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ERIC Number: ED459608
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-May
Pages: 10
Abstractor: N/A
Why Do We Emphasize Grammar? Grammatical Analysis, Language Teaching, and Teacher Training.
Marlow, Patrick E.
This paper describes and discusses the University of Alaska's language programs for Eskimo-Aleut languages like Yupik and Inupiaq, offered through its Alaska Native Language Center. The paper is critical of the program's over-emphasis on the emphasis on teaching grammar and vocabulary. It argues that, though well intentioned when the framework for these programs were laid in the 1960s and 1970s, this approach is no longer needed and inappropriate, given the advances in what is known about language pedagogy in the early 21st century. The focus on grammar originated in the desire to make these aboriginal languages just as "respectable" as European languages, which have elaborate rules and systems for grammar, and to mirror the way these languages were taught at the time. This paper investigates some of the assumptions and priorities that led to the development of these programs and relates them to changes in second language pedagogy. It argues that while second language acquisition research questions the centrality of grammatical instruction, grammar remains central to much of what happens in native language instruction for historical and social rather than pedagogical reasons. (KFT)
Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Box 757680, Fairbanks, AK 99775-7680 (papers not sold individually; proceedings, $10 plus $3.95 shipping). Tel: 907-474-7874; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Alaska Univ., Fairbanks. Alaska Native Language Center.
Note: Paper presented at the Athabaskan Languages Conference (Los Angeles, CA, May 18-20, 2001). In: Tuttle, S. and G. Holton, Eds. "Proceedings of the 2001 Athabaskan Languages Conference (Los Angeles, May 18-20, 2001)." Working Paper No. 1. ANLC (2001) pp. 23-31.