The Pros And Cons Of Syntax

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Syntax is a valuable component contributing to learners´ structural knowledge. The word ‘syntax’ refers to the systems of rules that combine multiple words into meaningful chunks of formulaic sequences, clauses, and sentences (Catts & Kamhi, 1999). With this in mind, acquiring reading comprehension of complex texts is not unlike building a house. Similar to a reader´s dilemma in constructing meaning from a complex text, a builder must have knowledge of building materials (word knowledge), foundations (word meanings), construction rules (grammatical knowledge) and infrastructural challenges (discourse levels) in constructing a building. Without fundamental language proficiency, background knowledge of rhetorical organizational patterns, and discourse cues, reading may not only become an ordeal but such an unpleasant and discouraging experience.
Learners apply metalinguistic processes to infer meaning when processing and using contextual information.
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In general, academic texts are written to persuade the reader. For this reason, writers´ arguments reflect the social communitys´ disciplinary specificities. Swales (1990) compares and defines the discourse community as sociolinguistic speech communities where "a speech community typically inherits its membership by birth, accident or adoption, a discourse community recruits its members by persuasion, training or relevant qualification” (Swales, 1990, p. 24). As Hyland (2011) discusses, multiple variations can be found in a community´s formulation and negotiation of a text context and their rhetorical preferences closely coincide with their general assumptions, methods of discourse and knowledge. For newcomers, these rhetorical conventions and structures may be difficult to comprehend. Therefore, it is necessary for them to become aware of key features commonly used in academic
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