CGE Seminar 29 April: Christopher J Hall, York St John University

Centre for Global Englishes seminar

Wednesday 29th April, 5-6.30pm, Lecture Theatre C (Avenue Campus)

Reconceptualising grammar for a pedagogy of Global Englishes

Christopher J Hall, York St John University

In this talk I address the need to reconceptualise grammar for learning, teaching, and assessment in the light of new understandings of the nature of Global Englishes and of language as a cognitive phenomenon. ELF research is revealing how non-native users of English deploy, negotiate, and modify their lexico-grammatical resources to communicate effectively and perform identities. Much of the evidence has come from cross-sectional corpora, analysing the interactions of multiple speakers across independent usage events. But there is little research which adequately addresses the problem of how the Englishes presented and modelled in classrooms can optimally facilitate learners’ development of their own ‘portable’ lexico-grammatical repertoires. Usage-based approaches to grammar conceptualise language in ways which are consistent with this goal, yet the crucial connection between learning through usage and conceptualisations of grammar for instructional purposes has been neglected. Constructionist accounts characterise grammar in psychologically plausible ways, yet still tend to adopt monolithic orientations towards English and other named languages. In this talk I argue that data from longitudinal corpora of individual non-native users of English are needed in order to develop characterisations of the lexico-grammatical resources they bring to, and take from, usage events. I describe a tiny fragment of grammar from one non-native English user, involving the can you/could you construction alternation in email requests, to illustrate the reconceptualisation of grammar that is required if we are to provide teachers with a more realistic ontology of English forms within a pedagogy of Global Englishes.

All welcome!

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