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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lang 4.2. Project: Language discovery

Lang 4.2. Project: Language discovery 3-4-5 level 15-20 min
GOAL. To encourage leaerners to be language adventurers with their readers.

TASK 1. Develop the project below.

Squeeze your reader
You will understand how language items work if you observe them in texts.
Good observers are good learners: this implies grammatical consciousness raising, which is a receptive process, and nobody asks you to reproduce most of them in your own texts.
Depending on the text you will observe different features. As patterns of learning are different, it is healthy that you find your own way of explaining how language works.

Observe language where it lies: the reader you read. Be inquisitive: squeeze the curious examples you read are worthy of your study time. Use reference materials to help you.
Copy pieces of language you really understand in your notebook and try to put them together in appropriate groups.

A. Words, words, words.
Produce a page with organised language (20-25 items: expressions with new vocabulary-idioms-phrasal verbs) and organise them somehow (see annex).

B. Exploring language
Analyse 20-25 items with interesting grammar, comments on syntax, oral features, etc. About syntax, observe for instance the position of particles in sentences such as:
cans would soon replace pots > adverbial goes before the main verb
the best is yet to come > unusual use of ‘yet’
there may well be a case for syringes > there BE, with modal and adverb
Good hunting.

Revise the previous units in this website for some ideas about reflective language & see annex 1.
Feel motivated to recycle several of them in your future texts.
4.1. Infinite examples with grammar: The road to discovery KEY
TASK 1. Mark the items you now feel you need to act upon from 1 to 7 (1 the least, 7 the most):
TASK 2. Decide how you are going to prioritise your learning.
TASK 3. Assess your learning on the following aspects. Mark with 1 (the least ) to 7 (the most).
Q1. How much do you agree with these statements: (open)
Q2. Explain the most extreme scores: (open)

TASK 4. Underline the six ways to express agreement in this dialogue and explain its syntax.
Jim Hacker: "Yes, well this is serious."
Chief Whip: "Very serious." > repetition
Humphrey: "Something very serious indeed." > intensifier
Chief: "Serious repercussions." > with nominal complement
Chief: "Of the utmost seriousness." > extreme graded adjective + -NESS suffix
Humphrey: "In fact, I would go so far as to say, > comment on topic “so far as”
that it could hardly be more serious." > comparative (hardly more)
Jim: "Well, I think we all agree then: this is serious." > emphasis (this)

TASK 5. Underline the seven ways to express vague language in this dialogue as a way to avoid a straight answer. Copy the two most successful ones in your view below.

if you ask me for a straight answer, then I shall say As far as one can see (x1),
looking at it by and large,
taking one thing with another (x1),
in terms of the average of ..............,
then in the final analysis it is probably true to say, that at the end of the day, in general terms,
you would probably find that,
not to put too fine a point on it,
there probably wasnot very much in it
one way or the other (x1),
As far as one can see (x2),
at this stage."

Perhaps the two most successful ones: not to put too fine a point on it,
there probably wasnot very much in it

Language variation.
TASK 6. Analysis Edward asks a cross-section of the Irish population
V (ask) + DO (compound noun: cross-section) Nominal complement: Irish + population
Alexandra talks to a cross-section of her Pole compatriots
V (talks TO) + IO (compound noun: cross-section) Nominal>: adj. Pole + Noun plural : compatriots
Monica buttonholes a cross-section of the population in Germany
V (buttonhole) + DO (compound noun: cross-section) Nominal: population in (name of country)
Marianne puts the questions to a cross-section of her fellow Danes
V (put) + DO (qustions) + IO (TO + compound noun) Nominal>: as an adj. fellow + Noun plural : Danes
Paul asks a cross-section of the population in the Neederlands for their opinions
V (ask ..... for) + DO (compound noun) Nominal: population in (name of country)

TASK 7. Analyse the second conditional.
WHERE WOULD they VERB (live - like/choose to live):
interesting that verb live can be lexically expanded! (live = choose to live /like to live)

IF they V in PAST SIMPLE (left – had/were to leave it/were not to stay in the country)?
curious that verb simple left can be lexically expanded! ( = had to leave/ were to leave /were not to stay)

➢ Where would they like to live ..... if they had to leave it?
➢ Where would they live ........... if they left?
➢ Where would they like to live ..... if they were to leave?
➢ Where would they choose to live ........... if they were not to stay in Greece?

Annex. 1 Comments on my reader SUMMER ISLAND (Language 3.3)

A. Words, words, words.
NEW VOCABULARY (10 items) + SAYINGS & IDIOMS (8 items) + PHRASAL VERBS (5 items)

NEW VOCABULARY. To show the items that interested me.
1. Words translated into Catalan)
sprout (aparéixer) // wobbly (adj of motion = tambalejant)
barely (amb proutes feines) // a bunch of anorexics, alcoholics… (una colla de ...)
overwhelm (aclaparat) // a hunk of husband (un tros de marit)
2. Words with its dictionary definition
denizen: a person who lives, grows or is often found in a particular place.
to be delusional: being deceived flawless: perfect, without fault
jack-in-the-box: a toy in the form of a boxwith a figure inside on a spring that jumps up
when the lid is opened.

SAYINGS & IDIOMS: (fits the cultural background of the speakers, often metaphorical)
1- airing their family’s dirty laundry in public: similar saying public versus private life
2- Objects in a mirror are closer than they appear
3- Her surprise was icing on the cake
4- “You should start collecting jam”: The time was passing for her to do what she wanted.
5- If you didn’t make it by thirty, you were toast: you have to reach something before
you get far too old to do it.
6 To carry a torch for Dean: still feels something in her heart for Dean, her old lover.
7 We have battles to fight: Ruby has to face some problems uphill.
8 You, who treats her like Typhoid Mary, to exemplify her destructive ways (from a
female comic character).
Throw in-when you have a conversation, you add something in a casual way.
Let down- you disappoint something.
Start over- you begin something again from the beginning.
Blow over- something that ends without serious consequences.
Fell over -a person or an object move from his/her /its upright position, so that they are
then lying on the ground or on the surface supporting them.


1- Wallow in regret (V + IN -prep) to take pleasure in a feeling or situation sometimes in a selfish way.
2- There would be dancing yet – yet is in affirmative sentence
3- He hadn’t yet celebrated his… Negative sentence with yet, as adjunt to verb, not final position.
4- The official beginning of the end of evening- in only one sentence there are two contradictory words in the meaning (begin/ end)
5- This thing is going to get a heck of a lot worse before it gets better. an interjection (=hell).
6- If you didn’t make it by thirty, you were toast: 2nd conditional (if + past > past simple)
7- Nothing she has to say. Used as a noun, direct object, but at the beginning of the sentence.
8- She wished she had someone to ask about…wishes in past
9- I can’t believe I let it hurt my feelings, either It’s a negative sentence, and the use of this kind of word is correct.( NOT ... either > sometimes it’s difficult for me to use it)
10- When did you stop smiling. It’s not the same as stop to do sth than stop doing sth.
11- He claimed he’d had an affair Use of the past perfect form (sometimes difficult for me)
12- I’m dying for that. Use of the present continuous meaning a future tense
13- Bumping hips and holding hands it’s a structure taht plays with sound (alliteration)
14- Sleepless night use of the suffix –less to express without, very productive in the language.
15- Seattleites-people from Seattle (general ending for folk).
16- Novelization derived noun, not in my Advanced learner dictionary
17- We have battles to fight- This is a metaphor.
18- If you were my son I’d be so proud. Conditional 2 + adverb before an intensifying adjective.
19- But in the end.In contrast with “at the end”
20- You, who treats her like Typhoid Mary, she talks to. She talks to you with object as first item (due to the relative clause, I guess).

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