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TESOL Word formation barrier Thesis from Luckey

作者:TESOL in China

TESOL Word formation barrier Thesis from Luckey



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TESOL Word Formation Barrier:   

As we mentioned in the TESOL advanced course training, there are many types of word formation such as : compound words, conversion words, clipping words, blending words. During my bilingual teaching experience, I have found that English prefixes and suffixes are quite confusing to Chinese learners.

When we use English to communicate with foreigners, we have to think about the parts of speech, most word formation has basic regular rules, such as ‘reality’ which is a noun (end with ty), realistic is adjective (ends with tic), realist means person (end up with st), realization is a noun (end up with tion), realistically is adverb (end up with ly), realize is a verb (end up with ze) and this is why prefixes and suffixes learning are very important in L2 teaching.

As we know some prefixes and suffixes stand for specific meaning : de/dis/un means the opposite to the root words usual meaning. mon/uni/un means one; ambi/bi/bin/di means two; ian means…people/ someone work in some field; ing means in the process.

TESOL Suffixes and Prefixes :

Most prefixes and suffixes have regular rules such as :

              Grand: grandfather, grandmother, grandson

              Step: stepfather, stepmother, stepson

              In law: father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law

             Ese :   Chinese, Japanese, Sinhalese

             An : Singaporean, Korean, Zimbabwean

Some words add prefix or suffix will make conversion, such as:

             Less: hopeless, artless, careless

             Ful : joyful, helpful, wonderful

             Im: impatient, immigrant, impact

             Re: replete, react, rejoin

Some words may combine with a prefix and suffix together, such as:

             Abnormal=ab+norm+al

             Interaction=inter+act+ion

Some word consists with two prefixes and one-word root

              Reconstruct=re+con+struct

Some words consist with one word root with two suffixes

             Nationalism=nation+al+ism

             Nationalist=nation+al+ist

These words are easy to find the rule and keep in mind, but in elementary school, when students in their reading class, they become quite confused about how to describe each animal because there is no specific rule they can use.   

For example, baby animals in English have many words to describe them: such as cub, kitten, foal, chick, duckling, fawn, piglet as compared to Chinese where baby animals are usually called small ‘xiao’.   Learners tend to use the Chinese translation for these if they have not learnt or remembered the correct name and they will add ‘baby’ in front of animals.   baby cat, baby deer etc as the table below demonstrates.

词缀

male

female

baby小宝宝

dog

dog公狗

bitch母狗

puppy小狗

pig

boar公猪

sow母猪

piglet小猪

lion

lion公狮

lioness母狮

cub小狮子

deer鹿

buck公鹿

doe母鹿

fawn小鹿

cattle

bull公牛

cow母牛

calf小牛

horse

stallion公马

mare母马

foal小马

cat

cat公猫

tabby母猫

kitten小猫

chicken

rooster公鸡

hen母鸡

chick小鸡

duck

drake公鸭

duck母鸭

duckling小鸭

goose

goose公鹅

gander母鹅

gosling小鹅

The same is true for male animals where we would have boar, bull, tom, stag or female animals: soar, cow, queen, doe, bitch for bears, camels, cats and deer respectively, but in Chinese it is simply ‘gong’ for male or mu for female.   

Teachers use two methods to teach vocabulary such as this above, explicit teaching with the use of word lists and implicit which is exposing words in context of real texts. Following Craik & Lockhart (1972) that the wider the range of metacognitive activities the better the learning of vocabulary will be.   

So in addition to using animal flash cards that reflect the vocabulary list, and selected reading texts that use the new vocabulary in context which ensures that the learning is relevant to their external language activities and helps reinforce students’ memorization we may also act out the roles of gender characteristics and use ‘guess the name’ activities for the object being learned. Going further than these traditional methods of vocabulary learning we also examine the synonyms and rhyming words to increase the amount of ‘processing’ the students are required to do and providing a fully rounded metacognitive experience.

References

Craik & Lockhart (1972) Levels of processing: A framework for Memory Research. Journal of Verbal learning and verbal behavior. v11, p671


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