Use of verbs in teacher talk: A comparison study between LETs and NETs


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Using the framework of Halliday’s functional grammar (1994), this study analyses the data of a locally-compiled corpus, CELT, with a specific concern for what and how meanings are constructed and conveyed via the use of verbs in local English teachers (LETs) and native English teachers’ (NETs) classrooms in Hong Kong. An analysis of the top-ten lexical verbs indicates that given the socio-cultural and linguistic differences in the teachers’ background, teacher talk by LETs and NETs share certain similarities. Both groups use language in doing (material process), feeling and perceiving (mental), saying (verbal process) and explaining (relational/existential process). The analysis also reveals some differences. While the two groups share 60% of the top-ten lexical verbs, they use the same items in different ways. LETs tend to use an item in its basic sense, making a clear boundary between process types; NETs, on the other hand, use a word in different senses and in figurative speech, thus transforming one process to another. Although small in scale, the study has some pedagogical implications for teaching and learning English in the Hong Kong context. Copyright © 2004 Centre for Applied English Studies, The University of Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-54
JournalHong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004



He, A. E. (2004). Use of verbs in teacher talk: A comparison study between LETs and NETs. Hong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics, 9(2), 38-54.