Sunday, 9 March 2014
This post is actually for me, but who knows, maybe some people out there need it also. At first I was a bit confused whether to use the word 'variety' or 'variation' before the word 'people'. Then, as always, I googled the differences and found more than just the explanation from 'variety' and 'variation'. All of the words mentioned later are NOUNS.
The word 'variety' means A DIFFERENT TYPE OF SOMETHING. To be exact, one certain thing can have some VARIETIES. For example, the fruit APPLES, can have some varieties such as RED DELICIOUS, JONATHAN, GRANNY SMITH, FUJI, etc.
'Variation' means A CHANGE OR SLIGHT DIFFERENCE IN CONDITION, AMOUNT, OR LEVEL FROM THE USUAL FORMS. For example, "She added some new variations on the choreography" means that she had the same choreography, only it was improvised, perhaps by adding some new moves.
According to Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 'variant' is a form or version that VARIES FROM OTHER FORMS of the same thing or FROM A STANDARD. Or, as what I read from this page, 'variant' is something which is SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SIMILAR THINGS. For instance, 'theatre' is the VARIANT spelling from 'theater'; Bulimia is a VARIANT of anorexia.
I found the definition of 'variance' here. It says that 'variance' is the state, quality, or fact of BEING VARIABLE, DIVERGENT, DIFFERENT, or ANOMALOUS. The word 'variance' is usually used in phrase 'at variance with'. As an example, her income is AT VARIANCE WITH her expenses.
In conclusion, the differences between 'variety', 'variation', 'variant', and 'variance' can be illustrated in the following graphs.
Whoo! You have no idea how long it took me to illustrate the differences. I hope this helps, and correct hehe. If there are some mistakes, please feel free to comment and correct. Thank you.
Thursday, 10 January 2013
It's been so long since I last posted a blog here. Now, I want to share a very useful resource for listening practice with you all. Just click this LINK and you will find looooots of stories and their MP3s. You can use them to improve your listening skill, or you can use them for teaching your students, as I do. You can download the MP3s for free, but remember: YOU MAY NOT SELL THEM, because it's against the law and you may be put in prison ;)
Well, feel free to visit the website to look around and who knows, you may find stories you're interested in. Good luck.
Sunday, 28 October 2012
Hello everyone! Today I'm going to introduce you to a branch of Linguistics, i.e. Pragmatics. I'm no expert, for sure. So I just make summaries from Yule's book (1998).
Since I'm also learning Pragmatics, it'll be useful for me if I make summaries orderly from every chapter of Yule's book. And I think it'd be better if I share this here.
In this section, you're going to learn the definition of Pragmatics, and to differentiate between Syntax, Semantics, and Pragmatics. I'll put the reference at the bottom of this section.
· The study of speaker meaning
· The study of contextual meaning
· The study of how more gets communicated than is said
· The study of the expression of relative distance
Syntax, Semantics, and Pragmatics
The study of the relationships between linguistic forms, how they are arranged in sequence, and which sequences are well-formed.
The study of the relationships between linguistic forms and entities in the world; that is, how words literally connect to things.
The study of relationships between linguistic forms and the users of those forms.
· The advantage of studying pragmatics is that one can talk about people’s intended meanings, their assumptions, their purposes or goals, and the kinds of actions (for example, requests) that they are performing when they speak.
· The disadvantage is that all these very human concepts are extremely difficult to analyse in a consistent and objective way.
· Some regularity derives from the fact that people are members of social groups and follow general patterns of behavior expected within the group.
· Another source of regularity in language use derives from the fact that most people within a linguistic community have similar basic experiences of the world and share a lot of non-linguistic knowledge.
· Nothing in the use of linguistic forms is inaccurate, but getting the pragmatics wrong might be offensive.
The Pragmatics Wastebasket
· Wastebasket is made from the notes on ordinary language that fill up linguists and philosophers’ work tables and that are knocked off.
· The contents of that wastebasket were not originally organised under a single category. They were defined negatively, as the stuff that wasn’t easily handled within the formal systems of analysis.
Pragmatics is different from syntax and semantics, since it studies the relationships between linguistics forms and the users of those forms.
By using pragmatics, we will be able to know speaker’s intentions, assumptions, and goals. In pragmatics, however, we cannot analyse the human concepts consistently and objectively.
Reference: Yule, G. 1998. Pragmatics. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press.
There are five different forms of verb: the base form, the –s form, the –ing participle, the past tense form, and the –ed participle.
Head Verbs and Auxiliary
Every full sentence of English must have at least one verb. This is called the ‘head verb’ or ‘main verb’ (Crystal, 1996 and Greenbaum and Quirk, 1990).
Sometimes the head verb is preceded by one or more auxiliary verbs. It is usually assumed that three auxiliaries is the maximum in English (e.g. I could have been speaking English). Only modal verbs and primary verbs can act as auxiliaries. Modal verbs always act as auxiliaries, but primary verbs sometimes act as auxiliaries and sometimes as head verbs.
The head verb together with any preceding auxiliaries is called a verb phrase. A verb phrase that consists of just the head verb and no auxiliaries is called simple. A verb phrase that contains one or more auxiliaries is called complex.
Sometimes a complex verb phrase may be discontinuous, as adverbs may intervene between the first auxiliary and the rest of the verb phrase. The verb phrase is also discontinuous in interrogative sentence.
When we combine the word class possibilities with the head/auxiliary possibilities, there are a total of four different kinds of verbs:
· Modal auxiliary
· Primary auxiliary
· Primary head verb
· Full head verb
1. I could have been your teacher last year.
2. I will be studying French next year.
Occurence of the Verb Forms
Within a complex verb phrase, each verb determines the form of the next verb. The rules for the occurence of the verb forms within a complex verb phrase are shown in the table below.
I can swim.
I do like you.
I have written the letter.
I am sitting here.
It was broken.
We define tense as the way the first verb in the verb phrase uses inflectional suffixes to indicate the occurrence of an event in time. According to this definition, there are two tenses in English: present tense and past tense. The two tenses can occur in both simple verb phrases and complex verb phrases.
In accordance with our definition of tense, which only considers any inflectional suffix on the first word in the verb phrase, we have stated that there are two tenses in English. Many grammarians, however, say that there are three (or more) tenses in English –the difference lies in the definition of tense used. If we were to define tense as the way that English represents the occurrence of an event in time using grammatical expresssions (rather than inflections on the first verb), then there would be more than two tenses.
Many people consider the use of will to constitute a future tense. However, this is the use of a modal to represent future time. It is not a future tense, because we can also use may or might to represent future time.
The difference in meaning is not one of time reference, but rather in the degree of certainty of the prediction.
Concord is the agreement between the subject and the verb. In English, all present tense verbs (except modals) take an –s suffix if the subject is the third person singular.
There are two complicating factors in considering subject-verb concord, both involving forms of be. First, in the present tense, be takes a special form if the subject is the first person singular. Second, unlike any other verb, the verb be exhibits subject-verb concord in the past tense. To determine concord correctly, it is essential to identify the head of the subject.
Use of the auxiliary do is called do-support. One common occurrence of do-support in English is with negative sentences. For example, in the sentence “I do not speak Malay”, do in this sentence carries no meaning, but is just used to enable us to create a negative sentence. It is called a dummy auxiliary.
The use of dummy auxiliary is also found when there is no other auxiliary and we want to create an interrogative sentence.
The progessive aspect is used to indicate that the event is continuing. It sometimes emphasises the temporary nature of the event.
One important distinction in considering the progressive aspect is that between dynamic and stative verbs. Dynamic verbs, like jump, shout, and enter, describe an event that involves some kind of activity. Stative verbs, such as own, know, and like describe a situation rather an activity. Only dynamic verbs can occur with the progressive aspect. Some verbs can be both as dynamic verbs or as stative verbs.
Perfective aspect is used to refer to an event in the past from the perspective of now. First we should compare between the use of present perfective and the use of past simple.
The simple past is used when the time of the event is specified. In contrast, with the use of the present perfective we do not know when the event occured, we just know it happened before the current moment in time. This is what we mean by saying the perspective is now.
The present perfective occurs when there is some influence from the event of the current state of affairs, which we call the resultative perfective, or when the situation described continues into the current time, which we call the continuative perfective.
The resultative perfective mostly occurs with dynamic verbs, and the continuative perfective mostly occurs with stative verbs.
The basic usage of the past perfective is when the time reference is already in the past, and we wish to indicate that an event occured even further in the past.
There are two rather more common uses of the past perfective. The first involves indirect speech, as when the direct speech is converted into indirect speech. The second common occurrence of the past perfective is with hypothetical conditionals, where an imaginary situation is presented.
A conditional is introduced by the subordinating conjunction if. There are two kinds of conditional; a possible conditional and a hypothetical conditional.
Most conditional that refer to past time are hypothetical, as it is difficult to change something that has already taken place. In this case, the past perfective is used together with the past modal perfective.
The use of past tense or past perfect to represent a hypothetical situation is also found with verbs such as wish. But the verb wish always expresses imaginary desires. If it is possible for the desire to become true, hope should be used, without the past tense hypothetical usage.
A passive sentence involves use of the be auxiliary followed by the –ed participle. In comparison, a sentence without the use of the passive can be termed active. With the passive, usually the subject is affected by the event, rather than initiating it.
Watch these videos about VERBS in a simpler way.
Friday, 26 October 2012
In syntax, verbs are divided into two categories: FINITE and NON-FINITE.
Finite verbs are verbs which are influenced by the change of tenses. They are also influenced by the number and person of its subjects.
Finite verbs are verbs which are influenced by the change of tenses. They are also influenced by the number and person of its subjects.
- I went to the hospital yesterday. (the verb go is finite. It is influenced by the tense, i.e. past tense, hence, the verb changes into the past form.)
- She goes jogging everyday. (the verb go is finite. It is influenced by the number of subject, i.e. third person singular. Also by the tense, i.e. present tense. Hence, the verb changes into the third person singular present form.)
Non-finite verbs are those which aren't influenced by the change of tenses, nor the number and person of its subjects.
- She likes shopping. (the verb shop is non-finite, because it follows the finite verb like. If the person or tense is changed, it doesn't influence the non-finite verb.)
- She liked shopping.
To understand more about FINITE and NON-FINITE VERBS, look at this video.
Hope the explanation and video help you. Please do comment if you have something to say.
In syntax, a transitive verb is a verb that requires both a direct subject and one or more objects. A transitive verb has two characteristics. First, it is an action verb, expressing a doable activity like kick, want, paint, write, eat, clean, etc. Second, it must have a direct object, something or someone who receives the action of the verb. Some examples of sentences with transitive verbs:
· Harry sees Adam. (Adam is the direct object of "sees")
· You lifted the bag. (bag is the direct object of "lifted")
· I punished you. (you is the direct object of "punished")
· I give you the book. (book is the direct object of "give" and "you" is the non-prepositional indirect object of "give")
· John traded Jane an apple for an orange. ("Jane", "apple", and "orange" are all objects of "traded")
Those transitive verbs that are able to take both a direct object and an indirect object are called ditransitive; an example is the verb give above. Verbs that require a single object are called monotransitive. There are a few verbs, like "traded" above, that may be called "tritransitive".
An intransitive verb has two characteristics. First, it is an action verb, expressing a doable activity like arrive, go, lie, sneeze, sit, die, etc. Second, unlike a transitive verb, it will not have a direct object receiving the action. In grammar, an intransitive verb does not take an object. In more technical terms, an intransitive verb has only one argument (its subject), and hence has a valency of one. For example, in English, the verbs sleep, complain and die, are intransitive.
Some examples of sentences with intransitive verbs:
· Harry will not sleep until sunset. (sleep has no object)
· You complain too much. (complain has no object)
· He died on Saturday. (die has no object)
Many verbs can also be both transitive and intransitive. An action verb with a direct object is transitive while an action verb with no direct object is intransitive. Some verbs, such as arrive, go, lie, sneeze, sit, and die, are always intransitive; it is impossible for a direct object to follow.
Other action verbs, however, can be transitive or intransitive, depending on what follows in the sentence.
· Because of blood sugar problems, Rosa always eats before leaving for school. Eats = intransitive verb.
· If there is no leftover pizza, Rosa usually eats a whole-grain cereal. Eats = transitive verb; cereal = direct object.
· During cross-country practice, Damien runs over hills, through fields, across the river, and along the highway. Runs = intransitive verb.
· In the spring, Damien will run his first marathon. Will run = transitive verb; marathon = direct object.
One student just called me and asked me about a sentence: "I advised that she comes on time". He was confused on how to tell the mistake from the sentence. I told him it was comes. It should be come. The sentence is SUBJUNCTIVE. For more information, I'm going to explain it by quoting Swan's SUBJUNCTIVE theory (1996: 566).
FORMS AND MEANINGS
The subjunctive is a special kind of PRESENT TENSE which HAS NO -s in the third person singular. It's sometimes used in that-clauses in a FORMAL STYLE, especially in AMERICAN ENGLISH, after words which express the idea that something is important or desirable (e.g. suggest, recommend, ask, insist, vital, essential, important, advise). The same form are used in both present and past sentences.
1. It is essential that every child HAVE the same educational opportunities.
2. We felt that it was important that James WRITE to uncle Arthur as soon as possible.
3. We advise that the company INVEST in new equipment.
4. We recommended that she BE elected. (not to be nor is)
Subjunctive are also used in certain fixed phrases, such as:
1. God SAVE the King/Queen!
2. God BLESS you.
3. Long LIVE the King!
4. Heaven FORBID.
5. He's a sort of adopted uncle, as it WERE. (= ... in a way)
6. BE that as it may, .... (= Whether that is true or not, ....)
7. If we have to pay $2,000, then so BE it. (= We can't do anything to change it)
EXCEPTIONS (OTHER STRUCTURES)!!
In British English, however, the form of subjunctive is a bit different. In that-clauses, British people usually prefer SHOULD+INFINITIVE or ordinary PRESENT and PAST tenses.
1. He suggests that she SHOULD GO to the party.
2. We advise that he GETS a map.
3. They recommended that she CAME to class.
So, that's all the explanation about subjunctive. If you have additional explanations, please do share. And if I'm mistaken, please do correct. Thank you.