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Terminology in English Language Teaching

Nature and Use


Roger Berry

Based on original research and novel concepts, this book investigates the nature and use of terminology from linguistic and applied viewpoints. Throughout, problems with terminology, such as overuse by teachers and cases of synonymy and polysemy, are considered and solutions are offered.
Part One looks firstly at some basic concepts, then draws important distinctions between pedagogic and scientific terminology, and between transparent, opaque and iconic terms, before examining the historical, lexical and grammatical nature of terms.
Part Two attempts to estimate the value and relevance of terminology in language teaching and describes the use and knowledge of terminology in various language-teaching-related constituencies: learners, teachers, textbooks, grammars and research. It concludes with a discussion of the criteria for evaluating terms and an analysis of terms used in ELT.


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CHAPTER SIX The grammar of terms


1. Introduction This book is largely about the terminology of grammar, but in this chap- ter I want to reverse these roles and consider the grammar of terminol- ogy, as a parallel to the consideration of its lexis in the previous chapter. The grammar of English metalanguage, in which terminology plays a crucial role, is very much the grammar of English, and terms abide by grammatical principles as much as they do lexical ones. However, cer- tain features stand out and are worthy of examination. What follows below is not a comprehensive account of the grammar of terms, but a look at certain interesting areas, one aim being to throw light on some problems that grammarians and teachers should be aware of. 2. Word classes The majority of single-word terms are nouns, including the most basic pedagogic and scientific terms, such as those for word classes; para- doxical though it may sound, verb is a noun. The paradox extends to the reclassification of words as nouns (regardless of their original word class) when they are used as eponymous terms; i.e. when we say ‘ap- pear is a verb’, in fact it is being used as a noun (phrase) in this sen- tence, as we can see if we replace it with a pronoun: ‘It is a verb.’ This change of word class (alongside the use of font) contributes to the dis- tinctiveness that was discussed in Chapter Two as a feature of terms. 104 The predominance of nouns can be...

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