A Linguistic Grammar of English
Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Meknes, Morocco
This paper presents a new approach to the teaching of grammar in universities. Tackling one of the most important chapters of English grammar, the teaching of tenses, it aims to show (1) the importance of teaching grammar in context;
(2) the importance of investing linguistic research in this pedagogical process; and most importantly, (3) the prerogative of understanding how a language works in order to master it. In fact, it is the teaching pedagogy which is at stake here: a pedagogy
that addresses students’ intelligence and cognitive capacities in order to motivate them and help them become autonomous.
Grammar, the core of language, is at the heart of the success or failure of any pedagogical reform at the departments of languages. Unfortunately, traditional
descriptive grammar is still prevailing at Moroccan universities, where focus is being laid on the capacity of students to memorise lists of opaque rules. In fact, students of English as a Foreign Language should understand how it operates in order to master
it. Teaching grammar in universities should, therefore, lay the foundations for abstract thinking and analysis in order to be able to account for the abstract operations underpinning utterances. This cannot be achieved without adequate theoretical tools. It
is a teaching of grammar based on linguistic research that we advocate in this paper: a linguistic grammar of English. This study is undertaken within the theoretical framework of the Metaoperational Grammar founded by late Henri Adamczewski (1929-2005).
As a case study, we will take one of the most difficult chapters of English grammar, the teaching of tenses. The main aim is to show how to invest grammatical mechanisms in making
students achieve proficiency in English. Contrasting grammatical forms is one of the best approaches to this effect, provided that they are analysed in context, using a solid theoretical approach. This article is devoted to the study of the present simple/present
continuous and past simple/past continuous dichotomies. To show the limitations of the traditional approach to grammar, we will stop at the most common rules referred to by descriptive approaches. Then, based on the theoretical framework of the Metaoperational
Grammar and the works of Henri Adamczewski on BE+ING, we will present a rational, explanatory approach to the processing of these grammatical forms.