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Grammar and Vocabulary
Instruction for Diverse Learners
CATESOL 2012 College/University Level Workshop
Jan Frodesen, UC Santa Barbara
Margi Wald, UC Berkeley
Bennett, TESOL 2012:
• Good writing = Writing that meets expectations.
• Disciplines, courses, instructors
• “Features of good writing vary from one situation to
another. These variations depend, for example, on the
subject of the writing, its purpose, and the reader’s
expectations. The form of writing used in a field of study
often structures those expectations.” (Hjortshoj, 2001, p. 33)
Defining Good Writing
• If we think about this definition -- based on subject,
purpose, and reader expectations -- what grammar and
vocabulary features meet expectations for
college/university academic writing?
Academic writing:
Grammar/Vocabulary features
Academic writing:
Grammar/Vocabulary features
• Academic tone:
• Accurate and precise use of academic vocabulary
• Semantic categories:
• Change of state verbs and nouns
(increase, decrease, alteration)
• Reason/cause and result/effect verbs and nouns
(factor, influence, stems from, stimulate)
• Grammatical features not often covered in textbooks:
• Modified noun phrases
(the dramatic increase in foreclosures)
• Prepositional connectors as cohesive devices
(Given the dramatic increase in foreclosures)
Are we meeting these
expectations?
• Teach students to be vocabulary investigators by
providing resources and opportunities to practice
using those resources
Strategy #1
Part 1 – Each pair of sentences below contains a shared word. For each
pair, explain the difference in meaning between sentence (a) and (b).
1 a. The researchers counted the number of responses given my each
participant.
b. How much do student evaluations count in the reviews of instructors?
Aspect:
2 a. Given the president’s high approval ratings, the public seems to be
more forgiving of his difficulties than the press and Congress are.
b. Silver is the most forgiving car color, as it shows the least amount of
dirt, dents and scratches.
Aspect:
What it means to know a word
Part 2 – Each pair of sentences below contains words with similar
meanings. For each pair, explain the difference in tone, if any, between
sentence (a) and (b).
3 a. After the plane crash, the investigators interviewed the pilots.
b. After the plane crash, the investigators interrogated the pilots.
Aspect:
4 a. Researchers compiled tons of evidence to support their position.
b. Researchers compiled abundant evidence to support their position.
Aspect:
5 a. Scholars dismiss this theory as risible.
b. Scholars dismiss this theory as ridiculous.
Aspect:
Read through each of the following sentences. Underline or highlight the words,
phrases, or clauses that you think sound awkward or may contain an error. If
possible, list how you might change the sentence to address this concern.
1.
Researchers are quite interested of the relationship between socio-economic
status and acquisition of academic English
2.
In her article, Santos sites several studies that examine this relationship.
1.
It is also important to recognition the debates about bilingual education in
the US.
1.
Many people claim that bilingual education causes that learners develop
English skills more slowly than English-only programs, whereas others
believe the opposite. (Clue: Consider grammatical structure)
What it means to know a word
Resource: Learner’s Dictionaries
• On your handout:
• Take a look at the example for permeate.
• Look back at the Aspects of a Word Charts.
• What do we learn about this word from the dictionary entry?
• What might we want to work on together with students to help
them gain the most benefit from this entry?
• Here’s the sentence the student wrote: “New anti-immigration
laws permeated fear throughout the immigrant community.”
How would you help students understand what is wrong with
the use of permeate?
Learner’s Dictionaries: Training
Interrogate:
Connotation: What words in the definition tell you the connotation of the word?
Derivatives: List the three derivatives or word forms given for this word.
Figurative use: What is the difference in meaning between interrogate someone and interrogate
something, like a commonly-held belief? Write two sentences, in your own words, one using the
first meaning and one using the second meaning.
Countability: The definition lists interrogation as both countable and uncountable. Nouns that
can be countable and uncountable are often referred to as double nouns. Look at the two
examples below. In which is interrogation countable and in which is it uncountable?
In the US, during an interrogation of a child, the parents are often required to be in the
room.
Over the course of several hours, each suspect was taken for interrogation.
Collocations: Read through the usage note. For each sentence below, choose a word that fits.
The police decided to _________ an interrogation of the suspect, given the new evidence
uncovered the night before.
The suspect was still ______ interrogation three hours later.
Practice
Resource: Collocations Dictionary
• On your handout:
• Take a look at the example for evidence.
• Look back at the Aspects of a Word Charts.
• What do we learn about this word from this entry?
• What might we want to work on together with students to help them
gain the most benefit from this entry?
• Here are some sample sentences. How would you help students
understand what is wrong in these sentences?
1. The author presents really great evidence to support his position. I
believe this evidence makes his argument is very persuasive.
2. Providing only a little bit of evidence, the author fails to convince
his audience.
3. Much research on the link between athletic participation and
leadership has been performed on US college campuses, providing
big evidence that student athletes gain strong leadership skills.
Collocations Dictionaries: Training
• Sample sentence:
• It is important to conduct a complete inspection annually to
ensure that all requirements have been done.
• Look up ‘requirements’ in a collocations dictionary. List
three verbs below that are common collocations with
requirement.
Practice
• Collocations: Corpus of Contemporary American
English (COCA)
What do we learn about collocations (preposition and
types of nouns)?
Resource: Online Concordancer
• Frequency: Corpus of Contemporary American English
• Results in magazine, newspaper and academic registers:
• Risible: 50 times (newspaper, magazine, academic registers)
• Ridiculous: 2633 times
• Ludicrous: 730 times
The infrequency of risible should make you stop, think, and
investigate. Might there be a more frequent synonymous word?
How exactly is this word used and in which contexts? Again, it
might be fine to use this word once but not several times in one
paper.
Resource: Online Concordancer
• Grammatical Environment (COCA)
Resource: Online Concordancer
• Look up the word factor, a common classifier word in academic
writing.
1.
List three adjectives that can co-occur with this noun:
1.
List three verbs that co-occur with this noun:
1.
(Advanced) In the MS Word thesaurus, the first four synonyms for
factor are issue, influence, feature, aspect. Investigate these words
– can they always be used in place of factor?
• Try looking up a couple words that are used in your field or perhaps
general academic words (e.g., analysis, assertion, solution) to see
what words collocate with them.
Practice
• Sequence assignments:
• assessing students’ knowledge
• investigating words/grammar
• manipulating words/grammar
Strategy #2
Highlight the words in the sentences below that express changes
such as increases, decreases, a combination of both or other
types of change. The changes could refer to people, places or
things, ideas, activities, states or events. The first has been done
as an example.
1. The altering of photographs, known as photo manipulation or
retouching, has been practiced since the early 20th century.
However, the practice has mushroomed in recent years with
advances in digital technology. Commonly referred by its
slang term “photo-shopping,” photo manipulation is
increasingly used to “enhance” an individual’s physical
appearance through alterations such as adjusting eye color,
diminishing facial wrinkles, and enlarging or reducing
various parts of the body.
Assessing: Noticing
2. In measuring inflation, economists omit consumer items whose costs
fluctuate greatly, either rising or declining sharply, from month to
month. Items that swing widely in price include airline tickets and
televisions. The prices of some foods can also vary considerably in a
short period of time.
5. Critics of some current drug use laws contend that the laws have done
little to curb the drug problems. Instead, they argue that these laws have
inflated the prison population with individuals who pose no serious
threat to society and who only aggravate existing problems within the
prisons. Indeed, the surging prison population in many states resulting
from numerous drug convictions has become a serious social and
economic issue.
7. There is mounting evidence that children’s creative play has steadily
declined as a result of extended periods of watching television and
video games. Some researchers believe this decline in play may
transform children’s cognitive and social developmental processes.
Assessing: Noticing
2. In measuring inflation, economists omit consumer items whose costs
fluctuate greatly, either rising or declining sharply, from month to
month. Items that swing widely in price include airline tickets and
televisions. The prices of some foods can also vary considerably in a
short period of time.
5. Critics of some current drug use laws contend that the laws have done
little to curb the drug problems. Instead, they argue that these laws have
inflated the prison population with individuals who pose no serious
threat to society and who only aggravate existing problems within the
prisons. Indeed, the surging prison population in many states resulting
from numerous drug convictions has become a serious social and
economic issue.
7. There is mounting evidence that children’s creative play has steadily
declined as a result of extended periods of watching television and
video games. Some researchers believe this decline in play may
transform children’s cognitive and social developmental processes.
Assessing: Noticing
• Place the following verbs into the appropriate column.
• abate, amplify, augment, condense, deplete, depreciate,
dwindle, escalate, lessen, proliferate, reduce, spread,
subside
Increase
Decrease
Assessing: Meaning
One excellent way of building your productive vocabulary is to become more
familiar with the object nouns that commonly follow transitive verbs meaning to
make something larger or smaller. Using an online concordancer, find five
nouns that can follow each of the verbs below as objects. If you use a
concordancer, check past tense verbs too since they are often more common.
List them next to the verb. If possible, find ones that are used repeatedly. The
first has been done for you.
Verbs
Nouns that can follow as objects
amplify
Effects, risks, signals, problems, voices
augment
deplete
escalate
lessen
reduce
Investigating: Collocations
The verbs in this next group are always or often used intransitively; that is, they
describe things that become or grow larger or smaller without mention of a
“doer” that causes the action. Use a concordancer or collocations dictionary to
find four or five nouns that can occur as subjects with these verbs. (Again, keep
in mind that you may find more concordancer examples with the past tense
verbs, e.g., subsided, than present tense.) The first has been done for you.
Nouns that can precede as subjects
Verbs
Epidemic, pressures, symptoms, worries, violence abate
condense
depreciate
dwindle
proliferate
spread
subside
Investigating: Collocations
For each sentence below, select one of the three verbs given that would be the best choice to express
an increase or decrease. Using a dictionary, concordancer, or an internet search engine, identify the
verb that best collocates with the underlined nouns and other underlined words and put the
corresponding letter in the blank.
1.
The counseling staff wants to ______ awareness of depression among
college students.
a. accumulate
b. inflate
c. heighten
2.
I’m sorry to say that it appears we have completely ______ the resources
for dealing with this problem.
a. deflated
b. exhausted
c. lessened
3.
The engineers needed to ________ the sound in the auditorium so that
those in the back of the hall could hear.
a. amplify
b. enlarge
c. multiply
4.
The International Monetary Fund’s contribution of $13 billion has
________ fears that Greece could default on its debt.
a. dwindled
b. compressed
c. eased
Manipulating: Collocations
• Now consider the following sentences. Two are grammatically correct but the others are not.
Underline the main verb in each sentence. If the sentence correctly uses a transitive verb that
can be followed by an object, write C in the blank provided. If the sentence incorrectly uses an
object after an intransitive verb write I; then rephrase the sentence, using the object as the
subject of your new sentence. If needed, use a dictionary to check whether a verb can be
transitive in the way used for the sentence. The first has been done for you.
_I_ 1. Thousands of newly arrived immigrants boomed the population.
Rephrased: The population boomed when thousands of new immigrants
arrived.
___2. He dwindled his job opportunities by dropping out of school
___3. This internship will help to augment my qualifications for future positions in
my field.
___4. We mushroomed the image to twenty times its normal size.
___5. Several aspirin and some rest subsided her bad headache.
___6. The economic recession has shriveled individual savings.
Manipulating: Transitivity
arise from
account for
perpetuate
be attributed to
allow for
prevent
derive from
contribute to
promote
emerge from
enable
provoke
follow from
generate
render
originate from
give rise to
result in
result from
hinder
stimulate
stem from
influence
trigger
restrain
lead to
yield
Your turn: Cause/Effect Verbs
• Guide students in developing grammar and
vocabulary for effectively connecting ideas in
academic writing.
Strategy #3
• The “grammar” for writing isn’t the
“grammar” for speaking. (Bennett, 2012)
• Linguistic fluency: The use of linguistic
structures appropriate to rhetorical and
social purposes (Reynolds, 2005)
Connections and writing
fluency
1. Noun phrases
2. Logical connectors: Prepositions
Key connecting structures in
academic writing
1.
Noun phrases
• Frequency
60% of lexical words in scholarly writing = nouns!
(most = nouns with modification)
• Difficulty
• False impression: Clausal structures more difficult for learners
than phrases (Clauses = major focus in ESL textbooks)
• Reality: Complex noun phrases pose significant challenges
(Bennett, 2012)
Noun phrases in
academic writing
• Vocabulary & grammar of noun phrases
• Classifier nouns: Help to organize and connect concepts;
provide summary terms for previous discussion
Examples: concept, differences, issue, tendency
See handout, p. 5 for more examples
Noun phrases in
academic writing
• Vocabulary & grammar of noun phrases
• Reference words and phrases:
• Combine with classifier nouns and logical
connectors to produce multiple connections
• May also function as pronouns (e.g,. another,
others)
Noun phrases in
academic writing
Reference Form
this
that
these
those
such
the + noun phrase
another
other/the other
Noun Phrase Examples
this critical issue
that outdated notion
these two competing hypotheses
those considerations
such accusations
the first topic that was discussed
another important question
other factors/the other concern
Reference forms
Noticing Task : Reference Words
Read each of the sentence pairs below. Then do the following: 1) Circle or highlight the words or
phrases in sentence b. that refer to something in sentence a. 2) Put brackets around the words or
phrases in sentence a. that are being referred to. In some cases, there may be more than one referent in
sentence b. The first one has been done as an example.
1. a. [Childhood] is a term that usually refers to the human developmental period
between infancy and adulthood.
b. In psychology, it is typically divided into several stages.
2. a. Early childhood is the stage that comes after infancy.
b. This stage begins when a child starts speaking or walking and ends around the
age of seven or eight.
3.
a. All U.S. states have laws requiring a period of educational attendance for
children.
b. Most of these laws, known as compulsory education, allow home
schooling.
5.
a. One benefit of compulsory education worldwide is that it has
discouraged child labor.
b. Another is that it helps to prepare individuals for vocations and
professions in adulthood.
2. Logical Connectors: Prepositions
• Writing textbooks: Tend to focus on linking adverbials
(e.g., however, therefore, in addition, nevertheless)
• Importance of prepositions as logical connectors
• Used to create “multiple links” common to academic
writing
Logical connector + reference words + classifier phrase
In addition to
these
obvious advantages
Connecting structures in
academic writing
2.Logical Connectors:
Prepositions
• Logical connector + reference word + classifier phrase
In addition to
these
obvious advantages
If we used a sentence connector (linking adverbial) to express the
same idea, we might need something like:
These are some of the obvious advantages. In addition, there are
some less obvious ones.
Connecting structures in
academic writing
Let’s look at a real example!
Summarizing previous information in the text:
Given the growing gap between the amount of data
we produce and the amount of data we can process,
communicate and store, systems like ARGUS-IS and
CMS will become more the norm than the exception
over time.
Source: Baraniuk, R. 2011. More is less: Signal processing and the
data deluge. Science, 331.11, 717-718
Causal connection
Given the growing gap between the
amount of data we produce and the
amount of data we can process,...
Classifier noun
Given the growing gap between the
amount of data we produce and the amount
of data we can process, …
Pre-modifier
Post-modifier
Given the growing gap between the amount of
data we produce and the amount of data we can
process, communicate and store, …
Pre-modifier
Post-modifier
Given the growing gap between [the amount of
data we produce] and [the amount of data we
can process, communicate and store,] …
Work with a partner or in a small group. Read the paragraphs
below. Discuss with your partner how the last sentence or
sentences relate(s) to the earlier ones. Then discuss what logical
connector + reference form + classifier term you might use in the
blank. The first one is done for you.
Ex.: Tomorrow night, we are organizing the charity dinner for
our client’s organization. The original plan, according to my
notes, the chef has planned an Italian menu. I have just learned
that one colleague is allergic to wheat; one is vegetarian; and one
likes to avoid acidic food. In light of these dietary restrictions,
we need to meet with the chef to change the menu plan.
Manipulating grammar/vocab
1. Over the past several years, the public has received more and more
negative information about eating fast food. The nutritional value of
fast food has been questioned: often fast food lacks vegetables and
whole grains, which provide nutrients and fiber. This food may contain
large quantities of sugar, fat, and salt, which have been linked to obesity
and type II diabetes. _________________________, more and more
people seem to be eating at fast food restaurants, probably for the
convenience and low prices.
2. The fast food industry, however, has responded. Now customers are
greeted with signs on the windows of restaurants stating that the food is
made without trans-fats. And, menus have begun to include salads,
fruit, and lighter options that are lower fat and carbohydrates. In fact,
restaurants even publish the nutritional information about each item on
the menu. ______________________________, it might now be
possible to find healthier options at fast food restaurants.
Manipulating grammar/vocab
• With a partner, create one three-sentence paragraph
modeled after the items in the previous task.
Your turn
• Bennett, G. (2012, March). What and how: Grammar for
university-bound academic writers. Annual TESOL
convention, Philadelphia, PA.
• Bennett, G. (2010). Using corpora in the language learning
classroom. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
• Hjortshoj, K. (2001). The transition to college writing. Boston,
MA: Bedford.
• Reynolds, D. (2005). Linguistic correlates of second language
literacy development: Evidence from middle-grade learners’
essays. Journal of Second Language Writing, 14, 19–45.
References
• Corpus of Contemporary English
http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/
• Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary
http://oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/
• Oxford Collocations Dictionary
http://www.ozdic.com/
Resources

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