Characterizing the ‘Focus-on-form’ as the SLA Classroom Mediation Strategy: Should This Be ‘Grammaticality’- or ‘Textuality’-oriented?

Document Type : Original Article


Algonquine College, Canada


Grammar has always been considered by language learners as well as by those engaged in language education as an essential component of language, and their expectations from and planning for any language education programs have been conditioned accordingly. The definitions of the term grammar and its categories in all languages go back to traditional Latin and Greek grammarians irrespective of their possibly obvious differences and have persisted even now long after the emergence of the scientific study of language which recognizes the unique system of every single language (cf. Saussure, 1916/ 1956). What is grammar and how much is it effective in ‘learning’ an L2, if at all?
This paper will examine the commonsensical understanding of the term grammar, i.e. ‘the code-system’ as opposed to ‘grammar’ as ‘a theory of human experience’: an agency construing human experience into meaning (cf. Halliday & Matthissen,2004), i.e. ‘grammaticality’ as opposed to ‘textuality’, arguing that if any recourse to grammar is advocated, as done in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) literature in the form of ‘focus-on-form’ mediation, this ‘form’, rather than being defined in terms of ‘grammaticality’, should be ‘textuality-oriented’ due to the reality that the knowledge accumulated by the learner about the grammaticality is of declarative nature and as such it will not convert into procedural communicative competence. Expanding upon the work done earlier on the topic (cf. Lotfipoursaedi, 2015, 2016, & 2019), the concept of textuality and how its perception by the recipients of a text enables them to handle it will be further discussed and examples of textuality-oriented L2 education pedagogic moves, as the SLA classroom mediation strategies will be examined.