Syntax mentioned seven times in the CEFR – and how many times at school, in foreign language classrooms?
In the teaching of foreign languages, complex-clause syntax does not seem to have had an established role over the last 20 years, especially within the communicative approach and, of course, the CEFR. It was previously part of methods which stressed formal approaches to foreign languages and their being taught, but not of natural, acquisition-based methods. With the communicative approach, two important premises were introduced: authentic texts and grammar as a tool when necessary. This is one probable reason why explicit, complex-clause syntax is hardly mentioned in the CEFR, even though it is implicitly present in descriptors, even though it is particularly recognisable in those for writing skills, and even though we know that it can be used for all four skills, as well as to guide learners towards some self-directed learning about language features.
To date, in the era of the communicative approach, not much is known about the role of complex-clause syntax in foreign/second language classrooms, in particular from the learners’ viewpoint. In order to bridge this research gap, the paper analyses a questionnaire among learners in secondary schools that looked at their perspectives regarding the (possible) role of syntax. The examined aspects consider its role for the four skills, and the benefits of knowing syntax; implicitly, the paper touches on some affective factors and related methodological approaches, along with problems concerning the teaching of syntax. The findings are based on quantitative data; an evaluation of the need for complex-clause syntax is included, and some pedagogical implications are presented.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors are confirming that they are the authors of the submitting article, which will be published (print and online) in journal Linguistica by Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Aškerčeva 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia). Author’s name will be evident in the article in journal. All decisions regarding layout and distribution of the work are in hands of the publisher.
- Authors guarantee that the work is their own original creation and does not infringe any statutory or common-law copyright or any proprietary right of any third party. In case of claims by third parties, authors commit their self to defend the interests of the publisher, and shall cover any potential costs.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.