This paper is presented in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the course
General Linguistics for TESL
Faculty of Education
University of Malaya
Dr. Jessie Grace U. Rubrico, Facilitator
PBGS 6304, Semester 2, AY 2009-2010
the scientific study of human language.
the branch of linguistics that interprets language in
terms of concepts.
is closely associated with semantics.
Generative Grammar Cognitive Grammar
1) Linguistic structure 1) Language is not an
can be studied autonomous cognitive
independently of faculty.
meaning. 2) Grammar is
2) Grammar is fully conceptualization.
compositional. 3) Knowledge of language
3) Grammar is modular. emerges from language
4) Grammar is innate. use.
Croft & Cruse (2004)
COGNITIVE LINGUISTICS :
GRAMMAR AND LEARNING
cognitive grammar extends the notion of symbolic
units to the grammar of languages
linguistic structures are motivated by general
draws analogies between linguistic structure and
aspects of visual perception.
Source: Unger & Schmid (1996)
Focus: structure, function, and meaning.
Language is presented in a more meaningful way.
This leads to meaningful learning.
Need to have a structuralized form of writing sentences.
Most writing books do not specify what comes after the
Most present the subject + verb structures in teaching
simple sentence structure.
Some present the SVO or SVC or SVE.
But these seem to be vague to the students.
Some just define complements are ‘the rest of the sentence’.
There seems to be a missing link between grammar, writing
SYNTAX AS VIEWED BY CG
Conceptual and linguistic completeness
TYPES OF EVENT SCHEMAS
“Being” schema Who or what is some entity (like)?
“Happening” schema What is happening?
“Doing” schema What is someone doing?
What does he or she do?
“Experiencing” schema What does someone feel, see, etc?
“Having” schema What does an entity have?
“Moving” schema Where is an entity moving?
Where does an entity move?
“Transferring” schema To whom is an entity transferred?
Low-intermediate level students.
Multi-national language speakers.
Mostly young adults and a few mature adults.
Have less than a year of English instruction.
FORM SUBJECT BE VERB Contraction EXAMPLE
1st person I am I'm I'm here.
2nd person you are you're You're busy.
3rd person he is he's He's a friend.
3rd person she is she's She's a doctor.
(+) 3rd person it is it's It's cold today.
1st person pl. we are we're We're hungry.
2nd person You're
you are you're
3rd person pl. they are they're
The primary concern in the above
and in most grammar books is
What come after the verbs
are not clearly defined.
The “being” schema in CG
Function: to relate a characteristic or any other
conceptual category to a given entity which does not
apply a dominant role in the relationship.
The role of the main participant is described as a
Patient, whereby the role of the patient is defined as
the role which is least involved in any type of
The Patient in “being” schema can be related with
different ways of “being”:
Dirven & Verspoor (2004)
It can be linked
o to an identifying element (1a)
o to a category or class (1b)
o to a characteristics (1c)
o to a given place (1d)
o to the notion of mere experience (1e)
1a) The place on the map here is the Sahara. Identifier
1b) The Sahara is a desert. Class membership
1c) The Sahara is a dangerous (territory). Attribution
1d) The desert is in the North Africa. Location
1e) There is a desert (in North Africa). Existential
Dirven & Verspoor (2004)
How do we go about using this in the classroom?
Identifier (to identify something)
These puppets are my
The place on the map
here is the Sahara.
Class membership (being part of
A mule is not a horse and
not a donkey.
A university is a learning
Attribution (the condition of
Jason is two years
younger than his sister.
New York is a busy
Location (where something is)
The Taj Mahal is in
The cats are in the
Existential (to be present)
There are nine planets
in our solar system.
There are far too many
problems around the
Presenting the language
Subject Verb Identifier Class Attribution Locatio Existential
NP V NP NP NP/ PP NP
The is a desert
The is in the
The is a dangerous
Design 1: Deductive Approach
Teacher presents the language structure
Teacher gives explicit explanation of the grammatical
Students are given sets of tasks to complete
E.g. word ordering
Write sentences based on the structures presented
• Students are given a picture & an 8-part sheet
• Students have to describe the picture using the
structures they have learnt
Design 2: Inductive Approach
Get students copies of newspaper articles
Students are to find sentences which consist of the “be-verb”
While Doing Task
Teacher write the sentences on the board
Students try to guess the relationship between the subject and
predicate (the link presented in the sentences) – hypothesis
Teacher presents the “rules”
Application of the form in students writings
Write sentences using the structures learnt
Presenting the be-verb using the ‘being schema’ is
more helpful for students in understanding the
concept of the verb ‘to be’.
Students can grasp this part of grammar better as
they know what the focus is and what it is about.
Croft, W. & Cruse, D.A. (2004) Cognitive Linguistic. Cambridge :
Cambridge University Press
Dirven, R. & Verspoor, M. (2004) Cognitive Exploration of Language and
Linguistics. (2nd Ed). Amsterdam : John Benjamins Publishing
Robertson, P. and Ellis, N.C. (eds.). (2008). Handbook of Cognitive
Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition. NY: Routledge
Townsend, C. E. (2000) Linguistics and Language Teaching SLING2K
Workshop retrieved from
on March 20,2010.
Unger, F. & Schmid, H. J. (1996) An Introduction to Cognitive Linguistics.
London : Longman