Byte Sized Baseball, grammar or vocabulary?

In a discussion with a US friend about sport recently, it got me thinking about how baseball is similar to learning English, I guess I’m just wired like that…

You see, prepositions are a puzzle in any foreign language, seemingly with no rhyme or reason. I can soooo identify with this! Ask my husband or son about the mistakes I (used to) make in German and you’ll see eyes roll in dispair, accompanied by a not so very inspiring groan when I stumble across a new preposition misfit. They’re a pain!

Now I’m certainly not one of those grammar crazed trainers that gives you the evil eye with each mistake, after all, learning a foreign language, is in the first instance all about making yourself understood, right? For me learning a language is a bit like baseball.

You see, the bottom line is, that no matter how well you can run, there’s absolutely no point in running until you hit that ball, is there? Well, the same is true of learning a language, if you are focusing so much on the grammar that you can’t get a word out, you’re frozen to the spot, with the ball hurtling towards you at a hellish speed. Quite frankly, that is enough to make most people squirm.

So if vocabulary is connecting with that ball, and grammar is running from base to base, then the focus for language learning is vocabulary first, grammar second. Talk honey, talk!

Having said that, whilst getting to first base is better than missing the ball, it’s getting to fourth base with one mighty hit that is going to give spectators that all important wake up call. All eyes will be on you.

Now I am not saying that impressive English will get you a standing ovation like on the sports field, but in a professional setting, finding the right words will make you easier to listen to. Being able to package your message well with the right grammar will certainly help you sound more eloquent, professional, competent and knowledgeable. If your boss, clients or team can focus on what you say, rather than being distracted by the way that you say it, people will listen more and take in what you are saying without doubting your competence.

Communication, not necessarily your input, is what will make you the
“Go to Girl!”
It’s not what you say, but the way that you say it, whether it be in your mother tongue or mine.

So if grammar gives your vocabulary “communication stretch” the prepositions of place will be first base, prepositions of time will be second and dependent prepositions should take you all the way back to the home plate, as long as keep an eye on the ball (vocabulary). So if you want to go for precision, but you haven’t heard of dependent prepositions, you are not alone!

School English rarely ventures there, so get your baseball cap on and join me next week….

#baseball #grammar #vocabulary #english

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