Showing posts with label ELT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ELT. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What are inflection and derivation in English language? What are the differences between inflection and derivation?

Inflection is the process of adding an “affix” to a word or changing it in some other way according to the rules of the grammar of a language. Inflectional morphology studies the way in which words vary in order to express grammatical contrasts in sentences such singular/ plural or present/ past tense. Boy and boys, for example, are two forms of the same word; the choice between them, singular or plural, is a matter of grammar.  This is the business of inflectional morphology.

Derivation is the formation of new words by adding “affixes” to other words or morphemes.  Derivational morphology studies the principles governing the construction of new words. In the formation of “eatable” from “eat”, or “disagree” from “agree”, for example, we see the formation of different words, with their own grammatical properties.


Both inflectional and derivational morphemes are suffixes. They are bound morphemes following a root. Inflection and derivation are therefore, the sub-categories of suffixes. But they differ from each other.

(1)     In inflection “suffix” is affixed to a root. For example, in “agreed” and “agrees,” “d” and “s” are suffixes and do not allow any further affixation of a suffix. Such suffixes which we do not allow further affixation are called inflections or inflectional suffixes. The suffixes which may be followed by other suffixes are called derivational suffixes. For example, “ment” “able” are derivational suffixes in “agreement” and “agreeable” because both can be followed by other suffixes and can, for instance, become “agreements” and “agreeableness” after the addition of the suffixes “s” and “ness” to agree+ment and agree+able respectively. Here

(2)     We have to remember that prefixes are always derivational. For instance, in the words; disobey, impossible, etc “dis” and “im” are prefixes. Since “dis” and “im” help to construct new words “obey” and “possible” they are derivational.

(3)     Inflectional suffixes are “terminal”(ending) and their termination never changes the class (parts of speech) of the root, for example in “sweeter” and “sweetest”, the termination of –“er” by “est” does not change the parts of speech; both the form remain adjectives. “come” is a verb in “they come late” and if  we add an inflectional suffix “ing” we get the form “coming” as in they are coming which is still a verb.

(4)     An inflected form can be  replaced by another inflected form only
For example:
He       drink+s
but not
He drink/steal/play etc.

(5)     An inflectional suffix occurs at the end position of a form; no further affixation in a form is possible after an inflection. We can say:

Develop +s
 root       +s -inflectional suffix

develop+      ment              +s
(root     +derivational suffix+s-inflectional suffix)

but not

develop +       s             +     ment
root           inflectional      derivational
                     suffix              suffix

So, an inflectional suffix is essentially terminal whereas a derivational suffix is not essentially terminal. Derivational suffixes can occur medially and finally but inflectional suffixes occur only finally.

Class –maintaining and class-changing derivational suffixes

Derivational suffixes can be sub-classified into two types:

(1) class-maintaining derivational suffix.
(2) class-changing derivational suffix.

The classes maintaining derivational suffixes are those which produce a derived form of the same class as the underling form, they do not change the class of a part speech. In boyhood, childhood, kinship, friendship, “hood” and “ship” are class-maintaining derivational suffixes. In these examples they produce nouns out of nouns by after suffixation. The class changing derivations are those that produce a derived form of another class. In teacher, boyish, development, national “er” “ish” “ment” “al” are class-changing derivational suffixes. In teacher a verb “teach” has become a noun after suffixing the “er”. In “boyish,” a noun “boy” has become an adjective after suffixing the “ish”. So, it is seen that the derivational suffixes “er” and “ish” change the class of root.

What is Syllabus Design? How is it Related to and Different from Curriculum Development?

There is a confusion over the terms “syllabus” and curriculum” Some specialists assume that these two words are synonymous. But, there are some differences between these two terms concerning their working field. Candlin, a prominent linguist suggests that curriculums are concerned with making general statements about language learning, purpose and experience, evaluation and the role relationship of teachers and learners. They will contain bank of learning items and suggestions about how these might be used in the class. On the other hand syllabuses are more localized, and are based on accounts and records of what actually happens at the class level, as teachers and learners apply a give curriculum to their own situation.

A curriculum of an educational institution can be studied from three main perspectives- (1) identifying students’ needs and goals or “Planning Phase”(2) observing the teaching/ learning process to study how the intentions of the curriculum plans have been implemented in classroom or “Implementation Phase,” (3) Finding out what students have learned and have failed to learn in relation to what had been planned or “Evaluation phase”/ It is important that, in the planning, implementation and evaluation of a given curriculum, all elements be integrated, so that decisions made at one phase are not in conflict with these made at another.

On the other hand, syllabus design concerns the followingL1) whether the content is communicable (2) objectives(goals/ purposes of learning) (3) social belief, (4) practical specification (5) capability of the teacher etc. In developing a language program the above components are essential to be considered in an ideal syllabus.

It is possible to distinguish a broad and a narrow approach to syllabus design. According to the supporters of a narrow view; syllabus design is seen as being concerned essentially with the selection and grading of content, while methodology is concerned with the selection of learning tasks and activities. Thus, the former is concerned with the “WHAT” of curriculum; the latter is concerned with the “HOW” of establishing the curriculum. On the other hand, those who adopt a broader view question this strict separation arguing that with the advent of communicative language teaching the distinction between content and tasks is difficult to sustain.

Therefore, it can be said that traditionally syllabus design has been seen as a subsidiary component of curriculum design. In brief, the distinction between the two is that, curriculum is a very general concept which involves consideration of the whole complex of philosophical, social and administrative factors which contribute to the planning of an educational program, implementation and evaluation.
Syllabus on the other hand refers to that subpart of curriculum which is concerned with a specification of what units will be taught.
So, syllabus design is essential concerned with the selection of materials and grading. S. D generally refers to procedures for deciding what will be taught in a language program.

Therefore, curriculum is a larger field while syllabus design is a smaller one. SD focuses more narrowly on the selection of content and grading.

Differences between a Synthetic and an Analytic Syllabus

Product Oriented syllabuses are those in which the focus is on the knowledge and skills that the learner should gain as a result of the instructions that are given to the learner. While Process-oriented syllabuses are those in which the focus is on the process the learner experiences themselves.

Every syllabus is both product-oriented as well as process- oriented. But the difference is created because of the emphasis on any one of them while designing a syllabus. In a product-oriented syllabus the emphasis is on the out-put; the concentration is towards the goal. In a process- oriented syllabus, the emphasis is on the process, the series of action is important. A syllabus is successful if it can be implemented. This implementation is the process.

Synthetic Syllabus: Synthetic syllabus is the one in which the different parts of language is taught separately and step by step in additive fashion. So that the learner’s acquisition face a process of gradual accumulation of parts until the whole structure of the language has been built up. Grammatical criterions are used to break the language into discrete units. These items are graded according to their (1) grammatical contexts (2) fluency of occurrence (3) contrastive difficulty in relation to L1 (4) situation need and (5) pedagogic convenience. Some applied linguists assume that the synthetic syllabuses should not be restricted to only grammatical syllabus rather it can be applied to any syllabus whose content is product-oriented.

Analytic Syllabus:-

Analytic syllabus is organized in terms of the purposes for which the learner is learning the language and the kind of performance that are necessary to meet these purposes.

The starting point for syllabus design is not the grammatical system of the language but the communicative purpose for which language is used. The language and content are drawn from the input and are selected and graded primarily according to what the learner’s need to do the real world communicative task. In the task, linguistic knowledge that is built through the unit is applied to the solving of a communicative problem. The content in the analytic syllabus is defined in terms of situation, topics, items and other academic or school subjects.

The distinction between the synthetic and analytic syllabus is that the former views that nature of learning is additive while later views that the nature of learning is holistic (having regard to the whole of sth rather than just to parts of it.)

Grammatical Syllabus and its Major Limitations

Grammatical Syllabus is a synthetic syllabus and its contents are product-oriented. It is the most common syllabus type in which syllabus input is selected and graded according to grammatical notions of simplicity and complexity. The most rigid grammatical syllabus introduces one item at a time to the learners and requires mastery of that item before moving on to the next. The transmission from lesson to lesson is intended to enable material in one lesson to prepare the ground for the next and conversely for material in the next to appear to grow out of the previous one.

Assumption Behind Gram. Syllabus 

1)   Language consists of a finite set of rules which can be combined in various ways to make meaning.
2)   These grammatical rules can be learned one by one, in an additive fashion; each item can be mastered on its own and later incorporated into learner’s pre-existing stock of knowledge.
3)   The principal purpose of language teaching is to help the learners to “crack the ode” i.e. to deduct the structural properties of a language, learn them break and incorporate them again.
4)    Once the learner has internalized the formal aspects of the target language, they will automatically be able to use it in genuine communication outside the classroom.

One difficulty the grammatical designers pointed out that, it is difficult to isolate and present one discrete item at a time, particularly if one wants to provide some sort of context for the language. Nunan suggests a solution that, learners would be exposed to naturalistic samples of text which were only roughly graded, and which provided a richer context, but learners would only be expected formally to master those items which had been isolated, graded and set out in the syllabus.

Pieneman and Johnstone has given a model for teaching grammatical items

Stage 1- Single word and formula

Stage 2- Standard order. For English Sub+V+Obj

Stage 3- Initialization and Finalization: Final elements can be moved into initial position or vie versa. E.g-Words such as adverbs can be added to the beginning or end of the clause.

Stage 4- Semi-internal permutation: Internal elements can be moved to initial or final position. e.g- words can be moved from inside the clause to the beginning or end of the clause.

Stage 5- Fully Internal Permutation: Items can be moved about within a clause.


(1)               Grading

Grading contents according to grammatical notions of simplicity and complexity is defective because what is grammatically simple will not necessarily be that which is easy to learn.

(2)        Finite Rules
The assumption at language is a finite set of rules is wrong because there are other aspects of language. The grammatical syllabus highlights only one aspects of language that is formal grammar and not the total complex-phenomenon, language.

     (3)    1-to-1 (Form Function)
There is no one-to-one relationship between form and function. One   form can be used to mean many functions and samely one function can be served in many forms. This 1 form-many function; 1 function-many form increases complexity.

      (4)    In-Built Syllabus

When learner’s “in built syllabus” differs from grammatical syllabus, it will not be helpful for learners. Grammatically structured syllabus doesn’t always conform to learner’s “inbuilt syllabus” –by which he will organize the aspects of learning for himself.

  (5)     Input as Chunk, Globally (Not step by step)

Learner’s input is not step by step taken. It is globally taken. Learners don’t learn or intake items as separate or discrete. They take the whole chunk of the input. Because it is impossible to expose a learner step by step to a particular structure of grammar in real life communication or class room. So grammar should be process based, not product based.