PHRASAL VERBS: THE EFFECTIVENESS OF CURRENT GRAMMATICAL THEORY IN APPLIED ESL AND SOME PEDAGOGICAL IMPLICATIONS.
AuthorDALLE, TERESA SPROUL.
KeywordsGrammar, Comparative and general -- Verb phrase.
English language -- Study and teaching -- Foreign speakers.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe phrasal verb is defined as a two-word idiom consisting of a verb and an adverbial or prepositional particle (such as put off for delay or come across for find or meet by chance). The increased use of such constructions in written and spoken modes of English has been noted by Kennedy 1920, Traugott 1972, Meyer 1975, and others. The categories of verb combinations that fall under the heading of phrasal verb are various. An analysis of the construction within grammars of English, from the seventeenth century Latinate grammars to the twentieth century linguistic treatments, reveals some inconsistencies in terminology and definition, posing a problem for ESL teachers and text writers. Most treatments of the structure concern surface form (such as Fraser 1976), but some recent analyses, particularly Woody 1974 and Lindner 1981, attempt to account for the semantics of the combination; however, these studies limit the category of phrasal verbs analyzed to verb + adverbial particle. Although the phrasal verb is an example of what Rutherford 1977 terms 'lexical grammar', a grammatical structure that must be taught together with a specific lexicon, an examination of the description of phrasal verbs within ESL grammars reveals a concentration on the syntactical patterning of the structure. Extensive listings of phrasal verbs (along with their meanings and appropriate use) are found mainly in dictionaries of idioms and two-word verbs (such as Meyer 1975, Cowie and Mackin 1976, Hall 1982, and Courtney 1983). This study suggests that ESL specialists consider both syntax and semantics when presenting and describing phrasal verbs and include what Rivers 1978 terms 'three levels of meaning': lexical, structural or grammatical, and socio-cultural. Because of the large number of phrasal verbs, a problem arises concerning which phrasal verbs should be presented formally in the ESL class. The study cites Larsen 1974, Dulay and Burt 1977, and Turano-Perkins 1979, who suggest that frequency of use should be a criterion in determining the order of grammatical structures to be taught. The study suggests that more research is needed in the area of frequency studies.