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ERIC Number: ED413608
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar-14
Pages: 6
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Hawaii Creole English and the Idiomatic Demands of Academic Writing.
Sonomura, Marion S.
Both teachers and learners assume that to know a language, an individual need only learn its vocabulary and grammar. The correct use of common collocations, formulas, and idioms is the skill that makes language fluent, natural, and comprehensible. These formulaically constructed phrases that are not assembled by rule but recalled from memory are known as "phrasems." While phrasems are necessary and significant parts of any real language, they are anomalies in current grammatical paradigms. The genre of academic writing employs selectional restrictions that apply just as stringently at the phrase level as at the word level. Attempts to improve the verbal scores of Hawaii's students (who traditionally score lower in verbal skills than the U.S. average) by attacking the grammar and vocabulary of Hawaii Creole English (HCE) speakers have done little to change students' performance. A study of writing errors of students in basic writing courses at community college showed that more of the errors of HCE-speaking writers were of the idiomatic rather than the grammatical variety. To help these and other students, teachers must recognize the enormous role that common collocations, formulas, and idioms play in natural language, both spoken and written. Conventionalized collocations, formulas, and idioms needed by students to produce idiomatically appropriate academic discourse must be identified, with an inventory based on frequency of usage, so that students could master the use of conventionalized phrasems systematically. Composition teachers may see added value in selecting reading materials that are excellent models of idiomatic writing in English. (CR)
Publication Type: Reports - General; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A