TEFL and Applied Linguistics jargon June 09 Part Two

This time all from Rules, Patterns and Words by Mr Willis*, a book I will droning on a lot about (sometimes even seriously) for the next week or two

academic discourse- learning how to slag off other researchers

adjunct- a “bad cop” ADoS

attitudinal adjuncts- cheeky Sergeant Majors

broad negative adjectives- descriptive words used by typically dour and almost indecipherable Yorkshiremen and people from the Black Country

closed classes- ones the DoS is too scared to observe

communicative competence- also “communicative/ competence”, the choice between employing someone who has spent all their time learning the language and someone who can actually do the job

Cutting Hedges- the first book really built around task based learning, it caused lots of excitement among teachers but became less popular after student complaints about the tedium of weeding, collocations etc.

declension- what you can do when you finally find a toilet

discourse markers- board pens used to exaggerate your gestures (a common TEFL technique)

dummy subject- a TV programme about idiots, e.g. Big Brother

ellipsis- the way in which words are linked together. It comes from the shortened form of “’kin hell, shut yer lip, sis”

fixed phrases- euphemistic ways of saying your pet or husband has had the snip

frames- made up excuses for sacking teachers

grammatical devices of orientation- torture equipment to cut down on errors

grammaticalization- trying to stop speaking pidgin English when you go back home and so sounding like a right pretentious twat instead

measurers- people who are always comparing their own “fan club” or haul of gifts at the end of term with the other teachers’

modal verbs- short for “modern yodelling verbs”

partitives of location- house parties

partitives of time- happy hour

passive voice- the tone used by teenagers who are forced to drill, act something out or sing along

pattern grammar- knitting irregular past tenses etc into a scarf to make sure you remember them forever

pedagogic corpus- boring students to death with collocations

perfective- from “perfect defective”, a teacher who makes up with their lack of social life with excessive dedication to their classes

polywords- a beginner’s syllabus that is designed to stick to things even parrots can say

postmodifications- changing the written aim of your observed lesson quickly after you try it out on another group

productive features- your encouraging but slightly desperate facial expressions as you try to force language out of shy students

ready made elements and chunks- the before and after of a Supersized MacDonald’s meal

relexicalisation- going through your lesson plan and replacing half the words with TEFL jargon

semi-modal verbs- as used by lower middle class social climbers in semi detached houses, e.g. “May I…?” when they mean “Could I…?”

sentence adverbials- forcing students to learn adverb word order as a punishment

sentence adverbials- ones used to tell you how long you will be in the clink (see the introduction to Porridge for textbook examples)

sentence builders- construction workers with a criminal record

stative verbs- as used by those Washington fat cats

subordinating conjunctions- handcuffs etc.

time adverbials- using a stopwatch to test how long students can talk about the past or future without actually saying when

vague language- student utterances that vaguely resemble language

zero article- pointless reading matter, e.g. anything on MSN or in The Daily Mail


More attempts to make this jargon even more difficult to learn the real meanings of can be found here.

*When I say from that book, obviously I don’t mean these definitions are from that book…

This entry was posted in Linguistics, applied linguistics and SLA and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to TEFL and Applied Linguistics jargon June 09 Part Two

  1. Alex Case says:

    The most fascinating story on Michael Jackson comes, of all places, from the Language Log:


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