1.1 LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION
What is Grammar, Interesting question, Right? Every day of our lives we send spoken or written messages to other people, and every day we receive spoken or written messages from other people. These two activities occupy a lot of our time at home, in our social life outside the family, and at work.
Simply because we are human beings who live and work with other human beings, communication (message sending and receiving plays an inescapable and all-important part in our lives.
It is possible to communicate without using words. We can shake our head instead of saying, ‘No’. We can smile instead of saying, I am pleased’. We can frown instead of saying, “I don’t like that‘. Yet, though we all make use of non-verbal signs, the fact remains that messages without words are strictly limited in their scope, totally inadequate to serve any but the simplest purposes. We could not get through a day’s living with any satisfaction or success if we were able to communicate only by means of nods, smiles, frowns, gestures and grunts.
If we could not send and receive spoken and written messages we should be cut off from our fellow human beings. Communication above the most primitive level depends upon the use of language.
1.2 MAKING SENSE
In the course of a single day we need to exchange messages of many different kinds with many different people. To do that successfully, we have to know a lot of words and we have to be able to choose the right words to suit each separate message: efficient communication requires a large vocabulary.
However, using language is not just a matter of knowing words and knowing which words to use. Our ability to make ourselves understood in any language, whet it is our native language or a foreign language depends on two things:
- First, we have to know the words that will express whatever it is we are trying to express
- Second, we have to know how words behave in the particular language we are trying to use.
Knowing the words is vital, of but the words is not much message use on its own. For example, we may know the French words for a that we are trying to send in French, but no French person will be able to understand us if the words of our message do not behave in the ways that the French language requires.
That is true of every language. If we are speaking or writing German, we must make our words behave in the ways of the German language. Russian words must behave in Russian ways, English words in English ways, and so on.
Every language has its own special ways of making words behave. If the words of any message, spoken or written, do not behave in the ways required by that language, the message cannot make sense.
1.3 GRAMMAR AND SENSE
As we have just seen, every language has its own particular ways of making words behave.
- The particular kinds of word behaviour that particular language demands are what we call the grammar of that language.
So When we say that English grammar is different from French grammar English language is of saying that the behaviour of words in the language different from the behaviour of words in the French language.
English speakers learning French must learn recognise and copy the word behaviour of to and learn how to the French language. That is to say, they must learn, language. use, French grammar. French speakers learning English grammar That and copy the word behaviour of the English is to say, they must learn, and learn how to use, English grammar.
Because the of the two languages are different, it is no use trying to make English behave like French, or French behave like English. Neither language can work with any grammar but its own, and we cannot make ourselves understood in either language if we use the wrong grammar.
Whether we are speaking or writing in a foreign language or in our own language. Correct grammar is not the icing on the language cake. It is part of the cake itself. It is an essential ingredient of efficient communication.
When grammar breaks down, sense breaks down.