Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

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Explicit grammar teaching in EAL classrooms: Suggestions from isiXhosa speakers’ L2 data

Anneke P Potgieter, Simone Conradie


The development of the subject English Additional Language (EAL) to serve as a strong support subject in explicitly teaching learners the grammar of English is suggested as an interim solution to the effects of the non-implementation of the 1997 South African Language in Education Policy. To identify specific grammatical features for explicit instruction, an initial step was taken in analysing the second language English free speech and grammatical intuitions of eight first language speakers of isiXhosa. Collectively, results revealed syntactic, semantic and morphological features of English, in that order, to prove most problematic to these speakers. More specifically, in terms of syntax, the omission of especially prepositions and articles was identified as a topic for explicit instruction, along with the syntactic positioning of adverbs and particles. In terms of semantics, incorrect lexical selection, especially of prepositions/prepositional phrases and pronouns, proved the most common non-native feature to be suggested for explicit teaching. Lastly, in terms of morphology, inflection proved most problematic, with the accurate formulation (especially in terms of tense and/or aspect forms) of past tense, progressive and irrealis structures being the features suggested for explicit instruction, along with the third person singular feature.

Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 2013, 31(1): 111–127

AJOL African Journals Online