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Grammar in context

Watch Luke Pearce talk about the importance of local and wider contexts when making sense of language.

All texts are produced in and for a certain context.

They are produced with a purpose and audience in mind. These considerations will impact what choices the author makes. Our learners, as authors, should consider the context when making choices in their writing. The same is true when analysing texts.

We can describe the context as existing at two levels: the local and wider context.

  1. Local Context

    • The grammatical features of a text

    • Clause-level grammar

  2. Wider Context

    • The context of production and reception

    • Discourse-level grammar

Meaning is made at the meeting of these two levels.

This course will mainly focus on the local context i.e. the linguistic content of a text. However, we should always bear the wider context in mind. Even if your specification does not require learners to comment on context, taking this into account will help them in making sense of the texts they are fronted with.

Learners each have a distinct background and set of assumptions that affect how they read a text. Not all learners have the same cultural capital that is seen as desirable by the education setting, and therefore may have gaps in their knowledge of the wider context. For example, a learner with an understanding of World War II or feminism will be able to make sense of certain texts differently from others without that knowledge.

In the next step, you will try a short activity to explore your knowledge of local and wider contexts.

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Teaching English Grammar in Context

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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