Below, I'm quoting a small section of my Korean grammar book. (Fair usage copyright quotation of the book: BASIC KOREAN: A GRAMMAR AND WORKBOOK by Andrew Sangpil Byon)
BASIC KOREAN wrote:Meanwhile, Korean has a group of special nouns that always appear before other nouns to modify or describe the following nouns, such as 무슨 음식 "what kind of food," 이 책 "this book," 그 사람 "that man," and 어느 식당 "which restaurant." These nouns are called "prenouns" (like English words, such as "that," "this," and 'which").
Some nouns are used only after the aforementioned prenouns. These special nouns (also sometimes called "bound nouns") cannot be used by themselves but used always with the prenouns. Examples of these nouns are 이 곳 "this place," 그 분 "that person," 저 것 "that thing," and so on. Prenouns as well as bound nouns are discussed in detail in Unit 22.
Now chances are you aren't learning Korean, but if you read these two paragraphs and internalise them you now know something about the Korean language, which if you were to then start to read a book, you might recognise the fact that 이곳 is "that thing". You'll also know that bound nouns can only be used with prenouns. You aren't learning the language, you're learning about the language. You're learning the rules which are typically used by native speakers, and you are getting this information in your own native language. This is where being an adult trumps learning as a child. You can utilise the language you already learned to kickstart the learning of another language.
Here is another way to use your native language to kickstart the learning of another language that is less explanatory:
(These sentences are not necessarily the most natural, but I wanted to just include examples of 이곳 even though it is more common to use 여기.)
For the person so inclined, various grammatical features may be self evident from a comparison of these examples without the explanation, but with the aid of the translations. Maybe some things will stand out to you, maybe others you'll head for the explanation. That line may differ from person to person.
I don't know of any language school that has a pre-course on how to improve one's pattern recognition skills, or of any research in this area, but I think that the ability to recognise patterns is probably a skill that could be trained if educators set their minds to it. Studies would need to be done to find whether such a pre-course would result in better language learning outcomes.
But as self learners / hobbyists, which this forum largely consists of, we are not necessarily bound by what research says about effective classroom teaching methods. And indeed the research about what is effective for self learners is far less developed than the research about what is effective in the classroom. We don't have the definitive answers, and we don't have the bulk of the research focused on us. However, what we do have is a large evolutionary experiment being run unplanned by a world-wide language learning community where, out of people's own enthusiasm and curiosity, we dare to try out different learning approaches on ourselves and see which ones work for us, and maybe work for others. And by sharing these ideas, we are learning something as a community about what approaches may work better or worse for different types of learners.
Back to this idea of picking up the grammar through translation, I am reminded of a Korean textbook I heard about from a Canadian vlogger living in Korea going by the name expatkerri. What was unique about it was that much of the text in the book was written in English, but using Korean word order. This reportedly helped her to get a feel for Korean word order before actually mastering the Korean vocabulary. So for example, there was one dialogue that went something like this:Person A: Taste have, huh?
Person B: Yes! Very taste have. But Kimchi why not eat?
Person A: Kimchi taste not have. Too spicy. Too spicy, huh?
Person B: No, that spicy not. I this Kimchi really like. But a little salty.
Person A: Ahyew! Too full.