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Terminology in English Language Teaching

Nature and Use

Series:

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 EIGHT Terminology and learners’ knowledge

Extract

1. Introduction This chapter begins the implementation of the descriptive approach articulated at the end of the previous chapter by considering how learners relate to terminology and in particular how knowledgeable they are about it. The findings presented in this chapter come from two surveys of learners’ knowledge of terminology. The first, reported in Berry (1997b), involved 372 first-year business majors on a course in Busi- ness Communication at a Hong Kong university; the second (Berry 2009a) involved 296 first-year English majors at three universities in different countries: Poland (98 students), Austria (75) and Hong Kong (123). In both cases, the students were in the process of moving from an environment where the use of terminology was pedagogic and in- strumental in nature to another where it was scientific (at an introduc- tory level) and integrative. They were all tested before they embarked on their tertiary studies, to ensure that their knowledge of terminology was gained from their schooling, and not from a formal course in Eng- lish grammar. In each case the instrument used to gather data was the Meta- linguistic Terminology Survey, which is described in the next section. Subsequent sections discuss the results. The results in full are shown in Appendix 2. 138 2. The Metalinguistic Terminology Survey (MTS) The MTS consists of 50 items of grammatical terminology selected to cover the whole range of terms from pedagogic to scientific. Thus the most common terms – major word classes and major verb forms – are represented, along with a...

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