Periscope Up


Here is a selection from Patrick Hartwell’s “Grammar, Grammars, and the Teaching of Grammar” that I like very much.

Writers need to develop skills at two levels.  One, broadly rhetorical, involves communication in meaningful contexts (the strategies, registers, and procedures of discourse across a range of modes, audiences, contexts, and purposes).  The other, broadly metalinguistic rather than linguistic, involves active manipulation of language with conscious attention to surface form. … It may be developed formally, by manipulating language for stylistic effect, and such manipulation may involve, for pedagogical continuity, a vocabulary of style.  But it is primarily developed by any kind of language activity that enhances the awareness of language as language.

This metaphor of the submarine came to me after thinking about this combination of immersion in “meaningful contexts” combined with “conscious attention to surface form.”   This “periscope up” perspective is an awareness that is gained in attention to but also enjoyment in the play that language is.