'Naturalness is to text what grammatical correctness is to sentences': a corpus-driven perspective

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This paper addresses an issue that in my experience of working with non-native teachers of English in Italy is often left by the wayside. Sometimes it is unnoticed, but mostly it is not perceived to be of great importance. The problem is that of grammatically correct (or well-formed) but unnatural-sounding English. My aim here is simply to argue that grammatical correctness is still given excessive priority by many teachers today, and that high-quality teaching needs to centre around natural-sounding language, with particular attention to lexical patterning. Obviously, no teacher would actively theorise that linguistic naturalness should be ignored; nevertheless, their choices of activities for students, and their marking of student texts reveal possibly unconscious priorities, where grammar has pride of place. If a coherent theoretical position esteeming natural-sounding language is convincingly set out, and a more heuristic approach to language learning is accepted, and if intelligently-crafted instruments can be seen to help enact this view of language learning, then, perhaps, grammar will return to its rightful place in the chorus, alongside – rather than blocking out - lexical patterning.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)207-223
Numero di pagine17
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2003


  • collocation
  • lexical patterning


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