Letter: New curriculum's emphasis on grammar

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am dismayed to note the absurdly disproportionate emphasis on grammar in recent discussions of English teaching (reports, 3 February; leader, 4 February). Standard English is not to be defined simply as 'grammatically correct English' since this totally ignores the vocabulary, a far more significant component.

The vocabulary of standard English (as our world-class dictionaries show) is uniquely rich and finely shaded. This is where teachers can focus attention to greatest effect. Learning new words and meanings is the key to enriched experience as well as to clear and logical thinking.

Yours faithfully,

RANDOLPH QUIRK

Fellow, University College

London, WC1

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