ERIC Number: EJ824663
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
The Teaching and Acquisition of Focus Constructions: An Integrated Approach to Language Awareness across the Curriculum
Callies, Marcus; Keller, Wolfram R.
Language Awareness, v17 n3 p249-266 2008
This paper reports on a study that examined a group of advanced German L2 learners' awareness and use of English focusing devices. Recent studies suggest that learners are aware of lexical resources, but lack awareness of grammatical structures. Focus constructions, i.e. pragmatically motivated word order variations, are pivotal to any text where information cannot be highlighted by prosodic means. They are also important with respect to idiomaticity and stylistics, and thus, an ideal topic for an integration of linguistics and literature in the foreign language classroom. German university students of English were confronted with a literary text in which focus constructions abound, and then given several tasks to assess their awareness of and ability to (re-)produce them. The findings show that even advanced students have only a very general awareness of information highlighting by means of formal aspects and genre-specific devices, while their awareness of syntactic means is very low. The paper discusses the pedagogical implications of these findings and argues for a discourse grammar approach to the teaching of focus constructions, proposing a teaching unit designed to raise students' awareness for the fundamentals of information structure.
Descriptors: Advanced Students, Student Attitudes, Metalinguistics, Grammar, Syntax, German, Second Language Learning, English (Second Language), Second Language Instruction, College Students, Figurative Language, Language Styles
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A