Teaching Grammar Communicatively

Topics: Linguistics, Grammar, Language education Pages: 12 (3770 words) Published: October 27, 2011


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Table of content:

1. Introduction

2. What is Grammar?

3. Why study grammar?

4. Approaches to teaching grammar

5. Communicative grammar teaching

6. Current trends in teaching grammar

7. References


What is grammar? Is there only one grammar? Is it compulsory that we should teach grammar? If so, how should we go about it? If not, why not? What is the role of grammar in language teaching? These are some of the questions that worry every English teacher. The ultimate aim of every language learner is to acquire the ability to speak and write the language correctly. In order to do this, it requires knowledge of grammar in some form or the other. Hence any course in language teaching assigns an important role to grammar. As teachers of English we need to know: a) What is grammar?

b) How should we teach grammar?
There are a handful of people who are fascinated by the magic of grammar, but most of us generally feel 'bored' with it; nor do we have any pleasant recollections of our grammar classes - either as teachers or as learners. We would rather teach 'poetry' than 'grammar'. This unit will help to examine some of the prevailing misconceptions in grammar teaching and enable to make grammar classes livelier and more interesting. At the end of this unit, we would have developed a balanced attitude to grammar.


The LONGMAN DICTIONARY OF CONTEMPORARY ENGLISH defines grammar as 'the study and practice of the rules by which words change their forms and are combined into sentences.' There are two basic elements in this definition: the rules of grammar; and the study and practice of the rules. Here grammar constitutes a subset of rules relating to word formation (morphology) and sentence formation (syntax). According to modern linguistics, grammar is a device that specifies the infinite set of well-formed sentences and assigns to each of them one or more structural descriptions. In other words, grammar tells us what the possible sentences of a language are and provides a description of them. 1.All of us are able to speak our mother tongue correctly. We do not make any grammatical mistakes. If someone else speaks our mother tongue incorrectly, we are able to identify the mistakes and correct them. Even an illiterate native speaker is able to do this in spite of the fact slhe has not learnt grammar formally at school. Slhe knows the grammar of herlhis mother tongue instinctively. Grammar, in this sense refers to the total mechanism of the language, which enables its users to communicate with each other. Let us call this Grammar 1, or GI. 2. Consider the following sentence:

He going to school every day.
Even an illiterate English speaker knows that this sentence is wrong. She is even able to correct it for you as "He is going to school every day". However, if you ask him/her why it is wrong, she is not able to tell you. On the other hand, an educated native speaker or a grammarian would say: This sentence is wrong because the 'ing' form of the verb is used without the auxiliary 'be'. The progressive verb phrase in English always takes the form: be + ing. Such an ability to think about language consciously and attempt a formal analysis and description of what one knows intuitively (GI) is also referred to as grammar. We can distinguish this from G1 by referring to this as Grainmar 2 or G2. 3. Grammar also refers to the rules for correct use of language, which may be prescribed for its users; for example words beginning with a vowel...
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