People often argue that speaking is the most important for learning languages, blaming traditional education for it has an excessive tendency to grammar that is not useful for “practical” usage of languages. I partly agree with them, that is, not completely.
I’d like to discuss the issue from another point of view. At the first place, since we are old enough, we must decide the way to learn by ourselves. Thus, whatever people say, the goal of learning must come from our need, not from others’.
I’m wondering if they say the same when they started learning Latin. We can speak in Latin, however, it rarely gives us an opportunity to talk with others in it. Which results in that learning Latin is useless? No way. It depends on what you want to achieve.
For instance, learning English only to read classic English literature can make sense. I’m convinced that THEY don’t make sense if they insist only speaking matters. Aims of learning can be various. Cultivating ourselves is an issue based on our every context.
Well, we’ll see the other point. When people something is “useful” or “practical”, what do they implicate with the words? I guess they don’t understand others’ sense of usefulness or practicalness in reading old books without speaking. In an opposite manner, such others may argue that they don’t care “usefulness” or “practicalness”.
Both of the sides discourage me. Their thought on “usefulness” or “practicalness” is too narrow-minded for me to imbibe. I think their purposes all can be useful or practical in their own context. We must widen the concepts as far as possible. One-sided thinking is useless and non-practical, I’m convinced.