Traditionally, language teaching has targeted the three systems of phonology, lexis and grammar. But what about discourse, the system "beyond the sentence"? How systematic is it, and can it be taught? In this talk, I review the different senses of"discourse" and show how they operate in some very simple classroom-friendly texts. I also demonstrate some ways that corpus linguistics can inform our understanding of discourse.
Teachers have mixed feelings about repetition: on the one hand, teachers know, intuitively perhaps, that language learning involves repetition; on the other hand, repetition is negatively associated with mindless pattern practice drills. How do we square the circle? i.e. How do we rehabilitate repetition without making it boring?
What is grammar and how is it internalised in the mind? Is it symbolic code or is it neural connection strengths? Is it the sedimented trace of previous conversations or is it an innate human capacity? However we answer these questions obviously has an impact on the way we go about teaching second languages. In this talk I review some of the key models of grammar - often couched as metaphors - and look at their implications in terms of classroom practice. In so doing, suggest that models grounded in both sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics offer a more valid basis for teaching than do purely linguistic descriptions. 2b1af7f3a8