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Digital graphic schematizations for acquiring English phrasal verbs

Shinsuke Yoshida

syoshida@kansai-u.ac.jp
Kansai University Osaka, Japan

ABSTRACT ESL/EFL learners tend to have difficulty in having clear images of phrasal verbs since both basic verbs and adverbs have various functions and meanings. Consequently, they have to memorize each expression by rote. To solve this problem it would be effective to develop and practice digital teaching materials based on “Prototype Theory” with graphic schematization s (i.e. visualized moving images through a presentation tool). The author developed a “Digital graphic schematizations of phrasal verbs” and investigated its effect on Japanese EFL learners in acquiring phrasal verbs. The result shows Digital graphic schematizations tend to work effectively for Group-A phrasal verbs (e.g. take down, give off, take in, etc.) but not for GroupB (e.g. go down, go off, take over, etc.), which suggests graphic schematizations work effectively in acquiring phrasal verbs to a certain extent. In addition to that, the author improved some graphic schematizations of Group-B phrasal verbs and reexamined their effect on Japanese EFL learners. The result shows there are some words which improved a lot (e.g. “come off, give in, go off, go down, go over, and take over”), however, there are still some which are hard to show by graphic forms (e.g. “get by, go about, come about, go by, come over, and take up”). Keyword: phrasal verbs, prototype theory, graphic schematization, ESL/EFL

INTRODUCTION
Although native speakers do not usually need to study phrasal verbs explicitly, for many ESL/EFL learners, it seems to be difficult to have clear images of phrasal verbs due to the fact that both basic lexical verbs and particles can have various functions and meanings (i.e. idiomaticity). In many cases ESL/EFL learners use single-word equivalents (e.g. confuse), on the other hand native speakers use a phrasal verb in its place (e.g. mix up) (Dagut & Laufer, 1985). Accordingly, ESL/EFL learners have to memorize each expression by rote. One solution for this problem would be to develop and practice digital teaching materials based on “Prototype Theory” (Geeraerts, 1989) with graphic schematizations i.e. frame-by-frame advance pictograms using animations due to the following reasons: 1) this theory can be used to develop a model for dealing with such semantic phenomena as the fuzzy boundaries of lexical categories, the flexible and dynamic nature of word meaning; 2) obtaining knowledge through this theory, students would acquire prototypical sense of phrasal verbs so that they can infer new phrasal verbs’ meanings by analogy; 3) since pictograms work as graphic schematizations without linguistic explanations, this material would be universal to any ESL/EFL learners; 4) learners have the option to select learning materials that meets their level of knowledge and interest.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The research questions of the present study are as follows:

Fig. through) (see Figures 4a. Experiment 2 was performed. Experiment 1 was conducted.g. c. and finally 5) some investigation was conducted on proper graphic schematizations for phrasal verb acquisition.g. in which students were 1) to put phrasal verbs written in letters (alphabets) into Japanese. get) (see Figures 1a. animations of verbs (e. over. off. Next. 2) students were to put the original graphics into Japanese. Third.a-c: get (1) [animation] Fig. c) and adverbs (prepositions) (e. b. get. 3) the original ones were improved to be the ones suitable for graphic schematizations. 3a. 4) students were to put these into Japanese. Second.RQ1) How effectively does this material work as graphic schematizations for acquiring phrasal verbs? . 2a. RQ2) What types of phrasal verbs are successfully/unsuccessfully acquired and why? . give. up” are selected. for. RQ3) How could we improve unsuccessful graphic schematizations? RESEARCH DESIGN To survey RQ1 and RQ2. c. out. From the results some types of phrasal verbs were to be discovered suitable for graphic schematizations. Experiment 1 Participants 37 college sophomores majoring in English in Japan participated in the first experiment. b. take” and adverbs (prepositions) such as “about. in. b. Then. after. Fourth. on. and then 2) to interpret graphic schematizations of the same phrasal verbs into Japanese. get through) (see Figures 5a. c) to show their prototypes with movements are made. b.g. go. b. both verbs and adverbs (prepositions) hyperlinked to animations are listed in a table. down. by. 2. through. both basic verbs such as “come. Materials First. c). 1. animations of phrasal verbs to show their prototypes with movements are made (e. To investigate RQ3.a-c: get (2) [animation] . away. in which 1) some phrasal verbs unsuitable for graphic schematizations in Experiment 1 were chosen.

a-c: get through [animation] Tests Test 1: 28 phrasal verbs (written in letters only) Test 2: 28 phrasal verbs (same as the Test 1) with graphic schematizations Procedure In the Test 1.6).6. and in the Test2. 4. 5.4%). 28 phrasal verbs (written in letters only) to be translated into Japanese. the same phrasal verbs with graphic schematizations on the computer screen using PowerPoint were to be translated into Japanese. test-2 test-1 0 2 4 6 8 10 Fig.a-c: through [animation] Fig. 3.3 (3.a-c: get (3) [animation] Fig. Average scores of two tests . Results The average scores (percentages) of correct answers in the Test-1.5%) and 9.1 (1.Fig. respectively (see Fig. and 2 are 4.

(see Figure 8). which is probably suitable for graphic schematizations. Average scores of Group-A phrasal verbs go off come away come about get by come off go down go over -12 -2 8 18 28 Fig. come by” …Group-A. graphic schematizations tend to work effectively for Group-A phrasal verbs but not for Group-B. Average scores of Group-B phrasal verbs As a result. come off. and in the Test 2. they marked lower scores in the Test 2 on the following phrasal verbs (i.e. improved graphic schematizations were to be translated into Japanese. which probably suggests either some phrasal verbs are not suitable for graphic schematizations.8.Comparing the results of the Test 1 and 2. come about. On the other hand. which is not probably suitable for graphic schematizations. go off” …Group-B. give off.e. . come through. (see Figure 7). Then in the Test 3. Procedure In the Test 1. Experiment 2 Participants 44 college sophomores majoring in Law in Japan participated in the second experiment. get by. 12 phrasal verbs (written in letters only) which are selected from Group-B in the Experiment 1 were to be translated into Japanese. give away. go down. come by come up come through give away take in give off take down -12 -2 8 18 28 Fig. come away. come up.7. the same phrasal verbs with original graphic schematizations on the computer screen were to be translated into Japanese. score= [Test2]-[Test1]): “take down. or we need to provide more proper animations to activate graphic schematizations. take in. participants marked higher scores in the Test 2 on the following phrasal verbs (i. score= [Test2]-[Test1]): “go over.

40 0.10 0. give in.e.4%). go over. and take up ” …GroupB.5%).60 test-3 test-2 Fig. get by go about come about go by come over take up -0. score= [Test 3]-[Test 2]): “get by.10. Average scores of three tests Comparing the results of the Test 2 and 3. (see Figure 11). come about. score= [Test-3]-[Test-2]): “come off.e.11. respectively (see Fig. go by.10 0. they marked low increase in scores in the Test 3 on the following phrasal verbs (i. and 20. 5 (11. go down. 2.Results The average scores (percentages) of correct answers in the Test 1.40 0. come over.3 (46.0%). and 3 are 3. . test-3 test-2 test-1 0 10 20 Fig. and a comparison between the original graphic schematizations and improved graphic schematizations were conducted. (see Figure 10).60 test-3 test-2 Fig. which is probably suitable for graphic schematizations.9). go about. Average scores of Group-A On the other hand. which is not probably suitable for graphic schematizations.75 (8.9. students’ misinterpretations of phrasal verbs in the Test 2 were analyzed. and take over” …Group-A. Average scores of Group-B To investigate the reason why the scores of Group-A phrasal verbs had increased from the Test 2 (original graphic schematizations) to the Test 3 (improved graphic schematizations). go off. participants marked higher scores in the Test 3 on the following phrasal verbs (i. take over go over go down go off give in come off -0.

S. (1985).12a. 73-80. to make sure where the agent’s point of view is. Tokyo: Asahi Publishing Company. b) 4. to add a person’s action. to gather. Linguistics. B. Tokyo: Sanyu-sha Publishing Company. go over : to add a person’s action in an abstract situation 6. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 7. to control.. to be satisfied. Tanaka. D. which suggests graphic schematizations work effectively in acquiring phrasal verbs to a certain extent. (2006). to come out. Introduction: Prospects and problems of prototype theory. time passes. REFERENCES Dagut. to hand over The improvements from original graphic schematizations to improved ones are as follows: 1. go down (to travel along a road ): to change something. go down : to guide the agents’ point of view not to misunderstand the direction 5. D. Cognitive Linguistics an Introduction. it would be effective to develop graphics using the concepts of semantic network and cognitive maps so that EFL learners could construct their mental models of the world in English more systematically. to conquer. et al. to look at 6. Improved “go off” RQ1&2: Digital graphic schematizations tend to work effectively for Group-A phrasal verbs (e.) but not for Group-B (e. 587-612. go off : to provide more than one example to show an abstract concept (see fig. (2001). .). to guide the agent ’s point of view. Avoidance of phrasal verbs – a case for contrastive analysis. go over (to examine): to leave. 27. E-gate English-Japanese dictionary. (2003). McCaleb. Semantics of basic verbs: Core and prototype. take in.g. give in (to yield): to be robbed. take over : to put people’s interaction to show a complicated situation such as business matters go off Fig. take over. we need to use concrete graphics. 5. Tanaka. (1989). RQ3: to improve unsuccessful graphic schematizations. J. et al. All-purpose dictionary of English phrasal verbs.12a. & Laufer. to be born from something 2. M. which are not probably suitable for graphic schematizations. give in : to make sure where the agent’s point of view is 3.g. etc. Tokyo: Benesse Corporation. take down. Geeraets. and to put people’s interaction For a future study concerning Group-B phrasal verbs. (1987). to provide more than one example. Lee. etc. S. go down. come off : to change an abstract graphics into concrete ones 2. Original “go off” Finally the answers to the research questions are as follows: Fig. come off (to succeed): to go outside. to start something 4. London: Oxford. to make someone work.Students’ misinterpretations are as follows: 1. to get 3. give off. go off (to make a sudden noise): to get up. go off. to make something.12b. take over (to accept duty from someone else): to run a business.