Are grammar and vocabulary learned differently?

If we focus on a learner centred approach, then perhaps we are looking at acquisition. As Scott Thornbury wrote “The learner should not be seen as the object of the verb “to teach”, but the subject of the verb “to learn”.
I have also researched this field and particularly read Bill Van Patten and David Crystal. A summary of what I gleaned is as follows.
Vocabulary is not just about meaning. In Spanish “pan” means “bread”, this is a meaning. However, the words “pan” or “bread” also have syntactic properties. The word “bread” is a noun, it is also countable. That is why we say “some bread” not “a bread”.
So, when we acquire language, not only do we learn the meaning, we also acquire the syntactic properties of the vocabulary. We learn the underlying concept of where and how a word can be used in a sentence. This is not too different from what is traditionally called “grammar”. Chomsky´s famous example of “colourless, green ideas sleep furiously”. Obviously, this phrase has no real meaning, however it is grammatically correct.
Crystal, as quoted from “Grammar should be renamed “understanding language”, in the Guardian, argues that grammar needs context, much like vocabulary. “You need to put the notion (of grammar) in the background. It´s about meaning and clarity”.
Another salient point is where does vocabulary end and grammar begin?
When teaching common collocations, such as dependent prepositions, do you consider them grammar or vocabulary?
Vocabulary and grammar are acquired in much the same way. Mental representation of language is both word meaning and properties. Input and interaction are key for language acquisition.
What are your thoughts on this?
21 de Agosto de 2019
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Andrew Macdonald

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Do you need to improve your English for education, linguistics or senior management? Hi, I’m Andrew, I have a Master Degree in Applied Linguistics and Language Teaching. I have worked as a teacher, coach and senior manager for over 20 years now. Although I am experienced in teaching online, I am new to this platform, I would like to offer some low priced lessons. I can help you get ahead in your career. Why not reserve your trial lesson? I am a very well experienced ESL teacher. Having owned a language school in Spain and taught English for one of the world´s top universities. I have completed a Master degree in Applied Linguistics and language teaching. My teaching style is dependant on the needs of my learners. My approach to learning languages is to get as much exposure to the language as possible. Generally I prefer to teach intermediate to advanced learners. I always give a report and feedback after class.
Flag
Inglês
globe
Reino Unido
time
10
Fala:
Espanhol
C2
,
Francês
B1
Do you need to improve your English for education, linguistics or senior management? Hi, I’m Andrew, I have a Master Degree in Applied Linguistics and Language Teaching. I have worked as a teacher, coach and senior manager for over 20 years now. Although I am experienced in teaching online, I am new to this platform, I would like to offer some low priced lessons. I can help you get ahead in your career. Why not reserve your trial lesson? I am a very well experienced ESL teacher. Having owned a language school in Spain and taught English for one of the world´s top universities. I have completed a Master degree in Applied Linguistics and language teaching. My teaching style is dependant on the needs of my learners. My approach to learning languages is to get as much exposure to the language as possible. Generally I prefer to teach intermediate to advanced learners. I always give a report and feedback after class.
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