Reflection 3: Chunks & OSSCACPOMP

Reflection focussed on chunks based on lesson 5: Students’ Written Competencies: Functional Grammar & Interlanguage Analysis on the 2nd of March 2018.

I am interested in language use which is normally culturally-bound or at least bound together through meaning. By that I mean, that they make sense for native speakers, but easily cause confusion for language learners BUT can be a great tool for noticing language, language acquisition in context and a ‘fuller’ comprehension. Firstly, I will focus on chunks, thereafter the order of adjectives.

Chunks (also known as formulaic language) are a group of words that can be found together in language. For example idioms, collocations and verb patterns. Chunks are common phrases and expressions used to modify and manipulate when expressing ideas. Chunks are important to notice and learn because they are very frequent and they are necessary. Learning chunks will make you sound more natural.

Some very common chunks are:

  • …you know…
  • …the thing is…
  • …or something…
  • I mean,…
  • You see…
  • I see…

Looking for chunks can be done as an exercise, but for it to be a successful task for the learner it’s important, that the learner is familiar with the context & there’s a real interest.

Learning English should be about connection not perfection, thus here’s a little list of chunks regarding worry and concern:

  • Thank you for your concern…
  • I wouldn’t worry about it too much…
  • Don’t sweat it.
  • You had me worried.
  • No worries.
  • My main concern is…
  • This doesn’t concern you…
  • To whom it may concern…

But chunks are also great to learn in order to understand words with multiple meanings and usages e.g. even:

  • To get even…
  • I can’t even…
  • …can’t even comprehend…
  • … even so…
  • … not even…

Learning words and phrases as a chunk without necessarily understanding the grammatical structure i.e., learning where and when to say them, can be used as a functional approach to being able to use a language early (earlier). A good way of doing so is using chunks for asking questions e.g.:

  • How do you say…in….?
  • What does …mean in…?
  • How do you spell…?
  • I forget my…
  • Can I borrow a…
  • I need a …
  • Can I go to the bathroom?
  • I’m not feeling well?
  • What page?

Finally, I’d like to share this ‘rule of thumb’, that I stumbled upon a while back, OSSCACPOMP, the general order of adjectives before a noun is the following:

  1. Opinion; delicious, repulsive, pretty, boring, strange…
  2. Size; large, tall, tiny, deep, medium, deep…
  3. Shape; round, heavy, long square, narrow…
  4. Condition; cold, empty, bumpy, messy, rich…
  5. Age; younger, old, modern, current, antique…
  6. Colour; blue, bright, colourful, blonde, white…
  7. Pattern; striped, polka-dotted, flowery, chevron…
  8. Origin; British, American, Mexican, Canadian…
  9. Material; Wooden, gold, plastic, glass…
  10. Purpose; tap (shoes), sewing (machine), tennis (court)…

This list can help to organise the adjectives, when things described in detail, doesn’t sound quite right.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s