Chapter 10. Language description and language learning

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Traditional pedagogic language descriptions are grammar-based and oversimplified, ignoring important aspects of the way text is created, for example through complex collocational attraction (Sinclair 1991) or lexical priming (Hoey 2005, this volume). If a teaching methodology is to allow for the full complexity of language, it needs to make more productive use of the learner’s creativity, treating the learner not as a passive consumer of rules, but as a researcher, exploring a corpus of texts – a pedagogic corpus. Such a methodology has profound implications for materials writers. Specifically, materials writers need to:– select texts to form an appropriate pedagogic corpus;– prepare communicative tasks to enable learners to process those texts for meaning;– provide form-focused activities to encourage learners, with teacher guidance, to develop a model of the language for themselves.


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