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

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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

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. 10 Architecture Drive, Singapore 117511


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Copyright (c) 2018 Wong J.O.

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