Some of you may have heard of Emergent Grammar, especially if you’re at all familiar with Universal Grammar, since the two are rather at odds. Luckily this has little to do with either. At least as far as the scope of this post is concerned.
Emerging grammar is what I’m using to refer to the effect that reading comprehensible input and having meaningful interactions has on a language learner’s grammaticality.
If you’re reading, watching, experiencing interesting material that’s comprehensible then you’re learning grammar. Or in this case emerging grammar. I know that’s a strange way to talk. But you are.
Grammar in a sense is latent at least for humans, concerning human languages. Supposing of course, that you go along with the Universal Grammar theory and are willing to consider it as being a latent human genetic factor.
The point being that we’re wired for language, in the human way, I wouldn’t want to be so species-ist (basically a racist, but in regard to species,) as to claim that human’s are the only one’s with a capacity for language. Also, I might add, (and someone/everyone feel free to debate this,) that judging a species’ intelligence by whether or not it has a language is judging intelligence by human definitions. But I could digress for pages and pages of blog on this.
Back on the imaginary track that is attention span, being wired for grammar, we can exploit this, by interacting and experiencing a new language in comprehensible doses.
So far, my main problem with this, has been, that the material doesn’t exist or isn’t easy to find. And so part of my massive super secret language learning method project has to do with creating a way for this to happen.
But in the mean time, read, and speak and watch things at or around your level. Keep it simple and push simple when simple is boring. Grammar will emerge, and then you can read all the grammar textbooks you want and say, “Ooh, now that makes sense,” or some generic such thing as that.