Islamic Azad University
Faculty of Humanities
Department of English Language Teaching
Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in
Teaching English as a Foreign Language
Familiarity of Iranian ESP Teachers and Learners with Academic Rhetoric
Within a Systemic Functional Grammar at Graduate Level
A. Azizifar Ph.D
H. Gowhary Ph.D
IN THE NAME OF GOD
Familiarity of Iranian ESP Teachers and Learners with Academic Rhetoric
Within a Systemic Functional Grammar at Graduate Level
Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
Islamic Azad University, Ilam, Iran
Faculty of Humanities Department of English Language Teaching
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
EVALUATED AND APPROVED BY THE THESIS COMMITTEE AS:
…………………………A. Azizifar, Ph.D., Assistant.Prof. ( Supervisor)
…………………………H. Gowhary, Ph. D., Assistant.Prof( Advisor)
…………………………S. Rahimipour,PhD., Assistant.Prof( Examiner)
In the Name of Allah,
The Most Compassionate,
The Most Merciful
This thesis alike other research projects have been completed with the encouragement, assistance and guidance provided by a number of people, particularly, my supervisor and reader to whom I feel greatly indebted. I would like to express my profound and sincere gratitude and appreciation to my thesis supervisor, Dr.Azizifar, for his thorough and perceptive critical evaluation during the pursuit of my thesis and providing a wealth of valuable comments and suggestions which have enriched the study.
I am also particularly grateful to Dr. Gowhary, my advisor, for his meticulous reading of the thesis and guiding comments. My thanks also go to Dr. khani and Dr. Aliakbary whose constructive remarks during my other research projects were of high value and they all helped me to do this study in a permissible way. I should also thank Dr.Rahimipour, my examiner, for his careful reading of the thesis and establishing judgment. I would like to express my warmest gratitude to my beloved family, especially my father, my mother, and my husband, who always encourage me. I wish them the best.
I dedicate this research study to my husband and my daughter.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of content……………………………………………………………………………VI
List of tables………………………………………………………………………………..IX
List of abbreviation…………………………………………………………………………X
Chapter 1: Introduction2
1.2 Statement of the Problem6
1.3 Significance of the study7
1.4 Research Questions8
1.5 The Research hypothesis8
1.6. Definitions of the Technical Terms Used in the Study8
1.6.1 Systemic Functional Grammar (Halliday)8
1.6.3 Teaching English for Specific purposes (ESP)12
1.7 Outline and the organization of the study15
Chapter 2: Review of the related literature
2.2. SYSTEMIC FUNCTIONAL GRAMMAR (SFG)17
2.3. ENGLISH FOR SPECIFIC PURPOSES (ESP)21
Chapter 3: Methodology
3.2. Research design34
3.5. Data collection procedure38
3.6. Data Analysis38
Chapter 4: Results and Discussion
4.1. General overview41
4.2. The Descriptive Statistics of participants41
4.3. Test data normality42
4.4. Description of the data and variables44
4.4.1. Distribution of respondents according to gender:44
4.4.2. Frequency distribution of respondents by education level46
4.4.3. Distribution of respondents according to age47
4.5. Frequency distribution of respondents in terms Rhetoric and Systemic Functional Grammar usage48
4.4 The graph shows these distribution:49
4.6. Discussion and analysis, research questions and hypothese………………………49
Chapter 5: Summary and Conclusion
5.5. Limitation of the study61
5.6. Directions for future studies61
List of tables
Table (4.1 )Frequency distribution of participants41
Table (4.2) test data normality42
Table (4.3) test data normality44
Table (4.4) Frequency distribution of respondents by gender45
Table (4.6) Frequency distribution of respondents by age47
Table(4.8): group * redastoor Crosstabulation50
Table (4.9)The t-test is used to verify this hypothesis51
Table(4.10) Independent Samples Test51
Table(4.11) Group Statistics52
Table(4.12) Independent Samples Test53
Table(4.13) RHETORIC AND SFG54
Table(4.14) Group Statistics55
Table(4.15) Independent Samples Test56
List of abbreviation
CARS………………………………………………Create A Research Space
ESP………………………………………. ……English for Specific purposes
GPA……………………………………………………..Grade Point Average
SFG…………………………………………….Systemic functional grammar
SPSS……………………………………Statistical package for Social Science
Publication of research articles (RAs) in English seems a challenging task for native and non-native writers. The acquisition of rhetorical structure and function grammar can be very helpful for academicians to achieve the wanted goal which is, of course, the Publication of their RAs. This study aims to investigate the current level of familiarity to academic rhetoric within a systemic functional grammar among the Iranian ESP teachers and ESP course learners. The participants of the study consist of 10 ESP teachers and 85 learners at M.A and PhD level at Ilam state university and Islamic Azad university of Ilam. Data collected through self-report questionnaires with 22 items. The finding of this study revealed that the familiarity of ESP teachers with structures is too high and learners are high.
Keywords: Academic Rhetoric, Systemic Functional grammar, ESP teachers, ESP course learners
Writing has become central in today’s schools and universities as a measure for academic success. Students work hard to learn how to make more informed decisions about their writing and gain more control over improvement of English writing skill (Jahin, 2012). Therefore, the acquisition of rhetorical structure and function grammar (Halliday, 1985) can be very helpful for academicians to achieve the wanted goal which is, of course, the publication of their research articles (RAs). One of the main concerns of the writers is the publication of research articles which can reward their authors and writers high reputation and become a kind of motivation for them to perpetuate the advancement in their vocations (Kanoksilapatham, 2007).
These worthwhile issues have urged writers to focus on writing for publication. However as long as writing is regarded to be a culturally bounded phenomenon (Kaplan,1966) publication of research articles in English seems a challenging task for native and non-native writers. Therefore, for a long time academic genre analysis has been announced to assist writers to come up with their wishes. The kernel organization of segments of RAs can to a great extent determine their publication (Belcher & Braine, 1995; Swales, 1990; Kelly & Bazerman, 2003). There are some influential factors in an acceptable organization of academic texts, one of which is the realization of academic conventions. It is generally believed that being aware of principles dominating the standardized structure of academic research articles can lead to successful publication. Acquisition of rhetorical structure and functional grammar (Halliday, 1985) can be very helpful for academicians to achieve the wanted goal which is indeed, the publication of papers. Pedagogic materials exist for teaching these skills but to date. There has been little interactive online assistance available. (Susan Birch.Becaas&Ray cook).
The tools and skills need to develop such a knowledge or capacity(skills) include: Traditionally, doctoral students are expected to pick up the conventions of scientific writing by reading articles published in their field, by participating more and more within the community and by collaborating with more expert writers and colleagues( Lave & Wenger 1991). By writing article and getting feedback, their writing gradually improves and becomes more mature (Berkenkotter, Huckin&Ackerman 1991). Text books such as those by Swales and Feak (1994, 2000) and Weissberg and Buker (1990) have provided useful information for writing courses and further advice is given in style guide. However it would be useful if such information could be made more easily available a ready to be integrated into their own drafts. Another tool is the Objective of Tyos (type your own script http://www.tyos.org is to highlight rhetorical strategies and linguistic choice within a corpus of scientific writing. (Susan Birch.Becaas&Ray cook). So this familiarity can be very helpful to achieve the wanted goal in writing for both ESP teachers and learners.
Writing not only as a particularly challenging discipline but as the singly most difficult aspect of English language acquisition. Writing presents difficulties for non-native speakers of English for a number of reasons; grammatical accuracy issues are a constant focus. However, the problem of producing purposeful and practical documents should not be overlooked.
Worldwide, much has been written regarding the role of affective learner related variables, such as writing apprehension (Huang, 2009; Lee, 2005; Rubin, Katznelson & Perpignan; 2005; Ozturk & Cecen, 2007; etc.) and its effect on the writing process. Writing anxiety is a “fear of the writing process that outweighs the projected gain from the ability to write” (Thompson, 1980:121) and which clearly negatively affects writing performance (Pajares & Johnson, 1994; Atay & Kurt, 2006; etc.) Research has shown a consistent relationship between writing apprehension and a variety of measures of competence in English. High apprehensive score lower on standardized tests of writing and write essays that receive lower evaluations (Wen-Shuenn (2006). Writing apprehension has proven to have a negative influence on EFL/ESL learners’ writing performance and quality (Cheng, Horwitz & Shallert, 1999; Hassan, 2001; Masny & Foxall, 1992 Atay & Kurt, 2006; etc.). Tsui (1996) believes that learning to write in the foreign language involves as much anxiety as learning the other skills, because writing is predominantly product-oriented, and it requires individual work, i.e., students feel they are deprived of help, support and encouragement. As a result, learners suffer from a “distress associated with writing” and develop “a profound distaste for the process” (Madigan, Linton & Johnson, 1996: 295). When teacher feedback includes inconsistent marking of errors or vague responses on content, it may even influence students’ writing ability negatively making them confused, passive or frustrated (Williams, 2003).
A recent study (Jahin, 2007) highlighted the need for teachers to create a sense of community within the EFL classroom, especially in EFL writing classrooms, as well as the need to provide students with ample opportunity to cooperate in groups or pairs so that they can overcome their apprehension blocks.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the extent of familiarity of ESP teachers and ESP course learners with writing skills, based on the current rhetorical and systemic functional grammar (SFG).Scholars who are non-native speakers (NNS) may receive inadequate training in the skills required to write scientific English and may even be unaware of the various language and procedural issues involved in gaining acceptance from their own research community.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The study of English language teachers’ cognitions and its relationship to teachers’ classroom practices have recently been the focus of language teaching and teacher education (Borg, 2006 & 2010). However, rarely have the studies delved into teachers’ knowledge about grammar (reviewed by Borg, 2001) or investigated the relationships between teachers’ knowledge about grammar and teachers’ actions (Borg, 2003; Sanchez, 2010).
The main reason for the non-native authors’ failure for article publication is the violation of maxims dominating the research article in journals( Hyland and Hamp-Lyons, 2002).however, it is generally believed that writing the academic papers is a challenging matter for non native speakers (NNS).( Khani& Mansoori).
Many studies have been done on how to improve ESP teachers & learners academic language. However, it seems that most of ESP teachers & learners are not familiar with SFG model specifically rhetoric models. Accordingly, the present study is to investigate the extent of familiarity of ESP teachers& learners with academic language at graduate levels (M.A& PhD).
1.3 Significance of the study
In line with the previous research, the present study is important both theoretically and practically. At the theoretical level, the findings of the study are expected to broaden our view about the related literature and would help us get much more inclusive picture of how the familiarity of ESP teachers and learners with academic rhetoric within a systemic functional grammar, reflective the writing for publication.
Practically, the findings will help ESP teachers and learners get aware of the importance of these variables in their academic writing and to achieve the publication of papers.
Acquisition of rhetorical structure and functional grammar (Halliday, 1985) can be very helpful for academicians to achieve the wanted goal which is indeed, the publication of papers. These worthwhile issues have urged writers to focus on writing for publication. However as long as writing is regarded to be a culturally bounded phenomenon ( Kaplan, 1966) publication of research articles in English seems a challenging task for native and non-native writers.
The previous studies rarely have the studies delved into teachers’ knowledge about grammar (reviewed by Borg, 2001) or investigated the relationships between teachers’ knowledge about grammar and teachers’ actions (Borg, 2003; Sanchez, 2010). The present study set out to investigate the ESP teachers& learners familiarity with academic language and with SFG at graduate levels( MA& PhD).It seems important to determine any unique characteristic of teachers which are considered as effective factors in both teaching and learning process.( walker,2009).
Further, this investigation seems to provide an opportunity for readers to get acquisition with academic written in general. Those who are members of the academic context can benefit more from the findings of the study.
1.4 Research Questions
Based on the above discussion, the following research questions are raised:
1. To what extent are Iranian ESP teachers and learner familiar with academic rhetoric within the systemic Functional Grammar (SFG) model?
2. Is there any relationship between teachers and learners’ gender, degree and experience with their familiarity with academic rhetoric?
1.5 The Research Hypothesis
In order to come up with answers to these questions the present study puts forward the following hypotheses:
1. Familiarity of ESP teachers and learners in Iran with Academic Rhetoric and a systemic Functional grammar is high.
2. There is no relationship between teachers and learners’ gender, degree and experience with their familiarity with academic rhetoric.
1.6. Definitions of the Technical Terms Used in the Study
1.6.1 Systemic Functional Grammar (Halliday)
Systemic functional linguists are concerned with the way languages are used by their users in a specific context. In other words systemic Functional Grammar tries to speculate the way linguistic forms are handled in order to convey meanings in a socio-cultural environment. In the systemic Functional Grammar (SFG) tripartite systems are coexisting. (Fetzer, 2008).
SFG is a form of grammatical description originated by Michael Halliday. It is part of a social semiotic approach to language called systemic functional linguistics. In these two terms, systemic refers to the view of language as “a network of systems, or interrelated sets of options for making meaning”; functional refers to Halliday’s view that language is as it is because of what it has evolved to do. Thus, what he refers to as the multidimensional architecture of language “reflects the multidimensional nature of human experience and interpersonal relations.”
Some interrelated key terms underpin Halliday’s approach to grammar, which forms part of his account of how language works. These concepts are: system, (Meta) function, and rank. Another key term is lexicogrammar. In this view, grammar and lexis are two ends of the same continuum. Analysis of the grammar is taken from a trinocular perspective, meaning from three different levels. So to look at lexicogrammar, we can analyze it from two more levels, ‘above'(semantic) and ‘below’ (phonology). This grammar gives emphasis to the view from above.
For Halliday, grammar is described as systems not as rules, on the basis that every grammatical structure involves a choice from a describable set of options. Language is thus a meaning potential. Grammarians in SF tradition use system networks to map the available options in a language. In relation to English, for instance, Halliday has described systems such as mood, agency, theme, etc. Halliday describes grammatical systems as closed, i.e. as having a finite set of options. By contrast, lexical sets are open systems, since new words come into a language all the time.
These grammatical systems play a role in the construal of meanings of different kinds. This is the basis of Halliday’s claim that language is met functionally organized. He argues that the raison d’être of language is meaning in social life, and for this reason all languages have three kinds of semantic components. All languages have resources for construing experience (the ideational component), resources for enacting humans’ diverse and complex social relations (the interpersonal component), and resources for enabling these two kinds of meanings to come together in coherent text (the textual function). Each of the grammatical systems proposed by Halliday is related to these metafunctions. For instance, the grammatical system of ‘mood’ is considered to be centrally related to the expression of interpersonal meanings, ‘process type’ to the expression of experiential meanings, and ‘theme’ to the expression of textual meanings.
Traditionally the “choices” are viewed in terms of either the content or the structure of the language used. In SFG, language is analyzed in three ways (strata): semantics, phonology, and lexicogrammar. SFG presents a view of language in terms of both structure (grammar) and words (lexis). The term “lexicogrammar” describes this combined approach.
According to Hallidayan theory structure, structure of a language embraces the realization of the system of that language. Therefore, structure is the surface-level manifestation of grammar. There is also a very close relation between functions of language and language itself .The contribution of systemic grammar has been materialized in different perspectives (Borschev and Partee, 2002: Fries, 1994, 1995, Martin, 1992).The proponents of SFG approach maintain that discourse does not allow linguistic forms to be purposelessly organized. In fact, linguistic elements bear a specific function in their own right. In other words discourse analysis tries to penetrate deeply into the interwoven relationship between syntax and semantics. The generic moves also facilitate the development of well-organized RAs. Moves in genre analysis play the role of traffic sign indicating main headings and points of the whole text of articles. (Khani&Mansoori Nejad, 2010).
Is the art which seeks to capture in opportune moments that which is appropriate and attempts to suggest that which is possible. Rhetoric is an artistic undertaking which concerns itself with the how, then when and what of expression and understands the why of purpose. (John Poulakos, contemporary rhetorical theory edited by John Louis Lucaites, Celeste Michelle Condit, Sally Caudill).
Theory of rhetoric: is obviously fundamental to contrastive rhetoric. It is interested in assessing the direct or indirect effect of communication on the hearer or reader. Kaplan’s first model of contrastive rhetoric was based on Aristotelians rhetoric and Logic. Naturally, rhetoric, and especially modern rhetoric, is interested in the situational relativity of communicative effectiveness. Research on writing as a social construction of meaning has shown the value of examining perceptions and beliefs about literacy and learning in writing classrooms (Hulletal, 1991).Based on theory of rhetoric, writing as communication and persuasion is affected by audience.
Rhetorical theory is the body of thought about human symbol use. The term rhetoric, in its popular usage, typically has negative connotations. Rhetoric is contrasted with action; it is empty words, talk without substance, mere ornament.
This contemporary understanding of rhetoric is at odds with a long history of rhetorical theory, dating back in the West to ancient Greece and Rome, that provides a long-standing foundation on which the contemporary discipline of communication is built at the heart of theorizing about rhetoric, whether for the Greeks or contemporary scholars, is what came to be called by Lloyd Bitzer in 1968 the rhetorical situation. Rhetoric occurs in response to an exigency or some kind of urgency, problem, or something not as it should be. Another characteristic of the situation is the audience— those individuals capable of affecting the exigency in some way. In addition, there are constraints in the situation—positive and negative factors that hinder or enhance the possibility that the audience will be able to affect the exigency. Rhetoric comes into being, then, when rhetoric observes or creates an exigency and offers discourse designed to bring the interests of the audience to bear on it. In essence, then, rhetorical theorists address some or all parts of the rhetorical situation—the rhetoric and the degree of agency available to him or her; the audience and the constraints available to them; the discourse, message, or symbols used to address the exigency; how the exigency itself is constructed, created, and addressed; and the larger contexts— historical, economic, cultural, and symbolic—in which the situation is playing out. This entry will discuss definitions of rhetoric, origins of rhetorical theory, and some of the major developments and elaborations on rhetorical theory since its classical beginnings.
1.6.3 Teaching English for Specific Purposes (ESP)
ESP was and is a controversial issue among EFL teachers and others.ESP teaching develops procedures appropriate for learners whose main purpose is learning English for a purpose other than just learning the language system (Davoodifard and Eslami Rasekh , 2005).
The meaning of the word “specific” that goes with the term English for Specific Purposes does not mean “specialized”, and the aim of teaching ESP is not to teach special terminology or jargon in a specific field of study (Maleki,
2005), ESP teachers play important role in their field. Rarely, have the studies delved into teachers’ knowledge about grammar (reviewed by Borg.2001) or investigated the relationships between teachers’ knowledge about grammar and teachers’ actions (Borg, 2003; Sanchez, 2010).
From the book of Dudley Evans (1998) entitled ‘Developments in English for Special Purposes’ it is said that The Absolute Characteristic of ESP is:
1. ESP is designed to meet specific needs of the learner.
2. ESP is related in content either in its theme and topics to particular activities, special discipline and occupation; it makes use of the underlying methodology.
3. ESP is centered on the language appropriate to these activities in terms of grammar, lexis, register, study skills, discourse and genres appropriate to these activities.
4. ESP is contrast with ‘General English’.
The division of ESP into absolute and variable characteristics in particular is very helpful in resolving arguments about what ESP is and which one is not ESP. From the definition, ESP is not necessarily concerned with a specific discipline and also it has
To be aimed at certain age group or ability range. The Variable Characteristics of ESP are:
1. ESP may be related to or designed for specific disciplines.
2. ESP may be used in specific teaching situations, a different methodology from that of General English.
3. ESP is likely to be designed for adult learners, either at a tertiary level institution or in a professional work situation. It could, however, be for learners at secondary school level.
4. ESP is generally designed for intermediate or advanced students.
5. Most ESP courses assume some basic knowledge of the language system.
There is a summary of the advantages of learning ESP according Stevens’ (1988) and those points are:
1. Learning ESP does not waste any time, because it focuses on the learner’s need.
2. This field of study is relevant to the learner and it is successful in imparting learning.
3. ESP is more cost effective than ‘General English’ because of various specific works and there is eagerness of the learners to know more about the material.
Dudley Evans is one artistic Director of Birmingham Jazz and Cheltenham Jazz Festival. He is a British linguist and the one who is expert in English for Specific Purposes. One of the most influential authors in the development of the modern notion of genre, he is usually grouped together with John Swales and Vija Bhatia as the driving force recent developments in ESP. Since his retirement from the academic 2001 he has become a jazz promoter based in Birmingham, England.
Tony Dudley Evans from his book with Maggie Jo St John entitled Developments in English for Specific Purposes (1998) attempt to pull together the theory and practice of ESP (English for Specific Purposes) from their experience in EAP (English for Academic Purposes) and EOP (English Occupational Purposes) in different parts of the world. They have an experience and gathered their knowledge in every continent of the world by living and working in large number of countries except Australasia.
1.7 Outline and the organization of the study
The organization of the present study is as follows:
Chapter one: the domain and problem of the study are represented. Then the purpose and significant of the research will be introduced and finally the research questions and hypothesis will be stated.
Chapter two: literature review is the second chapter where in the related studies theoretically and experimentally are provided. In this chapter the weak and strong points of the literature are also discussed.
Chapter three: chapter three presents the methodology of the study. In this section the required information about the corpus under study and procedure of data collection and analysis will be elaborated on
Chapter four: In this chapter the result of the study will be presented in details, and will discuss.
Chapter five: this chapter will contain the conclusion of the study and suggestion for further research.
Review of the related literature
To place the present study in the context, the theoretical foundations and related literature are reviewed in this chapter. First, this chapter reviews the notion of systemic functional grammar (SFG) followed by the elaboration of the concept of the English for specific purposes (ESP) and academic rhetoric. Finally the empirical studies conducted in the scope of SFG and ESP will be elaborated on concisely.
2.2. SYSTEMIC FUNCTIONAL GRAMMAR (SFG)
An approach to linguistic description which aims to provide a comprehensive account of how language is used in context for communication. The approach views language as a resource that is fundamentally shaped by the uses that people make of it; it therefore aims to explain the forms of language in terms of the meanings that they express, and to develop a grammar which is designed to ‘make it possible to say sensible and useful things about any text, spoken or written’ (Halliday 1994: xv). See also: Corpora; (Critical) Discourse Analysis Integrationism; Langue/Parole; Metaphor; Modality; Transformational-Generative Grammar. Key Thinkers: Halliday, M. A. K.; Bernstein, Basil; Firth, J. R.; Hjelmslev, Louis; Malinowsky, Bronislaw; Sinclair, John; Whorf, Benjamin Lee.
Systemic-functional grammar (SFG) originated with M. A. K. Halliday, building especially on the ideas of his tutor J. R. Firth, in publications from the 1960s on, with major contributions by other scholars such as Ruqaiya Hasan and, in more recent years, Jim Martin and Christian Matthiessen among many others. From early in its development, SFG has had two main distinguishing features, which are reflected in the name. First, whereas many approaches focus on the syntagmatic, ‘horizontal’ dimension of how constituents may be combined with other constituents in a well-formed structure, SFG priorities the choices that are open to the speaker at any particular point in an utterance – the paradigmatic, ‘vertical’ dimension. The grammatical structures are then seen as the outcome of choices from those available (the technical term in SFG is that structures ‘realise’ choices). Sets of choices between options can most economically be shown in the form of systems for example, ‘if A is the case there is a choice between B and C; if B is chosen, there is then a choice between D, E and F; but if C is chosen, there is then a choice between G and H’. Systems embody the Saussurean concept of valeur: a linguistic form has meaning by virtue of the other possible forms that could have been chosen instead. Hence this is a ‘systemic’ grammar. Second, the model is oriented primarily towards meaning rather than form: that is, its aim is to describe how wordings are used in expressing meanings. What a linguistic form consists of is seen as less important than the function that it performs in the clause: hence, this is a ‘functional grammar. The following paragraphs expand on these distinguishing features in turn.
The systemic nature of the grammar can be illustrated with a relatively simple example. The choices at nominal group level between different kinds of determiner (such as ‘the’ and ‘a’) can be represented as a system, labeled determination (names of systems are traditionally written in small capitals in SFG). The entry condition (the linguistic context in which the choices apply) is ‘nominal group’; the first choice (at least in English) is between ‘specific’ (‘the [cat]’) and ‘non-specific (‘a [cat]’). Each option taken opens up a further set of choices until a formal realization is reached: for example, selecting ‘specific: personal: interacting: addressee’ leads to the deictic (determiner) form ‘your [cat]’, whereas selecting ‘specific: demonstrative: selective: near _ plural’ leads to ‘these [cats]’. As this last instance shows, some sets of choices in the system may be simultaneous: that is, rather than only choosing one of two or more mutually exclusive options, the speaker chooses from two sub-systems at the same level. Thus, taking the ‘selective’ option means choosing both between ‘near’ and ‘far’ and between ‘plural’ and ‘non-plural’. Part of the system is shown in Figure 7 (three dots indicate where more delicate choices have been omitted). Simultaneous choices are enclosed by a curly bracket; and the formal realizations (in this case specific words rather than general structures) are signaled by down ward slanting arrows.
Systems do not operate in isolation: they interact with each other. For example, the system of polarity (positive/negative) interacts with a number of other systems, including determination: here, a combination of ‘negative’ with ‘non-specific: total’ gives the deictic ‘no’ as in ‘no [cats]’. As relatively simple systems build up into system networks in this way, the complexity increases, but that reflects faithfully the complexity of the meaning choices that are realized in any utterance.( Key Ideas in Linguistics and the Philosophy of Language, Edited by: Siobhan Chapman and Christopher Routledge).
There are at least three groups of language researchers as far as their views on teaching grammar are concerned. As Rodrigllez and Avent (2002) maintain, those who Support Krashens’ input hypothesis, known as “anti-grammarians”, doubt the role grammar Instruction plays in language learning; this group supports “comprehensible input” by arguing That this type of input would enormously help the learner improve both their fluency and Accuracy (Rodriguez and Avent, 2002; Stern, 1983; Yim, 1998).
The second group, “programmarians”, claims that formal instruction plays an important role and it should not be abandoned because direct grammar instruction helps significantly with accuracy and speeds Second language (L2) learning (Eisenstein-Ebsworth and Schweers, 1997). The third group claims that factors such as age, cognition and maturation of learners should be taken into Consideration while teaching grammar (Celce-Murcia, 1991 & 2001).
Tsui (1996) believes that learning to write in the foreign language involves as much anxiety as learning the other skills, because writing is predominantly product-oriented, and it requires individual work, i.e., students feel they are deprived of help, support and encouragement. As a result, learners suffer from a “distress associated with writing” and develop “a profound distaste for the process” (Madigan, Linton & Johnson, 1996: 295).
Borg (1999), looking at the use of L2 grammar terminology in relation to contexts is required to gain a broader understanding of teachers’ cognitions and practices in using L2 Grammar terminology (Borg, 1999, p. 122). He also contends that “insight into individual Teachers’ use of terminology in a range of instructional situations … can inform our Understanding of the specific contextual factors that impinge on this facet of L2 teaching” (Borg, 1999, p. 123). In a similar vein, Pahissa and Tragant (2009) point out that “for NNS (non-native speaker) teachers, lack of confidence in KAL (Knowledge About Language) and more generally in their language proficiency may be a central issue, but one which has received little attention from researchers according to Borg (2003, 2005) and Pawlak (2007)” (Pahissa and Tragant, 2009, p. 48). They also highlight that the situation of NNS teachers who share a common language with their students and who work in a non-English speaking Country needs to be researched (Pahissa and Tragant, 2009, p. 56).
In 1996, Numerichs’ analysis of 26 diaries of novice ESL teachers showed that they felt frustrated about some issues of teaching and many of them avoided teaching grammar because their knowledge of grammar was weak or they felt unable to explain the rules (Numrich, 1996).
Borg (1999) illustrated the new perspective on L2 grammar teaching and argued how teachers’ decisions regarding grammar were related to their conflicting cognitions about language, learning, grammar teaching and students. Borg (2001) also examined the relationship between teachers’ self perceptions of Knowledge of grammar and their classroom practice.
To this end, he observed and interviewed two experienced English language teachers (Eric and Dave). The study showed how teachers’ knowledge about grammar (KAG) had an influence on their teaching grammar and teachers’ lack of confidence made their behavior change. For example, Eric, who had Built up good confidence in KAG, in those case of uncertainty about grammar parried the Students’ questions and deferred them to the next session, or provided his students with a Direct answer himself rather than bouncing back those questions to them and getting feedback from them. Dave’s lack of confidence in his KAG led him to minimize grammar teaching and evade spontaneous grammar discussions.
2.3. ENGLISH FOR SPECIFIC PURPOSES (ESP)
Since its arrival in the 1960s, ESP has been developing steadily, particularly as a consequence of the shift to “a contextualized notion of language” (Master and Brinton, 1998:1). The field has been gaining ground ever since English emerged as the language for international communication and linguistic studies turned to the consideration of social contexts to deal with language as communication. Early studies on special languages were based mainly on the notion of ‘register’ which expounded in a Firthian environment, and was useful to identify special functional varieties according to lexical aspects as the means to differentiate them from everyday language; more recent studies, however, concluded that this was not enough, because differences not only operate at the lexical level but also involve morph syntactic and organizational patterns at the textual and pragmatic levels. The different ESP specific subdivisions – for instance, English for Academic Purposes, General English for Specific Purposes, English for Business and Economics, English for Science and Technology, English for Legal Purposes, among others – have come to be analyzed within the social context in which they are embedded and according to the linguistic choices made in order to meet particular situational and functional demands. The complexity and the length of clause these choices involve “lexical density, structure, the degree of formality and the management of information, to name but a few” (Master & Brinton, 1998:1).
Bronson (2001) gives an account of the evolution of ESP research and traces its beginnings to the 1960s and 1970s, when the focus was laid on the so called ‘needs analysis’, a notion of language which refers to the essential nature of the meanings that academic genres, in the form of self-contained texts, possess. In this way, the orientation changed from the notion of text as a ‘linguistic object’ to the premise that a text is a ‘vehicle for meaning’. The foundations of the studies oriented to the text lie in the asocial conception of language insofar as meaning is to be found ‘in’ the text – as Rosenblatt (1989) proposed – rather than occurring as a consequence of socially oriented transactions between readers and texts. The work based on this textually oriented conception is mostly performed through the search for the formal characteristics of an academic genre or register and the comparison of text samples “within and across disciplines as constituted in professional publications” (Bronson, 2001: 2). By means of the identification of the different forms in the target texts, learners are expected to achieve command of these forms and thus progress in the disciplines they are engaged in.
In this line of research, Barber’s study (1962), cited in Swales (1990: 2), appears as an original contribution to the identification of the grammatical and lexical characteristics of ‘modern scientific prose’ which was used to provide “a descriptively-adequate account of distributional frequencies in the target language variety” (Swales, 1990: 2) in order to determine the priorities of the teaching items in specific material. Barber concluded, for example, that in scientific texts the continuous tenses ‘could virtually be discounted’ due to their rare occurrence and that the prominence of passive voice in scientific discourse was markedly higher than