description of language (TESOL)
You have a choice of topics, of which you should choose only one option. Whichever area you choose, you will need to undertake some research and apply appropriate
referencing conventions. In your writing you will need to demonstrate familiarity with and understanding of relevant terms and concepts in linguistic description.
Option 1: Carefully choose a short authentic English text (i.e. not from an existing textbook) of around 400-500 words and analyse its principal grammatical
(morphological and syntactic) features. Justify your choice of text in terms of the relevant grammatical features that it exhibits; try to relate the grammatical
features to the style, register, purpose, and intended audience of the text. You may wish to illustrate the syntactic structures of a few carefully chosen sentences
with the help of tree diagrams.
Option 2: Identify one or two aspects of English language that you have noted and find surprising, unusual, unexpected, or considered to be non-standard. This may
involve syntactic constructions, morphological processes, lexis, phonology or semantics. Using appropriate terminology, describe these phenomena and the unusual
aspects in detail, providing examples and including the contexts in which you have heard/seen them. Demonstrate what has been said about them in the literature and
identify what syntactic, morphological, semantic, phonological or lexical properties underlie the phenomena.
Option 3: Choose a short authentic English text (i.e. non-scripted and not from an existing textbook) that you would use in an advanced language class. Present an
analysis of this text in morphological and syntactic terms, demonstrating why this text is both appropriate for studying a particular area of grammar, and suited to
this group of language learners in question. Provide examples of possible exercises/activities you could devise.
Option 4: Examine the words white and red in terms both of their semantic relations (paradigmatic and syntagmatic, different kinds of meaning e.g. connotational,
denotational), in terms of what they refer to and the entities that they modify.
Then, compare your findings with the use and meaning of red and white in a language other than English, either through discussing your findings with a native speaker
or through your own knowledge of that language.
Hint: In your analysis, you should bear in mind the comments made by Carter (1998: 22) on the word white, showing that “even a very ordinary and widely used word can
have a complex relationship with its ‘referents’ and with other words with which it exists in a structural semantic network” (R Carter 1998, Vocabulary: Applied
Linguistic Perspectives. 2nd edition).
Option 5: The verbs finish and complete are partial synonyms. Using the British National Corpus as your primary means of analysis and source of evidence, examine:
o Their paradigmatic and syntagmatic semantic relations;
o Their syntactic behaviour, particularly with respect to what kinds of complements they take, and what kinds of tense and aspect they most frequently occur with;
o Their collocations.
In your answer, identify in what ways finish and complete are and are not synonymous.
Hint: Engage with the notion of concordances and the use of a corpus such as the BNC for this kind of analysis and try to apply them in your work (e.g. take the BNC ‘5
minute tour’: https://corpus.byu.edu/bnc/ ).