Volume 8, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2215-1478
  • E-ISSN: 2215-1486
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English as a foreign language (EFL) textbooks typically present a prescriptive typology of three or four conditional types. We examine the extent to which this long-established English Language Teaching (ELT) typology is reflected in four varieties of English by comparing the forms and functions of four samples of 620 conditionals from French school EFL textbooks (TEC-Fr), French L1 Learner English (OpenCLC-Fr), Web English (EnTenTen15-S) and British English (BNC-S). The ELT typology accounts for considerably less than half of sentences in the reference data. Even in the EFL textbooks, only 57% of conditionals match the typology explicitly taught in their grammar sections. For many formal and functional features, the learner data sits halfway between the distributions of the textbook and reference data. We conclude that the ELT typology needs to be adapted to provide a more representative account of conditionals that focuses on L1 and L2 usage and meaning over form.


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