In this lecture I will introduce you to the basic concepts in pedagogical grammar and the main tenets of cognitive grammar. In this course we will take a cognitive approach to grammar as we believe that this view of grammar is more helpful for pedagogical purposes than the traditional descriptive framework of grammar.
In slide 3 you can see the visual representation of grammar, learning and teaching which will serve also as model for how our course is constructed. Obviously, in order to be able to teach grammar, we as teachers need to be familiar with dimensions of grammar and how grammar can be described and understood. These dimensions of grammar will influence the scope of grammar teaching, that is the content of what will be taught and assessed and the methods with which grammar will be taught and tested. Different dimensions of grammar, however, also present different challenges and difficulties for learners. Certain aspects of grammar are inherently difficult whereas some others are only challenging for particular groups of learners. The challenges students face in learning grammar will inherently influence what and how we teach both at the level of planning and curricullum design as a response to learners ‘s difficulties.
What is PG then? It is the study of In this course we will also touch upon issues of assessment and testing as these are inherent components of teaching.
Now let is see what the dimensions of grammar teaching are.
Grammar comprises three important and inseparable components: form, meaning and use. It is very important to see that every grammatical construction is more than just a conglomerate of different grammatical elements, it expresses a particular meaning and is used in a particular context.
To llustrate, let us take the example of ….
Grammar is not a set of rules created by people completely arbitrary, but it is the product of human cognition.
As opposed to lexical items which express rather specific human experiences, grammar is used to express generalized experiences such as future, present and past, plurality etc.
For example to, which superficially might seem as an empty and meaningless word expresses that.
There are three key cognitive processes that help us express our experiences by means of grammar. The first one of these is categorization A category is the conceptualisationof a collection of similar experiences that are meaningful and relevant to us, i.e.categories are formed for things that “matter” in a community. To illustrate, for example when children acquire their first language for a period they often categorize every furry four-legged animal as a dog (or sometimes cat) and takes them a while to learn that a fox and a wolf is a different category. Similarly when children learn their first language they first categorize every event as happening in present and only later do they establish the categories of past and future. You can read more about categorization in Radden and Dirven’s chapter. Another important cognitive process in relating experiences to language is the extension of categories. Categories can be extended within their existing domains, which is called metonymy and across domains which is called metaphor. Let me illustrate both of these. For example in the sentence I phoned the university, the original meaning of the word university is extended from the conglomerate of different buildings and institutions to the people who work at the university. This an example of metonymy as the original meaning still remained within the same domain. Let us now take a metaphor such as throw somebody in at the deep end. The literal meaning of this of this idiom would suggest that we threw someone into a swimming pool at the deep end and we will see whether the person will be able to swim. When we use this idiom, however, we are not referring to people learning how to swim but use it in the sense to make someone do something difficult, especially a job, without preparing them for it or giving them any help. Here we have moved outside the domain of swimming and therefore this is a metaphor. You can again read more about metaphors in Radden and Dirven’s book.
Unit 1 Introduction and Describing Grammar Pedagogical Grammar
and the relative merit of different options for teaching it.
Grammar-Learning-Teaching The challenges in learning grammar The scope of grammar teaching Teaching as response Teaching as planning Dimensions of grammar (description)
Dimensions of Grammar (Larsen-Freeman, 1999) Form Use Meaning Phonemes, Graphemes, Grammatical morphemes, Syntactic patterns Words , Derivational morphemes, Notions Grammatical morphemes, Syntactic structures. Social functions, Discourse patterns
Form, meaning, and use of the “plural – s” If a singular ends in a y, the plural is usually formed by changing y to i and adding es . The plural of nouns is generally made by adding an – s to the singular form of the noun. Depending on the last sound of the noun, the plural can be pronunced as [iz], [z], and [s]. It refers to more than one person, thing, etc. The plural can be used to refer to a specific group of entities ( My neighbour has black cats. ) We can use the plural to make generalizations about entities ( Black cats bring bad lack.)
Forms of grammar are, like lexical items, meaningful and never “empty” or meaningless, as often assumed in purely structural models of grammar.
I would like to have a cup of coffee! My wishes are directed towards a goal.
lexical categories & grammatical structures The grammar of a language represents the whole of a native speaker’s knowledge of both the lexical categories and the grammatical structures of her language. Assumptions of Cognitive Grammar