The grammar–translation method originated in the 1500s when Latin was extensively studied as a foreign language due to its importance in various fields like academia, business, etc.
but the use of Latin gradually declined during the century, and it was substituted by English, and other European languages.
Eventually, people studied Latin as a subject rather than a language for communication.
Modern languages also appeared in school curricula in the 19th century and language teachers used the same grammar-translation method to teach the languages.
In the 19th century, grammartranslation textbooks had target language grammar. It had separate and disconnected grammar rules for learners to memorize, a bilingual vocabulary list, and sentences were provided to learn and translate.
Principles of Grammar-Translation Method
The following are the principles of grammar-translation method:
- Emphasis is on reading and writing consequently;
- L1 is used while teaching;
- Learners learn grammar rules deductively;
- Rote learning is encouraged;
- Grammar drills and translation from L1 to L2 are common;
- “Form” is more important than “content”;
- Evaluation is based on translation of texts; and
- The textbook is the only teaching-learning material.
Merits of Grammar-Translation Method :-
- Both the teacher and the learner use L1 while teaching and learning respectively
- Translation of new words provides clear understanding to the learner (Grammar–Translation Method)
- The teacher need not strive for accuracy;
- The philosophical principle, known to unknown is followed. Hence, the learners easily comprehend teaching points;
- The teacher is relaxed while teaching, as the efforts she has to put in is minimal, and The teacher can evaluate the learner’s comprehension easily
Demerits of Grammar-Translation Method :-
- It does not improve the oral fluency in English;
- It is tedious and uninteresting as the learners have to memorize words and rules;
- It does not build confidence in the learners (Grammar–Translation Method)
- There is no restriction in using L1 in class;(Grammar–Translation Method)
- Language items learnt are away from real life situations;
- The learner is unable to use English in day to day communication
- This method focuses only on reading and writing. Speaking is ignored.