Usage-Based Theory of Language and Usage-Based Instruction

Usage-Based Theory of Language and Usage-Based Instruction

Serafima Gettys (Lewis University, Romeoville, IL, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/IJICTHD.2016070101
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Abstract

The goal of this article is to describe Usage-Based Instruction (UBI), an innovative approach to teaching interpersonal communication in foreign languages. The UBI was inspired by Usage-Based view of language shared by such disciplines as Cognitive Linguistics, Cognitive Psychology, Construction Grammar, Usage-Based Grammar, and Artificial Intelligence. This approach has been used for a number of years by the Foreign Language Program at a small private Mid-Western university in teaching students to orally communicate in foreign languages in beginning foreign language courses. Students taught by the UBI demonstrate better performance, higher fluency, better accuracy and greater language gain than students taught by a more conventional, textbook-approach. In addition to this, they are more engaged in the learning process and consequently are more motivated to continue foreign language study.
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Today’S Dominant Teaching Paradigm And The View Of Language Underlying It

When asked what approach they employ in teaching foreign languages, most foreign language teachers will probably say that they use the ACTFL (American Council of Teachers of Foreign Language) endorsed communicative methodology or Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). Such extrapolation is based on the fact that most contemporary beginning foreign language textbooks carry the ubiquitous “Communicative approach” slogan in their titles. For a concise description of CLT, readers might be referred to Savignon (Savignon, 2013) or a more accessible publication about the main principles of CLT by Richards (Richards, 2006).

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