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<b> Forum for material writers </b>

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Post by janan » Mon Nov 13, 2006 4:37 pm

You are the new owner of a firm that publishes English textbooks. You yourself are very much aware that the spoken and written codes are fundamentally different but you realize that your firm’s textbook writers have very little knowledge in this area. You wish to write an article and send it to them to draw their attention to the need to present more authentic models of natural colloquial English speech in school textbooks. In this article you therefore intend to:

• offer a general introduction identifying the problem of models of spoken language in some textbooks and offer a rationale for making major improvements. You will explain that speech and writing represent different codes, emphasizing that speech is not just writing read out loud.

• analyse and comment on the features of the two sample passages (attached) in such a way that your textbook writers are able to appreciate which features characterize authentic, contextualized and purposive English and which indicate inauthentic unnatural English.

• stress in the conclusion how important it is for teachers and pupils to have access to better models of natural, colloquial, spoken English and indicate whether these models should be invented (inauthentic), semi-authentic or authentic, giving your reasons. (650 words maximum)

Don’t forget to give your article a good heading and to set it out appropriately. Pay great attention to your own English.

As you write you should incorporate suitable quotations from the literature and add a short reference list.

Passage One

This is a reading comprehension passage taken from Progressive Comprehension and Language Use (A Thematic Approach) 6B. (1996) Hong Kong: Classroom Publications. Page 30. The passage represents a dialogue between a parent and his children.

Now and Then

Ann (A) and Jack (J) are looking at their father’s (F) photo album.

A: Look at this picture, father. You used to be thin. Now you’re fat.
F: I was thirteen then. Now I’m forty-three.
J: Where was it?
F: It was in the New Territories. I used to live there with my parents. Now I live in Kowloon in a flat. I used to live in a brick house but now I live in a flat.
J: The New Territories has changed a lot.
F: Yes, There used to be farms. There used to be trees everywhere. And there used to be cows in the fields.
A: There are highways now. There are many new towns in the New Territories.
J: There are also factories and housing estates instead of fields.
F: There used to be fresh air but now there is pollution everywhere.

I have to write this assignment , have ablsolutely no idea how to make an introduction. Any reference materail such as books , website or journals will be much appreciated. Any one willing to outline the mains points i should discuss or any kind of outline.THe Deadline is approaching like a thunderstorm, and the assignment is due on 15 Nov 2006.Desperately , looking for some help .

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Post by Lorikeet » Mon Nov 13, 2006 5:52 pm

Yikes! It would take me longer than two days to do that assignment. How long have you had the assignment? You can try googling some references on line, but that particular assignment looks like one that should take some time to get references, and decide what to do.

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Post by fluffyhamster » Wed Nov 15, 2006 9:11 am

Deadline's probably passed, but I thought I'd just mention a paper by Ronald Carter (entitled 'Orders of reality: CANCODE, communication, and culture') reprinted in the second chapter of Seidlhofer's Controversies in AL; this chapter (on 'Corpus linguictics and language teaching') also contains extensive quotes and/or papers by the likes of Sinclair, Widdowson, Guy Cook, Aston, and more from Carter (in collaboration with his colleague Michael McCarthy).

Carter's paper discusses, among other things, the differences between real English and the "unreal" (invented, concocted, contrived etc) English of textbooks (e.g. there is an excerpt from the CANCODE corpus dealing with 'In the hair salon', versus something from a Streamline textbook).

He acknowledges that textbook language has its advantages*, but hopes that research into actual patterns of real spoken discourse (e.g. three-part as opposed to only two-part exchanges, 'vague' language, hedges, preponderance of discourse markers generally, ellipsis etc) be noted, and influence and even find its way into teaching materials. (Some of that may sound like old hat if you're into DA or CA, but Carter and McCarthy do have interesting things to say elsewhere about 'heads' and 'tails', the 'get passive' etc - their research through the CANCODE project has been ongoing and developing over time, and saw the publication of a substantial grammar recently: http://www.eslcafe.com/forums/teacher/v ... 9283#29283 ).

You could also do a search for 'Carter' here on Dave's to see where else I've mentioned his and McCarthy's joint research.

By the way, I don't suppose that suggesting the hypothetical publishing firm simply employ extra writers/"proofreaders"/expert advisors would be an option, would it?

*There are arguments for "textbookese", such as Widdowson presents:
http://www.eslcafe.com/forums/teacher/v ... 1827#21827

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