Paradigmatic Relations and Syntagmatic Relations: Are They Useful in learning Grammatical Structures?

Ehsan Namaziandost, Sajad Shafiee, Hosna Rasooyar


Every item of language has a paradigmatic relationship with every other item which can be substituted for it (such as cat with dog), and a syntagmatic relationship with items which occur within the same construction (for example, in The cat sat on the mat, cat with the and sat on the mat). The relationships are like axes. The aim of the current study was to check the impact of teaching syntagmatic and paradigmatic relationships on learning grammatical structures among Iranian intermediate EFL learners. To fulfill the objectives of the study a Homogeneity test (Oxford Quick Placement Test) was administered among 90 students at the intermediate level of a private language Institute and finally 60 participants were selected. Then, they were randomly divided into two sub­groups, namely control and experimental groups. Before starting the treatment, a validated teacher-made grammar test was administered to students as pre-test to assess the participants' knowledge of grammar at the beginning of the course. Then, the experimental group received the treatment, which was teaching grammar through using syntagmatic and paradigmatic relations while the control group was taught using traditional methods of teaching. After 20 sessions of treatment, the two groups were administered the same teacher-made grammar test as post-test. Data were analyzed by Paired and Independent Samples t-­test. The findings showed that the experimental group significantly performed better than the control group. Generally, the experimental groups outperformed the control groups. The results suggest that syntagmatic and paradigmatic relations can be used in English classes to develop listening grammar ability among Iranian EFL learners.


grammar, semantic relations, paradigmatic relation, syntagmatic relation

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