E-book Effortless English learn to speak English like a native. Chapter 13: The Fifth Rule: Learn Grammar Intuitively And Unconsciously

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E-book Effortless English learn to speak English like a native. Chapter 13: The Fifth Rule: Learn Grammar Intuitively And Unconsciously

Post by Admin on Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:09 pm

Chapter 13: The Fifth Rule: Learn Grammar Intuitively And Unconsciously »

The Fifth Rule: Learn Grammar
Intuitively And Unconsciously
I've promised that you can learn to speak English well, without studying grammar rules. I've even
told you to throw your grammar books away because you don't need them. Now I'm going to show
you what to do instead.
It's actually a very simple technique – one that I believe is the best way to learn grammar – not
only to learn English grammar, but grammar for any language. The fifth rule of Effortless English™
is: Use Point-of-View Stories. These are small, short stories in which we change the point of view. In
other words, we change the time frame and we change the grammar to create multiple versions of the
same story.
By reading and listening to these story variations, you can learn grammar intuitively without
thinking of tenses, conjugations, etc. Point-of-view stories are easy and fun. Best of all, they allow
you to absorb the grammar naturally by understanding the context of stories That is the key point.
Rather than studying abstract grammar rules, you acquire spoken grammar skill from meaningful and
memorable English.
Point-of-view stories were first developed by Blaine Ray, the creator of the TPRS learning system.
In the 1990s, Ray was a high school Spanish teacher in California who was looking for ways to
engage his students beyond the traditional drill and memorization methods used in language classes.
TPRS stands for Total Physical Response Storytelling (also described as Teaching Proficiency)
through Reading and Storytelling (see box). It was Ray's belief that students could learn to speak
Spanish more naturally by listening to certain kinds of simple stories.
I immediately recognized the power of these stories, and decided to modify them for my own
teaching system. Point-of-view stories are now a very important part of the Effortless English™
How do point-of-view stories work? In the simplest version, you start by listening to a main story
– usually told from the past point of view. In other words, the story is mostly about events that
happened in the past
Next, you listen to another version of the story, with a different point of view. So, for example, you
might hear the same story told again in the present. Then you listen to yet another version, told as if it
will happen in the future. Or even another version that talks about past events that have continued to
the present.
Each point of view story is basically the same, but the change in time creates changes in the
language used… especially the verbs. By listening repeatedly to these stories, you easily and
naturally absorb the most common and most useful English grammar tenses. Because you learn them
subconsciously and intuitively, you will actually USE them correctly when you speak – and you won't
have to think about it!
An important focus of point-of-view stories is that they should focus on the most commonly used
grammar structures. Some students become obsessed with extremely rare forms of grammar while
neglecting the forms that native speakers constantly use on a daily basis. For example, “He slept for
six hours” is far more commonly used than “He will have been sleeping for six hours.” It's far more
important to master the first form of the sentence (the simple past) as it is far more useful for
communication Thus, the point-of-view stories you use will be limited to only the most common
The great thing is, you only need to listen to these stories a few times every day. You don 't need to
analyze the grammar changes… and you certainly don't need to identify the linguistic grammar rules.
There is no need to identify which version is the “simple past,” or which is the “past perfect.” These
terms may be useful to linguists, but they are distracting to those who wish to speak quickly, easily
and automatically.
You must trust your intuition and simply listen to each version of the story without analyzing it. Try
to quiet your analytic mind. Relax and focus on the events of the story. With time, you will absorb the
grammar intuitively, and use it correctly without effort.
Dr James Asher, a psychologist at San José State University, was one of the earliest researchers
to identify the importance of physical movement in learning. Asher developed the “total physical
response” method (TPR) after discovering that students learned language more effectively if they
associated words and phrases with meaningful movement. He taught language without translation,
solely through the use of actions. For example, he would say to a class, “Sit down,” and then he
would demonstrate the action of sitting. Then he would say, “Stand up,” and he would demonstrate
standing. After repeating this series a few times, students quickly understood the meaning of the
phrases “Sit down” and “Stand up.”
In the next phase of the lesson, Asher indicated to the class to join him. So when he said “Stand
up,” the whole class stood up together with him. And when he said “Sit down,” the class
demonstrated their understanding by sitting.
In the final phase, Asher gave the commands but did not demonstrate them Rather, he watched to
be sure the class understood. This eliminated the need for translation, as the students connected the
phrases to the actions.
With time, students in Dr. Asher's class were able to learn and demonstrate very complex
commands such as, “Stand up, turn around five times, then walk backwards to the door and close
it.” Dr. Asher built core fluency entirely through the use of commands and actions. Later, Dr. Asher
and other researchers modified TPR, adding gestures to represent more abstract terms like “think”
or “hope.”
TPR was a predecessor of Blaine Ray's TPRS (Total Physical Response Storytelling). Ray
realized that if the actions and gestures were combined to create a story, students would learn even
more quickly TPRS is a method for getting students to physically and verbally interact as part of
storytelling. This technique was the starting point for much of the Effortless English™ system.
A Sample Point-Of-View Story
Let me give you a very simple example of a point-of-view story: There is a boy. His name is Bill.
Bill goes to the store. He buys a bottle of water. He pays two dollars for the water.
Ok, that's it. That's our little story right now. It's not very interesting, but you understand it easily
It's in the present tense, and all you need to do is just understand it. If this was an audio story, you
would listen to it every day for a week or more. Remember, we're striving for deep learning, so
you're going to repeat it a lot of times.
Next, I tell you the same story again, but now it's in the past: There was a boy named Bill.
Yesterday, he went to the store. He bought a bottle of water. He paid two dollars for the water.
Ok, that's all. Very simple. Of course, in my lessons my point-of-view stories are longer They're
more difficult and they are more interesting. But this is a simple example to help you understand the
So now you've read or heard Bill's story in the present and the past. Ideally, you have audio
versions and you listen to that story in the past many times. When you listen, don't think about the
grammar rules. You don't need to analyze, “Oh, this is the past tense” or “Oh, 'paid' is an irregular
verb.” No, no, no – no need to think about that. Just listen to each story version and understand the
meaning. That's all you need to do. Listen to the first story – understand the meaning Listen to the
second story – understand the meaning. That's all. It's easy, effortless grammar learning.
After that, you would listen to the future version of the story: Imagine there will be a boy. His name
will be Bill. He'll go to the store, and buy a bottle of water. He's going to pay two dollars for the
water. That's the end of our short example in the future.
Again, all you do is just listen to this little easy story. You listen to the present version You listen
to the past version. You listen to the future version. Every day for seven days or more, you listen to
each one.
We can even add more versions. We can practice any kind of grammar with this. For example, I
might say: There was boy. Since last year, he has gone to the store every day. He has bought a bottle
of water every day. He has paid two dollars for the water. You don't need to know the name of the
grammar or the verb tense that I'm using It's called the present perfect, but you don't need to know
that. I don't want you to think about that. All you need to do, again, is listen to this version of the
Of course, I'm using extra phrases to help you understand the meaning. I said, “Since last year,” so
now you understand that these verbs change because something happened in the past and it has
continued for a while, but you don't need to think about that. That's why these stories are so easy and
powerful. You just listen. You listen to story number one. You listen to story number two, and you
listen to story number three and to story number four, and you learn the grammar like a native speaker.
Like a child
When you learn grammar like this, using these kinds of stories, you are training like an athlete and
you are freeing yourself from the hidden curriculum. This is the difference between learning grammar
as abstract knowledge and acquiring the skill of using grammar in real speech. You want the skill.
You want to use correct grammar without thinking about it.
To get the most out of a point-of-view story, do your best to focus on the story and imagine it in your mind as you're listening to it.
Turn off that part of your brain that labels the tenses or thinks about grammar. Instead, think of a line going through your body. Behind
you is the past. In front of you is the future. Imagine now that the story you're hearing is inside a box or radio As you hear the past
version, try to imagine that box sitting behind you, back in the past. When you listen to a future version, picture the box in front of you, up
in the future. Imagining where you would put this box or radio on the line gives the story a visual component, which will help you to more
intuitively understand the grammar.
While it's easy to understand this idea by reading sample point-of-view stories, it is essential that
you use audio versions. Remember Rule Three: listening is the key to speaking. You not only want to
learn grammar intuitively, you also want to learn spoken grammar. That means, just like vocabulary,
you need to learn grammar with your ears.
Learning grammar with audio point-of-view stories develops your “feeling for correctness,” the
same skill used by native speakers. Each repetition and each variation develops this feeling.
Eventually, you will instantly know correct grammar because it will sound right to you No need to
think about linguistic terms. That's when you know the point-of-view stories are working.
Remember that true grammar skill must happen instantly. In a real conversation, you must produce
the correct grammar without hesitation. There is no time to think about rules. This instantaneous
grammar skill can only be developed subconsciously and point-of-view stories are one of the best
ways to do this. By using these stories, you skip the unnecessary step of thinking about abstract rules.
You produce correct English grammar intuitively, without conscious thought. In this way, you use
grammar like a native speaker. It takes time and repetition, but point-of-view stories give you the
most effective training for spoken grammar mastery The Psychological Benefits
We have discussed the benefits of point-of-view stories to your English. These are significant.
However, the psychological benefits of these stories are perhaps even more powerful.
For most learners, abstract grammar study is one of the most painful aspects of studying English.
Most people find grammar study to be boring, confusing and frustrating. Many dread the idea of trying
to memorize yet another grammar rule. Most English learners have bad memories of grammar lessons
and grammar tests.
Grammar study has a way of making intelligent people feel stupid. They study and memorize
countless conjugations. They analyze the use of English articles, prepositions, countable and
uncountable nouns Yet, when it's time to actually speak, they find themselves constantly making
mistakes. Even though they “know” the grammar, they struggle to use it. “What's wrong with me?”
they ask themselves. “I know this.”
They are not stupid. They have simply confused knowledge with skill. Leave grammar knowledge
to the professional linguists. Your job is to acquire grammar skill intuitively, and point-of-view
stories are the best way to do that.
Practice Exercise
Here's a fun way to create your own point-of-view stories. Find a simple story about something that
interests you The story might contain a few words or phrases that you don't understand and have to
look up in a dictionary. However, it should be easy. Five new words is the maximum that should
appear in the story.
Now, show this story to your English teacher, or an English-speaking friend. Ask them to rewrite
the story from different points of view. They will write different versions for at least the past, the
present and the future. After they write each version, ask them to read each one and record it. Then,
for the next week or two, listen to all versions of the story every day.
Once you have mastered those stories, repeat the process again with a completely new story.
Simply by listening each day, you will develop your spoken grammar ability Just like an athlete,
you'll train yourself in the skill of using correct grammar automatically.


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