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Grammatical metaphor: Nominalization in the 6th and 7th grade Turkish classrooms

Author: 
Hamide Çakır and Özge Cengiz
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

Language is the fundamental means of instruction and learning. When children start formal schooling, they face new linguistic demands like grammatical metaphor. Grammatical metaphor, in particular nominalization, is a lexico-grammatical process which plays a central part in the construction of knowledge in the 'langauge of schooling' (Schleppgrell, 2004). In order to be successful in school, the student is expected to organize knowledge through grammatical metaphor, a notion frequently dealt within Systemic Functional Linguistics. This study takes the perspective of Systemic Functional Linguistics to explore the ideational grammatical metaphor in the form of nominalization in the classroom discourse. In nominalization, “any element or group of elements is made to function as a nominal group in the clause” (Halliday, 1994, p. 41). Within this framework, the aim of this cross-sectional study is to determine the frequency and types of nominalization in the Turkish classroom. To examine the level of academic language accessible to students, 8 teachers teaching Turkish to both 6th and 7th grades were video-recorded in their classes with their students. These recordings have been fully transcribed verbatim into scripts and analyzed in term of nominalization use. The findings of our research revealed slight differences in the use of nominalization in the 6th and 7th grades, and hence these differences were statistically not significant. This study can have some implications for developing children’s literacy in that an understanding of these literacy-oriented constructions will enable educators and caregivers to recognize the importance of making use of a wide range of linguistic expressions.

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