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36. What does teaching pronunciation involve?

The concept of 'pronunciation' may be said to include:

the sounds of the language, or phonology

20 stress and rhythm

3. intonation.

it is useful to be able to list and define the sounds, or phonemes, of the language by

writing them down using phonetic representations;

The term 'phonetic' is used to refer to transcriptions of the sounds of all human
languages which make distinctions between sounds that may not be distinguished in a
given language system. 'Phonemic' is used to refer to transcriptions of a particular sound
2. Rhythm. and stress
English speech t•hvt.hm is characterized by tone-units: a word or group of words which

carries one centrol stressed syllable (other syllables, if there are any, are lightened).

The sentence: 'Peter, come here, please!', for example, would divide into two toneunits:

'Peter' and 'come here, please', with the two main stresses on the first syllable of Peter',
and the word 'here'.

- 52ÆEcan also be indicated in writing; probably the simplest way to do so is to

write the stressed syllable in capital letters: for example, PEter, come HERE,
(Another convention, normally used in phonemic transcriptions, is to put a short vertical
line above and before the stressed syllable: /'phts kAm 'hia/.)

- Intonation, the rises and falls in tone that make the 'tune' of nn nttprnnro ic
important aspect of the pronunciation of English, often making a difference to meaning or
A native speaker usually has little difficulty in hearing intonation changes in his or
her own language; others, however, may notfind it so easy;
The different kinds of intonation are most simply shown by the symbols A over the relevant

syllable or word in order to showfalling and rising intonations; and the symbols.
37, pronunci0tjon and Spelling

most languages there is a fairly clear correspondence

between sounds and 'Is: certain letters or combinations
of letters are pronounced in certain and if there are
variations, these ore governed by consistent rules ; re
are, of course, languages where there are many
exceptions to such rules, many whose pronunciation
could not be logically predictedfrom their spelling,
and vice
English being an example, e basic sound-symbol
correspondence is learned at the stage of learning the
bet. If the alphabet is a totally new one, then there
is a lot to learn ;
Dictation: of random lists of words, of words that had
similar spelling problems;
Reding aloud: of syllables, words, phroses, sentences;
Discrimination ( 1): prepare a set of 'minimal pairs'-
pairs of words which differ from each other in one
sound-letter combination ( such as ' dip-deep' in
English). Either ask learners to read them aloud,
taking care to discriminate or read them aloud
Prediction: provide a set of letter combinations, which
are parts of words the learners know. How would the
learners expect to be pronounced?
le errors which are most important to correct cre those
which may easily I to lack of comprehension, or which
make the speech 'uncomfortable' to to; orne
pronunciation errors common to the speech of many
speakers of English foreign language are:
1. difficulty in pronouncing the th sounds /6/ and/d/; o

tpndencv to shorten diDhthongs and make them into monothongs

Practice resources for learners and materials for teacher development TESL /
TEFL theory from the learning and teaching experiences of Ted Power

Priorities for phonology in the pronunciation class

Here are some of the main criteria:

l . Comprehensible: are learners able to identify the sounds

an are
by-native speakers.

2 Social Acceptability: are learners producing sounds that are

aesthetically acceptable to the ears of native speakers?
3 Ease of Production: do learners have a good chance of
successfully learning to produce the sounds?
4. Number of familiar words (functional load): do the sounds
occur frequently in essential &/or very useful words?
5. Likely to be a bad habit affecting other sounds: are errors
getting in the way of other important targets?


annroximations of foreign
Functional load, frequency and meaning
Confusing / 0 / and / ö / will rarely lead to misunderstanding, but confusing [s/
and / 0 / , / ö / or / z/ can. This is likely to affect learners of English from
French, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese or Russian language
backgrounds. Speakers of these languages do not have separate
phone mes for these English
consonant sound contrasts.

The consonant contrasts affect many common English words, so

poor production of these sounds will be noticeable. Teaching
should focus on both recognition and production. Difficulty of
production should not be too great, because the above consonant
sounds are produced at the front of the mouth i.e. this motor skill
is not too difficult to learn.

How much phonetics and phonology do teachers and learners of

English language need to know and use?

Language is a means of communication. Differences in sound

systems have a phonological basis: they depend on variation in
speech organ positions or breath control. Teachers must
understand the physical aspects of sound production.

Teachers will not necessarily teach these to students, but this

knowledge will provide a basis for teachers to identify the physical
reasons for inaccurate approximations of foreign language sounds,
enabling them to give precise instructions which will help students
correct faulty pronunciation. Unless teachers understand how
students are using their speech organs in producing a native
language sound and what they should be doing to reproduce the
foreign language sound acceptably, teachers will not be able to help
students beyond a certain stage of earnest but inaccurate imitation.
Incorrectly articulated consonants will affect the production of
vowels, as vowels will affect consonants. Students therefore

require steady practice and muscle training. Pronunciation is a
motor skill that needs

e.g. ship or sheep? / 1 / or / i: / ?

Which vowel sounds occur in: "it", "bit", "eat", "fit", "feet",
"seat", "sit" ?
2 Production. Physically making sounds.
3 Expanded contexts. Phrases and sentences as well as
phonemes between closed consonants.
LANGUAGE BACKGROUND and suggestions for learners and teachers.

Recommended materials for English phonology


English Pronunciation illustrated: Student Book John Trim, Peter Kneebone [ For intermediate upwards: good
for sound contrasts and for leaming the phonemic symbols ] English Pronunciation Illustrated: Cassette

Ship or Sheep?: Student Book Ann Baker [ an easy to use book + audio cassette for lower intermediate and

intermediate levels; good for minimal pairs ]

Ship or Sheep?: Cassettes
Tree or Three? : Student Book Ann Baker, Leslie Marshall [ as above, but for use at the elementary level ]
Tree or Three?: Cassettes

Longman Pronunciation Dictionary by J. C. Wells [ 23rd March, 2000 ]

Contemporary English pronunciations given for 753000 words. Includes alternative pronunciations, technical
vocabulary and proper nouns.
English Pronouncing Dictionaty Daniel Jones, Peter Roach, James Hartman [ 1st July, 1997 ]
The authoritative reference book - includes place names

English Phonetics and Phonology: A Practice Course by Peter Roach [ 8th January, 2001 ]

This book is especially suitable for non native speakers of English with a real interest in phonetics and phonology. It is
likely to interest dedicated learners at higher levels, for example, those aiming for high grades in public examinations
where English pronunciation is tested. I would highly recommend coverage of this work (or a similar one such as
"Better English Pronunciation") to learners intending to teach English in their own countries. Peter Roach's work
doubles as useful pre-course material for learners expecting to move on to a degree level course in applied linguistics

Phonetics and phonology: resources for teacher

Teaching English Pronunciation Joanne Kenworthy [ Good for language teachers embarking on the theory and practice
A Course in Phonetics by Peter Ladefoget [ 9th August 2000

This book [ originally published in 1975 ] has also been through several editions and is still acknowledged as the best
course for university undergraduates seriously interested in articulatory phonetics. Like the above title, it is offered
as a "course", though it sufficienty comprehensive to satisfy the needs of students of linguistics. "?honetics"
focuses on "the production ofsounds", while "Phonology" extends to the "study of sounds within a language
system". Students whose practical and linguistic interests relate directly to the English language, should consider
an easy practice book from the section above or the next title in this section by A. C. Gimson.

Gimson's Pronunciation of English [ 2nd March, 2001 ]

Originally published in 1962 as "An introduction to the pronunciation of English", there has been nothing to better this
course, which covers the production of speech, sounds in a language, the English vowel sounds and the English
consonant sounds as well as social (e.g. Received Pronunciation), geographic ual (e.g.
Regional Variations) and historical perspectives.

English Accents and Dialects: An Introduction To Social And Regional Varieties Of

English In Althur Hughes and Peter Trudgill

This book is most suited to students of sociolinguistics who wish to sample variations from "received pronunciation"
within the geographical regions specified in the title. The level of analysis is for people with a background in
linguistics. However, an actor or actress wishing to perfect their Lowland Scots, Devon or Dublin accent and to pick
up some of the lexical items in a particular dialect, may find this a valuable source. There is an accompanying audio

International English: A Guide to Varieties of Standard English py Peter Trudgill and Jean Hannah
This study takes English beyond the British Isles. Here the analysis focuses on variations from "received pronunciation" across
Continents. "International English" covers the distinctive features of English in England, Australia, New Zealand, South
Africa, Wales, the USA, Canada, Ireland, the West Indies, West Africa and India. Again, the work is probably most likely to
appeal to students of sociolinguistics (language and society) at university level. However, this and the previous title make
excellent background reading for any student undertaking stylistic analysis of any regional, social or occupational variety of
English. Sixth formers in UK Secondary Schools are now continuously assessed on project work, which may include a study
of the language ofjournalism (news reports), advertising, pop music, fashion, teenagers or other social groups. These projects
are usually functionally based and adequate attention is usually given to language function and lexis. Further consideration
could probably be extended to
o ways of presenting the There are a number sounds of words:
1 Æhrough modelling. Just as with structures (see 6.3.1) the teacher can
model the word andghen get both cfiör\l and individual repetition. When the teacher is modelling
the word he or she can use gesture, etc. to indicate the main stress in a word.

2, hrough visual representation. When the
board they should always indicate where the stress in the word is. They
can do fhis by underlining—evg.

They can use a stress square, e.g. pho+ographer

They can use a stress mark before the stressed syllable, e.g.

pho+obraph ic
They can write the stress pattern of the words next to it, e.g. photography
3 Through phonetic symbols. Some teachers get their students to learn te
phonetic symbols, at least for recognition purposes. Certainly for inoye
advanced students a basic knowledge of the symbols will help them to
access pronunciation information from their dictionaries (see 9.6).

•öntinciation, vocabul forms the subject of the

lage *egment', but one* • e. This. type of segmentä ext to communicate d to
express a certain ess a concept (notion)

ocabulary and gramm lation, notion and and learning result :ible
nents for ppogramme in
u.sion' situation Itekt, for the teaching of notions or functions.
•ring linsimplified
ay.TBut in such a
;aging with the Ian
which any
case, even e 4: Teaching pronunciation
Ile speaking to
that perhaps
even herg}}
items to be

nd grade the
ractise what
they knqy
.nguäge. But
such nting of
language into. )
dule 12: The tl-
into three main
guage; the lexis,
or th way

c to English; teachers of other languages may find the general
guidelines useful, but should refer to books on their
target:languages for specific information on their

The concept of 'pronunciation' may be said to include:

— the sounds Of the
Uni language, or phonology
t stress and.rhythm

One The first of these is perhaps the most obvious and clearly
: defined of the three. However, this does not mean that the other
aspects should be neglected: a learner may enunciate the
Wh sounds perfectly and still sound foreign because of
at unacceptable stress.and intonation; in Oriental 'tone' languages
intonation often makes a difference to meaning.
s Söunds
teac Geis and define the sounds, or phonemes, of the language by
writing them down usl@öhoneticl representationsJDifferent
hin books vary as to exactly which, end how ffåny, -symbols are
g tised; for teachers of (British) English, the simplified, phonemic
alphabet shown in Box 4.1 may be helpfdl. According to. thisy
pro the sounds of, for example, the sentence 'Peter, come here!'
would,be represented by/pi:to knm hio/.
ciat Take a dictionary that includes phonetic transcriptions, and check through
gander- its phonetic alphabet, some of whose symbols may be different from those
inv ding suggested in Box 4..1. Look at a few words and their corresponding phonetic
representations: make sure you can follow and understand the transcriptions.
olv Now choose ten words at random out of a book, and try EtranScribing, them

e? into phonetic script. If you have used your dictionary's phonetic alphabet, look
up the word in the dictionary to check. If you have used the alphabetsuggested
above, then compare your version with that of a colleague's:
ofthe Theterméphonetic' is usedxo refer to transcriptions of thesounds of
conten all human lanæggs which hake distinctions between •soundS thåt
t of may-noébe distinguished in a given language system. 'Phonemic' is
this used to refer to transcriptions of a particular sound system.
unit is

Vowels Consonants

Symbol Examples Symbol Examples

acm pact apple bed about
black do side fill
/al/ eyes drive safe
out /g/ good big hat
/e/ end pen eight day yes uou cat
lea/ aft wear •Week
it sit eat m lose allow
see me lamp
110/ eac near
no any put
DI—opposite stop stop
always mue [01/ (s/ soon . us
bou join would stQQd talk last
yen,' Iiye
/u:/ choose /w/ Ein suit-n

sure tourist /z/ zoo loves ship

/3:/ euly bjLd u2 push measure
luck usual
ago doctQC sing hoping
9 cheap catch
rhin- baiå
then •.0iher
/d3/ dune age
(based on Martin Hewings, Pronunciation Press,M 993, p. vi)

Note that this is quite difficult to do the first time — it takes a good deal practice and learning to be
able to transcribe quickly and accurately.

Rhythm and stress

English speech rhythm is characterized b tone-unite a woryg_group of w w-
hiclvcerrie> one central stressed syllable er.sy there are any, lightened). The
here, please!', for example, would di into two tone-units: 'SPeter' and 'come
here* please,-with2thetwo main str on the first syllable of 'Peter',-and
Stress can also be indicated in writing: probably so to write the stressed
syllable in capital letters: for example„ 'PEter, come please!'. (Another
convention,.normallyusedin phonemictranscriptions, is put a short vertical
line above and before the. streSsed sylla knm

To check In pairs: one participant dictates a short sentence;

down, capitalizing the stressed syllables. Then again, with the other
participant dictating. And again, two or threetimes•. Compare your
What does teaching pronunciation involve?

—Ontonation,-the rises and falls in tone that make the 'tune' of an
utterance, is an
)les 'J,re usual hoping catch bath other age
a irsity Press, 1993, p. vi)
.t takes a good deal of. y and accurately.

word or oup of wor es, there are any, are
a example, would divid the two main stresses •
e implest way to do so is )le, 'PEter, come HE lic
transcriptions, is to
b •llable: /'pi:ta knrn thio/. stion
0th participants vv-rite
• L, with the other
Compare your results.
Important. the pronunciation of English„often-making a •
ll erence to meaning implieatiön. most commonly indicated by a
o slight rise in Coulthard and Johns, 1980). A na'tivé Speaker
w usually has little difficulty in hearing intonation changes in his

or her own language; others, however, may not find it so easy.
p The diffgengklnds of intopgtion are most simply shown by the
symboli.; Éétéüånt•syllable 'dr -word in order to show falling
st and rising intonations; and the symbols; v A to show fall-rise
p and rise-fall. An appropriate stress arid intonation representation
ar for a rather bossy expression
u of ur previous sentence example might be: PEter, come HERE,
n please.
d The Ehy_thm of English mainly a function of its stress
la patterns; these may also affect such aspects as• speed of delivery,
st volume and the use of pause.
liue g*یeck
Listen to a brief recording — one lasting not mOre than a minute or so — of a
suim rloves push g speakér of the language you teach (from a listening-comprehension cassette,
for example). •Write down a sentence from the recording, using conventional
spelling, and put in indications of rising and falling intonation and stiess. If you
are working in a group, compare results with each other.

It •i' important also to be aware of the way different sounds,
stresses and intonations •may affect one another within the flow
of speech. For example:
— is influenced by what other sounds are. .ngxt.to. it:; the ed
suffix of the .past tense in English, for example, may be
pronoun /ß/%lt/pr [WI. depending. on- what came immediately

-Intopation-affects how we makes a noticeable difference to / l sAbd31kt/, as compared to
hear stressJn fact, stress is Isob id3ekt/.
not, as mentioned above, Thus, it-is. •usefiil to be aware of the way sounds, stresses
usually expressed by and intonations within entire utterances to produce easily
saying the stressed comprehensible prominciation. Having saidthis, however, it
syllable louder: it is more is true that many, perhaps most, words havea 'Stable' sound,
often a matter of a raised stress and intonation pattern that can be confidently taught in
or lowered tone level, with isolation.
a slight slowing-down.
change in thestress. Can you think of examples in other languages you know of sounds
pattern of a word will
affecting one another in the stream of speech, or of stress and
change its sounds as well:
the word has the stress on intonation actually changing the •way sounds are articulated?
the first syllable when it is
a - noun5:qn the;second
when it is a verb: and this
Unit Two: Listening to accents
The pur ose of this exercise is to find outßhe specific
pronungiation proble earners by actually listening to
examples and having to analyse and define them, and to
think about how these problems might be expläinéd to the
I and corrected.l

Inquiry Identifying elements of foreign pronunciation

Stage . Preparing materials
Using audio cassettes, prepare recordings, two to three minutes in
len of foreign accents; recordings should consist of short
interviews with speåkers who are not a country where the arg
language is not locally spoken, it makes sense to use as
interviewees natives of this country, but other accents may be used
in addition.}
It is, of course, much easier just to ask in order to make the
recording, but resist the temptatiOn! There are various reasons
this: someone reading aloud has time to think-consciously about-how
are speaking, and we are looking for 'intuitive%pronunciation; the
rea passage may include words the interviewee does not know; and
percep of spelling affects pronunciation. Improvised speech produges
much b samples, which may ter, incidentally, be
used*teéxarturiélexical and grammatical errors. If you find it
difficult to think of questions for an interview, the interviewee
can be asked to: describe retell well-known story.
If you have not made such recordings before, make brieftrial
reco of a few seconds and play it back in order to chéck that'Yöü
have the distance, volume, microphone and so onpropefly adjtistéd.
Bégiil the actual interview on-ly when you are sureyoti aregetting
a Clearxecor
Stage 2 Analysis
Listen to the recordings and try to analySe-What itis äböut the
accents makes them 'foreign'. This is quite will fihdtyöu•needto •
to the recording more than once. It iS-easie± ifydwifåfé phrases
which sound generally foreign whilé •listéhiifgfhé"hfsetime, and
then during later listenings try to define

If you know the phonetic alphabet and Symbols pfintonationland
stress" can help, but a rough description of quite adequate. You may
find it helpfüVfo •tl*thé w6fksheét Shown in B

Stage 3 Pooling and comparitng

If several such recordings have been: made by grpupdf teachers stu
together, then the next stage is4to share findings.:ln
•Sina.11 årouÉ;- éåch recording is listened to, and participants
try idéntify •thé 6±fors-and and why they think these occur.

Listening to
'önunciation bout the accents whi änd you need to listen*
problems the words and lg the first time, and ely is
analyse and wrong with the tonation and stress, . -'lay'
define language can b rksheét shovm in Box
e*plained to
the learn
of teachers studyin ;mall groups, each ify the
errors and how
cée minutes in Speaker's mother tongue:
pypaiB pr
groups. Thé Wohds/phrases mispro ounced Define or describe
jeakers who the mistake
are not
rhere the
target as

ad aloud in
arevarious re a—
cyls .ously
about how theyÆ
naciation; the
reading-é t
know; and
produces much
bett carnine
lexical and
cuestions for an
•apictuxe, or
retell a

e trial recor . O-Cambrfdge University Press 1996

1a1 have the
Ijusted. Begin
ing a clear Stage Drawing conclusions
recording.i} Discuss your findings, and draw conclusions.
Questions that can usefully b investigated here are
t!te following (some possible answers regarding
Englishåppeav in the Notes).

L. (If only foreign-sounding pronunciations that were common
one type of to most or all of the speakers, and can you make
accent was some-generalizations about the kinds of errors?
recorded) 3. Which errors. do you think are the most important to try
VThat seem to correct?
to be the 4. Are there any you would not bother to try to
most common correct? Why not?
errors? 5. With:regard to the errors you want to correct: how
2. (lithere would you explain theseto the learner?
were 6. What further ideas do you have for getting
different learners to improve théir pronunciationoftheitems
accents) you have found? (Some suggestions may be
Were there foun&inBox 4.8 below.)

Unit learners' ronunciaiicw
The objective
It needs to be said at the outset aim of pronunciation improvement not to achieve a
perfect imitation of •a native accent;but simply to get the learner to pronounce
accurately enough-to be easily and comfortably comprehensible to other:
(competent). speakers. 'Perfect' accents are difficult not impossible for most of us to
achieve in a foreign not even be desirable. Many people — even if often
subconsciously — feel they wish to maintain a slight mother-tongue accent as an
assertion of personal ethnic identity. This feeling should; surely, be reSpected.
Inquiry Ask a group of learners whethertheywant toachieve a 'perfect' native accent or not. If they say no; find
outwhether this:is onlybedausethey it is impossible, or because they genuinely do not seeit as a
desirable objective.

Why do learners make pronunciation errors?

Learners' errors of pronunciation derive from varioussources:
OA particular sound may not exist in the mother töngue, So that the learn
not used to forming it and therefore tends to Substitute the nearest equiv
he or she knows (the substitution of [d/ or /z/fdf théE1åÉliSh th /ö/ as in t
is a typical example).
OA sound does exist in the mother tongue, butnot as a separate phoneil@ is to
learner does not perceive it as a distinct sound that makes a difference to
meaning)ln Hebrew, for example, both the /1/ and /i'./ (ship/sheep) sounds
occur, but which is used depends only on where the sound comes in the word or
phrase, not what the word means; and if o substituted for the other, no
difference in meaning results. These are call 'allophonic variations' of a
phoneme, or 'allophones'. The result is that Hebrew-speaking learner is not
naturally aware of the difference in En and may not even hear it.
(On the whole, the second of the two problems is the more difficult, A• totally
new sound is often easily perceived as: alien, and once you can hear sound you
are well on the way to being ableto pronounce it. But if you cannot hear it then
you cannot even attempt to pronounce it, and the p of perception needs to be
overcome before any prOgress can be made.)
Question Consider some foreign language learners with whom you are f preferably your own students — whose
mother tongue you also know. you identify instances of mistakes in sound formation and why they
them (for example, the sound does not exist in their own language, 01 only as an allophone)?

e learners have the actual sounds right, but have notlearnt the stress
patterns of the word or group of words, or they are using an intonati

-b to
Improving learners' pronunciation
the more difficult, A Ind once you can hear ounce it. But if you
pronunciati -ounce it, and the probl• cess can be made.)
on you are familiar — le you also Imow. Can, and why they make
• ovm language, or e

nciatiopjmprove 10t learnt the stress using an intonation

ment yut-simply
to get the lid- theiemother tonguewhich is inappropriate to the target language.
comfortably gr- The result j afforeign-sounding,eaccent, and possibly
aents} are theya: misunderstanding.
difficult gu
ge:anyway, and ) . aestion 'IliSfén to Some ot-very-aevanced learners speaking the foreign language
consciously — previous unit, listen again to a recording. Can you identify three or
feel assertion. föur instances of inappropriate stress or intonation?
Getting:learners to perceive
5.re a 'perfect' .native The first thing that needs to be done is to check that the learner can
sonly because they hear and identify thesounds you want to teach. The same goes for
see:it as a desirable intonation, rhythm and stress:can thelearner ear the difference
between how a competentEor natiVe; speakerbfthelan age says a
word, phrase or sentence and howa foreign learner says it?
This can be done by requesting imitation; or seeing if learners can
distinguish between minimal pairs (such as ship/sheep, man/men,
sources: thi thick/tick; see Gimson, 1978); or: by contrasting acceptable with
311% so that the unacceptable pronunciation through recordings or live demonstration.
learnerE :ute the Note that you can check perception of sounds using single words or
nearest equival e even syllables, but work on stress and intonation nearly always needs
EngliSh th /ö/ as to be based on longer units.
in 8'Qzestion ChooSe an error that seems to you particularly widespread and persistent. How might
you test learners to find out if they really perceive the difference between their
a sexarate the z version and the correct one?
phoneme: o that
makes a n the /1/
and /i:/ Is only on Q) Telling learners what to do
where the ord az The $age for some learners may be some kind of explicit exhortation:
means; and if one this is what igqü%ht to be? this is what you are doing wrong. For sound
esults•. These are formation it may-help' actually to use a *ketch of the mouth (see Box
called s?. The 4.3), and to describe the pronunciation of a teeth, etc. But for other
result is that he. aspects of pronunciation a brief explanation is sufficient, followed by
difference in demonstration-and an invitation to imitate and pgagtisg%,



Question Again, choose atypical,learner erroryou arefamiliar witliüiowwoul&yog;
explain to the learner what he or she isdoing wrong and how to put
it rig


imitation of teacher or recorded model of' sounds,
woFds and sentences recording of learner speech,
contrasted with native model systematic explanation
qnd instruction (including.details of the structure
and movement of parts Of the mouth) imitation
drills: repetition of sounds, words-and sentences
choral repetition of diills
— varied repetition of drills (varied speedi.VQlume,
— learning and performing dialogues (as with drills,
using-choral work, and varied speed, volume, mood)
earning by heart of sentences, rhymeszjingles jazz
chants (see Graham, 1978) tongue twisters
— self-correction through listening to recordings of
O Cambridge University Press 1995

Finally — when we are satisfied that the

pronunciation point h4S been satisfactorily perceived
and learners can, if théy take an acceptable version
— we come on to the stage of-pråétigé: Cdn$öljdåting
arid establishing the habits of acceptable
pronunciationlthEöUgh exércises that provide
repetition and reinforcement.

Follow-up Design some activities of your own in your targetlanguage that

Vottfeel task might give useful practice, perhaps using •some ofthé
4.4 as a basis. Ifyou find it' difficult to thinku'pi'ri'&ak your
mi find some practical suggestions in the bdoks• reådihg' Then pool
ideas with colleagues; togetheiyoti shoud•be åble to %ass useful
'battery' of activities.
If you have time, try some of them Out with students.

Unit Four: Further topics for
This unit looks at some controversial issues
connected with the eaching of pronunciation and
invitesyOu in the tasks to examine ånd€fåté'90Lfö6wi1
position on them. My own opinions-follow the-tasks.

Task Group discussion

Look at the questions suggested in Box 4.5, and discuss then}
with colleagues. The aim should be to arrive:at. general
agreementOmacceptable answers, though this
How .e ideas shown in Box your own, you mig nder Further reading. d be able to
would gand how amass a
to put it ri 3.

3 and kith the teaching of Id state your own

ss them with reement on osslble. In any case, it
Further topics for discussion
is,important to clarify exactly what the issues are, and, if there is to
understand the arguments of all sides.

horal work, and 4.5: QUESTIONS-FOR DISCUSSION ON

f. Does prongneiation heed to be deliberately taught? Won't it just
be 'picked up'? If it does need to-be, deliberately taught, then
should this be in the shape of specific pronunciation éxercises,
or casuallyr in the course of other oral activities?
2. What;accengof+thé targe language should serve as a model?
(For English, fqr -example, shbuld.you use• ritish?
American? Other? Local accent?) Is it permissible to present.
rniöed accents (e.g. a teacher who has a 'mid-Atlantic' i.e. a-
)0int has been mixed British and American accent) ?
re, produce an 3._ Cen/Should the non-native teacher serve as a model for target
e: language öronunciation?
conSolidating 4. What difference does the learner's age make in learning
and )ugh
exercises that
5. How important is it to teach intonation, rhythm and stress?
O Cambridge University Press 1996

that you feel

Before beginning.to work On the questions, decide:

— Are there any add? Do you vhsh to change.
yo.uwishto-omit? the order?
Decide on and perhaps note down your answers before looking at my
r own answers as expressed-below;
Some possible answers to the questions in Box
h 4.5
e 1. The efxperience of many learners is that pro unciation can be,
r and often is, acquired adequately by intuitive imitation. any
e teachers never teach pronunciation, and their student'
command of it seems nevertheless quite satisfactory.
However, there is also evidence that deliberate correction and
training does improve pronunciation and if this is so it seems
a pity to neglect itÄ
Probably the deliberate teaching of pronunciation is less
essential than, say, the teaching of ammar or vocabulary, but
this does not mean it should not be done at all. -would
recommend occasional short sessions directing learners'
r attention to an giving:prectice in aspects of pronunciation that
s are clearly problematic for them, as well as casual correction
in the course of othér activities.
y 2. In genékal, -it does not matter very much, provided that the
o model chosen is a standård accent that iS easily understood
u by other speakers of the language. In parts of the world where
learners are more likely to have to deal with one particular
w accent it makes sense to use it, so that for teaching English in
i Europe the Britiéh accent may be preferred, in Japan the
s American. But even this distinction is becoming less
h important as time goes on. In any case, even
[Assuming that you areteaching one 'standard' variety as a
t model, it is a good idea to give learners at-least some
o exposure to others, through the use of 'live' speakers or
recÖrdingsy in order to raise awareness of other possible
accents — and, ofcourse, for listening practice.
3. This question is&lfguably many •SituätiOi1S thenoh=native tea has to be the model whether he
or-she:likes• it or ilOtJHowevér, I would say that in any case such a teacher is a perfectly
adequate model, provided he she is, of course, a Competent spéäkef ofthe language} which One
would hope a teacher is anyway! A spoken With:æslight foreign accent can serve as a model
fi•01h Whicpeårners may acquire perfectly

acceptable pronunciation. In any ease, it is desirable for learners to be exposed to a number of

native andother acceptable accents through the of recordings, and this is true whatever the
mother tongue of the teacher.
41 Children seem to pick up accents very quickly; and the ability to do so se s to diminish with
ageÄthough this' may be for psychological regsons (a need preserve one's identity as
expreSSedin théÄ,vay one speaks) rather than physical or physiological capability. However,
this-diminished ability is

difficult explanations-disäpline themselves and apply instructions. One conclusion might be

thatßonscious pronunciation training is likely to be more helpful with classes of older learners.)
5. Intonation in Oriental 'tone' languages has to be taught betaüse it directly affects the meaning of
words. In other languagéS it may affect the implications conveyed by speech, but is very difficult
to teqch because of sheer variety and subtlety of the possible patterns. The teacher can, I do little
more in practice than 'draw learners' attention'tö the existence of these patterns, teach •a very few

Common ones, and'the'fffély on exposure experience to provide the basiS for furthérlearmng (but
séé Brazil, Coul and Johns, 1980).
We can, to some extent, teach stresyand rhythm patternswhen tea vocabulary and
grammar; beyond this, what has been said above about intonation applies here also.

Unit Five: Pronunciation and spelling

In most languages there is a fairly clear-correspondegcej between sounds and symbols: certain
letters or combinations-or-letters arepgonounced in certain ways, and if there are variations, these
by.consistent rules: wh for example the letter c in. English is.pronounced /k[or 1'/•, when the letter
of the definite article in Arabic is not?pgonouhced, languages where there are rnany exceptions
tossuch rules, many words who pronunciation could not be .logically piedicted from their-spelling,
and vice versa — English being an example,

The alphabeti
The basic sound—symbol correspondenceås of learning alphabet. If the alphabet is a totally new
one,- then tEereåS agotto:léarn, bui
I am using the term alphäbethere rafher looselYf0' of
like Chinese, which are not Strictly •speakiiVletterS bu€ide&grah1S.

Pronunciation and s
clear that every new symbol needs to be taught with its pronunciation. If, h
learner is actually using more or less the same alphabet but the e ers_ epre
msthe non-native teac — or very— differenesounds-(asän-thecase-oEEnglish spéakilig l
However, I would say Spanish,_for example) you may a more subtle teaching pi-oblem.

é — which One would stion (Both questipns below appl only if all your students have the same mother tongue.) Either:
withQslight foreign •i r. IfyOur target language uses the same alphabet as the mother tongue of which ar
acquire perfectly letters which will be pronounced very differently from their natiye versions? W
for€learners to be will be pronounced only slightly differently? Are there any which are exactly
#qcénts through the use the same? Or:
of the teacher. 2. If your target language uses a different alphabet, can you divide it into letters
ability to do so whose sounds have close parallel symbols in the learners' mother tongu
seem; logical reesons example, Greek delta and English d) and those which do not?
(a need peaks) rather
than minished ability Rules of pronunciation—spelling correspondence
is ability to Once learners have mastered the basic sound—symbol correspondence
understand ly may in some languages be immediately able to decode and pronounce cor
instructions. One any written text— or, conversely, write down a spoken one. In others, i
aining is likely to be not be so simple. They may need a whole set of extra sound—symbol rule
example, that -tion at the end of a word in English is usually pronounced
ght becauSe it directly or that the letter s in German is pronounced [f/ when it occurs before It/ o
lay affect the to teach Some of these — the more common and urgent for successful reading
because of the ae and writing — ou will need to teach consciously and early; others the
teacher can, I think, to learners may pick up 'by-the wa ' ater on.
the existence of hen Words or sets of words with unusual pronunciation or spelling you
rely on exposure Dut need to teach and practise on their own — some ideas follow at the e
see Brazil, Coultha. the unit.
atterns when estion Can you suggest four or five rules about letter-combinations and their pronunciation in:
teaching n said above language you teach that you think it would be important for learners to master in the ea
about stages of learning to speak and read?

Pronunciation and spelling activities

Some ideas that practise pronunciation—spelling correspondences m
found in pronunciation books, such as those listed under Further reading;
ling on spelling usually just give rules, lists of words and then suggest prac
through dictation and spelling tests. Dictation is of course one exc
between sounds and technique (see 1988, for some imaginative variations); and spelling. tes
ronounced in certain help, but there are many more possibilities. A number of ideas are listed i
consistent rules: when, 4.6; note that some of these may not be appropriate if your students do not
/s/; when the letter lam common mother tongue.
•e are, of course, s,
many words whose sir
spelling, and vice

hé ståge of learning
the is a lot to learn,
but it written symbols
of languag ms.

4 Teaching pronunciation
Task Planning and using activities
Choose three activities for teaching, raisil.lg aWarene*s or practising pronunciation—
spelling Correspond6nce the taigétlåh$iiåge: these be from Box 4.6, or from other sources,
or original ideaSdf your own. P actual texts (words, sentences, passages) which you might
use in these activities.
If feasible, try using them with a learner in a one-to-one lesSon.


Dictation: of random lists of words, of words thathave Similar. spelling proble of-
complete-sentencesnffäl -sen ences to be completed.
Reading a oud: of syllables, wdfds, phrases, sentences.
Discrimination (1)': prepare a setof 'mihimalpairs'— pairs of Words which
diffefrom each other in one sound—letter combination (such as dipdeep in
Either ask learners to read them aloud, taking care to discriminate, or read the*
aloud yourself, and ask students to write them down.
Discrimination a list of words that a-ré speltthetsamein.the learn mother
tongue and in the target language: read aloud, or asklearoersto, and
discuss the-differences in pronunciation (and méanihg!).
Prediction (1): provide a set of letter-combinätioiiS;tWhiCh åfé tpårtS•of words
learners know. How would the learners expect thém to-bé pronouncéd? Then
reveal the full word.
Prediction (2): diCtate a set of words in the target'langüagé whiChthe
learners not know yet, but whose spelling accord$ with r,ules. Camthey
spell them? reveal meanings.)
C Cambridge University Press 1996

Pronunciation errors and their correction
Some pronunciation errors common totChe Speech ofinhany- Speåkers
of as a foreign language are:
— difficulty in pronouncing the th andlb/• difficulty in pronouncing the
neutrålüSéhWa' vowe (the first? syllable for example);
— a tendency to give uniform stressiosyllables thaühould:bé. lighter or
— a tendency to shorten diphthongseånd make •them;into mohothongaf%
example the sound lei/ asun .way tends?töbe pronouricedmoie like a F
The errors which are dOrfeet iårét»iéwhlch may lead to lack of or
whiéh, make listen to; by the same principlé; eriörS i problems but simply
make the speech slightly foreign-sounding may noc correcting.


Table of Contents


ish between the terms sentence and clause 8
ze types of predication 11
gnment 14
omments to self-assessed questions 15


Unit 2 17
e the syntactic properties of the auxiliary verbs 17
the syntactic properties of the modal verbs 20
gnment 23

omments to self-assessed questions 23


Unit 3 26
he copulative predication 26
ish between types of intransitive verbs 28
ze the syntactic and semantic classes of transitive verbs 32
gnment 38
omments to self-assessed questions 38

CE 39
Unit 4 40
assive voice 40
classes of verbs that can be passivised 41
when the Agent by-phrase can be deleted 44
ignment 45
omments to self-assessed questions 45
Unit 5 48
he subject 48
the grammatical and the logical subject in existential 50

types of Objects: direct, indirect, prepositional 53

ignment 56
Unit Title Pag
Objectives of Unit 1

—1440-defin&the-simple sentence
Table of Contents

comments to self-assessed questions 56


Unit 6 59
y types ofyes or no questions 62
wh-questions 68
signment 69
comments to self-assessed questions 69
Unit 7 71
ize types of coordinators 71
fy types of ellipsis 74
signment 77
comments to self-assessed questions 78

The main objectives of unit I are:

to define the simple sentence; to explain the semantic

stricture of the simple sentence: to recognize types of

1.1 To define the simple sentence

Key words sentence, clause, simple sentence, compound sentence, complex sentence.

Traditional grammar defined the sentence in close connection with the

idea of thought 'A sentence is an expression of a thought or feeling by
means of a word or words used in such a form and manner as to convey
the meaning intended'.

The sentence is a very complex linguistic object with syntactic, semantic,

phonological, morphological and pragmatic properties.

At the syntactic level, the sentence is made up of constituents

hierarchically organised. The minimal configuration consists of a relation
of predication between an NP functioning as the Subject of the sentence
and a VP functioning as Predicate of the sentence:

Subject Predicate Det N oun Verb

The man ran away.

At the surface structure, the sentence consists of a set of lexical items {the,
man, ran, away} corresponding to the lexical categories (Noun, Verb,
Adjective, Preposition, Adverb) making up the phrasal constituents (Noun
Phrase, Verb Phrase, Prepositional Phrase, Adjective Phrase, Adverb
Phrase, commonly abbreviated as NP, VP, PP, AP, AdvP).

At the semantic level, a sentence is representable as a logical predication,

i.e. a logical relation between a predicate and its arguments. The
predicate is 'run away' and its only argument is the man.

At the phonological level, each sentence has a phonetic shape, an

intonational contour and a graphic form. As a declarative sentence, The
man ran away is spoken with a falling intonation.

At the pragmatic level, each utterance is a concrete instance of a sentence

which performs a certain function in speech: expressing a wish,
commanding, agreeing, etc. An interlocutor uttering The man ran away is
actually making an assertion.

At the level of discourse the sentence has a colTesponding information/
thematic structure so as to ensure the normal progress of information in the
discourse. For instance, the man is information already known, the new
information about him is that he 'ran away'. Thus the sentence is viewed as
being made up of new + old information, or THEME + RHEME (or
Theme + Focus):
Our main concern is the analysis of the simple sentence at the syntactic

Sentence vs. clause.

Distinction should be made between the terms 'sentence' and 'clause'.

Sentences are units made up of one or more clauses. Sentences
containing just one clause are called simple sentences. Sentences
containing more than one clause are called: compound sentences (when
there is a relationship of coordination between the clauses) and complex
sentences (when the relationship between the clauses is that of

He went to a pub. (Simple sentence)

[He went to a pub] and [had a pint of beer]. (Compound sentence)
[He went to a pub] [after he finished his work].(Complex sentence)

The main elements of the clause structure are obligatory: Subject, Verb,
Objects (Indirect Object, Direct Object, Prepositional Object). The
modifying elements are optional: Adverbial Modifiers (of manner, place,
time, purpose, etc.) and Adjectival Modifiers (also known as Attributes).

Clauses may be grouped according to the verb form of their predication into:
finite, non-finite and verbless.
Finite clauses - whose verb Corm can-ies the markers Mood, Tense, and Aspect.

[That he is a good student] is obvious. (that-complement clause).

I do not know [where he lives]. (indirect question). The girl
[who is sitting there] is my sister. (relative clause).

Non-finite clauses - whose verb form is an infinitive. a gerund or a participle:

[To learn a foreign language]-is-notüfficult. (infinitival clause

[When an-iving home] he found a message. (paflicipial clause)
[On arriving home] he found a message. (gerundial clause)

Verbless clauses - whose subject and verb have been deleted.

[When in difficulty] read the book. when you-are in difficulty)

The classification of the simple sentences according to their

communicative function.
Simple sentences may be divided into four major classes that correlate
different communicative functions with certain syntactic configurations:
Statements are primarily used to convey information. The subject is
always present and it generally precedes the verb:

He will speak to the boss today.

Questions are primarily used to express lack of information on a specific

point and to request the listener to supply this information verbally.
Syntactically, they are marked by inversion of the subject and operator
(auxiliary or modal verb):

Will John speak-to

Who will you speak to? (wh-question)

Commands are mainly used to instruct somebody to do something. They have

no overt grammatical subject and the verb is in the imperative mood:

Speak to the boss today!

Exclamations are primarily used for expressing the speaker's own

feelings. They have an initial phrase introduced by what and how, without
inversion of subject and operator:

What a noise they are making!

How noisy they are!

When referring to simple sentences, we use the adjectives corresponding to

these four types: declarative, interrogative, imperative, exclamatory.

Self-assessed test 1.1

Label the following simple sentences according to their communicative

I. What a nice day!
2. Eat up your vegetables, please!
3. Who will come later?
4. He has provided for his family well.

You can find the answer at the end of this unit.

1.2 To explain the semantic structure of the simple sentence

Key words argument, adjunct, thematic role.

The semantic structure of the sgntence is essential for the understanding of

the relations between the constituents of the simple sentence.
The argument structure.

Every predicate requires a certain number of constituents to form a correct

sentence. The obligatory constituents are called arguments, the optional
ones are known as adjuncts:

[NP The little boy] imitates [NP his father] [pp at school].
obligatory constituent obligatory constituent optional constituent

The predicate imitate takes two obligatory constituents, i.e. two arguments (the
little boy) and (his father). The arguments are the participants involved in the activity or state expressed by the

Predicates that require two arguments are called two-place predicates. The
two arguments are realised by the subject' NP and the Object NP
respectively. Thus the transitive verbs (imitate) in traditional syntax
correspond to the two-place predicates, the ditransitive verbs (give) to the
three-place predicates, the intransitive verbs (sneeze) to the one-place

imitate: verb 1 2 (two-place predicate) give: verb 1 2 3 (three-

place predicate) sneeze: verb 1 (one-place predicate)

As a consequence, every predicate has its argument structure that

determines which elements of the sentence are obligatory. If a speaker
knows the meaning of a verb, he will also know how many participants
are involved in the action denoted by the verb, and hence how many
arguments the verb takes.

In addition to the arguments of a verb, a sentence may contain optional

constituents (at school) known as adjuncts, i.e. constituents that provid
additional information with respect to manner, place, time, cause, etc.

The subject is referred to as the external argument (i.e. the argument

which is outside the VP), while the objects, which are inside the VP are
called internal arguments:

John [vp gave Mary a book].

The Subject NP, John, which is outside the VP, is an external argument,
the NP Mary and the NP a book are internal arguments of the verb give
because they are inside the VP.

The thematic structure

Let us consider the argument structure of the verb kill:

kill: verb 1 2
The argument structure of the verb kill shows that this verb takes two arguments
in order to form a simple meaningful sentence such as:

The lion killed the deer.

In the action of killing two participants are minimally involved: the one that
perfonns the act of killing and the one that suffers the aggression. The two argument NPs (the lion, the deer) in the
sentence are intuitively felt to stand in a different semantic relationship with the verb. The argument-NP the lion, in
subject position, refers to the AGENT of the action of killing, while the argument-NP the deer, the DO, expresses the
PATIENT of the activity.

The semantic relationships between verbs and their arguments are referred
to in terms of thematic roles. The main types of thematic roles
distinguished by linguists are:

AGENT/ACTOR: initiator or doer of the action;

PATIENT: person or thing which undergoes the action;
THEME: the person or thing moved by the action;
EXPERIENCER: the individual that experiences some emotional or
psychological state;
for whose benefit the event took place;
GOAL: the entity towards which motion takes place;
SOURCE: the entity from which motion takes place;
LOCATION: the place where something is situated;
PERCEPT: something which is experienced or perceived;
INSTRUMENT: the object with which an action is performed.

Let us illustrate the thematic roles with a number of verbs:

John gave a tip to the waiter.

Boys love adventure.
Jane stayed in Toronto.
The monster frightened the children.
Some This key will open that door. linguists
INSTRUMENT THEME. amalgamate the
roles PATIENT and
THEME under the role of THEME. The representation of the thematic
structure of a verb is given in the form of a thematic grid (written between
angled brackets < >). Thus for the verb send the corresponding thematic
grid will be:


An easy way to identify AGENTS is to check whether adverbs denoting

volition and intention such as: willingly, deliberately, intentionally can be inserted
into the sentence:

a. Tim deliberately rolled the ball towards the fence.

b. The ball deliberately rolled towards the fence.

Since the adverb deliberately is all right in sentence (a), but not in (b),
Tim is the real perförmer of the action, Tim is the AGENT of the verb
roll, while the ball is only a PATIENT (or THEME) in both examples.

The thematic structure is very important for the analysis of certain syntactic
Self-assessed test 1.2

I. Identify the arguments and the adjuncts in the following sentences:

Model: They promised John the job last week.

obligatory obligatory obligatory optional.

'They', 'John ' and 'the job ' are obligatory constituents in the structure of
the sentence, therefore they are arguments of the verb. 'Lasl week' is an
optional constituent, an adjunct,

1. The huge bear frightened the spectators during the performance.

2. The old man walked slowly.

3. The enemy destroyed the city in a few days.

Il. Find out what thematic roles are assigned by the verbs to their

Model: Mary cooked her father dinner.

The thematic grid of the verb 'cook' is.

1. Betsy went from Montreal to Toronto.

2. Anne lives in London.
3. Jane stole a book from Helen.
4. The radio is sending messages into the air.
5. This key will open that door.
6. Lucy saw the monster.

You can find the answer at the end of this unit.

1.3 To recognize types of predication

The classification of sentences according to the type of verb.

The traditional classification of verbs into: copulative, intransitive and

transitive (monotransitive, ditransitive, complex transitive) determines a variety of types and subtypes of
sentences. The following classification of sentences according to the syntactic properties of the verb gives a
sketchy, easy to remember account of all possible sentence configurations. Many of the subtypes of simple
sentences mentioned below can be expanded into complex sentences by replacing certain phrasal constituents
with clausal ones.
Copulative Predicate Configuration.

sentences belonging to this type, predication is realized by a copula be or a
copulative-like verb: become, taste, remain, etc.

Subtype 1: Subject + cop.V + Predicative.

This novel is better.

A second type of sentences with a copulative type of predication includes in

its structure an indirect or a prepositional object:

Subtype 2:

a. With 10: Subject + cop.V + Predicative + Indirect Object The

decision was surprising to us.

b. With PO: Subject + cop.V + Predicative + Prepositional Object

The men were pleased with the news.

Clausal constituents. This subtype of sentences may have one constituent,

the Prepositional Object, expressed by a PP or a clause (thatcomplement
clause, infinitival clause or gerundial clause):

He was pleased [with her answer].

He was pleased [to find out the truth].
He was pleased [that we identified the problem].

When the PO is realised by a that-complement clause or an infinitival

clause, the preposition is deleted. In the case of the gerundial clause, the
preposition is preserved:

That man was afraid dogs].

That man was afraid Of [being bitten by dogs].
That man was afraid [that nobody would believe him].

Intransitive predicate configurations.

These configurations are predicated by intransitive verbs including the
existential be and, depending on the number of their constituents, such
sentences can be grouped into three subtypes:


Subtype 1: Subject + Vi
The baby smiled.
The dog barked.

These configurations may include optional Adverbial Modifiers of different

kinds: manrler, place, time, purpose, cause, etc.:

They were working (hard) (in the schoolyard) (at 5).

manner place time

C1äifSTCönstituents. Some velbs suc eem-o appen ta e a c ause as their

logical subject and the expletive pronoun it as a grammatical subject:

It seems [that prices will go down].

It happened [that Gloria was missing].

Subtype 2: Subject + V + IO/PO.

This configuration is predicated by the so-called complex-intransitive

verbs. These intransitive verbs take an obligatory PP which may {Unction
as an 10, where the preposition is to orfor:

They finally submitted [pp to the enemy].

He was looking [pp for a new friend].

A subgroup of prepositional verbs may take clauses functioning as POs:

Jack insisted on [our coming earlier]. (gerundial clause)

Jack insisted [that we should come earlier]
(that complement clause)

Subtype 3: Subject + V + IO/PO + PO.

Complex intransitive verbs may take two prepositional objects:

He will lecture [pp to us] [pp on Greek philology].

We argued [pp with the waiter] [pp about the price].

Transitive predicate configurations

All these predications are two-term configurations, the second term being a

Subtype 1: Subject + V + DO.

Mother sliced the bread.

Clausal constituents. The DO may be expressed by a that-complement clause,
and infinitival clause, a gerundial clause or an indirect question:

She knows [that you are lying].

They wanted [to see the movie again].

She likes [being praised].
She didn't know [why she had been punished].

Sub-type 2: Subject + V + DO + 10.

These configurations are predicated by ditransitive verbs i.e. verbs that take
both a DO and an 10:

The girl offered [NP the bunch of flowers] [pp to the soloist].
He will buy [NP a silk blouse] [pp for his girlfriend].

functioning as
DOS. The 10 is Often deleted:

She promised (me) [that she would leave soon] (that-

complement clause).
He explained (to us) [why the experiment had failed]
(indirect question).

Sub-type3: Subject+V+DO + PO.

These configurations contain transitive verbs with obligatory preposition:

The jury accused him [pp of murder].

The man took him [pp for his brother].

Clauses may function as Prepositional Objects, with deletion of the

preposition before that-complqment clauses and infinitive clauses, but not
before gerundial clauses:

I reminded him of his promise.

I reminded him Of [his having to leave earlier].
I reminded him [that he should leave earlier].
I reminded him [to leave earlier].

Sub-type 4: Subject + V + DO + Adv Place/Direction.

In such configurations the DO is obligatorily followed by an Adverbial

Modifier of Place or Direction:

He placed the volume [on the upper shelf].

The purpose of this section has been to define the notion of sentence and
to provide an overview of the different types of sentence classifications.
Sentences may be classified according to the type of predication into
copulative, intransitive and transitive configurations. By replacing one of
the constituents with a clause, the simple sentence becomes a complex
sentence (which entails a relationship of subordination).
Send-away assionment
Identify the constituents of types of sentences and state what kind of
predication they illustrate:

Model: People are complaining about the traffic.

Subject + intransitive Verb + Prepositional Object.
The sentence is an example ofan intransitive predicate
1. The accused convinced the court of his innocence.
2. Henry taught the children French.
3. She became a horse race trainer.

He was reasonable-about-herdeeisionv———-
5. He quarrelled with his friends about the projected trip.
6. Isabel suddenly appeared.
7. She was convinced Of his loyalty.

Answers and comments to self-assessed questions

Answers 1.1
1. exclamative, 2. imperative, 3. interrogative, 4.
Answers 1.2
'during the
few 1.
1. 'the huge bear' argument, 'the spectators'
arguments performance' adjunct. days' adjunct.
2. 'the old man' argument, 'slowly' adjunct.
3. 'the enemy' argument, 'the city' argument, 'in a

Bibliography steal <AGENT, PATIENT, SOURCE>, PERCEPT>.


open <INSTRUMENT, PATIENT>, see 1.
Downing A., Locke P., A University Course in
English Grammar, Phoenix ELT, Hertfordshire, 1995.

2. Jacobs R., English Syntax, A Grammar for English Language

Professionals, Oxford University Press, 1995.

3. $erban D., English Syntax, vol. I, Bucharest, Bucharest University

Press, 1982

Syntactic Properties of Auxiliary and Modal Verbs
The main objectives of Unit 2 are:

to recognize the syntactic properties of auxilial•y

verbs; to identify the syntactic properties of modal

2.1 To recognize the syntactic properties of auxiliary verbs

Key wor s auxiliary verb, modal verb, predication, predicate.

The sentence is made up of a subject and a predicate. The predicate

contains two constituents: the auxiliary and the lexical verb. The modal
verbs, be, and have occupy a position inside the AUX constituent.
Consider the position of the modals and the auxiliaries in the following
John must modal do his duty.

John may be working in the garden

modal be-ing

John may have been working in the garden.

modal have-en be-ing

The book may have been written by his sister.

modal have-en be-en
Tt is obvious that co-occurring modals and auxiliaries appear in a certain
order, which has been formalized in the following syntactic
representation of the predicate phrase:

(modal) (have—en) (be—ing) (be—en)

where: -en stands for the past participle ofthe lexical verb
-ing stands for the present participle of the lexical verb
(have-en) are the markers of the perfect aspect
(be-ing) are the markers of the progressive aspect
(be-en) are the markers of the passive voice


the examples:

Syntactic Properties of Auxiliary and Modal Verbs
Jane has written the essay. (perfect aspect)
Jane is writing the essay. (progressive
The letter is written by Jane. (passive voice)

The auxiliary verb have occurs with the past participle of lexical verbs to
indicate perfect (perfective) aspect, be occurs with the present participle (-
ing form) to mark the progressive aspect on the lexical verb, and with the
past participle (-ed form) to mark the passive voice.
The auxiliamy verbs have and be take part in the syntactic processes of
interrogation and negation.

1. The auxiliary is moved to pre-subject position in yes-no questions,

whquestions and tag questions, except when the question is addressed to the
subject of the affirmative sentence:

Has he seen Mary? yes -no question

Whom has heseen*— wh-question

Who has seen Mary? wh-question addressed to the subject
He has seen Mary, hasn't he? tag-question

Are you writing a letter? yes -no question

What are you writing? wh-question
Who is writing a letter? wh-question addressed to the subject You are
writing a letter, aren't you? tag-question

2. In negative sentences the negative marker not is inserted after the


You have not seen Mary.

You are not writing a letter.

When the negation occurs in its contracted form n 't, it is attached to the
auxiliary with which it forms a single phonological unit:

You haven't seen Mary.

You aren't writing a letter.

It is also possible to combine the pronominal subject with the contracted

form of the auxiliary, while the negator remains in its full form:

You're not ready.


DO is an auxiliary verb which helps or 'supports' certain syntactic processes

on the lexical verb when there is no already available auxiliary in the
sentence, i.e. when the lexical verb is in the present and past simple tense.
DO-support is required in: interrogation, negation, ellipsis and emphasis:

Syntactic Properties of Auxiliary and Modal Verbs
l. The auxiliary DO precedes the subject in yes-no questions, in whquestions,
tag questions:
You like my new hat. Do you like my new hat?
What do you like?
You like my hat, don't you?
2. The negative word not is attached to the auxiliary DO, with which
it can appear in a contracted form:

I don't like your new hat.

Negative imperatives also require do-suppolt:

Don't worry!
Don't move!

3. The auxiliary DO is used in ellipsis. When repetition must be

avoided, the auxiliary verb DO replaces a whole sentence in the following

a. In short answers to _yes-no questions, DO stands for the whole predicate:

DO like my
Do you like my new hat? Yes, I do.

b. The auxiliary DO substitutes repeated material in coordinate structures

introduced by and so, and neither:

[I arrived late] and [my friend

[I arrived late] and [so did my friend].

[He didn't like coffee] and [his wife didn4-like-eoffeez-eiåeF].

[He didn't like coffee] and [neither did his wife].

c. DO is inserted to avoid repetition in comparative clauses introduced by

the conjunction than:

Mary works harder [than her sister woyks].

Mary works harder [than her sister does],

4. The auxiliary DO is used as a means of emphasizing in the following

a. DO emphasizes a positive statement, often introduced by the coordinating
conjunction but, in contrast with a preceding negative one:

My teacher thinks I didn't study for my test, but I studied.

(neutral statement)
My teacher thinks I didn't study for my test, but I did study.
(emphatic statement).
b.The emphatic auxiliary DO co-occurs with a negative expressions such as
the adverb never:

Syntactic Properties of Auxiliary and Modal Verbs
The letter we were expecting never arrived. (neutral statement).
The letter we were expecting never did arrive. (emphatic statement)

c. DO appears in the main clause when it stands in contrast with a

concessive clause:
Although I have little time for entertainment, I go to the theatre
once in a while. (neutral) Although I have little time for
entertainment, I do go to the theatre once in a while.

He has money, but it's all tied up in property. (neutral)

He does have money, but it's all tied up in property. (emphatic)

d.DO co-occurs with emphatic adverbs (definitely, positively, certainly) in

answers to yes-no questions:

'Do you remember how beautiful she w 'v emember. ' neutral
'I certainly do remember.' (emphatic)

e. An affirmative imperative does not allow do-support unless it is

emphatic. Emphatic imperatives occur especially in British English to
express an entreaty:

Come to the party tonight! (neutral)

Do come to the party tonight. (emphatic)

Self-assessed test 2.1

Identify auxiliary verbs in the following sentences and state what tense,
aspect and voice they indicate:
1. The cashier is taking the money from the customers.
2. We have been looking for those papers for hours.
3. The ship sank four hours after it had hit the iceberg.
4. The report was written yesterday.

You can find the answer at the end of this unit.

2.2 To identify the syntactic properties of modal verbs

Key words modal verbs, periphrastic modals.

Modals add to the lexical verb a special semantic component such as

ability, obligation, possibility. Syntactically they have -certain properties
that make them similar to auxiliary verbs. The most striking characteristics
of the English modals are the so-called NICE properties, where NICE is an
acronym of negation, inversion, code, emphatic affirmation.

Syntactic Properties of Auxiliary and Modal Verbs
l. Negation can attach to the modal, in an uncontracted or in a contracted
I cannot swim.
I can't swim,
2. Inversion of the subject with the modal is possible in yes-no questions,
wh-questions, tag questions:

Must they leave?

When must they leave?
They must leave, mustn't they?

3. Modal verbs appear in coordinate clauses introduced by and so (also

known as 'coda' or coordinate so-clauses):

She can come and so can Bill.

She can come and so does Bill.

4. Emphatic affirmation is also possible:

You will have the money by tomorrow. (neutral statement).

You shall have the money by tomorrow. (emphatic statement).

Such properties clearly show that modal verbs behave like the class of
auxiliaries verbs.

Modal verbs also evince other syntactic properties which qualify them as a
distinct class of verbs. All examples marked by an asterisk (*) are

5. They are incompatible with non-finite forms, i.e. they cannot appear as
a present participle, a past participle, or as an infinitive:

*They are canning to speak English now.

*To can or not to can, that is the question.
*They have canned speak English for a long time.

6. They are incompatible with agreement, i.e. they do not bear the -(e)s or
-ed ending marking agreement with the subject in person and number:

*He cans speak English.

7. They always select a short infinitive as their complement:

8. They have no passive form:

*English is canned by millions of people.

9. They do not occur in imperative sentences:

Syntactic Properties of Auxiliary and Modal Verbs
*Can speak English, please!
10. They cannot co-occur, with the exception of certain dialects, that allow
the use of two modal verbs ih the same sentence:
You might would say that. (Southern US dialect), I don't feel as
if I should ought to leave. (Southern US dialect).

11. Some modals have two tense forms (present and past: can-could,
shallshould, will-would):

He can swim.
He could swim when he was younger.
He says he will come in time.
He said he would come in time.

Some have a past tense for-m which can only be used in reported speech:

She may leave immediately.

The boss said [she might leave immediately].

Others have only one form which can be used in past contexts (in reported
speech) as well, but under cettain conditions:

They must leave immediately.

The boss said [they must leave immediately].

12. The modal is always the first verb in a finite verbal group, i.e. it cannot
be preceded by any other auxiliary:

They may have been punished for what they have done. We
might have gone about half a mile.

All these properties clearly point out the fact that modals have a nonlexical
status, although they have a semantic contour, i.e. they can semantically
cover such notions as possibility, probability necessity, volition, obligation
and permission.

Self-assessed test 2.2

Comment on the syntactig properties of the modal verbs in the following:

1. You can't eat all those sweets.

2. I should have listened them, shouldn't I?
3. Alcoholic drinks may not be sold anywhere without a licence.
4. How could you improve this land?

You can find the answer at the end of this unit.

Syntactic Properties of Auxiliary and Modal Verbs

Send-away assignment
Instead of summary

Syntactic Properties of Auxiliary and Modal Verbs
1. Which are the main syntactic features of the auxiliary verbs?

11. To what extent are modal verbs similar to auxiliary verbs?

Ill. Discuss the status of!he verb HAVE: lexical, auxiliary or semi-modal.

1. My friend has a new car.

2. My library card has to be renewed.
3. I have always woi-ked in the morning.
4. I will marry her tomorrow if she will have me.

IV, Decide whether BE is used as an auxiliary (marker of aspect or voice),

a copulative verb or a lexical verb:

1. They will be having dinner at this time tomorrow.

2. The air was full of thunder.
3. There were no footsteps to be seen.
4. Be positive. There is always the chance that it may get better.
5. The letter was written by Kate
6. That museum of archaeology is in London.

V. State whether DO is used as an auxiliary or as a lexical verb:

1. I've finished the phone calls and I'll do the letters tomorrow.
2. The company didn't do very well last year.
3. She doesn't do much but what she does do, she does very well.
4. Victor said he would phone when he was done.
5. What did you do yesterday?
6. 'Laura swims very well'. 'Yes, she does swim well, but I can swim

Answers and comments to self-assessed questions

Answers 2.1

1. is: present tense, progressive aspect.

2. have: present tense, perfect aspect; been: progressive aspect.
3. had: past tense, perfect aspect.
4. was: past tense, passive voice.

Answers 2.2

1. can: negative marker attached in a contracted form.

subject in a tag questions-contracted

Syntactic Properties of Auxiliary and Modal Verbs
3. may not: negative form uncontracted.
4. could: inverted in wh-question.
1. Avram L., English Syntax, The Structure ofthe Root Clauses, Bucure$i:
Oscar Print, 2003.

2. Baker C. L., English Syntax, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1995.

3. Downing A., Locke P., A University Course in English Grammar, Phoenix

ELT, Hertfordshire, 1995.

4. %Serban D., English Syntax, vol. I, Bucharest: Bucharest University Press,


Types of Predication
The main objectives of unit 3 are:

to define copulative predication; to distinguish between types of

j intransitive verbs; to recognize the syntactic and semantic classes
) of transitive verbs.

3.1 To define copulative predication

Key words copulative predication, link verb, predicative

The structure of the copulative predicate

A copulative predicate consists of a copulative (link/ linking) verb and a
predicative. The Predicative may be adjectival or nominal:

a. Mary is [AP buxom]. (be + AP)

b. Mary is [NP his fiancée]. (be + NP)
c. Mary is [pp ofhis age]. (be + PP)
d. Mary's hobby is [collecting stamps]. (be + Gerundial Clause)
e. Her dream is [to marry my son]. (be + Infinitival Clause)
f. The trouble is [that they are too young]. (be + thaGCompl. Clause)

The adjectival predicative is expressed by an Adjectival Phrase in (a). The

nominal predicative is realized by a Noun Phrase in (b), a Prepositional
Phrase in (c) or a clause (gerundial clause, infinitival clause or that-
complement clause) in (d, e, f).

1. The copulative/link verb

The first component of the copulative predication is the link verb, which
fulfills certain functions in the predication:

John is rude.
John was/ will be/ has been/ had been/ is being rude.

The role of the copulative verb be as a part of the predicate is threefold:

1. to 'link' or connect the Subject to the Predicative;
2. to realize agreement with the Subject NP in person and number;

3. to indicate Tense and Aspect.

There are two types of copulative verbs:

a. Semantically empty/dummy: be
b. Semantically poor verbs: become, go, rum remain, rest, lie, stand, etc.

Types of Predication
A list of semantically poor linking verbs would also include: appear (happy),
become/ come (true), fall (sick), feel (annoyed), got (ready), go
(sour), grow (tired), look (dejected), remain (uncertain), run (wild), seem
(restless), smell (sweet), sound (surprised), taste (bitter), turn (sour), etc.
Obviously, the copular uses of these verbs must be distinguished from
their intransitive uses:
She sat tight for fear. (link verb)
She sat in an armchair. (intransitive verb)

The horse ran wild. (link verb)

The horse ran into the woods. (intransitive verb)

Her parents grew old. (link verb)

Her parents grew vegetables. (transitive verb)

2. The Predicative.

The second component of the copulative predication is the Predicative.

The predicative is referentially dependent on the NP-Subject, to which it
assigns an attribute or an identity. The identifying predicative is typically
The usherette was very nice. (attributive predicative)
The usherette was Jane. (identifying predicative)
Subject Predicative
Jane was the usherette.
Subject Predicative.

The Adjectival Predicative

The adjectives that are used predicatively may be non-derived or derived:

deverbal or denominal. Deverbal adjectives that appear in Predicative
Adjective positions are: adjectives converted from present or past
participles (-ing or -en) or derived by suffixation or prefixation.

a. The task has been easy. (non-derived adjective)

b. His attitude has been hypocritical. (denominal adjective)
c. His answer was amazing. (deverbal adjective)
d. She was disappointed* (deverbal adjective)

Several Predicative Adjectives are derived by suffixation from transitive

verbs (to forget, to envy, to hope, to provoke, to regret) whose DO thus
becomes PO: forgetfu( about something, envious of something, hopeful
of/about something, provocative ofsomething, regretful about something,
etd These adjectives are more frequently used in formal style:

Mary regretted [the incident].

Mary is regretful [about the incident].

Types of Predication
There are certain adjectives in English that can only occur as predicatives.
They indicate state or condition, are prefixed by a- and may take a
preposition: ablaze, afraid, aghast, akin, ajar, alike, alive, alone, ashamed,
askew, asleep, averse, awake, etc.

The man was alive.

The town was ablaze [pp with lights].
He is averse [pp to hard work].

Such adjectives cannot be used as attributes (*an alive man, *an ablaze

The Nominal Predicative may be expressed by a NP, a PP or a clause. Nominal

predicatives realized by an indefinite NP such as: a shame, a Pity,
It is. a pity [that he should have behaved so rudely]. predicative
Nominal predicatives realized by a PP take an obligatory preposition, i.e.
the preposition is fixed, it cannot be replaced by any other preposition.
Often, nominal predicatives introduced by a preposition are parts of
above: His behaviour was [pp above reproach].
between: This is [pp between you and me].
beyond: The car was [pp beyond repair]. (idiom)
on: The drinks were [pp on the house]. (idiom)
with: We shall be [pp with you all the time].
within: These facts are [ppwithin the scope of our
The nominal predicative is quite well represented in English particularly in
the idiomatic area.

Self-assessed test 3.1

State how the predicatives in the following sentences are realized:

1. The city by night looked medieval and cosmopolitan.

2. What I don't enjoy is standing in queues.
3. Now the only thing to do is to admit the error.
4. Now the danger is that no one will hear a cry for help.
5. Their concern is where the conference is going to take place.
6. Within two years the pact lay in ruin.
7. Helen is a good student.

You can find the answer at the end of this unit.

Types of Predication
3.2 To distinguish between types of intransitive verbs
Key words intransitive verb, phrasal verb, prepositional verb.

Intransitive predications minimally contain the Subject of the sentence and the
intransitive verb:

The baby was sleeping.

Subject intransitive verb.

Intransitive verbs are of two types: simple and complex. Simple intransitive verbs
re of-the¯sentence, the
ect. ComplCfiiftfäiäSitive verbs take, in addition to the Subject, a second obligatory constituent that may be a
ositional Object or an Adverbial Modifier.

Syntactic configurations with intransitive verbs.

1. Simple intransitive verbs appear in structures with only one other constituent,
the NP subject. However, they may take optional constituents: Prepositional
Objects, as well as Adverbial Modifiers of various kinds:

Daffodils and crocuses bloom in the spring. (adverbial of time)

Our troops have advanced two miles. (quantifying adverbial)

The baby was crying bitterly. (adverbial of manner)

His health collapsed under the pressure of work.(adverb. of cause)
The thief vanished into the crowd. (adverbial of place)

Simple Intransitive verbs + Particle (also known as Phrasal Verbs) evince a high
degree of idiomaticity and may be grouped according to the meaning of the
a.The Particles with the strongest meaning are the locativg and directional ones
(along, away, back, by, down, forth, forward, in, off on, out; past, round, through,
under, up, etc.):

The price of food will go up.

To complete the ceremony, a hundred planes will fly past. Several trees
fell down in the last night's storm.

b. Aspectual particles refer to the temporal dimension of the event, i.e. they
indicate the beginning, the continuation or the ending of an activity. The same
particles as above are used to suggest the ingressive (incipient) character of the

All the villagers have set looking for the missing child.
The next morning they set about cleaning the house. He set
Qffon a trip to Mexico.

The durative aspect "is rendered by on and away which indicate the continuation
of the event. Most verbs combine freely with on (to speak on, work on, walk on,
eat on, read on, etc.). Away is more limited contextually: