I would like to know how this actually works. I know some people swear off grammar, saying that they prefer to focus solely on input. But how does this work in practice?
Let’s say you sit down with an article in Russian that you want to read. You look at the first sentence, and only know a few of the words. Do you look up the words you don’t know? If you do look them up, assuming that you’re totally ignoring grammar, how do you deal with the fact that quite a few of the words actually won’t be in your dictionary – at least, not in the form you see them in the sentence? And, assuming you figure out what the base forms of the words are and find their translations, what do you do regarding the word endings? Do you just outright ignore them? Declensions are, after all, a part of grammar.
What about aspect in Russian? You look up the verb of the sentence, and see in the dictionary entry that it’s “perfective.” But that’s a part of grammar, too – so do you ignore it? Do you just run with the base meaning and ignore the fact that if it’s perfective, the meaning of the whole sentence has changed?
At the end of all of this, you’ll have the meanings of various words but possibly be unsure as to why they have different endings than those listed in your dictionary. If it’s a relatively simple sentence, you might be able to get a fuzzy idea as to what it means; if it’s not so simple, you may very well be at a total loss. And then, I assume, you move on to the next sentence and do it again?
Perhaps I just can’t fathom learning like this because I like to have answers to questions I have – and if those answers are readily at hand, I’m all for grabbing them sooner rather than later. That’s not to say I read one word of a sentence and then delve into a massive grammar book. But I don’t much see the point in scratching my head at different word endings for weeks or months on end when I can at least familiarize myself with the basics in an afternoon or two with some grammar explanations.
Am I missing something about the methodology of “input only, no grammar”? If so, could someone explain, please?