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Book of the month - November 2015

Focus on Grammar and Meaning

Luciana C. de Oliveira and Mary J Schleppegrell, OUP;

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The innovative Oxford Key Concepts for the Language Classroom series links research and practice, and focuses on learners aged five to eighteen. This book draws on work by the linguist Michael Halliday and argues for a functional approach to grammar. This does not follow a traditional list of grammatical structures. Instead, teachers start with a focus on meaning, then help students to explore the grammatical forms which make that meaning, such as connectors and referencing. A useful glossary explains relevant terms such as noticing, metalanguage and recasting – feedback which reformulates learner errors. The insights provided into a meaning-based approach to grammar should be of interest to all language teachers. The final chapter, ‘What we know now’, is particularly helpful. This book is practical, challenging and well argued.