This chapter looks at the personal pronoun paradigm, particularly as it is applied in pedagogic descriptions of English. It examines the numerous deficiencies of this model, and criticizes the way it obliges practitioners to ignore other factors and dimensions, in particular the extensive use of personal pronouns for generic reference. The concept of metalinguistic relativity, whereby descriptions are forced into a metalinguistic straightjacket inherited from the past, is applied to this situation. This chapter argues that if grammar teaching is to have any role in the language classroom, then more accurate and appropriate descriptions are needed.
ISBN of the source publication: 978364223546
This is a revised and extended version of a paper presented at the 44th Annual International IATEFL Conference, Harrogate, April 2010.