prospects of teaching grammatical concord to senior secondary school via grammar translation
Background to the Study
Ability to communicate effectively in English is certainly a matter of concern is very important for correct English usage. It focuses on subject and its verb. According to Marinne (2003), concord is the between words in gender, number, case or person. For Example.
Gender – the queen has lost her crown.
Number-The shoes are too small.
Person- I am thankful.
If subject and verb do not agree, the sentence is ungrammatical. There are certain rules guiding concord.
- A verb must agree with its subject in number/person, that is a singular verb should follow a singular subject; a plural verb should follow a plural subject. Eg
- The book is on the table
- The books are on the table.
- Indefinite response such as everyone, everybody, nobody, somebody, takes singular verb eg everyone is to blame.
Someone has taken it.
- When two or more subjects are joined by and refers to the same person or thing, the verb is singular. However, compound subjects referring to two different people or things takes plural verbs. Examples
- His brother and sponsor was to help him.
- A dog and a cat are seldom friends.
- When two subjects (a compound subject) refers to the same thing or is thought of as a single ideas or a unit, a singular verb is used. Examples.
- The United Nations has its headquarters in New York.
- Economics is an interesting subject.
- Now (subjects) that are always regarded as plural takes plural verbs. Examples: the cattle look healthy.
The above rules and more are by no means exhaustive but serve to provide rudimentary information on the subject (Faith, 2009).
The grammar-translation method is one of the traditional methods used in teaching foreign languages. It dates back to the nineteenth and the early twentieth century’s. This method embraces a wide range of approaches, the goal of which may be read to be literate in its original form or simply to be a form of intellectual development. This method requires students translate while text words to word and memorize numerous grammatical rules and expectation as well as numerous vocabulary lest. This method maintains the first language of the learner as the reference particularly in the process of learning the second language. The main principles on which the grammar translation method is based are the following:
- Translation interprets the words and phrases of foreign languages in the best possible way/manner.
- The structure of the foreign languages is best known/learned when compared and contrast with those of the first language.
In this method, while teaching the grammatical concord the teacher translates every word from English to the learners. First language. Further, students are required to translate sentence from their first language to the target language. These exercises in translation are based on various items covering the grammar of the target language. A contrastive study of the target language with the first language gives a insight into the structure not only of the foreign language but also the first language.
The grammar translation method leaves some impacts/effects on the students.
- Translation is a real life, natural activity and increasingly necessary in a global environment. Many students living in either their own countries or a new one needs to translate language on daily basis, both formally and informal.
- Translation supports writing process, especially at secondary school levels. Research has shown that students seem able to access more information in their own L1, which they can translate.
- Discussion of differences and similarities during translation process helps students understood the interaction of the two languages and the problem caused by L1.
- Translation in groups can encourage learners to discuss the meaning and the use of languages at the deepest possible levels as they work through the process of understanding and then looking for equivalent in another language.