It is important to be explicit to teach how language works
and functional grammar is a very useful model to develop a metalanguage with students that enables them to be highly knowledgeable language users.
Before you ask why a professional communicator needs an encyclopedia on linguistics (at nearly 500 pages, How Language Works
is lengthy but not overwhelmingly so), think about it this way: The stronger your grasp on all facets of language, the stronger a communicator you'll be.
His practice provides a way to consider how language works
or doesn't work, "means" or doesn't "mean," and in the process becomes a consideration and theatricalization of how art itself works and means or doesn't.
We need to have students who understand how language works
introduces the branch of anthropology that studies language as it is used in real-life social contexts to graduate and undergraduate students of anthropology and related fields, but also to linguists who would like a different perspective, and even general readers curious about how language works
in daily life.
Yet such content and pedagogies are far removed from the overarching goal of grammar: to understand how language works
and why it works the way that it does.
In addition to chronicling how new languages are created from the mixing of cultures, and surveying the process of how languages die, How Language Works
also makes an impassioned plea to protect and sustain as many languages as possible in a modern world beset with the threat of literally thousands of human languages on the verge of extinction.
According to the paper, while the author/educator is an advocate of using good essays, stories, and poems as measures of how language works
in discourse, he does not always think the average undergraduate will see his/her voice in Hemingway's words.