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The Pedagogical Grammar and Theoretical Grammar in Chinese Teaching

When foreigners learn Chinese in China, they may have heard about the pedagogical grammar and theoretical grammar in Chinese language teaching. They should realize that grammar teaching in Chinese as a foreign language belongs to pedagogical grammar and it is different from the theoretical grammar. First of all, teachers should know clearly about the differences between these two kinds of grammars.

The pedagogical grammar aims to do research by regarding language as a system of rules, thus revealing the general rules. By this way, it will form the theoretical generalization and explanation about the grammatical system and regular patterns. However, learners who study Chinese should also know that the theoretical grammar emphasizes to learn by treating language as a tool for communication. The purpose is to master the language skills and develop the ability of language communication.

We should notice that the pedagogical grammar and theoretical grammar are interdependent. The pedagogical grammar depends on the theoretical grammar and learns from it. At the same time, the pedagogical grammar can provide research subject and driving power to the theoretical grammar. Teachers who teach Mandarin Chinese should know that a complete Chinese language grammar teaching system should include the following aspects.

For the purpose of training students’ language skill when they learn Mandarin in China, teachers should choose the grammar point properly. The choosing of grammar points and the teaching points depends on two factors. Firstly, it should reflect the basic characteristics of Chinese grammar system such as the fundamental types of Chinese sentences.

The second factor of choosing grammar points should be the reflection of the language comparison result and the language acquisition and research result. Here are some examples, Various type of the complements, the usage of “了”, “着”, “过” and the sentences with “把” are the characteristics of Chinese language as well as the difficult points for those who study in China.

Another aspect that a complete system should include is the segmentation of the grammar points. According to the difficulty levels, a language point can be classified into several classifications. Then it will be deepened gradually in repeated teaching. To help students to learn the application of sentences with “把” when they study Mandarin Chinese, teachers should gradually teach them the usages with the following difficulty levels: the usages in “我把书放在桌子上”, “可把我累坏了” and “我把全城都跑遍了”.

The third aspects should be the arrangement of the grammar points. In this aspect, teachers in Mandarin learning courses should take two aspects in consideration. The first one is the order, which depends on several factors such as the complexity of the construction, the acquisition order and the convenience in teaching and so on. Meanwhile, the utilization frequency in communication should be considered. For instance, teachers can teach the complements first and then the “把” structure.

The distance of the grammar points is also important. Generally speaking, when foreign learners learn Mandarin Chinese, they should never learn grammar points in isolation. If several grammar points have close relations, they should be arranged together or continuously to learn. For example, the points of “有” structure, quantity expressions and the quantifiers can be learned together.

The last but not least point is the explanation of the grammar points. In Chinese language school, teachers should attach much importance at the explanation of the rules using conditions in the statements of the grammar contents. They should combine description with explanation, combine sentence structure, sentence meaning and sentence application together and integrate understanding with expressing.

In addition, the explanation for the grammar points should be simple and brief for learners who learn Chinese language to understand. The contents of grammar teaching in Chinese teaching as a foreign language include four points: the grammatical syllabus, the grammar theories in Chinese teaching to foreigners, the grammar points’ arrangement, explanation and practice in Chinese teaching materials as well as the reference books and coach books for teaching grammar.

The grammar teaching is important in Chinese language teaching as a foreign language. The pedagogical grammar and theoretical grammar are two important aspects in Chinese teaching. Therefore, teachers should take the choice, segmentation, arrangement and explanation of grammar points into consideration when teaching grammar points.

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