Sunday, November 20, 2016

English inflectional morphology

  English inflectional morphology
              English has only three categories of meaning which are expressed inflectionally, known as inflectional categories. They are number in nouns, tense/aspect in verbs, and comparison in adjectives.  Within these categories, English has a remarkably small inventory of affixes, by comparison with languages such as Spanish or Russian. English does not always use affixes to express these categories (see the discussion of irregular morphology).
Inflectional categories and affixes of English
Word class to which inflection applies
Inflectional category
Regular affix used to express category
-s, -es:
 book/books, bush/bushes
-'s, -': 
 the cat's tail, Charles' toe
3rd person singular present
-s, -es: it rains, Karen writes, the water sloshes
past tense
-ed:       paint/painted
perfect aspect
-ed:    paint/painted ('has painted) (past participle)
progressive or continuous aspect
-ing: fall/falling, write/writing (present participle)
comparative (comparing two items)
-er:      tall/taller
superlative (comparing +2 items)
-est:     tall/tallest
           Spanish, by contrast, inflects its nouns for number and gender, but not for possession (which is signalled by placing the particle 'de' between the possessed item and the possessor, as in 'la casa de mi madre', 'the house of my mother'. Spanish has far more inflectional categories — and affixes to mark them — for verbs than does English.
Spanish inflectional categories and affixes
Word class to which inflection applies
Inflectional category
Regular affix used to express category
'-s'   mano/manos 'hand/hands'
'-a' Fem., '-o' Masc. 
hermana/hermano 'sister/brother'
 The following table shows the verb suffixes for just one of the three classes of Spanish verbs:
-ar class 
pres. subjunctive 
imperf. subj.
you (sg.)
you (pl.)
   Regular and irregular inflectional morphology
Here are some ways English inflectional morphology is irregular:
Type of irregularity
Noun plurals
Verbs: past tense
Verbs: past participle
Unusual suffix
oxen, syllabi, antennae
taken, seen, fallen, eaten
Change of stem vowel
foot/feet, mouse/mice
run/ran, come/came, flee/fled, meet/met, fly/flew, stick/stuck, get/got, break/broke
swim/swum, sing/sung
Change of stem vowel with unusual suffix
feel/felt, kneel/knelt
write/written, do/done, break/broken, fly/flown
Change in base/stem form 
(sometimes with unusual suffix)
send/sent, bend/bent, think/thought, teach/taught, buy/bought
send/sent, bend/bent, think/thought, teach/taught, buy/bought
Zero-marking (no suffix, no stem change)
deer, sheep, moose, fish
hit, beat
hit, beat, come
More ways inflection can be irregular:
Suppletion (instead of a suffix, the whole word changes):
be - am - are - is - was - were - been
go - went - gone
good - better - best
bad - worse - worst
some - more - most
Syntactic marking (added meanings are indicated by a separate word rather than marking with a suffix or change to the base):
Future of verbs: will go, will eat, will fight, etc.
Comparative/superlative of adjectives: more intelligent, more expensive, etc.; most intelligent, most expensive, etc.
  English derivational morphology
    Below is a sample of some English derivational affixes. This is only a sample; there are far more affixes than presented here.
Some derivational affixes of English
Class(es) of word to which affix applies
Nature of change in meaning
Prefix 'non-'
Noun, adjective
Noun: non-starter  
Adj.: non-partisan
Suffix '-ity'
Changes to noun
Prefix 'un-'
Reverses action  
opposite quality
tie/untie, fasten/unfasten  
clear/unclear, safe/unsafe
Suffix '-ous'
Changes to adjective
fame/famous, glamor/glamorous
Prefix 're-'
Repeat action
tie/retie, write/rewrite
Suffix '-able'
Changes to adjective;  
means 'can undergo action of verb'
print/printable, drink/drinkable
Error analysis in language teaching

Teaching is one of the easiest jobs in the world...
...Teaching WELL is one of the most difficult!

        In language teaching, error analysis studies the types and causes of language errors. Errors are classified[3]according to:
·                     modality (i.e. level of proficiency in speaking, writing, reading, listening)
·                     linguistic levels (i.e. pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, style)
·                     form (e.g. omission, insertion, substitution)
·                     type (systematic errors/errors in competence vs. occasional errors/errors in performance)
·                     cause (e.g. interference, interlanguage)
·                     norm vs. system

Speech error
         A speech error is a speech pattern that differs from some standard pattern. Speech errors are common among children, who have yet to refine their speech, and can frequently continue into adulthood. They sometimes lead to embarrassment and betrayal of the speaker's regional or ethnic origins. However, it is also common for them to enter the popular culture as a kind of linguistic "flavoring".
           Speech errors may be used intentionally for humorous effect, as with Spoonerisms.
           Within the field of psycholinguistics, speech errors fall under the category of language production. Types of speech errors include: exchange errors, perseveration, anticipation, shift, substitution, blends, additions, and deletions. The study of speech errors contributes to the  stablishment/refinement of models of speech production.
Types of speech errors
·                     Grammatical - For example children take time to learn irregular verbs, so in English use the -ed form incorrectly. See Words and Rules.
·                     Mispronunciation
·                     Vocabulary Young children make category approximations, using car for lorry for example. See hypernym.


·                     "Antartica" (Antarctica) <- elision
·                     "particuly" (particularly) <- elision
·                     "syntaxically" (syntactically) <- vocabulary
Language has a very specific structure, rules and vocabulary. When we see movies or read books, the characters seem to speak perfectly. Time the words just right, no hesitations, no repetitions of words, appropriate intonation, right speed, pitch and volume. But ideal delivery is purely hypothetical. We strive for it but it’s impossible because we’re always at maximum capacity while speaking and errors are inevitable.
Speech production
             The production of spoken language involves three major levels of processing. According to current models of the production lexicon, the first is the processes of conceptualization that connects the intention to speak and the concepts to be verbally expressed. The second is the process of formulation, which is the creation of the linguistic form of the idea meant to be expressed. This process can be broken down into the processes of grammatical encoding, which is the selection of semantically appropriate lexical items and the generation of a syntactic frame, and phonological encoding, which is the choosing of a phonetic form for the intended utterance. The third level is the processes of articulation, involving the retrieval of the phonetic plan, as well as the initiation and execution of articulation
        A conversation can be viewed a as a sequence of conversational moves used by the speaker to convey his meanings and intentions. People tend to improvise using slang words, repeated words, pause, and use what called performance additions: they offer support, sometimes interrupt, and challenge the sentence goals. They also have preconditions that specify context for their appropriate use. These performance additions are used in are one of the main differences between spontaneous speaking and writing.
           Why do we feel the need to use these spontaneous additions while talking and in what way do they serve our purpose? These questions will be discussed in this article through several different views. Performance additions have been viewed in 3 different approaches: the fist approach, endorsed by traditional linguistics, views them as “errors” that are not part of the language and so should not be researched within the linguistic science. The second approach views the performance additions as errors as well but claim they should be researched for what they reveal about our process of language production. And lastly, the third approach views that at least some performance additions are a part of language

Error Correction in the ESL Classroom
            Some teachers correct every mistake made by their students. Other teachers rarely or never correct their students' mistakes. In Teacher Joe's experience, both approaches have serious weaknesses. The first approach makes students nervous and leads to a lack of fluency. The second approach can lead to students who speak but whose English is hard to understand.
         It is better to avoid either extreme. ESL teachers should try to find a middle approach. We need to choose the right time to correct and the right time to let students speak freely. Corrections should only be made when students will receive the most benefit. Here are some times when you should correct students:
1. Correct students when they can't find the right way to proceed. When they are searching for the right word, phrase, or grammar, you can help them.
2. After several students have made the same mistake, make a note of it and plan an activity for a LATER lesson. Don't interrupt what they are doing, but don't ignore the mistake either.
3. Correct students when there is a real possibility for misunderstanding, for example if a student is talking about a past event but uses the wrong verb tense which could confuse the listener. You must explain this mistake when it happens, otherwise it will lead to other misunderstandings in the future.
The next question is, HOW should we correct students mistakes? Here, too, Teacher Joe has an opinion. There are two things you should include in any                correction:
1. Explain why it is a mistake - how does it lead to miscommunication? Will this word choice lead people to believe something that is false? When talking about one thing, will using plural nouns by mistake lead to false assumptions? When students understand why, they are more motivated to remember correct English.

2. ALWAYS show students a better way! Don't just tell them they are wrong, give them an example, in a sentence, to reinforce your correction. Sometimes, two or three examples are helpful. If it's a particularly difficult point, you can even have the whole class practice the correct sentences out loud so that everyone gets it. 

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