The Grammar-Translation Approach
Peter Chase
  • Definition: an approach which strives to teach language through reading and translation as well as to promote writing and speaking skills
  • up until the 1500s, European languages were learned  by communicating with others
  • the poor learned by living in border areas
    the rich sent children away to foreign countries
  • Roger Ascham’s The Scholemaster (mid-1500s) was perhaps the first book with formal grammar rules for Latin
  • many thought learning another language = being able to translate from one language to another
  • committing words to memory
    translating sentences
    drilling irregular verbs
    learning all grammar exceptions
    “codify the foreign language into frozen rules”
     “oral work was reduced to a minimum”
  •  Krashen: “It is certainly not the case that such methods produced then, or for that matter have ever produced, communication skills.”
  • Model Composition: “Copy the following dialog. Underline the verbs as they are underlined in the dialog. Pay attention to the form of the verb used.”

Mr. Sanders: My name is Stuart Sanders. I have come in reply to the advertisement…

Verb Agreement: “Select the correct word in the parentheses.”

 The efforts of a man who (was, were) born in Paris, France in 1803 (was, were) …

Fill-ins: “Complete the following sentences with the correct prepositions.”

1. The car is _______ the door.
2. The book is _______ the desk.

Memorize and reproduce: “Read the passage on the previous page and then fill in the blanks.”
Less th_n twenty _ _ _ _ _   _ _ _, a _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ “new _ _ _” _ _ med_cine—or
so _ _ was sup_o_ed to _ _…


Dixson, R. (1971). Graded Exercises in English. Regents Publishing Company, Inc.

Fuller, H. and F. Wasell. (1961). Advanced English Exercises. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.

Krashen, S. (1983). The Natural Approach. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Alemany Press.

Newmark, L., J. Mintz, & J. Lawson. (1964). Using American English. New York: Harper & Row Publishers.