Pedagogical grammar is described as a contemporary approach to linguistics. It is intended to aid the teaching of a second language. In a world where every culture seems to have a relation with the other, people are finding reasons to study more than one language. Hence, pedagogical grammar, or simply ped grammar, the teaching of grammar, is one of the critical subjects in the modern world. It can be viewed as a grammatical analysis and instructions aimed for second language learners. According to Alan Davies (2007), based on “An Introduction to Applied Linguistics,” ped grammar be built on:
- Analysis and description of a language based on its grammar
- A specified grammatical theory; and
- The study of issues learners face in grammar, or it can be on a combination of methods.
There has been a growing interest in pedagogical grammar due to increased sensitivity to the role of grammar where the learner interacts with learning materials and the teacher. And this is why among many issues, there has been a constant debate on whether ped grammar should be descriptive or prescriptive. And again, what is the relationship between pedagogical grammar and other kinds of grammar? Such questions lead to a more profound need for studying language centered on psycholinguistic foundations for learning through grammar teaching. Note that, the teacher and the learner must agree on the nature and choice of the object to be taught while focusing on the macro- and micro organizations of grammar. There must be visible attention on what people argue should be done (theory), and what people do. At the same time, teaching language should resolve these issues empirically.
Hence we can conclude that pedagogical grammar is a description of the chosen language. Such an explanation is created (generally in written form) to help a particular group of learners to learn the language. This of essence means several external factors influence language learning, including that: language is written with a specific audience in mind; language makes the application of at least one theory in creating a descriptive framework; it uses assumptions about what the learner gets. In this case, the process does not complete without a set of complementary exercises.
As stated above, language learning must have a clear audience in mind. And there are specific characteristics that define such an audience. These include their current understanding of other languages (s), their current understanding of the foreign language, their age and interests, and their understanding of knowledge and its terminologies. In most cases, a pedagogical approach to grammar involves a group of native speakers for the said language. If it is English, for instance, in this case, it will involve an audience whose native language is English. Hence, the author of such grammars selects items to teach based on knowledge of where the two languages meet. It is modified by looking at which differences bring genuine hardship in learning.
There are learners of every level, and pedagogical grammar must understand this. There are beginners, intermediate, and advanced. Even though these are standard descriptors, different people often interpret them differently. In each case, the authors use assumptions based on the background knowledge of the learner. But most importantly, this grammar has to explain how language works. Pedagogic grammars use a combination of textual explanations and instances. Although we don’t read grammars sequentially, at least under normal circumstances, they are ‘immersed into’ search for chosen pieces of information. And this means the grammars only work if they appeal to their audience. Hence, explanations through text must employ terminologies that the audience understands clearly, and they have to be within their reach. When writing examples, authors must be sure to use instances that stick in the mind of the audience. By so doing, it will seem as though the examples are addressing specific interests of the audience, hence striking a chord with them.
Pedagogic grammar must adopt a framework of references that ultimately come from the views of other linguistics concerning the structure of the language in question. A theoretical approach to be taken varies depending on the language: in this case, French, English, Spanish, and German have a wide array of reference to draw from; where other languages may have a less linguistic scholarship. In most cases of languages, scholars usually refer to standards work of descriptive linguists. They re-interpret this information to present a lighter view. The author of a less popular language may find themselves doing all the work of interpreting the analysis for the audience.
Today, there seems to be not much in modern descriptions. And because of this, they rely on classical written texts. However, there is clear evidence that computer technology has been playing a huge role in information sharing. It is easier today, more than ever, to access all kinds of information from computerized sources making available “authentic” resources that should offer reference to a wide variety of written works. This means researchers can easily access newspapers, books, and other media from the internet, apart from using oral media. It has not been fully incorporated into pedagogical grammars, but some authors have embraced a ‘functional method’ that put grammatical forms in contexts of communication.
Pedagogic grammar writers base their approaches on the assumption that explanations help in learning. These approaches help in providing explanations, but one that does not lack questions. In the 1970s through a larger part of the 80s, many specialists assumed that research on second language acquisition followed the view that more of core syntax could only be learned through ‘implicit methods.’ The idea originated from a comparison in the way children acquired the first language; showing, they all followed the same way of constructing core syntax. And many empirical investigations presented results that reinforced this view. The research also highlighted that learners who started after the age of seven never attained natives like competence in their alternative language.
There is no denying that the initiative to produce pedagogical grammar is critical. And the responsibility lies with the publisher in a specific area believed that reasonable sales could be realized. But those who do the research must be sure to give the simplest approaches in making the second language as easy as possible.
May 14, 2020