Fictitious Discourse in Language Teaching

Jun 22nd, 2015
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A cursory glance over old and newly produced EFL coursebooks attests to the assertion that too much reliance has been placed on the traditional "text" format as the primary source of information about how language is used and functions. Here, it will be argued that English language teaching is deprived of discourse as "live language" and "grammar

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Fictitious Discourse in Language TeachingDimitrios ThanasoulasIntroductionA cursory glance over old and newly produced EFL coursebooks attests to the assertion that too much reliance has been placed on the traditional "text" format as the primary source of information about how language is used and functions. Here, it will be argued that English language teaching is deprived of discourse as "live language" and "grammar above the sentence," being characterised instead by a slavish adherence to "form," which leads to stilted language and other features that are not typical of natural language use. Much of the discussion that ensues is based on Millrood's article, "Discourse for Teaching Purposes" (2002), which appeared in Research Methodology: Discourse in Teaching A Foreign Language (Tambov State University).Defining discourseDiscourse can be defined as a pattern of verbal behaviour but, at the same time, it can be viewed as a verbal form of social behaviour, an instance of communicative language use, and the process of unfolding an idea into a text (Brown & Yule, 1983; Cook, 1989; Nunan, 1993). According to Millrood (2002), the difference between discourse and text is that discourse is a "live language," whereas a text is a "monument to life." `Discourse processes can certainly be reconstructed from texts, but one needs insight and intuition in order to interpret movement cast in stone' (ibid.). Many texts, however perfect, fail to give readers a true

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