For fun

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Frank Antonson

Senior Member
Dec 7, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
I need to write a paper in which I discuss whether or not the study of syntax can effect the way a person thinks -- specifically my students. Because of a political decision, here in Pennsylvania the teaching of what is usually called "traditional grammar" has been virtually abandoned. I have received some feedback from the Latin and French teacher, who follows me, that students do not seem to be able to think the same way that they could before.
I would love to hear opinions about whether or not the analysis of sentences can enable a person to think more logically.
It seems to me that a lawyer would be a better lawyer if he were able to clearly separate out the simple subject of a sentence from the object of a preposition within the complete subject.


In Australia, as of next year we will have a national curriculum which will have a focus on the traditional aspects of grammar. This is a shift from now where the focus is on functional grammar. Perhaps, the shift to functional was because grammar was traditionally taught like rote learning without any meaning. If you can approach teaching the traditional as contextualized then, I believe it will be very beneficial.

Students are more confident in learning new content when they can make predictions and use prior knowledge in reading the text. For example, completing a cloze exercise or reading a text with unfamiliar words. In this example, you would use your knowledge of syntactic structure to make assumptions about what the unknown words may mean or are. The same principle could apply to a university student doing research or a Lawyer researching for a case.

I am sure you will get more comments.
All the best
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