Using lexical-grammar in an ELT classroom Keith Rossborough ETAS Annual Conference Thun, 25-26 January 2014
made it plain someone/something made it plain thatsomething as yet unrealized wasintended or desired For example: I made it quite plain (that) they don’t want to speak to us.
Involves both lexis and grammar. (Halliday, 1997) Prefabricated chunks of language. (Wray, 2002) Fixed or semi-fixed expressions that act as single lexical units used as wholes. (Pawley and Syder, 1983)
“Formulaic sequences are ubiquitous in language use, and they make up a large proportion of any discourse.” (Nattinger and DeCarrico, 1992: 66) “Formulaic sequences of various types constitute 58.6% of spoken English discourse and 52.3% of written discourse.” (Erman and Warren, 2000) “The main advantage of chunking is the ease of retrieval and reduced processing time.” (Pawley and Syder, 1983)
“The number of sentence-length expressions familiar to the ordinary, mature English speaker probably amounts, at least, to several hundreds of thousands.” (Pawley and Syder, 1983: 213) “Formulaic sequences are processed holistically, the mind is able to predict the ends of words from the previous words in a sequence.” (Schmitt and Carter, 2004)
the little people I was on my way back from work one day when I came to a place I had never been before. It was not really a house – more like a place for people who have no home. An old man came out and said: "Come in.” I went in. There were some people and a few children there. They looked at me. "Why have you been so long?" one of them said. I didn't know what to say so I left. One of the children came after me. "Stop", she said, "you should first give each of us three things." "What kind of things?" I said. "You still don't see, do you?" she said. "We are very old, and we have been here many years now. We are not children at all. We are the little people..." (Natural Grammar, 2004)
function words Function words – that is, they have no real dictionary meaning but instead they have a grammatical function. Typical function words are of, do, been, a, and so. Most of the top 200 words in English are in fact function words.
content words Content words – that is, words that carry lexical information, such as the very common nouns day, place, people, way, and high-frequency verbs said, went, know, see, and stop.
high-frequency words Thehigh-frequency words express extremely common meanings, such as existence(be, was), possibility(would, may, perhaps),movement(go, came, stop), quantity(many, few, some), time(then, now, day, years), location(house, place, in, at, there) and identity(you, they, people, us).
high frequency ‘chunks’ These common words combine with other words to form high-frequency 'chunks'. Many of the most common idioms in English are formed around at least one high-frequency word.
idiomatic chunks Here are some of the most common idiomatic chunks in spoken English, according to a recent study (Words that are in the top 200 most frequent are underlined): kind of deal withfirst of all sort ofat all of courseas well in terms ofmake sure in factgo through
pattern grammar The influence of pattern grammar attempts to provide lists of the most common word forms by using patterns. Instead of dealing with prepositions separately put them together with the verb pattern; verb + noun/pronoun + prep + noun phrase e.g. we congratulated him on his success. There are no fewer than 219 verbs and phrasal verbs with the above pattern.
the clause The basic structure of the clause is: N + V + ? For example: Computers enable ...
Enable is always followed by N + to + infinitive For example: N + V + N + to + infinitive + NP + adv. Computers enable people to process lots of information in a short time.
word classes Words of all classes are describable in terms of their classes, especially verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs. For example: Everybody / laughed. (N + V) We all / enjoyed / the party. (N + V + N) The old lady / put / her bags / in the car. (N + V + N + adv.) This / made / my friends / angry. (N + V + N + adj.)
a set of patterns for the word too 1. too / + adjective / (+ for / + NP) Is the nurse here? – I’m afraid you’re too late. She’s just left. He’s too old for her, in my opinion. The food was too rich for my tastes. to talk about things being excessive
1a. too / + adjective/adverb / + to + infinitive Ten blocks! That’s too far to walk. She sang too softly to be heard at the back of the hall. to talk about things being excessive for a certain purpose
2. too / + much/many/little/few / (+ NP) Have some more ice cream. Stop! That’s too much! There were too many people and too few steps to enjoy the concert properly. to talk about quantities that are more or less than desired or necessary
2a. NP / + too (clause/utterance + too) You, too, could have soft, lustrous hair. It really works, and it’s safe, too. I’m staying at the Hilton Hotel. – I’m staying there, too. I’d love a coffee. – Me, too. to add something to what has already been said
lexical phrases TheLexical Syllabus (Willis, 1990) and The Lexical Approach (Lewis, 1993) are similar as they both focus on being able to understand and produce lexical phrases as chunks of language. What are the benefits?
Lexical phrases aid the acquisition of grammar, “full competent use of language involves mastering its grammatical patterns.” (Lewis, 1993) “Lexical phrases hold a position between lexis and syntax. They are so pervasive in both adult and young children’s language that they help us speak with fluency.” (Nattinger et al., 1992: 24)
types of chunks Collocations: words of the four main parts of speech which go together, usually, but not always, two words. Fixed expressions: expressions which cannot be changed or can only be changed minimally. Most fixed expressions are idiomatic, clichés and sayings or are those used in polite speech. (eg, How are you? / How do you do?) Semi-fixed expressions: expressions which have at least one slot into which a number of different words or phrases can be inserted.
types of chunks Collocations: fast car, heavy rain, plain sailing, substantial meal, valid passport, bitterly disappointed, make a mistake Fixed expressions: dire straits, spick & span, part of the parcel, make ends meet, down in the dumps, you live & learn Semi-fixed expressions: I have to go to schoolthis afternoon. mustchurch shouldthe shops ought to the city
“Could you please pass the salt?” “Could you please pass the butter?” “Could you please pass the bread?” “Could you please pass the ketchup?”
“Happy birthday to you.“ “Happy birthday to you.” “Happy birthday dear Maria.” “Happy birthday to you.”
Thank + you + for + attending. email@example.com