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Grammar Translation Method Overview Essay

According to Fromkin (2011), grammar translation is a technique or method of second-language learning in which the student memorizes words and syntactic rules and translates them between the native language and target language. In other words, grammar translation method is a foreign language teaching that requires students to translate words and memorize. The goal is to make sure that the student able to read and translate the target language.

Grammar translation method is a traditional method and was originally used to teach ‘dead’ languages (and literatures) such as Latin and Greek, involving little or no spoken communication or listening comprehension. The original purpose by using this method is to help students read and appreciate foreign language literature so that student can become more familiar with the grammar of their native language. This familiarity will help them speak and write their native language better. It was thought that foreign language learning would help students grow intellectually.

Language learning is an upright intellectual workout for students. Knowledge of the target language and mother tongue would endow students mentally and it was predictable that students would probably never use the target language but the mental exercise of learning it would be useful anyhow. Many methodologies to second or foreign language teaching have been developed over the years. There are two broad categories that fall from second-language teaching method: the synthetic approach and analytic approach.

Synthetic method emphases on the teaching of grammatical, lexical, phonological and functional units of the language step by step. This is a bottom-up method, a method that begins with the small units like phones and proceeds stepwise to increasingly larger units and often ending in a semantic interpretation. On the contrary, analytic approaches are more top-down. Top-down is a method that begins with the assumption that a large syntactic unit such as a sentence is present and the analyses it into successfully smaller constituents which are compared with the sensory or acoustic data to validate the analysis.

With the aim of clarifying, grammar transmission method or GTM can be traced by its certain features. GTM characteristics and principals are: * Translation of a literary passage * The ability of communicating in the target language is not a goal * Memorization * The primary skills to be improved are reading and writing * Its focus is on accuracy, not fluency * The authority in the classroom is the teacher Therefore, by following all this features; classes should be taught in the mother tongue or student’s native language, with little active use of the target language or second language.

Much vocabulary is taught in the form of lists of isolated words, along with long elaborate explanations of the intricacies of grammar. Grammar provides the rule for putting words together, and instruction often focuses on the form and inflection of words. The reading activity of reading difficult classical texts is begun early and little attention is paid to the content of texts, which are treated as exercise in grammatical analysis.

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