Grammar Roundup

Sillily, I'm not even sure whether the fronted adverbial that I chose as an opener for this piece is a real word. This article suggests that it is, although some of the public comments at the bottom do question the headline wording. (You'll know by now that I have a bit of an unhealthy morbid fascination for comments in online newspapers).

Anyway, I'm glad of the impetus to expand my repertoire of adverbs. Expect to see increased creativity from me in my quest to write more lovelily.

Grammar, as many of you know, has received an enormous emphasis in recent years in primary schools, with one result being that children have been given the opportunity to enjoy baffling their parents with complex terminology. (And fronted adverbials seem to be a mystery to all but such recently-trained experts anyway). In one post, I looked at the situation from a few different angles. I concluded that, although the Government is possibly approaching things a little, erm, sillily, the principle of spending a bit of time learning language 'explicitly' is to be encouraged. Rigour as a backdrop to creativity, and all that. Subject, verb and object; parts of speech. Yes please.

Here at Mantra Lingua, we're also interested in what such a literal approach to language does for EAL students. They seem to do well on the SPAG tests. That said, we need to take EAL terminology with a pinch of salt, as this post and also the Flexi-lingual blog remind us.

What don't I like (apart from the phrase 'fronted adverbial)? The thought of neglecting creativity. I'm thinking of an article (paywall) that a colleague shared with me. It's admittedly anecdotal, this story of a teacher whose new Year 7s couldn't cope when she proposed a story-writing task. Some cried. Such things had been squeezed out by grammar in the last stretch of primary school. 

We'd love to hear from you all: how do you balance the exam requirements with creativity? Of course, Mantra Lingua has some ideas for integrating it all. 

I'll give the last word to Matt Haig, whose point no.2 pretty much definitively opposes my point about liking learning a language with rules. It's a nice list.

What do you think?