Welcome to our blog! In our blog we discuss how a competent speaker of the English language is able to utilize the different areas or domains of speaking, which are semantics, phonology, syntax/grammar, and pragmatics. Researchers agree that assessment of speaking abilities of an ESL student needs to be multifaceted in its approach to get a true picture of how that student is using speaking skills. We hope that you are able to use the information in our blog as a resource.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
What is Grammar and Syntax?
Grammar is the principles or rules for speaking according to the form and usage of a language. Syntax is the internal structure of language, including the order in which the elements of a language can occur and the relationships among the elements in an utterance. Grammar is the branch of linguistics dealing with the form and structure of words (morphology), and their interrelation in sentences, called syntax. The study of grammar reveals how language works, an important aspect in both English acquisition and learning (Carter & McCarthy, 1995). This is also very important when teaching an ESL student how to really use the English language appropriately and effectively. Grammar can be taught both implicitly and explicitly. When grammar is taught in context, an implicit manner, students practice the grammar learned in a lesson by using it in a natural, communicative situation. Explicit teaching of grammar may be needed when the features of English grammar is very different from way it is expressed. Some parts of English grammar that is difficult for ESL students to understand are word order, determiners, prepositions, auxiliaries, conjunctions, and phrasal verbs. Explicit teaching of grammar is more formal, focusing on written language studies, while implicit teaching of grammar is more informal and practiced in social situations through conversation. Either approach is important to evaluate and use when teaching ESL students, also taking into account how each ESL student is going to learn differently. Once a teacher decides the best way to teach an ESL student, the way to appropriate assess an ESL student also needs to be decided. Appropriate assessment of speaking skills will tell a teacher whether the lesson has been effective and if any other supports are needed for an ESL student to succeed.