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Is a meaning-based grammar of English possible?: Exploring English grammar from the perspectives of pattern grammar and local grammar

  • Hang Su


Previous research on the grammar of English has led to the development of a number of useful reference books (e.g. Quirk et al., 1985; Biber et al., 1999; Huddleston & Pullum, 2002; Berry, 2012), which have substantially contributed to the teaching and learning of English language in EFL contexts. However, I found that from an (advanced) EFL learner's perspective, EFL learners are often left to our own choices when we want to express a specific meaning in spoken and/or written communication, such as acknowledgement-making for example (Hyland & Tse, 2004). One major reason for this is that these reference books have mainly focused on discussing issues such as word classes, types of clauses, tense and aspects, etc. They have not attempted to document systematically the lexicogrammatical means by which specific meanings can be expressed, though they do have selectively described some. This stimulated me to think whether it is possible to develop, what I tentatively call, a meaning-based grammar of English, i.e. a grammar which is primarily concerned with meanings and their typical lexicogrammatical realisations.


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English Today
  • ISSN: 0266-0784
  • EISSN: 1474-0567
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