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ERIC Number: ED397408
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Mar-27
Pages: 9
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Rhetorical or Functional Grammar and the Teaching of Composition.
Vande Kopple, William J.
Some insights into the nature of functional grammar can be useful for teachers of composition. There are four ways that functional grammar stands in opposition to common linguistics in the United States. First, for functionalists (those practicing functional grammar), the starting point is with kinds of meanings, not with kinds of structures; the movement then is toward the ways in which meanings can be realized in various kinds of structures. Second, functionalists study samples of language that people have actually used for a real purpose in the world, not sentences that they have made up. Third, functionalists focus on connected texts and how aspects of those texts can affect the structure of sentences; they study language in context, not in isolated sentences. Fourth, functionalists look at the social contexts of a particular text, that is, its purpose and the relationship assumed between the reader and writer. Of these four practices, it is the third one that seems to yield the most applications in the classroom. An attention to how sentences are connected in texts is a very useful way of helping students to notice how they are putting sentences together. One exercise centering on given and new information involves having students examine their written products to see if they have expressed given information before new. Another exercise involves having students use their knowledge of given and new information to check on the cohesion and coherence of paragraphs and longer prose stretches. (TB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A