However, many of these rules are intuitively understood when using quality first-language translation.
Language learners are only true beginners for a very short period of time.For the remaining years of their second-language quests, they fall into the vast grey area of "intermediate" ability; they aren't complete beginners, but they also aren't proficient.
These "intermediate" learners, who make up the vast majority of learners in the world, have a basic understanding of the grammar rules of the second language.They may even have possibly studied grammar in great depth.For them though, the real challenge of grammar is not familiarity with rules, but proper application of rules in specific contexts.
Learners of English and other languages could hire qualified human tutors to give them feedback on their writing and speaking, but it would be very expensive.Meanwhile, Nulu can give them most of what they need at a very modest price.Vocabulary takes precedence over grammar, but Nulu's high-quality translation teaches grammar implicitly.With continual development of vocabulary, Nulu learners can stay in the language game long enough for grammar to also be effectively integrated into their linguistic understanding.