The stats on my functional language classroom materials page have taken a brief blip upwards in the last few days. Perhaps because I’m a glass half empty kinda guy (when I’m not an “Are you looking at my pint?” kinda guy), my main reaction was “Why aren’t those worksheets more popular usually?”
If Google on my computer isn’t flattering me even more than usual, searches for functional language worksheets bring my pages up fairly high on the list, so does that mean people aren’t searching for functional language materials, and if not why not? And a bit less self-centredly and more importantly, why isn’t there an English Functional Language in Use book to go with Academic Vocabulary in Use and other even more specialised Murphy clones from CUP? I’ve recently come to the conclusion that the main problem is the name.
Even if you weren’t to confuse English functional language with the programming languages of the same name, the term still gives off a scarily technical feeling, and even I wouldn’t buy a book called “Functional Japanese in Use”. And there aren’t any adequate replacement terms that I could think of. “Social English in Use” and “Everyday English in Use” would seem too limited to worth 35 dollars of my money, and “Interactional English” sounds like a torture-based North Korean language school chain. Surely there must be a sweeter way to talk about requests, apologies and all their ilk!