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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 FOURTEEN A metalingual analysis of English grammatical terms


1. Introduction This chapter is in many ways the culmination of the whole book. In it the criteria for evaluating terminology expounded throughout – not just those in the previous chapter – are applied to a list of grammatical terms. The aim is to provide a metalingual evaluation of each term: how it relates to other terms, whether it would be useful in teaching, what problems there might be, etc. What the list does not aim to do is to serve as a glossary, giving explanations of the meanings of terms; for this the reader will have to turn to a dictionary of terms such as Chalker/Weiner (1994). However, one aspect of meaning is included: cases where terms are polysemous. This is a novel enterprise, never attempted before, to my knowl- edge. The terms included below will inevitably have a ring of SEGT (Standard English Grammatical Terminology) to them, based as they are on largely formal criteria. But this is unavoidable if we decide to take into account (as most educators do) existing practice (i.e. the no- tion of familiarity, as discussed in Chapters Four and Thirteen). How- ever, not all SEGT terms are retained: some modest changes are sug- gested (discussed in Section 4 below). And of course the terms rec- ommended below – see the system of stars – only represent a core; any course could have a large percentage of its own favourite terms. 224 2. Some preliminaries The first and most obvious issue is which terms to include. Obviously, all...

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