Too Much Emphasis On Grammar In Icelandic Classes

19.11.2012
Words by Paul Fontaine
An Icelandic poet and textbook writer contends that Icelandic classes put too much emphasis on grammar, and that there is no reason why learning Icelandic needs to be boring.

Many new arrivals to Iceland have probably experienced, depending on their background, the difficulty in learning Icelandic. The language's grammar rules are pointed out as being particularly challenging for many learning the language.

Recently, the Icelandic Grammar Society held a public forum under the title "Grammar Is Fun!". Vísir reports that one Icelander, at least, has offered a new perspective on how Icelandic should be taught.

Davíð Stefánsson, a poet and textbook author, contends that Icelandic lessons place entirely too much emphasis on grammar, and that more flexibility is needed in how it is taught.

"I'm not saying that grammar is bad," he said. "What I'm saying, as was brought up [at this forum], is that to know grammar rules inside and out does not make me any better at using the language. What makes me better at using the language is talking and writing more."

Davíð contends that language is the only thing we have to have an influence on society. He encourages the idea that games and research be used together in classes, rather than to focus exclusively on grammar rules.

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