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Knowledge Of Metalinguistic Terminology

By Author: peter
Total Articles: 191

The issue of metalinguistic terminology in language teaching has been approached from a number of angles. Several writers have discussed the relative merits of its use in the L2 classroom, ranging from the unashamedly positive (Herman, 1979) to the fundamentally opposed (Garrett, 1986), with, in between, a possible majority of the cautiously positive (Carter, 1995; Lewis, 2000; Mohammed, 1994; Woods, 1994).2 Others have taken a more descriptive approach, taking the use of metalinguistic terminology as a given and looking at teachers' beliefs about it (e.g. Borg, 1999) or attitudes towards its use (Berry, 2001) or teachers' knowledge of it (Andrews, 1998), with a view to informing pedagogic practice. However, it is rare to find a focus on learner knowledge Replica Hublot of terminology.

Several studies have used terminology as a 'tool' to investigate metalinguistic knowledge/awareness, either in the context of concern about a call for greater metalinguistic knowledge among modern language students in the United Kingdom (Alderson, Clapham, & Steel, 1997; Steel & Alderson, 1994) or in studies investigating the role of formal instruction (Han & Ellis, 1998; Macaro & Masterman, 2006).

Steel and Alderson (1994) and Alderson et al. (1997) looked into the relationship between metalinguistic knowledge and language proficiency (as well as language aptitude) in English university students learning French, using a test of metalinguistic knowledge that relied heavily on terminology. They concluded that there was little connection between metalinguistic knowledge and language proficiency, a finding echoed by Han and Ellis (1998).

Data sources for language inquiry are notoriously problematized within linguistic theory. The advent and use of web text for data collection will surely only complicate the issue. Obviously web language neither can nor should be ignored. And in fact, I hope this paper has shown that data from the web can give us unique perspectives on certain aspects of language use that might not be so obvious in more traditional kinds of sources. In this way, we extend an understanding of the inter section of historical linguistic theory and text worlds. If that has been successful, then the advanced grammatical status for < finna > (e.g. [fina]) is evidenced not only by semantic distribution and formal shape, but also by its very high frequency and broader acceptance in emerging web literacy.

Of course, knowledge of metalinguistic terminology and metalinguistic knowledge in general are not the same thing, and the assumption of Alderson et al. (1997) that terminology is an essential part of explicit metalinguistic knowledge can be challenged (Berry, 2005; Ellis, 2004) on both conceptual and methodological grounds. The relationship between language awareness and terminology/metalanguage is not a straightforward one, most obviously because knowledge and the terminology for it do not always co-occur. The distinction between metalinguistic knowledge (knowledge about language) and metalingual knowledge (knowledge of metalanguage) made Patek Philippe Replica in Berry (2005) is relevant here. Some knowledge may only be accessible through terminology but as Harley (1994) points What can be done about the situation to make the learning and use of terminology less problematic Firstly, those who use terminology and others who promote it (e.g. teachers, grammarians, textbook writers) should consider the terms they advocate. Pairs of confusing terms (e.g. phrasal verb, verb phrase) should be avoided where possible, particularly for pedagogic purposes. (It is probably impossible to do this with scientific terminology, where pairs such as subject and subjunctive abound.) Although ELT terminology may seem to be fixed, the very fact that there is so much variation, as evidenced by this study, demonstrates that alternatives are possible.

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