Tuesday, December 20, 2011
I found this definition at
What are language functions?
A lot of what we say is for a specific purpose. Whether we are apologizing, expressing a wish or asking permission, we use language in order to fulfill that purpose. Each purpose can be known as a language function. Savignon describes a language function as “the use to which language is put, the purpose of an utterance rather than the particular grammatical form an utterance takes” (Savignon, 1983). By using this idea to structure teaching, the instructional focus becomes less about form and more about the meaning of an utterance. In this way, students use the language in order to fulfill a specific purpose, therefore making their speech more meaningful.
The TKT course book by Cambridge says:
A function is a reason why we comunicate.
We use ING forms of verbs to name functions (asking, suggesting...)
The language we use to express a function is called an exponent.
An exponent can express several different functions. It all depends on the context it is used in.
The exponents express different levels os formality (formal, informal, neutral)