The grammar-translation method is one of the most traditional methods. It
was originally used to teach 'dead' languages (and literatures) such as
Latin and Greek, involving little or no spoken communication or listening
Characteristic of this method is focus on learning the rules of grammar and
their application in translation passages from one language into the other.
Vocabulary in the target language is learned through direct translation from the
native language, It is taught in the form of isolated word lists. e.g. with
vocabulary tests such as: the house = la casa the mouse = el ratón
In grammar-translation classes, students learn grammatical rules and then apply those
rules by translating sentences between the source language and their native language.
Advanced students may be required to translate whole texts word for word.
• to develop students’ reading ability to a
level where they can read literature in the
• to develop students’ general mental discipline. The
users of foreign language wanted simply to note
things of their interest in the literature of foreign
languages. Therefore, this method focuses on
reading and writing and has developed techniques
which facilitate more or less the learning of
reading and writing only. As a result, speaking and
listening are overlooked.
Grammar-translation classes are usually conducted in the students’ native
language. Grammar rules are learned deductively; students learn grammar
rules by rote, and then practice the rules by doing grammar drills and
translating sentences to and from the target language.
Grammar-translation classes are usually conducted in the
students’ native language Grammar rules are learned
deductively; students learn grammar rules by rote, and then
practice the rules by doing grammar drills and translating
sentences to and from the target language.
More attention is paid to the form of the sentences being
translated than to their content. When students reach more
advanced levels of achievement, they may translate entire texts
from the target language. Tests often consist of the translation
of classical texts.
There is not usually any listening or speaking practice, and very
little attention is placed on pronunciation or any communicative
aspects of the language. The skill exercised is reading, and then
only in the context of translation.
to codify the grammar of the target language into discrete rules for
students to learn and memorize. A chapter in a typical grammar-translation
textbook would begin with a bilingual vocabulary list, after which there
would be grammar rules for students to study and sentences for them to
• Even if learning a language by Grammar-Translation
method trained mind in logical thought, there is little
evidence to suggest that this faculty is transferable
to other walks of life beyond the language classroom.
• This method gives pupils the wrong idea of what
language is and of the relationship between
• Deplorable to assume that language is only acquired
through translation skills, and this at the expense of oral
skills (imagine disaster in, comprehensive schools with
mixed ability classes)
• Low translation standard - caused by
grammaticaltechniques which force learner to deduce FL
sentences 'by selecting from a multiplicity of rules and
exceptions and individualised words.
• In GB translation used to constitute the greater part of 'O'
and 'A' level exam ( oral getting 20% and 12% respectively
). Was this really useful / - only served small minority of
• IQ of average grammar school child not high enough
to cope with this method
• Worst effect of this method is on pupil's motivation.
Because (s)he cannot succeed - leads to
frustration, boredom and indiscipline.
Translation of a Literary Passage
Students translate a reading
passage from the target language
into their native language.
Reading Comprehension Questions
Students answer questions in the
target language based on their
understanding of the reading
Students are given one set of
words and are asked to find
antonyms in the reading
Students are given a series of
sentences with words missing.
Deductive Application of Rule
Grammar rules are presented with
examples. Once students
understand a rule, they are asked
to apply it to some different