Phrases

Creating language

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Building language

As much as a teacher tries to build language, it helps to highlight certain grammar points that help to expand the students’ sentences by questioning them about factors such as time, place and manner. We can add details to the students’ speech or writing with adverbial phrases.

Example #1
Time (answers the question ‘When?’)
She will be arriving in a short time.
Place (answers the question ‘Where?’)
He is waiting near the wall.
Manner (answers the question ‘How?’)
They are discussing the matter in a civilized way.
Example #2
“Sue went” doesn’t convey much information.
S: Sue went.
T: Where did Sue go?
S: Sue went to the gym.
T: And, when did Sue go to the gym?
S: Sue went to the gym after work.
T: And also, why did Sue go to the gym after work?
S: Sue went to the gym after work to keep her New Year’s resolution.
“Sue went to the gym after work to keep her New Year’s resolution” explains the where, when and why of the event.

Moreover, adverbial phrases can be created by using prepositions to tell how, where, when, and how often. For example, “Sue swam with perfect technique in the pool before lunch on Tuesdays.”

Chunking and phrases

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Chunking

So, what is so important of moving from vocabulary to adverbials phrases, complements and objects such as “on the way”, “one night”, “from outer space”, or even “a monster from outer space”. Here lies examples of chunking of words and the Lexical Approach. The principles of the Lexical Approach have been around since Michael Lewis published ‘The Lexical Approach’ in 1993.The principles of the Lexical Approach have [been around] since Michael Lewis published ‘The Lexical Approach’ [20 years ago]. [It seems, however, that] many teachers and researchers do not [have a clear idea of] what the Lexical Approach actually [looks like] [in practice].

All the parts in brackets are fixed or set phrases. Different commentators use different and overlapping terms – ‘prefabricated phrases’, ‘lexical phrases’, ‘formulaic language’, ‘frozen and semi-frozen phrases’, are just some of these terms. We use just two: ‘lexical chunks’ and ‘collocations’.

‘Lexical chunk’ is an umbrella term which includes all the other terms. We define a lexical chunk as any pair or group of words which are commonly found together, or in close proximity.

‘Collocation’ is also included in the term ‘lexical chunk’, but we refer to it separately from time to time, so we define it as a pair of lexical content words commonly found together. Following this definition, ‘basic’ + ‘principles’ is a collocation, but ‘look’ + ‘at’ is not because it combines a lexical content word and a grammar function word. Identifying chunks and collocations is often a question of intuition.

Here are some examples.

Lexical Chunks (that are not collocations)

by the way
up to now
upside down
If I were you
a long way off
out of my mind

Lexical Chunks (that are collocations)

totally convinced
strong accent
terrible accident
sense of humour
sounds exciting
brings good luck

reference: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/articles/lexical-approach-1-what-does-lexical-approach-look