eslHQ Home
User Name Password
Lost Password? | Join eslHQ.com, it's FREE!
View today's posts
Search Extras Help   

Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Jun 12th, 2008, 09:19 pm
EngliPatrick's Avatar
eslHQ Addict
 
Join Date: Oct 18th, 2007
Location: Japan
Posts: 267
EngliPatrick is on a distinguished road
Default Contractions in ESL...

While there is a time and place for everything, I'm not quite convinced there's a place for contractions in early English acquistion when it comes to practicing writing.

I was taught when I was a kid that contractions are very casual and shouldn't be used in when writing.

Maybe times have changed since then? I believe students should first learn the CORRECT way to write, first, and then possibly be allowed to shorten it up when speaking.

I teach in Japan and right out of the gate, lesson 1, students are taught contractions and for some strange reason, this rubs me wrong.
__________________
ENGLIPEDIA
Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Jun 14th, 2008, 05:49 am
Sue
 
Join Date: Oct 8th, 2006
Location: Milan
Posts: 1,397
susan53 is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Contractions in ESL...

I think the reason for teaching contractions from the beginning is that they're important for spoken English rather than written. If Ss don't get used to them they're a) not going to understand native speakers and other fluent users who do and b) will sound stilted when they speak in everyday conversation.

The choice between contractions/full forms is not really a choice between speech and writing. There are 3 main influences :

1. Grammar : there are some syntactic limitations on the use of contractions. For example, if the auxiliary is the last item in the clause, the full form must be used - Yes, I am / He asked me if I would.

2. In all types of conversation full forms are used to give contrastive emphasis eg -

- I'm not coming tomorrow.
- You are coming tomorrow! (= or there'll be trouble.)

Here the use of the full form carries meaning, and another reason for emphasising the use of contractions in "ordinary" sentences is that otherwise Ss don't later see the point of the full forms.

3. Additionally, it's a matter of style. The more formal the style is, the more likely that full forms will be used. It doesn't matter if this is formal spoken language (for example a very formal speech) or formal written language. The reason it's often seen as a speech/writing distinction is simply that it's more usual for the average person to write fairly formally than to speak formally.

But whether we're speaking or writing, if we're using informal or neutral style, we'll probably use contractions - as I've been doing all the way through this reply. Were I to write eg an application letter for a job, however, I'd use full forms.

The level of formality depends on the discourse type (a letter of application or a message on a forum) and the speaker/writer listener/reader relationships. It's a continuum from very informal through neutral to very informal. This reply is neutral - I'm writing to a peer, but to someone I don't know personally. Neutral style combines some elements of informal style (eg contractions) with some elements of more formal style (eg the inversion I used above Were I to ... and sentence connectives such as additionally and however).

To go back to your query as to whether complete beginners should be introduced to contractions - my answer would be yes receptively. But I also want them to understand what the full forms that those contractions are based on are, and at the early stages I don't care too much which they use as long as they're communicatng. Once I'm sure they understand what the full forms are and as they become more confident about using them, I'll push them on to using the contractions. Thus when we get to the point of focusing on contrastive stress and stylistic variation, the students understand the "normal" use and can more easily understand that the choice of a full form is not random but carries its own specific meaning.
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Jun 15th, 2008, 11:56 pm
emile's Avatar
Sifu
 
Join Date: Mar 21st, 2006
Posts: 338
emile is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Contractions in ESL...

I'd agree with Susan.

The students produce unnatural-sounding speech when they don't use contractions.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads Replies
ESL Teachers in Taiwan 0
Using Powerpoint Presentations for ESL TEaching 2
ESL Teacher Talk - An ESL Podcast 18

An ELT Notebook (3)
Methodology, practical activities and lots more.

Find the Best TEFL, TESL, TESOL & CELTA Certification Courses - User Submitted Ratings & Reviews for Online, Distance & Abroad TEFL Courses. Over 3,500 reviews of 100+ TEFL schools!

Teach English in Thailand - Onsite and Combined TEFL certification courses in Phuket, Thailand.


Free ESL Flashcards


Similar Threads Replies
ESL Teachers in Taiwan 0
Using Powerpoint Presentations for ESL TEaching 2
ESL Teacher Talk - An ESL Podcast 18


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:39 pm.

All materials from this website are for classroom-use only. Digital redistribution of materials, in part or in whole, is strictly forbidden!

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2