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Su 2012 ss syntax(1)


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Su 2012 ss syntax(1)

  1. 1. Summer 2012
  2. 2. Discrete Combination of Language(Pinker, 2007) Sentences/Phrases (I love dogs.) Words (dogs) Morphemes (dog-s)
  3. 3. This week, we will:◦ Differentiate between descriptive and prescriptive grammar◦ Explore a theory of syntax (SS & DS)◦ Distinguish between syntactic structures and their functions.◦ Explore the impact of syntax on language teaching◦ Discuss syntactic challenges associated with academic English CIMA © 2008
  4. 4. Key Concepts  Descriptive &  Lexico-syntax prescriptive  Cloze procedures grammar  GTM & ALM  Phrase structure  Passive voice  Modals  Comparatives  Logical connectors  Verb phrases  Relative clauses CIMA © 2008
  5. 5.  Greek origin— “putting together” or “arrangement” Earlier Approach: attempt to produce accurate description of the sequence in the linear structure Recent Approach: greater focus on the underlying rule system that we use to generate sentences (Chomsky)
  6. 6. Grammar: the analysis of the syntacticstructure of phrases and sentences  Two Sociohistorical Perspectives ◦ Descriptive Grammar ◦ Prescriptive Grammar CIMA © 2008
  7. 7. Descriptive Grammar vs. PrescriptiveGrammar Descriptive Grammar: A system, which describes how a language is actually spoken. Prescriptive Grammar: prescribes how one “ought” to talk reflecting the grammarian’s views of what is acceptable. e.g., Never begin a sentence with “because”.
  8. 8. Grammar from a Descriptive Viewpoint Rather than stating that one sentence structure is “correct” and another is “incorrect,” linguists describe how people compose and use sentences in real life. For example, ending a sentence with a preposition, when writing, is not considered incorrect from a descriptive viewpoint (i.e., “Who do you want to eat with?”)
  9. 9.  Linguists rely on native speakers’ use of language in order to determine what sentence structures are grammatically acceptable or not as opposed to the rules set forth in grammar books. For example:  He was tall, dark, and handsome.  He was handsome, dark, and tall.
  10. 10.  Premise: if students are able to memorize grammar rules, then they’ll be able to apply them when writing  How useful is it to teach grammar in a prescriptive manner? Grammar workbooks, dictionaries “Correct” vs. “incorrect”
  11. 11.  “Rather than trying to develop a set of rules for students to learn, linguistics attempt to make explicit the subconscious rules people use to produce and understand language” (Freeman & Freeman, 2004, p. 219). Descriptive, not prescriptive
  12. 12. ◦◦ “I shot an elephant in my pajamas.” Who is in the speaker’s pajamas? The speaker or the elephant? The words do not have a double meaning, but the sentence does. (p. 219)
  13. 13.  Some sentences are ambiguous, not because of words having multiple meanings, but because the sentence has 2 different structures.
  14. 14. Sentences can look differentbut have the same meaning. ◦ The man read the book. ◦ The book was read by the man. (insert be, reverse subj. and obj., and add by phrase) The sentence expresses the same meaning even though the words appear in a different structure order. CIMA © 2008
  15. 15. Phrase Structure: Hierarchicalcomponents, constituent analysis A simple sentence: “You will help Mary.” SNP—AUX—VP A sentence (S) consists of a noun phrase (NP), an auxiliary verb (AUX), and a verb phrase (VP). The arrow is translated as “can be expanded into.”Let’s take each section and review! CIMA © 2008
  16. 16. Noun Phrase (NP)The term noun phrase refers to agroup of words which act like anoun.Words can go before the noun e.g., The flower girl and/or after the noun. e.g., The Maid of honorThey modify the meaning of the noun. CIMA © 2008
  17. 17. Auxiliaries (AUX) SNP—AUX—VPEnglish has a complex system for auxiliaryverbs (can, could, should, will, would, mightetc.). e.g., She might drive. CIMA © 2008
  18. 18. Verb Phrases (VP) SNP—AUX—VPThe rule states that a VP must have a verband can have one or more adverb phrases. Skunks can spray badly. CIMA © 2008
  19. 19. Tree Diagrams1. One of the common ways to create a visual representation of syntactic structure.2. When we diagram a sentence, we are organizing the underlying structure of phrases and sentences. CIMA © 2008
  20. 20. “Syntax is the study of the principles andprocesses by which sentences areconstructed in particular languages.Syntactic investigation of a given languagehas as its goal the construction of grammarthat can be viewed as a device of some sortfor producing the sentences of the languageunder analysis.” -Noam Chomsky, Syntactic Structures, 1971 CIMA © 2008
  21. 21. Symbols used in syntactic description:N = Noun (boy, balloon) NP = Noun Phrase ( A red balloon)V = Verb (see, know) VP = Verb Phrase (“saw it”)Adj = Adjective (small, helpful)Adv = Adverb (recently,Prep = Preposition (on, with) PP = Prepositional Phrase ( on the bus)Det/Art = Determiner/Article(my, the, a/an)Pro = Pronoun (it, you)PN = Proper Noun (Mary,Kansas)Aux = Auxiliary verb (can, will)Conj = Conjunction (and, but)
  22. 22. Exercise 1: Let’s label each branchof the tree with appropriate symbol
  23. 23. Exercise 2: Let’s create a sentence thatfits in the structure shown below S NP VP N V Adv Det P Adj N
  24. 24. Using Syntactic Clues Colorless green ideas sleep furiously. What can we determine about this sentence? ◦ From a decoding perspective? ◦ From a comprehension perspective? CIMA © 2008
  25. 25. Decoding Perspective Colorless green ideas sleep furiously. “Known” words (can be defined by a dictionary and are recognizable). ◦ Can be pronounced using phonemic awareness and phonics skills. ◦ Using this view, I would assume that if I encountered this sentence, I should be able to know what it means. CIMA © 2008
  26. 26. Comprehension Perspective Colorless green ideas sleep furiously. ◦ Graphophonics: I have encountered these words previously and have an idea of their meaning. ◦ Syntax: The use of the words follows a familiar syntactic pattern and I can understand the morphological structure. ◦ Semantics: Using this third cueing system, I can see that this sentence has no meaning. CIMA © 2008
  27. 27.  What are some strategies that you can employ to call students’ attention to the syntactic structure of English?In what ways can you effectively teach the following set of structures? In your small group, come up with a mini lesson. Be creative.(1)Mr. Phat expects Mr. Thin to paint himself.(2)Mr. Thin believes Mr. Phat will paint himself.
  28. 28. Strategies to teach syntactic structurescontinued(3) Visiting linguists can be boring (linguists who is visiting = boring).(4) Visiting linguists can be boring (to visit linguists = boring).(5) Kyle paid the bill. (active)(6) The bill was paid by Kyle. (passive)
  29. 29. Lexico-Syntax  Part of knowing a word means knowing how it functions within a sentence.  This term, lexico-syntax, is a way to show the link between words and syntactic patterns. (F&F, p. 242) e.g.. “The linguist went to the lecture”.  Strategy for syntactic cues—cloze procedures. CIMA © 2008
  30. 30. Example Cloze ActivityOnce upon a time, there was a _________princess and a __________ queen. Theywere both very _______ and ________.One day, they decided to find a____________ castle that they both could livein together. They _______ to a distant landand found a _________ castle. They bothlived happily ever after. The End. CIMA © 2008
  31. 31. Example Cloze ActivityOnce upon a time, there was a _tall_princess and a _huge_ queen. They werevery _loud_ and _boisterous_. They decidedto find a _smaller_ castle that they bothcould live in together. They traveled to adistant land and found a _gargantuan_castle. They both lived happily ever after. The End. CIMA © 2008
  32. 32. Grammar Translation Method(GTM)  Method Emphases: ◦ Explicit teaching of target language, grammar rules ◦ Vocabulary as lists of isolated, decontextualized words ◦ Translation of literary texts ◦ Text analyses for grammar, without context ◦ Little attention to pronunciation CIMA © 2008
  33. 33. Problems with theGrammar Translation Method An unnatural method ◦ Violates natural progress of students from listening, to speaking, to reading and writing R/W emphases neglect speech ◦ Raises anxieties about oral communication Exact translations are not always possible ◦ Not all messages in L1 precisely translate to L2 Learned rules preempt language acquisition ◦ and language use in natural/realistic context. CIMA © 2008
  34. 34. Audio-Lingual Method (ALM) Syntax-driven and widely used method of behavioral psychology and structural linguistics. Method Emphases: ◦ Dialogues and drills of English sentence patterns (syntax). ◦ Utilized only basic syntax patterns of English. ◦ No explicit teaching of English syntax patterns. CIMA © 2008
  35. 35. Problems with theAudiolingual Method Assumed that language could be learned vs. acquired ◦ Students could successfully navigate the syntax exercises  But never acquired the meaning of the sentences Focus of method limited to surface structures ◦ Students learned the surface structures in repetition  But, did not acquire the skills to construct their own deep structures of the target language. . CIMA © 2008
  36. 36. Content-BasedLanguage Teaching Methods Emphases: ◦ The targeting of language acquisition vs. learning. ◦ Focus on comprehensible input. ◦ Teach language through content. ◦ Capacity-building among students for Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency [CALP]. CIMA © 2008
  37. 37. Academic Language:Issues of Vocabulary and Syntax  Five Syntactic Challenges: ◦ Passive Voice ◦ Comparatives and logical connectors ◦ Modals ◦ Verb phrases containing prepositional phrases ◦ Relative clauses CIMA © 2008
  38. 38. Passive Voice  Active Voice: ◦ “The doctor diagnosed the problem”.  The subject, the doctor, is conducting the action.  Passive Voice: ◦ “The problem was diagnosed by the doctor”.  Subject of the sentence, the problem, is not conducting the action.  Challenge: Passive voice occurs infrequently in conversational English but frequently in academic texts. CIMA © 2008
  39. 39. Comparatives and Logical Connectors Comparatives: ◦ There are fewer planets than asteroids in the solar system.  Challenge: Comparative words (e.g., fewer, than) are essential to comprehension but are often very separated in academic syntax. Logical Connectors: ◦ The meteorologist encountered not only high winds but also hail in approaching the wall cloud.  Challenge: Multiple sentence clauses and connecting words (e.g., not only and but) essential to comprehension are often widely separated in the syntax of academic English. CIMA © 2008
  40. 40. Modals Should, would, could, might  E.g., “The botanist should have selected a different species for study”. ◦ Challenge: Such words indicate subtle shades of meaning that are not always familiar to CLD students.  E.g., obligation, necessity, and possibility CIMA © 2008
  41. 41. Verb PhrasesContaining Prepositional Phrases (PP) E.g., “Contaminated water percolates into the soil after each efflux of a septic tank”. ◦ Challenge:  The first PP indicates where the water percolates.  The second PP indicates when the water percolates.  Processing of such a sentence requires that the CLD reader assimilate many related ideas from a single sentence. CIMA © 2008
  42. 42. Relative Clauses E.g., “The student located a problem with the equation that had not been noticed by others in the class”. ◦ Relative Clause  that had not been noticed by others in the class ◦ Challenge:  Such clauses pack additional information into sentences of academic English that are often already difficult for CLD and other students to comprehend and synthesize. CIMA © 2008
  43. 43. Relative clause constructions canoverload learners’ working memory
  44. 44. Academic English: Target & ChallengeRECAP  Five Syntactical Challenges for CLD Students: ◦ Passive Voice ◦ Comparatives and logical connectors ◦ Modals ◦ Verb phrases containing prepositional phrases ◦ Relative clauses CIMA © 2008
  45. 45. Strategies for Success with Syntax  Focus your language interactions in the classroom on: ◦ Academic English acquisition through content learning ◦ Students’ Development of CALP skills  Monitor the syntactic capacities of CLD and other students.  Know what syntactical structures tend to challenge them.  Scaffold and adapt instruction to address problem challenges in syntax, especially among CLD students whose first language is not English.  Evaluate and reflect upon of the effectiveness of instructional adaptations in promoting syntactic knowledge and academic language acquisition. CIMA © 2008