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Is it better to learn grammar using English or using the target language? I’ve been wondering about this for a while now. When I started learning Danish from the ‘Teach Yourself’ series, all of the grammar explanations and terms were in English.

But the more I learn about Danish, the more that I understand that English grammatical terms don’t really fit the language that well.

It’s also really good to learn Danish language terminology because it means that you can actually talk to a native speaker and get a genuine natural conversation going on. The video below is a fantastic example of Lauren Cutlip talking to her Russian tutor about past and future tense:

Not only is the conversation completely in the target language, but it’s being used to describe real life events which are true to that person.

When I was learning Thai, I actually didn’t look at the grammatical concepts at all. My understanding of Thai grammar is simply “when I’m talking about specific events I use these specific words and patterns”. It was always understood in context, like when I am describing about what my life was like when I lived in Thailand, or when I’d next like to go and visit that country again. But then again there are no verb conjugations in Thai; you can just sort of slap words together and hope for the best.

While studying Danish I’ve come across several explanations of grammar in both English and Danish. The English explanations have been very clear and easy to understand, but the Danish explanations give me the ability to talk to a native Dane about how to say something and keep everything in the target language.

What are your thoughts on grammar? What do you think is a good way to approach this kind of stuff?