Title: Foreign Language Teaching: Can It Do Without Systemic Functional Grammar ?
The paper supposes to consider the importance of the analysis of authentic texts of social interaction, considered in relation to the cultural and social contexts in which they are negotiated from viewpoint of Functional Systemic Grammar for foreign language teaching, and to give the summary of the comprehensive text analysis for discourse-semantic systems and grammatical patterns of child- child and child-adult (English speaking) spontaneous conversations.
A communicative approach to a foreign language teaching opened up a wider perspective on language. And today there is a general agreement that teaching of a foreign language means teaching the use of an instrument of communication, it means teaching a form of social behaviour, which must develop in a coherent fashion, as discourse; it means teaching the learner to view the lexico-grammatical system of the language, as a resource which enables him to put his meanings into words.
But in practice those ideas of the communicative approach did not work out. The teachers are hesistant or even sceptical about putting communicative language teaching into practice. The reason seeing to be in the absence of the appropriate reference material. In fact, the only reference material relating to communicative language teaching that is currently available to teachers and material writers is notional/functional syllabus. But it can not provide teachers with the necessary knowledge of how language is really used in everyday social interactions. Because based on the intuition it does not present language as a network of rules, of interlocking sub-systems, and thus it lacks the systemacity and generativeness.
As it was pointed out by Mitchell (1981) that it is in large measure because applied linguists have failed to provide the syllabus designers and material writers with new descriptions that could satisfactory incorporate the sociolinguistic and semantic dimensions. And that problem has not been fully solved out yet. So what we need now is the complete picture of how the specific options in meaning that are characteristic of the specific contexts are actualized through the medium of grammatical and lexical selections.
Then two questions can be asked: What can be the source for such kind of analysis which could provide the large amount of data to make valuable conclusions? What are the conceptual and practical tools to analyse and explain how the language is used in everyday contexts?
And the answers are that the source for such description can be the corpus, and the conceptual and practical tools have been provided by the Systemic Functional Grammar..
As a member of the team which is working on the development of the National Curriculum of English Language Teaching in Ukraine I am carrying out such research by analyzing the child language corpora to which I managed to get an access during my staying as a visiting researcher at the Department of Applied Linguistics of the University of Edinburgh, and the results of which I would like to share.