Howto Learn English as a Secondary Language
Forthe English Language Institute
English language 2
Classification of nouns 3
Types of pronouns 4
Types of Adverbs 9
Types of Conjunctions 10
Essential elements of English Language Development 12
Comprehension and vocabulary 14
Direct instruction 14
Semantic feature analysis 16
Graphic organizers 17
i. Word webs 18
ii. Story Maps 19
iii. Story matrix 21
Metacognitive strategies 22
Table 1: Pluralizing a noun 4
Table 2: Essential elements of English Language Development 13
Figure1: Example of a direct instruction 16
Figure2: Structure of word web 19
Figure3: Example of word web 20
Figure4: Example of story map 21
Figure5: An example of story matrix 22
Learninga secondary language especially a foreign one is quite hard. Somelearners require a lot of time to grasp all the aspects involved in asecond language. In that regard, this guide was made with theintention of helping English Language Learners (E.L.L). It is meantto assist learners in acquiring the English language knowledge withease.
Understandingthe nine parts of speech is a fundamental requirement for Englishlearners. They include nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives,conjunctions, articles, interjections, and prepositions. A studentcan then utilize various mechanisms to grasp the words i.e. storymaps, word webs, and graphic organizers. A student who candifferentiate the above aspects while writing or conversing can beregarded as proficient.
Anoun is a word that is used to name something e.g. a person, ananimal, idea, or a place. Some examples of nouns include
Collins, Leah, Barak, Beckham
Warthog, cow, cat, dog
China, Mexico, Germany, Britain
Music, air, pencil
Nounmarkers sometimes precede nouns also called quantifiers ordeterminers e.g. a, an, the, some, any, every, those, that, several,a lot, few, numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.) possessive pronouns (his, her,him, etc.)
Singular or plural
Singularnouns name only one place or person e.g. one orange, a toothbrush,the novel
Pluralnouns name two or more places, people, ideas, and things. Most of thesingular nouns are pluralized by adding –s. Examples
Table1: Pluralizing a noun
Nouns that end with s, x, ch, or sh such as mattress, box, match, and Ash are pluralized by adding –es (mattresses, boxes, matches, and ashes respectively)
Irregular nouns that do not follow any rules e.g. child – children.
Abstract or Concrete nouns
Abstract nouns cannot be physically held e.g. justice, hope, air, faith
Concrete nouns can be touched e.g. hand, book, house,
Proper or Common Nouns
Aproper noun refers to specific places, ideas, things, and people.They are always capitalized. Examples include
Languages, nationalities, and races – American, Chinese, Black, African
People’s names and titles – Mrs. Walter, King George
Specific organizations – United Nations (UN)
Names of religions, sacred books, and religious followers – God, Christians, Bible
Days of the week, months, and holidays
Commonnouns are all other nouns and are normally not capitalized except atthe beginning of a sentence. Some examples include dog, paper, andpen among others
Theyare considered grammatically singular but include more than oneplace, idea, meaning, person, or thing. Examples include committee,crowd, society, herd, team, couple, etc.
Nounsthat cannot be counted are referred to as non-count. For instance,onehas to obey the rules.
Pronounsare words that replace nouns to avoid tautology. For example:
John had to discipline John’s child. It can be replaced by John had to discipline his child.
Theyrefer to specific people or things. They can act as objects,possessives, or subjects.
Usingpersonal pronouns as subjects
He is quite knowledgeable.
They are all bright students
Who told him?
Usingpersonal pronouns as objects in sentences
The tutor gave them assignments.
The pastor had to call him.
Possessivepronouns are meant to show ownership.
They had to leave my room
That pen is mine.
The ball is theirs.
Theyname the recipient of an action e.g. myself, itself, themselves, andourselves.
I luv myself
Theyemphasize on a noun or another pronoun
I met with President Obama himself
Theyexpress shared feelings or actions e.g. one another, each other
They like each other a lot.
Theypoint towards nouns and sometimes referred to as noun markers
That guy is quite hilarious
Those guys were involved in an accident
Theyrepresent non-specific things e.g. anyone, both, everyone, somebody,many, nobody, something, few, neither, both, and each among others.
No one comes close.
Though many people have tried to pin him down, nobody has managed
Theyintroduce dependent clauses. They refer to a thing or person that hasalready been stated in the sentence e.g. whose, that, which, whom,and who
The teacher who taught us English is quite proficient
Theyintroduce questions e.g. whose, what, who, and which
What are you doing?
Whose turn is it?
Adjectivesare used to describe the nouns. They give more details about thenouns.
John is a tall, dark, and handsome guy.
Joy is a short, brown, and pretty lady.
Adjectivescan be used to give answers i.e. which one? Or what kind?
Hey. How is your bicycle?
It is a great bicycle. It is also in a good condition.
Adjectivescome before the nouns and not after.
Wrong:Two Algerians happylived within our region.
Right:Two happyAlgerians lived within our region.
Adjectivescan also be used together with linking verbs to describe a subject.They come before the linking verb.
Wrong:My aunt short and slender (No linking verb)
Right:My aunt isshort and slender
Additionof –est to the end of an adjective which ends with one or twosyllables, makes it a superlative e.g. the smartest, strongest,warmest
Adjectiveswith three or more syllables use words like, the most e.g. Moses isthemost intelligent studentin that class.
Neveruse both an –est ending and the word most or –er ending and theword more in the same sentence. For example:
Johnis the mostdulleststudent in my class. Instead, it should be: John is the dulleststudent in my class.
Theverbs express an action or state.
Action verbs demonstrate the action e.g. they play he studies
Linking verbs connect the subject to an adjective.
Joyce is pretty.
Transitive and intransitive verbs
Transitiveverbsneed a direct subject to b meaningful.
Ruth takes a lot of water for her headaches.
Intransitiveverbsdo not require any direct object to make sense.
Dependingon the context, a verb can be either intransitive or transitive.
The cars race – intransitive
My mom races horses – transitive
Caution:The base form of a verb is called infinitive. It is supposed to be toplus a verb. For instance, to win, to play, etc. A verb cannot beconsidered to be one if it is preceded by to.
Adverbsare words that modify adjectives, action verbs, or another adverb.
The student carefully answered the questions.
It was effectively done.
James ran into the house very quickly.
Frequencyadverbsshow how often something is done e.g. always, usually, never, andrarely.
Relativeadverbsintroduce dependent adverbial clauses and questions e.g. when? AndWhere?
When I grow up, my hair will grow.
Articlesinclude the, a, and an.
Whatarticles do in a sentence?
They appear between a noun and modifier
A spectacular sunset
An exceptionally spectacular sunset
They indicate that a noun is going to follow.
A buffalo was chasing the tourists.
Commonrules when using articles:
“A” or “an” should not be used together with non-count nouns. Only used when a count noun is added in front of the non-count one.
James asked her grandfather for an advice
James asked her grandfather for a piece of advice
Use a/an with singular count nouns whose identity is unknown.
They are looking for a church.
Jane will find an envelope.
Do not use articles with possessive nouns and some pronouns e.g. Jane’s, ours, either, several, and many among others.
The Jane’s paper
A that novel is mine.
It should not be used with plural or non-plural nouns e.g. all
Some regions like the rice
Conjunctionslink words and phrases.
TheEnglish language has seven coordinating conjunctions. Learners canuse the mnemonic device “fanboys” to remember them.
Thecorrelative conjunctions work in pairs to link words
Thesubordinating conjunctions link independent clauses to subordinateones i.e. a stand-alone section to one that cannot stand alone e.g.although, before, since, because, whether, whenever, and while
Interjectionsare used to show emotional conditions. They are mostly found inspoken English, interviews, and narrative writing. Examples include:Oh! Hey! Wow! Oops!
Theyare mostly punctuated with commas or exclamation marks. Mildinterjections are trailed by commas, whereas stronger ones arepunctuated with exclamation marks.
Hey! Wait for me.
Ouch! That hurts
Oh, we forgot about that
Prepositionsare words that link nouns or pronouns to another word within thesentence. Examples include about, instead of, without, with, below,among, toward, into, beneath, beside, like, under, up, by, during,and across among others.
Essentialelements of English Language Development
Thereare four elements of developing the English language i.e. vocabulary,forms, functions, fluency.
Table2: Essential elements of English Language Development
Essential elements of English Language Development
Terms: some of the crucial words and phrases English learners require for academic and social purposes
Tasks: some of the communicative functions English learners must be able to navigate
Tools: some of the grammatical tools required to communicate
Trying it out: things English learners must do to be proficient
General and specific nouns
Participate in discussions
Syntax – words order
Identify and categorize word classes and patterns
Verbs of doing and being
Express social courtesies
Conjunctions and subordination
Understand and respond to conversations without fear
Idioms and collocations
Express the needs, likes, and feelings
Adjectives and adverbs
Utilize spoken English flexibly to converse with others
Transferable academic terms
Relate observable events
Practice pronunciation and articulation
Classify, compare and contrast
Produce speech with adequate speed, intonation, and sound
Ask and answer questions
Sentence variation and complexity
Adapt reading strategies for various reasons
Describe people and things
Conventions for informal and formal communication
Comprehensionand vocabulary go hand in hand. Comprehension typically meansunderstanding whereas vocabulary is the general knowledge of words.An English learner must have an adequate source of vocabulary to beproficient. When a student comprehends a written article, he/she canconstruct meaning from the words. Learners also develop vocabulary asthey get to know the meaning of new words. Some of the strategies ofteaching English learners include
Semantic feature analysis
Directinstruction needs the tutor to straightly teach the pronunciation aswell as descriptions of new vocabulary words. The teacher comes upwith new words as well as their definitions and directly imparts themon the learners.
Figure1: Example of a direct instruction
Alearner will pronounce the new words with the help of the tutor.He/she has to write them down and continue practicing. The meaning ofeach word will be provided. Once the students know the meanings andcan pronounce much better, they will write a passage incorporatingthe new words. After completion, the passage will be returned to thetutor for assessment.
Anothertechnique that can be utilized in direct instruction entails
Uttering new words and their meanings and ask students to repeat them
Providing examples of the words in sentences to the students
Analyzing the new words together
Reviewing the previously acquired words.
Modelingand thinking aloud are also suitable to disseminate the Englishknowledge. The learners will watch their tutor as he/she illustratescertain activities. Modeling will involve coming up with wordswritten in cards and then pairing them with their respectivemeanings. The students will follow suit, linking the words to theirrespective meanings. Students are also allowed to think aloud i.e.reason out loudly. In case they have a problem, corrections will bemade instantly. Words that have more than two meanings will also beprovided for the students to relate to both.
Inthis mode of tutoring, learners are taken through baby steps untilthey grasp the words. Though it may be boring due to the repetitionof words, it is quite useful.
Thestudents’ previous knowledge is combined with new information.Relations between words in a particular topic will considerablybenefit the students. The technique involves coming up with a subjectand listing some words that are related to the topic on the left sideof the grid. Then a list of characteristics are placed in a row alongthe top of the grid. Students will suggest new words and othercharacteristics to widen the grid.
Types of Rocks
(-)– Word does not possess the characteristics listed
(+)– Word possesses the characteristics listed
(?)– Unsure of the relation
Thestudents along with the tutor will fill the matrix as per theinstructions.
Graphicorganizers are pictorial presentations that assist learners inorganizing their understanding of words.. Examples of graphicorganizers word webs and story maps.
Figure2: Structure of word web
Wordwebs are pictorial representations that help students in defining aswell as recalling crucial words. Designing word webs could takevarious forms as shown in the figure above. It may take the form ofsynonyms and antonyms, word parts and meanings, and functions amongothers. The tutor comes up with words and draws a preferred web. Itmakes it easier for students to understand the words as well as theirrespective meanings. The figure below is a good example of word web.Work is done using a variety of tools. By relating the tools to theirrespective functions, students can to define and understand them. Aword web is one of the most efficient mechanisms of disseminating theEnglish language to non-proficient students especially foreigners.
Figure3: Example of word web
Storymaps are simplified pictorial representations used to help studentsto organize and recall vital story components. In other words, it isa technique that utilizes a graphic organizer to assist learners tounderstand the components of a book or story. By pinpointing storycharacters, setting, plot, problem, and solution, the students readprudently to understand the details. There are several kinds of storymap graphic organizers. The most rudimentary emphasis on thebeginning, middle, and completion of the tale. More progressiveorganizers concentrate on the plot or character behaviors.
Howto come up with a story map
Discuss the major elements of a story such as the characters, plot, theme or setting
Provide a blank story map organizer to each student as well as a model on how to complete it.
As the learners read, they should complete the story map. They should also fill any missing portions.
Figure4: Example of story map
Asthe students read through the book, they can improve theircomprehension by utilizing a story matrix to link the story maps ofeach chapter. By completing a grid, the students outline the corecomponents of the book. Completion of the matrix also helps thestudents to understand the words in their respective context.
Figure5: An example of story matrix
Ametacognitive strategy helps the learners to monitor their learning.The students ask themselves questions as they read a book or passage.Some of the activities involved include:
Thestudents ask themselves, what am I studying in this passage? What isthe core agenda? How can I answer my questions? Among others.
Thestudent goes through a passage, understands it, writes down the mainideas, and then constructs a paper using his/her words. At this stageof coursework, a leaner is almost achieving proficiency.
Posse(Predict, Organize, Search, Summarize, and Evaluate)
Atthis juncture, the student can achieve proficiency if he/shecontinues to practice. The student can now predict i.e. remember thewords without hesitation. He/she is then able to organize thoughtsand create a semantic map. The student is also capable of summarizingkey ideas and evaluating his/her work. It is probably the last stepin achieving proficiency.
Directinstruction– The tutor directly teaches pronunciation and other new words
ELL– English Language Learners.
Graphicorganizers– Pictorial representation of words
Metacognitivestrategies– Learners use them to monitor their progress
Posse– Predict, Organize, Search, Summarize, and Evaluate
Semanticfeature analysis– involves coming up with a topic and listing features in a matrixform
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