TEACHING ENGLISH GRAMMAR
WHAT IS GRAMMAR?
WHAT IS GRAMMAR?
There are two definitions of grammar according to the Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms: • The systematic study and description of a language. • A set of rules and examples dealing with the syntax and word structures of a language, usually intended as an aid to the learning of that language.
• • • • • 1. Grammar is broad. 2. Grammar has no clear boundaries. 3. The KS3 Framework for English is based on grammar 4. Grammar is technical. 5. Grammar is only a part of 'knowledge about language'. 6. Grammar provides tools for expressing meanings. 7. Every kind of English has a grammar. 9. English grammar is relevant to other languages. 10. Pupils should be taught the principles of sentence grammar and whole-text cohesion and use this knowledge in their writing.
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Grammar is broad
Grammar is not just syntax. It includes all of the following: • Syntax, i.e. sentence structure, where we distinguish subjects and objects, subordinate and main clauses, and so on. • Morphology, i.e. word structure, where we recognise roots, suffixes, inflected words, and so on. • Semantics, i.e. meaning - the things, people, events and so on that we refer to when talking.
Grammar has no clear boundaries
It is meant to include any of the following: • Vocabulary and 'word families'. • Sound patterns in words and the phonemegrapheme correspondences of phonics. • Intonation in speech and its effects on meaning.
The KS3 Framework for English is based on grammar
The KS3 Framework assumes a conceptual structure based on grammar. It follows the Primary Framework in dividing all the teaching objectives into three 'levels': • word level • sentence level • text level
Grammar is technical
• However we define grammar, it must include the linguistic structures found in sentences and inside words; so pupils must learn to identify and talk about some of these patterns. In short, they must learn about grammatical analysis and the standard terminology associated with it.
Grammar is only a part of 'knowledge about language'
• Language changes through time, varies from place to place and is learned by our students. • They should also be taught: – that language changes; – the sources and causes of linguistic change; – how meanings are affected by choice of vocabulary and structure; – to apply their knowledge of language variety.
Grammar provides tools for expressing meanings.
• English grammar consists of a vast collection of patterns - ways of using and modifying words - each of which is dedicated to achieving some meaning or effect. For example: "adjective + common noun" (e.g. tall man) the adjective modifies the meaning of the common noun even when we say (an interesting man).
Every kind of English has a grammar.
• Traditionally, grammar was associated with standard English. • In fact, every dialect has a grammar, in the sense of a set of conventions which its speakers follow, and which sometimes distinguish insiders from outsiders.
English grammar is relevant to other languages
• English grammar shows many similarities to other grammars; for example, the word classes (noun, verb, and so on) of English are very similar to the classes found in most other languages - not surprisingly, perhaps, since we inherited them from grammarians of Latin, who in turn had inherited them from Greek.
Pupils should be taught the principles of sentence grammar and whole-text cohesion and use this knowledge in their writing. Pupils should be taught: • the organising principles and structures of language; • how they contribute to meaning and effect; • how to use their knowledge of language structures in their reading and writing.
DESCRIPTIVE AND PRESCRIPTIVE GRAMMAR
• Descriptive grammar is the systematic study and description of a language. Descriptive grammar refers to the structure of a language as it is...
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