September 2007
Volume 11, Number 2

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Concept-Based Grammar Teaching: An Academic Responds to Azar

Kent Hill
Seigakuin University <>


This response to Azar (this volume) intends to discuss from an academic's perspective the main points raised in her paper (i.e., grammar-based instruction and its relation to focus on form and error correction) and, to encourage a more concept-based approach to grammar instruction (CBT). A CBT approach to language development argues that the conceptual nature of grammatical forms is best expressed through underlying cognitive schemata. With L2 learners, conceptual development has already taken place and so the L2 morphology may be very opaque conceptually. Thus, introducing schematic depictions for grammatical forms similar to the ones learners developed when learning their L1 can assist the L2 learner to link the underlying concept through deduction to the overt grammatical expression. CBT views language development as a sociocognitive process and this entails the compatibility between cognitive or construction grammars and sociocultural theory. The concept also holds a central position in the synthesis of these perspectives. The response concludes with the proposition that grammar instruction can become more concept-based using a CBT task-based methodology which integrates focus on form, error correction, and the initiation-response-feedback teaching-exchange triad.

Keywords: EFL, ESL, grammar, syntax, pedagogy, focus on form, error correction

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