Title

EFL majors' knowledge of metalinguistic terminology : a comparative study

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Language Awareness

Publication Date

5-1-2009

Volume

18

Issue

2

First Page

113

Last Page

128

Keywords

Explicit knowledge, Metalanguage, Terminology

Abstract

Two hundred and ninety-six English majors at universities in Poland, Austria and Hong Kong were given a 50-item questionnaire designed to evaluate their knowledge of grammatical terminology. The main aim was to identify whether the three populations were subject to differing 'terminological cultures'. This was found to be substantially the case; for example, the term indefinite article was known by 95% of Polish students but only 29% of the Hong Kong ones, whereas imperative was known by 71% of the Austrians but only 5% of the Hong Kongers. Some differences were attributed to a lack of use of the related concept in teaching; others were explained by the use of a synonymous term (e.g. reported speech was preferred in Poland and Hong Kong but indirect speech in Austria). A significant correlation between terminological knowledge and language proficiency was found for the Hong Kong students. Qualitative findings included confusion between pairs of complementary terms and those with similar forms; unknown terms being treated as transparent with functional reference where possible; and the prototypical use of words as examples of grammatical categories (e.g. 'beautiful' for adjective). Implications for teachers, writers and researchers are discussed.

DOI

10.1080/09658410802513751

Print ISSN

09658416

E-ISSN

17477565

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2009 Taylor & Francis. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Language

English

Recommended Citation

Berry, R. (2009). EFL majors' knowledge of metalinguistic terminology: A comparative study. Language Awareness, 18(2), 113-128. doi: 10.1080/09658410802513751

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