Linguistics and language teaching PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 16 May 2014 11:28

By ABELARDO T. BRUTAS JR.

 

With the advent of the Department of Education (DepED) enhance basic education curriculum, teachers in the field particularly those assigned to teach in kindergarten, grade one, two and three of which the Mother Tongue Based – Multi- Lingual Education (MTB-MLE) must be taught as a subject or medium of instruction had made language teaching confusing and difficult. Language teachers face a variety of approaches. In the secondary and even in the higher level of education, linguistics and language teaching are likewise similar predicament faced among language teachers in these general schools.

According to Wilfred P. Lehmann, Linguistics, as the science of language, should be of fundamental importance for language teachers. Yet there is no unified school of linguistics; rather, language teachers face a variety of approaches. Language teachers must teach language, whether they are involved with Racine, Goethe, Dante, Joyce, Shakespeare, or the beginning course.  Attempts to teach any of these without a moderate understanding of language must undermine not only the psyche of teachers but also the confidence of their students. No one can be much more abject than the teacher of literature who does not understand something about language.

But if the linguist is no longer a linguist, but rather is a phonologist or a syntactician or a Montague grammarian, where is this understanding to be had? Can it even be found if the linguist does claim to be a linguist but directs study at “an ideal speaker-listener, in a completely homogeneous speech-community who knows its language perfectly?” Language teachers must present the actual language and the entire language, not merely its phonology or a form with no deviations. To discover the real language and to obtain some understanding of it, language teachers may well turn to the history of linguistics, especially the recent period with its sharply contrasting views.  For these views suggest that successive schools of linguists may have arisen in part from dissatisfaction with the particular concentrations of earlier scholars, hence, that language has a complex structure.