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This article was originally published as:

van Wyk, K. (2015). A conversational and compositional grid for Freshman university students. International Journal of Language and Linguistics, 2(1), 54-66. Retrieved from

ISSN: 2374-8850


200303 English as a Second Language

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The purpose of this paper is to put together a tool for Freshman University Students with an ESL level, which will assist them to avoid errors in syntax precision and sentence generation. Both these aspects are problematic for students with a SOV language as mother-tongue who then have to produce with a SVO challenge. When their own language is a post-positional language as opposed to English as a prepositional language, that situation may complicate matters for these students even more. The grid is designed in such a way to allow the student to start from the left and work his way to the right selecting one item from the list constructing a meaningful communication as he/she goes along. The overall intention is towards greater precision and correctness, raising the level of accuracy in syntax and other grammatical aspects. The grammar selected for this purpose is the traditional grammar chosen for its simplicity, stability, and continuity functional in millennia of grammar didactics. The role of transformational-generative grammars are not overlooked but none of the recent grammar approaches in sentence grammar, discourse grammar, HPSG (Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar), universal grammar or syntax grammar could serve the purpose of designing this tool except sequencers or DM (discourse markers) discussed by Heine (2013). The limitation to this study is that the Conversational Grid tool has not been tested yet and that task calls for another future article describing the results of experimentation utilizing this tool.


Used by permission: IJLL and the author.

This article may be accessed from the publisher here.

At the time of writing Koot van Wyk was affiliated with Avondale College of Higher Education as a Conjoint Lecturer.