The Semantics of Logical Connectors: therefore, moreover and in fact

Cover Page

Abstract


When teaching English words, teachers and textbooks may place more emphasis on 'content' words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs) than on words that contribute to the 'textual' aspect of English, such as logical connectors. A consequence is that even if a student has some mastery of grammar and the use of 'content' words, they may not be able to produce cohesive texts or construct logical relations. Teaching the meanings of logical connectors is not easy, and the traditional use of synonyms and examples of use are not always helpful. Using synonyms in English or supposedly equivalents in the student's first language is not ideal because the student may end up understanding the word from the perspective of another word or, worse, another language. Using examples of use may be helpful to a certain extent but this method does not spell out the invariant meaning of the logical connector in question and the student is expected to draw their own conclusions on the basis of a few examples. To overcome such pedagogic obstacles, some scholars advocate the use of a maximally clear and minimally ethnocentric metalanguage, the natural semantic metalanguage (NSM), to capture word meaning. In this paper, the NSM methodology, founded by Anna Wierzbicka, is used to capture the meaning of three logical connectors, therefore , moreover and in fact for English language teaching purposes.

About the authors

Jock Onn Wong

National University of Singapore Centre for English Language Communication

Email: jockonn@gmail.com
10 Architecture Drive, Singapore 117511
lecturer at the Centre for English Language Communication, National University of Singapore, where he teaches semantics, pragmatics, and academic writing. His research interests include semantics, pragmatics, language and culture, English Language teaching, Singapore English and Anglo English. He has written a number of papers on Singapore English, Anglo English and English language teaching. His book, ‘The Culture of Singapore English’ (2014, Cambridge University Press), discusses how Singapore English reflects Singaporean meanings, values and other world views. He believes that when one learns a language, one should go beyond grammar and understand the meanings and culture it is associated with.

References

  1. Allan, K. (1986). Linguistic Meaning, Volume 1. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  2. Carter, R. A. (1987). Is there a Core Vocabulary? Some Implications for Language Teaching. Applied Linguistics, 8(2), 64-72. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/8.2.178
  3. Celce-Murcia, M., & Larsen-Freeman, D. (1999). The Grammar Book: An ESL/EFL Teacher's Course (Second edition). Boston: Heinle & Heinle.
  4. Gladkova, A., & Romero-Trillo, J. (2014). Ain’t it beautiful? The conceptualization of beauty from an ethnopragmatic perspective. Journal of Pragmatics, 60, 140-159.
  5. Goddard, C. (ed.). (2006). Ethnopragmatics: A Fresh Approach to Discourse in Culture. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  6. Goddard, C. (ed.). (2008). Cross-Cultural Semantics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  7. Goddard, C. (2011). Semantic Analysis: A Practical Introduction (Second ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  8. Goddard, C., & Wierzbicka, A. (eds.). (1994). Semantic and Lexical Universals: Theory and Empirical Findings. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  9. Goddard, C., & Wierzbicka, A. (eds.). (2002). Meaning and Universal Grammar: Theory and Empirical Findings (Vol. 1). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  10. Goddard, C., & Wierzbicka, A. (2007). Semantic primes and cultural scripts in language learning and intercultural commnication. In S. Farzad, & G. B. Palmer (Eds.), Applied Cultural Linguistics: Implications for Second Langauge Learning and Intercultural Communication (pp. 105-124). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  11. Goddard, C., & Wierzbicka, A. (2018). Minimal English and how it can add to Global English. In C. Goddard (Ed.), Minimal English for a Global World: Improved Communication Using Fewer words (pp. 5-27). Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.
  12. Halliday, M. A., & Matthiessen, C. M. (2014). Halliday's Introduction to Functional Grammar (Fourth edition). Abingdon: Routledge.
  13. Hallliday, M. A., & Hassan, R. (1976). Cohesion in English. New York: Longman.
  14. Ho, S. T., & Khor, N. H. (2010). Panpac Additional Mathematics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Education.
  15. Peeters, B. (ed.). (2006). Semantic Primes and Universal Grammar: Empirical Evidence from the Romance Languages. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  16. Wierzbicka, A. (1972). Semantic Primitives. Frankfurt: Athenäum.
  17. Wierzbicka, A. (1986). Introduction (Special issue on 'Particles'). Journal of Pragmatics, 10(5), 519-534.
  18. Wierzbicka, A. (1988). The Semantics of Grammar. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  19. Wierzbicka, A. (1991). Cross-Cultural Pragmatics: The Semantics of Human Interaction. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  20. Wierzbicka, A. (1992). Semantics, Culture and Cognition: Universal Human Concepts in CultureSpecific Configurations. New York: Oxford University Press.
  21. Wierzbicka, A. (1996). Semantics: Primes and Universals. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Wierzbicka, A. (1997). Understanding Cultures through Their Key Words: English, Russian, Polish, German and Japanese. New York: Oxford University Press.
  22. Wierzbicka, A. (1999). Emotions across Languages and Cultures: Diversity and Universals. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  23. Wierzbicka, A. (2001). What did Jesus Mean? Explaining the Sermon on the Mount and the Parables in Simple and Universal Human Concepts. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  24. Wierzbicka, A. (2004). Jewish cultural scripts and the interpretation of the Bible. Journal of Pragmatics, 36(3), 575-599.
  25. Wierzbicka, A. (2006). English: Meaning and Culture. New York: Oxford University Press. Wierzbicka, A. (2013). Imprisoned in English: The Hazards of English as a Default Language. New York: Oxford University Press.
  26. Wierzbicka, A. (2018). Emotions of Jesus. Russian Journal of Linguistics, 22(1), 38-53. Retrieved from http://journals.rudn.ru/linguistics/article/view/17846/15441
  27. Wong, J. O. (2014). The Culture of Singapore English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ye, Z. (Ed.). (2017). The Semantics of Nouns: A Cross-Linguistic and Cross-Domain Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  28. Yoon, K.-J. (2005). Constructing a Korean Natural Semantic Metalanguage. Seoul: Hankook.

Statistics

Views

Abstract - 2003

PDF (English) - 493

Cited-By


PlumX

Dimensions


Copyright (c) 2018 Wong J.O.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies