Saturday, May 25, 2013

Collocation exercises

  • Which word collocates with all the words given?
  • 1. fried, poached, fresh, raw, frozen, grilled, smoked _________________
  • 2. summer, warm, winter, tatty, shabby, trendy, second-hand _____________
  • 3. dangerous, desperate, common, born, hardened, master _______________
  • 4. massive, huge, crowded, packed, outdoor, indoor, sports _______________
  • Answers. 1 = fish, 2 = coat, 3 = criminal, 4 = stadium

      Speaking and writing activities for collocations

      Speaking activities

      • Get the students to do creative drills. For example, devise a 'Find somebody who...' activity for them to practise collocations. For example,
      • Find someone who
      • .....has been on a strict diet
      • .....has been in an embarrassing position
      • .....has made a critical choice in his/her life etc.
      • The students themselves could make up similar activities.
      • Get the students to repeat the same activity, for example giving a short talk or telling a story, perhaps three of four times. This has been shown to boost fluency by activating collocations.

      • Ask the students to brainstorm nouns on a particular subject, perhaps for a 
      writing task e.g. what are the collocations of 'money'. Then get them to suggest verbs 

      and adjectives that collocate with those nouns, then adverbs with the verbs, thus 

      building up a number of lexically dense collocational fields.

      A short break

      Although Language learning is a painful process, there are some enjoyable experiences that people encounter in this process. Here are two examples:

      An Arab Couple went to London hotel...
      One day in hotel room, husband heard his wife scream"Farr! Faaaarrrrr" (which is the Arabic word for mouse).
      Now he wants to inform room service but doesn't know english word for "farr" is.....
      Husband : hello room service?
      Room-service: yes sir ,how can I help you ?
      Husband: Mmmm..... You Know tom and Jerry ?
      Roomservice: yes sir ,I know tom and jerry ...
      Husband: Wallah Habibi Jerry is here.

      example for connotation

      collocation of power

      Tuesday, May 21, 2013

      Connotation exercise

      Read each of the following sentences. Decide from the context whether the speaker is 

      showing approval or disapproval of the topic. Then circle the best word to put into the 


      1. “The sooner we move out of this (home, dump),” said Jack, “the happier I’ll be.”

      2. This cell phone is (expensive, overpriced), but I don’t mind paying extra because it has so many useful features.

      3. You’re lucky to have Wilma on your committee. She has lots of (original, crazy) ideas.

      4. Boss Reed and his (cronies, employees) have controlled the politics in this city for more than twenty years. I certainly hope the other party wins this year!

      5. It was a beautiful spring day, and the (stench, scent) of apple blossoms filled the whole yard.

      6. I hope I don’t have to share an office with Janice. Sandra told me how (curious, nosy) she can be.

      7. “I think Fay is an excellent president,” said the principal. “She really knows how to (manage, meddle).”

      8. Will you please turn your stereo off? I can’t concentrate with all that (music, noise).

      connotation exercise

      Examples for negative and positive connotations

      Collocations of sympathy

      Teaching collocations

      Teaching Collocation

      Vocabulary instruction in general, and certainly the instruction of collocation, is not much emphasized. However, there are some general principles for teaching collocation:
      1. 1
        Teach students the term “collocation” and the rationale for learning it. Once they know the rationale behind instruction, they become more motivated to learn.
      2. 2
        Notice which words go together when giving out a new reading. Call students’ attention to key words and the words that “go” with them, and have them underline collocations. On any given page, for example, there is likely to be numerous collocates. Spend some time practicing and interacting with these collocations with each reading.
      3. 3
        Focus on “salient language,” language students may use a lot or that is related to the curriculum: for example, the phrase “on the other hand” is used a lot in academic language, and students often make mistakes in it: “in the other hand,” “on the other hands,” etc. Explicitly teaching the phrase and practicing it is a valuable investment of course time.
      4. 4
        Contrast two words:
        • make         do
        • list their collocates
      5. 5
        Extend it: Have students make a list of things they need to accomplish that week, using “make “ and “do.” This establishes some of the differences between the two words (which are largely collocational).
      6. 6
        Matching exercises/completion exercises: have students complete a sentence with the correct collocation or match words to their collocates: do homeworkgive a presentation.
      7. 7
        Surveys: have students survey their classmates about their activities, including verbs and their collocations, for example.
      8. 8
        Have students practice the phrases you’ve targeted. Once students been explicitly taught “in contrast to” and “on the other hand,” for example, have them practice these collocations in journal and essay assignments.
      9. 9
        Write a sketch/dialogue. Put some collocates on the board learned from reading over the last week: e.g., “regular exercise,” “healthy diet,” “small portion size” and have students create a dialogue in pairs and practice it.
      10. 10
        Write poetic descriptions of beloved person or place with adjective+noun combinations or adverb+adjective combinations. Again, give students some of the language for the task on the board or in a handout: “dear friend,” “old friend,” “passionately embrace,” “fond farewell,” etc.
        Then have them create a poem with it.

      A diagram

      Negative vs. Positive connotation

      • chef vs. cook
      • teacher vs. professor
      • plagiarizer vs. cheater
      • thrifty vs. tightwad
      • stay-at-home mom vs homemaker vs housewife
      • ambitious vs greedy
      • submissive vs lazy
      • slow vs stupid
      • amazed vs stupefied
      • slender vs gaunt
      • promiscuous vs slutty
      • clever vs shrewd
      • substance abuser vs druggie
      • journalist vs reporter
      • eccentric vs weirdo
      • mentally unstable vs wacko
      • inexpensive vs cheap
      • invest vs speculate
      • purchase vs buy
      • manufactured home vs trailer

      Connotation examples

      • Those who are lonely and detached live in a house. Those who

       live with loved ones and in happiness live in a home.

      • mother and father have procreated. A mom and a dad are 

      loving parents.

      • Many wise men have made plans. Many cunning scoundrels 

      have devised a scheme.

      • Pushy salespeople are to be avoided. Aggressive salespeople 

      make a lot of money.

      • I'm sick and tired of listening to politicians, but give me a good 

      statesman any day of the week and we'll get things done.

      A quote

       "If you want to be a leader of people, then 

      you need to be a master of words. If 

      you're going to be a master of words, you 

      better choose them carefully."


      Connotations of some animals

      Metaphoric Connotation in the Animal World
      • A snake is something to be feared for its deception.
      • A dog connotes a shameless beggar or an ugly face.
      • A fox is sneaky or sly. A foxy woman, however, is desired.
      • A shark is ruthless.
      • A predator seeks to harm innocents.
      • A dove is gentle.
      • A hen is motherly.
      • A beast dominates (sometimes negative and sometimes positive).
      • Chicks are sought after by boys of all ages (some predators, by the way).
      • Owls are wise.
      • A lion is strong and so king of the forest

      The connotation of animals has lent metaphorical meaning to commonalities. This list of animals with its associated connotations exemplify denotation vs connotation.
      According to denotation, a weasel is a small carnivorous mammal with short legs and elongated body and neck. According to connotation, a weasel is not to be trusted.
      Not all animal metaphoric connotations are negative:
      Because these metaphors have become common, so their connotative meaning is easy to recognize.

      Friday, May 17, 2013

      The Reluctant Fundamentalist trailer

      The Reluctant Fundamentalist is another good example for teaching negative connotation. Especially after September/11, growing a beard is seen as a symbol of terror for many Americans and all the Muslims are considered as potential terrorists. Here is the trailer..

      The Great Gatsby trailer

      The novel Great Gatsby is a good example for teachers to teach connotations. The author used many connotations through colors. Here is the trailer..

      Thursday, May 16, 2013

      10 tips to teach connotation

      1. 1
        Start by raising awareness on this issue “connotation.” Teach the terms “denotation” and “connotation.” Illustrate their relationship, perhaps graphically, with “denotation” and “lady” and on top and “connotation” on the bottom with “lady’s” connotations: politeproperneat, etc.
      2. 2
        Illustrate the concept with a word with numerous synonyms, like “good-looking” Brainstorm the synonyms to “good-looking”: beautifulcuteprettyhandsome, etc. What is the difference in connotation between “beautiful” and “pretty”? What is the difference in connotation of “cute” when applied to man and a woman? A child? An inanimate object, like a house?
      3. 3
        While reading, take note of the author’s word choice and discuss connotation. “Why do you think he called his brother a ‘clever’ businessman in the second paragraph? What’s the connotation of ‘clever’ here?” Other possible questions to ask: What are some connotations to “clever”? What are some other words that mean about the same thing as ‘”clever”? How are their connotations different: what is the difference between being “clever” and being “intelligent”?
      4. 4
        Watch a clip from a TV or movie, preferably related to the course reading, and take note of the characters’ word choice. ”When she said ‘sorry’ in that particular tone, ‘sorry,’ with the stress on the second syllable, does the meaning change from the usual meaning of ‘sorry’? What is the connotation? Is she really sorry?”
      5. 5
        Act it out. Take a short scene from a reading and act out a scene with a peer. Vary the connotation through varying sentence and word stress as above. How does even the meaning of “Good morning” change when said as “Good morning!, stressing the last syllable? How does the speaker feel about the morning?
      6. 6
        Have students practice connotation in journals, using the same word in different contexts, or usingsynonyms of the same word, varying connotation. For example, challenge them to write about a “smart” person and come up with different synonyms for “smart,” varying the connotation appropriately: e.g., “She’s intelligent because she understands math very well but also crafty because she can beat you at cards.”
      7. 7
        Have students read a newspaper article on an important topic, such as the upcoming national election. Note the author’s use of connotation. How are key terms like “politician” used? Are the connotations positive or negative? Why? Can we judge something about the author’s perspective on the topic from the choice of words and connotation?
      8. 8
        Have a student describe something for the class: for example, the park near the school. Let others know his or her perspective by use of connotation. Describing it as “stark, bare, and lonely” sounds very different than “solitary, quiet, and peaceful,” although it might apply to the same place. The class will listen then decide what the speaker’s feelings about the place are based on the use connotation.
      9. 9
        Or describe a person for the class. See if the class can tell your relationship to the person by your use of connotation. Is it your mother, girlfriend, little sister, professor? Does use of connotation vary with each?
      10. 10
        Do it in writing. Students can describe something, like the classroom or the quad, using pleasant connotations. Then they can pass their papers to a partner, who will describe the same thing in negative terms, by changing connotation.