How many people reading this article have tried to learn a foreign language and have just given up or only half succeeded. The answer lies in the Latin Legacy, Latin was the first language widely taught in Anglo Saxon schools and all teaching methods since have just stemmed from it. Why was Latin chosen as opposed to other languages such as French or German after all Latin is a dead language and by definition you could never have a chance to practice it.
The interest was purely academic, in Latin we could find some kind of cosmos in the chaos of English grammar. We could find many words that were adopted into the English language and it gave us a chance to study another culture which many believed held the key to some modern day problems. This is the background to modern day language teaching, in the first Latin lesson we learnt how to conjugate a verb and we met our first esoteric expressions such as: ablative, nominative, dative.
Today fifty years on in your French or Spanish lessons you are confronted with the same grammar approach and lesson structure with scant regard for pronunciation. The new terms such as: gerundive, preterit perfeto, will help you understand your own language and its grammar but it will not help you close a deal in Paris or book a hotel in Madrid. If you want to learn a language you have to learn it as you learnt English. If you cannot remember how I will remind you, you listened to your siblings or parents and you copied them perhaps one word at a time at first.
Then someone probably your mother corrected you until you pronounced the word properly, then you copied other kids who would criticize or ostracize you until you spoke like them. To the peer pressure you add the demands of school, you will remember how you learnt poems or songs long before writing them or analyzing the grammatical structure. The first seven years of your life were devoted to pronunciation and you were fairly oblivious to grammar until the age of eleven. So why do educational institutions insist on sticking to a educational method that was developed to a study of a dead language for students who never lost site of their parish steeple. Today with modern transport a persons job or family holidays can take him to many different countries in one year.
Source by Peter Mattey