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Synonyms

Spring ETAI 2013
by

Leo Selivan

on 25 March 2015

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Transcript of Synonyms

put up (with)
“As near synonyms usually differ in their collocational behaviour and semantic prosodies, the traditional practice of explaining meanings to learners by offering synonyms should be used with caution”

Xiao & Mcenery (2006)
Conclusion
Encourage students to record vocabulary the way they've met it – “as is”
 Leave used language alone
Synonymy – one of the difficulty inducing factors in L2 vocabulary learning

Laufer, 1990

MPVs - notoriously difficult for learners
Gardner & Davies, 2007

Learners avoid MPVs opting for one-word verbs
Siyanova & Schmitt, 2007
Synonyms & MPVs in L2 learning
Most have Germanic roots (similar phenomenon in German, Dutch, Swedish)

Often have a Latin-based one-word equivalent (?)

Lend themselves to creativity
I’m all partied out
Multi-part verbs (MPVs)
Lexical density
Barber, C. (1993). The English Language. Cambridge: CUP
Davies, M. (2004-). BYU-BNC: The British National Corpus. Available at http://corpus.byu.edu/bnc
Gardner, D. & Davies, M. (2007). Pointing out frequent phrasal verbs: A corpus-based analysis. In TESOL Quarterly 41(2), pp 339-359
Hoey, M. (2000). A World Beyond Collocation: New Perspectives on Vocabulary Teaching. In Lewis. M (ed.), Teaching Collocation: Further Developments in the Lexical Approach. (pp. 224-243). Hove: Thomson-Heinle
McCrum, R., Cran, W. & MacNeil, R. (2002). The Story of English. London: Penguin.
Schuessler, J. (2009, June 13). Keeping It Real on Dictionary Row. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/14/weekinreview/14shuessler.html?_r=2
Ur, P. (2012). Vocabulary activities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Welcome to the World of Global English. (2010, February 24). The Global Language Monitor. Retrieved from http://www.languagemonitor.com/
Xiao, R. & McEnery, T. (2006). Collocation, Semantic Prosody, and Near Synonymy: A Cross-Linguistic Perspective. Applied Linguistics, 27(1), 103-129
References
British National Corpus (BNC)
Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA)
http://corpus.byu.edu


Just the word - a tool for looking up collocations
http://www.just-the-word.com
Use corpus and concordances
Latinate

roots
-dict-
-pel
-pend-
-scrib/script-
-tract-
-vert-
Latinate

affixes
-able, -ible
-ance
-fy, -ify
-ment
-sion, -tion
-ty, -ity
Teach affixes & roots
All you know about a word
- meaning and connotations
- grammar
- contexts, collocations
- frequency
- etymology

Ur, P. (2012). Vocabulary Activities. CUP
Present a word (or a pair)

Cause
:
controversy, damage, problems, suffering, trouble
Bring

about
:
change, improvement

Withstand
: temperature, storm, hurricane - weather
Resist
: temptation, urge, pressure, attempt, arrest
Register – formal / informal
Style – written / spoken
Domain – academic / journalistic / jargon
Register, style & domain
Distinguishing features
Nuances vs economy
kill – assassinate
hide – conceal
before – prior
meet – encounter
freedom - liberty
sight - vision
learn – study
ask – enquire
buy – purchase
child, kid – infant
begin; start – initiate; commence
Germanic / Latinate Synonyms
Make a list of 10 (near-) synonyms in English
French words didn’t replace Germanic words
but went to coexist side by side

feeling / sensation
brotherly / fraternal
ring / (tele)phone
fast / rapid
job / occupation
help / assist
begin / commence
end / finish
flood / inundate
French influence
The Norman Conquest
Germanic group
Hybrid language





Teaching implications
& practical suggestions

Scan the QR code for the handout:
Leo Selivan
British Council

Does the word “synonym”
have a synonym?

kill – assassinate
hide – conceal
before – prior
meet – encounter
table - desk
damp - moist
tall - high
lift - elevator

What’s the difference?


freedom - liberty
sight - vision
learn – study
ask – enquire
buy – purchase
child, kid – infant
begin – commence
TASK 4
Lexical gaps
English:
One word for
know
(cf. German:
wissen / erkennen

French:
savoir / connaitre
)
Cherokee:
20 verbs for wash (hands, face)
Hebrew:
different verbs to describe the harvest of different types of produce
English:
particularly rich in motion verbs: amble, meander, pace, saunter, stroll, trudge, walk, wander
Lexical abundance
How many words are there in English?

The Global Language Monitor in 2009:
English passed 1 million word mark

Oxford Dictionaries:
250,000 at the very least
Largest vocabulary?
Germanic / Germanic

go / walk
start / begin
home / house
Latinate / Latinate

mansion / villa
ascend / mount
Synonyms within sets
photo by eltpics on Flickr
Bilingual dictionary - meaning

Monolingual dictionary - increase their depth of meaning

Learner dictionaries:
Macmillan
Cambridge
Longman
(all three available online)
Look up twice
set up
company
committee
business
relationships
establish
relation(s)
links
possibility
effects
murder
investigate (the)
problem
possibility
look into (the)
matter
Always provide collocations for new words
Collocation forks
murder
effects
matter
possibility
problem
look

into

/

investigate
Occurrences per million words
Misc.
Academic
News
Fiction
Spoken
investigate
15
21
85
97
58
look

into
18
38
12
4
9
Register, style & domain
bring about
cause
put out
extinguish
tolerate, endure
set up
found, establish
take in
deceive
look into
investigate
find out
discover
Phrasal verbs vs. Latinate “equivalents”
A bit of history
Latinate and Germanic words
Lexical density in English
Synonyms or near synonyms?
Multi-part verbs
but 60% Latinate vocabulary
TASK 2
Most are based on Germanic/French distinction
Photo by Sandy Millin via
eltpics
cold / cool
= /barid/ in Arabic

hot / warm
= /kham/ in Hebrew

dish / plate
= /piato/ in Greek

wet / moist / damp
= /humido/ in Spanish
Task 3
Think of examples of nuances in English vs economy in other Ls (for example, your students' L1)
English is a dense, saturated language
English word 1
English word 2
English word 3
A word in an 'economical' language
register
collocation
semantic prosody
possibility
investigate
look

into
colligation

Don’t
be

taken

in
by their promises

It
was

founded
in (year) by (person)
Contact
Email
leo.selivan@britishcouncil.org
www.leoxicon.blogspot.com
Blog
...a role model to look up to

...fled the country in fear of their lives

...may have an adverse effect on...
Musical patterns by Ellie Van Houtte
via Fotopedia
establish
set up
1066
Latinate
= derived from Latin or Old French
Latinate roots
-dict-
-fect-
-pel-
-pend-
-port-
-scrib-
-tract-
-vert-
Latinate words
Latinate affixes
-ible
-ance
-ify
-ment
-sion
-tion
-ity
-ure

terr
resembl
ampl
move
deci
solu
etern
feat
pre
per
ex
de
im
de e
re
a
Full transcript