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Book: A Functional Grammar for Writers

Chapter: Traditional Grammar: terms and concepts

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.26422


This chapter focuses on the ways that grammar has been taught in the past, and takes students through the terminology from a formal (i.e., word class, phrase structure) to functional (i.e., clause constituent) understanding. It will demonstrate how people have used these labels to understand the underlying organization of language, then taking these patterns and defining them as “rules.” It will use contemporary examples of language to illustrate that there is nothing particularly special in this way of approaching language, except for the value placed on it by language guardians – a theme which will be elaborated and enhanced in the final chapter of the book.
By the end of this chapter, readers should be able to recognize parts of speech as most people who have studied grammar would parse them: nouns and verbs, nominal and verbal groups, subjects and predicates.

Chapter Contributors

  • Derek Irwin ( - dirwin) 'University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus'
  • Viktoria Jovanovic-Krstic ( - vkrstic) 'University of Toronto'