chapter  31
16 Pages

Grammar Teaching: Research, Theory, and Practice

The teaching of grammar holds a central position in the literature on language teaching, largelybut not only-for historical reasons. The teaching of living languages was in mediaeval times and later modeled on the teaching of Latin and Greek, which stressed the learning of the rules of grammar and their application in translation exercises. More recently, influential linguists in the midtwentieth century continued to see grammar as the fundamental component of language, whether based on structuralism (Bloomfield, 1933) or, later, transformational-generative theory (Chomsky, 1957). The influential audio-lingual language-teaching methodology was developed (Rivers, 1968) as a result of structuralist theories combined with behaviorism (Skinner, 1957). Transformationalgenerative grammar moved language teaching toward more cognitive and analytical methods. But the main goal was consistently a mastery of the grammatical system of the target language, with its phonology, lexis, and general communicative function seen as secondary.