Spoken English and the question of grammar: the role of the functional model

Coffin, Caroline (2003). Spoken English and the question of grammar: the role of the functional model. In: Qualifications and Currriculum Authority ed. New perspectives on English in the Classroom. London, UK: Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, pp. 14–18.


Given the nature of spoken text, the first requirement of an appropriate grammar is its ability to account for stretches of language (including recurring types of text or genres), in addition to clause level patterns. Second, the grammatical model needs to be part of a wider theory of language that recognises the functional nature and educational purposes of spoken text. The model also needs to be designed in a
sufficiently comprehensive way so as to account for grammatical forms in speech and writing (as well as, to some extent, visual forms) and to elucidate the differences between them. Finally, although concepts and terminology must be principled and systematic, they need to be accessible and useful in relation to educational objectives.

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