Towards a Functional Lexicogrammatical Syllabus

| April 9, 2011
Towards a Functional Lexicogrammatical Syllabus

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Jason Dale Ira Peppard

This paper documents the development and preliminary implementation of a functional-lexicogrammatical (FL) syllabus, and reports on an experiment conducted to test its effectiveness for increasing student awareness of lexicogrammatical (LG) patterns and grammatical word order. Following a communicative, social-semiotic view of language, and attempting to fill the gap that exists between corpus linguistics methodology and classroom practice, the FL syllabus focuses on both the products (texts, LG patterns) and the processes (communicative tasks, consciousness-raising) of language learning by integrating pedagogic corpora (Willis, 1990, 2003), corpusdriven pattern grammar (Hunston & Francis, 1998, 2000) and data-driven learning (Johns, 1991, 1994) within a functional task-based framework. A comparative analysis was conducted between the FL syllabus, a structural-grammatical (SG) syllabus, and a post-methods control, with all three syllabuses based on the same texts and communicative tasks. The statistical analysis revealed that the FL syllabus (p = 0.0028) was superior to the SG syllabus (p = 0.0262) and the control (p = 0.1038) for raising awareness of LG patterns, including collocation, colligation, and sentence frames. However, the SG syllabus was also more effective than the control for raising LG awareness and was the most effective for improving grammatical word order scores (p = 0.017). These results suggest that the FL syllabus is worthy of further research and development, but should incorporate a focus on core grammar structure, as well as LG patterns.

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Category: Thesis