LT2232 - English Linguistics – Communicative Functions of Grammar

Offering Academic Unit
Department of Linguistics and Translation
Credit Units
Course Duration
One Semester
Course Offering Term*:
Semester B 2023/24

* The offering term is subject to change without prior notice
Course Aims

According to the famous linguist, T. Givón (1993), grammar is not a set of rigid rules that must be followed in order to produce grammatical sentences. Grammar, instead, is a set of strategies that a speaker employs in order to produce coherent communication. If grammar is for communication, then some important questions follow, which constitute the themes of this course and will be answered one by one:
How can a grammar be used for communication?
Why do different languages have different “rules”? 
What are the grammatical rules in English meant to communicate? 
Why are they the way they are? 
To fulfil communicative purposes, a grammar must provide ‘means’ for speakers to communicate whatever they want to communicate. Then the task of teaching grammar is not just about “what”, but also involves “why”, since what is in the grammar (the rules) is motivated by what needs to be communicated (the functions). The course proposes a fundamental challenge to the traditional grammar teaching method in exploring the mapping relations between form and function. Each language has a unique way of associating form and meaning, just as different people have different personalities. The course is meant to capture English grammar by understanding its unique “personality” in terms of form-function mapping strategies.

Assessment (Indicative only, please check the detailed course information)

Continuous Assessment: 80%
Examination: 20%
Detailed Course Information


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Department of Linguistics and Translation