Walking Tall With Word Forks
N. Pratheeba, India
Mrs. N. Pratheeba has done her M.A. in English from Annamalai University in the year 1995 and M.Phil in the year 2002 from Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai. She has been conferred with PhD degree in English in the month of December 2008 by Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, Tamilnadu, India. After serving as an English faculty for a brief period in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, she has worked in Sri Kaliswari College, Sivakasi as the HOD of English Department from the year 2000-2007. She has many publications in Journals and conferences to her credit. She has also published a book entitled “Technical English” for students of engineering colleges. At present, she is employed as Associate Professor at Kamaraj College of Engineering and technology.
Acquisition of phrasal verbs – a tough task
Word forks-and indispensable tool
Heterogenous pack of students
Word forks training module
Examples of completed word forks
Heterogenous group of students
Word forks training module
Performance of students in pre-test and exit test
Findings and inferences
Word forks serve as indispensable tools to teach phrasal verbs to any ESL learner. Since Word forks give an idea of all the objects that goes along with a particular phrasal verb, the ESL learner will be able to have a wide and comprehensive view of the usage of phrasal verbs under study. If an ESL learner learns the proper usage of phrasal verbs, then his fluency in any linguistic activity in English will be enhanced. Twenty students from an arts and science college were trained in the training program "Learning Phrasal verbs with word forks". A pre-test was conducted before teaching the lay-out module. The module was administered for three months. The very same set of students were made to do an exit test to assess their performance based on the training given to them in the usage of phrasal verbs. A-Sandler’s test was done to find out, if at all, the training had a positive effect on the ESL learners.
Phrasal verbs are the most difficult aspect of the English language to any ESL learner. Since the mother tongue of Indian ESL learners is devoid of such an aspect, they find it very difficult to incorporate the usage of phrasal verbs either in their speech or in their writings. As a result, phrasal verbs are avoided by the ESL learners in any context. Some Indian ESL learners can speak flawless English without any grammar mistake. But they are not well versed in the usage of phrasal verbs. Inculcating the habit of using phrasal verbs in the midst of ESL learners is indeed a tall task. If an ESL learner learns the proper usage of phrasal verbs, then his fluency in any linguistic activity in English will dramatically increase.
The PV structure is a peculiarity of the family of Germanic languages (Dagut &
Laufer, 1985; Darwin & Gary, 1999), and on the whole occurs more frequently in spoken
than in written language (Cornell, 1985; Side, 1990). A PV is usually
defined as a structure that consists of a verb proper and a morphologically invariable
particle that function as a single unit both lexically and syntactically (Darwin & Gary,
1999; Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, & Svartvik, 1985). Acquisition of phrasal verbs is indeed a tall task for any ESL learner.
As early as 250 years ago, Dr.Samuel Johnson wrote in his Preface to A Dictionary of English Language:
There is another kind of composition more frequent in our language than perhaps in any other, from which arises to foreigners the greatest difficulty. We modify the signification of many verbs by a particle subjoined; as to come off, to escape by a fetch; to fall on, to attack; to fall off, to apostatize; to break off, to stop abruptly; to bear out, to justify; to fall in, to comply; to give over, to cease; to set off, to embellish; to set in, to begin a continual tenour; to set out, to begin a course or journey; to take off, to copy; with innumerable expressions of the same kind, of which some appear wildly irregular, being so far distant from the sense of the simple words, that no sagacity will be able to trace the steps by which they arrived at the present use.
In more recent times, many researchers have voiced the same opinion. Gairns and Redman for example, write of “the mystique which surrounds multi-word verbs for many foreign learners. ”In any case, acquisition of phrasal verbs is very difficult for any ESL learner.
Methodologies like substituting a phrasal verb for a single word, rewriting the phrasal verb with a single word substitute, are all available. In the website entitled “One Stop English” Lindsay Clandfield has identified four ways of teaching phrasal verbs. They are teaching phrasal verbs using equivalents\ definitions, oral text, and literary text or by using a thematic set. Songs can be used to teach phrasal verbs.(Upendran,2000).It is not an ESL learners cup of tea but a bitter pill devoid of sugar coating. (Pratheeba,2011). To teach phrasal verbs is a horrendous task for any teacher teaching English from this part of the globe. Word forks come to the rescue of such a teacher. Vigorous practice is needed if these learners want to be well versed in the usage of phrasal verbs. However, if an ESL/EFL learner gets accustomed to the usage of phrasal verbs, then their collocational competence (ability to use lexical items that usually co-occur in native speakers’ speech)in English will dramatically increase. (Pratheeba,2012)
Word forks are indeed a remarkable way to teach phrasal verbs to any ESL learner Since Word forks give an idea of all the objects that goes along with a particular phrasal verb, the ESL learner will be able to have a wide and comprehensive view of the usage of phrasal verbs under study. Word forks indirectly help to enhance the communicative competence of the ESL learner as the exercises help them to remember the collocation meticulously. As a part of the regular exercise, continuous re-cycling and revising may be envisaged upon; it will then indirectly lead to the accumulation of the usage in the long –term memory. And in due course of time, it will help the learner to make use of the usage actively by forming a part of their active vocabulary. Once the ESL learner are accustomed with the usage of phrasal verbs in this manner using word forks, they will be in a condition to use them freely in all their linguistic activities. Such a usage will definitely enhance the fluency of the ESL learner.
Word forks emerge as indispensable tools that help the ESL learner to master phrasal verbs effectively .They are, in particular, very useful for teaching phrasal verbs that have a common subject. The stem of the fork is meant for the particular phrasal verb which ought to be taught to the ESL learner. The prongs of the word fork are meant for the various words that can be used with that particular phrasal verb. ESL learner who have greater exposure to comprehensible input, are naturally aware of the usage of phrasal verbs. If a class consists of a heterogeneous pack of students, the training using word fork exercises will be more advantageous to the average and below average students. Students may be insisted to maintain paper or electronic vocabulary records for word forks’ exercises. Word forks help the students to learn phrasal verbs as vocabulary units as if they are single words. Word forks will definitely help to boost the usage of phrasal verbs by an ESL learner The students will find the method to be very impressive and they will surely enjoy the learning experience.
Word forks can be used in many ways. At first, ESL learners may be encouraged to memorize the filled –in word forks. In the next exercise, two or three prongs of the fork may be left blank and the students can be instructed to fill the same according to their own ideas. In this way, the creative acumen of the student will get tuned up. Or else, a number of options may be given and the student can be left to fill the prongs with the options that will be more suitable for a particular phrasal verb. In this way, the ESL learner will hone their ability to fix the collocation properly. The more the student has exposure to comprehensible input, the more will be his score in the above exercises.
the false claim
|Come up with
|Look out for
The proficiency of the ESL students in India is much diversified in the sense that some of them have access to the language right from their kindergarten. But some students learn English as their second language only from third grade. The medium of instruction for the other subjects in their school curricula is their mother tongue. Yet there is another batch of students who switch over to the medium of instruction in English from grade six though they have studied English as their second language from grade three. The researcher had chosen a heterogeneous pack of twenty students coming from the above discussed backgrounds as the participants of the present study. The participants can be considered as advanced ESL learner as they had finished twelve years of schooling and were in the final year in an arts and science college.
Some students who had greater exposure to comprehensible input, were naturally aware of the usage of phrasal verbs and excelled in communicative competence. The students who had less exposure to comprehensible input lacked communicative competence. Since the class consisted of a heterogeneous pack of students, the training was more advantageous to the average and below average students. The researcher took the specific method of teaching phrasal verbs using word forks to boost the usage of phrasal verbs. The students found the above method to be very impressive. A pre-test was conducted before teaching the lay-out module. The module was administered for three months. The very same set of students were made to do an exit test to assess their performance based on the training given to them in the usage of phrasal verbs.
Since word forks give an idea of all the objects that goes along with a particular phrasal verb, the student is able to have a wide and comprehensive view of the usage of phrasal verbs under study. Word forks also help a student to remember the collocation meticulously. Since the students were allowed to frame their own sentences, using the given phrasal verbs, they had developed the skill of using the same, whenever the situation demanded. As a part of the study, continuous re-cycling and revising was envisaged upon and this indirectly led to the accumulation of the usage in the long –term memory of the concerned participants. Or it helped the learner to make use of the usage actively by forming a part of the active vocabulary. This was a major advantage as it helped them to enhance their fluency in the right path.
The concerned students were assessed based on their performance in the pre-test conducted before the training period and exit test conducted after the training period. To increase the validity of the tests, the very same questions were asked both in the pre-test and the exit test.
The questions were as follows:
- Write a dialogue between your favourite sports personalities with as many phrasal verbs as possible.
- Write a paragraph describing your favourite video game with phrasal verbs of your choice.
In order to create an interest in the usage of phrasal verbs, the researcher had particularly chosen questions concerned personally with the fellow students. As the first question was open-ended, the students had a wide variety in the choice of their sports personalities . Regarding the second question, the students were very much interested in describing their favourite video game elaborately. The papers were evaluated giving prime importance to the usage of phrasal verbs. The pre –test and exit test marks were compared to find out, if at all the training has contributed any change or enhanced the fluency of the ESL learner.
The objective of this research work is to develop an analysis that would analyze the relationship between the marks in the pre-test and exit test which are the two variables under consideration in order to predict or estimate the extent to which the training undergone by the participants was effective. A-Sandler’s test was done to find out, if at all, the training had positive effect on the ESL learner.
Using A-test, the test statistics for the given work was worked out by the researcher using the formula A= Σ Di2/ (Σ Di)2
Since Ha in the given problem is one-sided, one tailed test has been applied. Accordingly, at 5% level of significance, the table value of A-statistic for (n-1) or (20-1) =19 degrees of freedom in the given case is 0.368 (as per table of A-statistic). The calculated value of A is 0.0964 which is lower than this table value and as such A-statistic is significant and accordingly Ho should be rejected. This has led the researcher to infer that there is positive relationship of statistical significance between the two variables (the marks scored by the students in the pre-test and exit test respectively) as proposed by the alternative hypothesis. In other words, it can be concluded that the training was effective.
From the above study, it is inferred that word forks can very well be used to enhance the communicative competence of any ESL learner. A-Sandler's test demonstrates that the training session involving the arts and science college students has been effective. A comparison of the marks of the students in the pre-test and the exit test showed that the participants were able to enhance and enrich their knowledge of phrasal verbs . On the other hand, the training was really effective. Thus wordforks come in handy to any teacher teaching English and they emerge as essential and indispensable tools as they help in the enhancement of the usage of phrasal verbs also.
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