Type: Review
Pages: 4 | Words: 902
Reading Time: 4 Minutes

The aim of the article is to prove the importance of implying new approaches in the English language teaching, particularly in English grammar. While traditional methods of teaching are based on the written sources, a number of corpora of spoken English allow including spoken language patterns in the teaching process and giving a boost to materials developing. The authors give their preference to the CANCODE corpus because it provides one of the most detailed grammar descriptions of spoken patterns and takes into consideration contexts of their usage.

What are the differences between authentic and scripted dialogue?

The writers of the article point out the following main differences between authentic language, the source of which is a real conversation, and scripted language used in textbooks for learning purposes.

What kind of spoken grammar structure the authors use as an example?Comprehensibility of the scripted language allows it to be more popular and suitable for the pedagogical usage. However, as the authors state, the implication of authentic language in syllabus can become a relevant and helpful method for the students to improve their level.

In the article, the writers chose “tails” structures to prove the importance of spoken grammar for the teaching process. This is a feature of a big value in the CANCODE corpus and, unfortunately, lacks the proper description in grammar books. What is more, this topic causes difficulties for materials designers, teachers and their students.

1. What are the features of “tails”?

  • Informal grammar structures
  • Occur at the and of sentences
  • Almost exclusive to the spoken language
  • Important for a listener-sensitive and affective grammar

2. What are the uses of “tails”?

  • To express attitudes.
  • To add emphasis.
  • To evaluate.
  • To provide repetition for listeners.

III. Why are “tails” structures needed to be appropriately embedded within language course book dialogues?

  • They are widely used by speakers of different origin.
  • They provide the upper-intermediate and advanced learners with more choice for building a conversation.
  • “Tails” provide cohesion for the pre-planned discourse.
  • The structures help the listener to catch and understand the whole range of emotions put in the sentences.

How to evaluate materials for teaching “tails”?

In order to choose proper materials for teaching spoken grammar patterns like “tails”, teacher should know how to evaluate them. The writers consider such points of the evaluation:

  • Examine whether it is appropriate to use writing based exercises for practicing the spoken grammar constructions.
  • Find out if it is reliable to support the process of teaching with audio supply.
  • Take into consideration teachers’ and students’ expectations.
  • Detect how much time should be spent on learning “tails” and what methods should be used for this aim.
  • Choose only reliable sources of authentic texts.

Why an approach to spoken grammar through language awareness/ consciousness-raising activities should be seriously considered?

  • Since the approach is based on communicative language teaching, it allows learners to improve their fluency.
  • When students are trying to discover grammatical structures by themselves, they are able to learn them more effectually.
  • Students do not waste their time on ineffective automatic production of the rules.
  • Students can easily notice grammar structures because the approach allows using the content-based tasks.
  • Interpersonal orientation of the tasks encourage students of learn different grammar patterns.
  • The approach is a very efficient way to stimulate such an important feature in students as observation, which is helpful for comprehension.

How can we foster and enhance grammatical consciousness-raising in the EFL/ESL classroom?

  • Examples of grammatical patterns should be clear and well-organised to students.
  • Everything that can distract students from concentrating on target structure ought to be avoided.
  • It is better to use the corpus-informed materials than corpus-driven ones. While the latter are authentic texts without any modifications, the corpus-informed materials imply texts’ transformation for the better comprehension.
  • Teachers should be competent enough in order to know to what extant they can modify the authentic texts.

Why is it important to include such grammar constructions as “heads” and “tails” in the teaching process?

“Heads” just like “tails” are very useful language patterns for the students for making their language sound more fluently.

1. What are the functions of “heads”?

  • Orienting and focusing.
  • Preparing the listener to the following information.
  • Maintaining the interpersonal relationships.

2. Differences between “heads” and “tails”:



Main function

Providing orientation

Express personal attitude

Involving of personal relationships

Less interpersonal

More interpersonal

Position in sentence

At the beginning

At the end

Why is it important to provide the English language learners with broader choice of spoken grammar constructions?

  • It develops a “feel” of the language for learners.
  • Spoken English will be more widely used in the near future and speaking skills are becoming more valuable for people.


The article raises an important issue of including spoken authentic language into the teaching process and answers the questions of how such inclusion can be accomplished by the teachers of English. To my point of view, its main weakness is that the research is oriented not on the materials designers but on the teachers mostly. The authors do not investigate precisely the implication of new techniques they offer in materials development, though they point out the task at the beginning of the article. On the other hand, they successfully manage to explain how the new techniques of spoken grammar learning can be included in the curriculum. They also mention difficulties teachers can encounter and how to avoid them. On the whole, the authors proved the importance of developing the new approaches in grammar teaching.

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