An ELT Glossary : A Functional-Notional Syllabus

  • Definition : A syllabus which groups items dependent on communicative use (functions or illocutionary acts) and semantic categories (notions) rather than by grammatical class or structure. 
  • Example : Grouping by communicative use (functions) leads to units on eg Making suggestions; Making offers. Grouping by semantic category (notions) leads to units on eg Describing location, Talking about the past 
  • Arose from the work of the Council of Europe in the early 1970s
  • Was the syllabus type which underpinned the early Communicative Approach

Related Terms : Function, Notion

Related Reading 

Finocchiaro and Brumfit, The Functional- Notional Approach, OUP