Feb 27, 2012

Sloppy Brits or uptight Americans?

Who is sloppier when it comes to grammar or should we all just get over it?

A recent discussion on a teachers’forum has made me wonder amusingly and bemusedly again about correctness, prescriptive grammar rules and how English teachers just LOVE grammar and arguing about it - I wish lexis would prompt such heated debates, for example what verb should go with knowledge: gain or acquire? or some such.

Among the comments about pointlessness of teaching grammar to students -  why bother if native speakers make mistakes - the one that stuck with me was an amusing remark made by my friend, colleague and former co-mentor Adele who often comes by this blog (Adele, are you reading?). She wrote:

[…] It took me a while after marrying a Brit, to get used to
the poor grammar prevalent in the UK even among many educated people.
Interesting thought… Recently I was coordinating Jeremy Harmer’s visit to Israel. As part of his programme, he was scheduled to appear as a keynote speaker at theannual study day organised by the Forum for College English Department Heads with his talk in which he (mildly) criticizes Dogme. The talk originally entitled:

Teaching Unplugged Beats Acquisition? What to Teach to Who, with What and Why

Feb 5, 2012

What is your favourite chunk?

Blog visitors poll

Leoxicon is about to clock up ten thousand visitors and I thought I should do something to celebrate this achievement. At first I thought I'd revamp the look of my blog but you need time for that and there is not much you can do on Blogger until they improve their Dynamic Views templates. Then I thought since this blog is all about collocations and lexical chunks I should add a nice little widget somewhere on the right displaying a new chunk every day. But my internet search for "a phrase of the day" or "an expression of the day" widget drew a blank. It's funny that despite all the evidence and research, whether cognitive or psycholinguistic, pointing to the phrasal nature of the lexicon, i.e. words are remembered, stored and retrieved in chunks, all the EFL teaching materials are still preoccupied with words, words, single words. The integration of web technologies doesn't seem to have helped either. Having said that, I've stumbled upon two interesting websites:


Phrase Mix posts a new colloquial phrase every day and Tweet Speak English  - every week or so. Both come with audio and accompanying activities but unfortunately not all the content is available for non-members.

Since my search for a lexical gadget has proved futile, I decided to open it up to you, my readers, and ask you to post your favourite chunks. But first of all, what's the difference between a collocation and a chunk?