Analysis of Academic Discourse: Insights for Teaching Grammar.Report as inadecuate

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Based on the premise that second language instruction at the college level should focus on the elements of academic discourse and not spend unnecessary time on less relevant grammatical structures, an analysis of discourse structures in subject-area textbooks was undertaken. Grammatical structures characteristic of academic discourse were analyzed for frequency in English-language texts in the social sciences, medicine, engineering, and two general topics. Those structures were then compared for frequency in the combined field-specific discourses and in general discourse. It is concluded that college-level second language grammar instruction should be geared toward the structures most commonly used in academic discourse. In English, these appear to be simple present, passives, past and present participles, relative clauses, noun compounds, and certain conditionals. Comparison of these results and the curriculum of remedial English in Iran's colleges also indicates that over 70% of the structures studied are little if ever used in academic, field-specific texts, suggesting substantial waste of instructional resources. A brief bibliography is included. (MSE)

Descriptors: Classroom Techniques, Comparative Analysis, Cost Effectiveness, Discourse Analysis, Educational Strategies, Engineering Education, English for Academic Purposes, English (Second Language), Grammar, Higher Education, Medical Education, Relevance (Education), Second Language Instruction, Second Languages, Social Sciences, Textbooks

Author: Hashemi, Mohammad Reza


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