Back to basics

cracking a nut in using English indefinite articles : why teachers and learners of English should pay more attention to a and an

Ping Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper is focused on basic English language knowledge and skills by looking at the circumstances in which English indefinite article, either ‘a’ or ‘an’, is selectively used with authentic examples cited from a few widely read Australian newspapers. Three fundamental elements of a language consist of its pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar in language teaching terms (phonetics, lexicology and syntax are respectively used in linguistic terms). These terms are used in this discussion which is oriented to general ESL (English as a Second Language) and EFL (English as a Foreign Language) users. The fact is that most of them tend to pay less attention to pronunciation than to vocabulary or grammar, and approach these fundamental language elements in isolation rather than reflect on their connections. To address this issue, the author shows that pronunciation and grammar are connected and that it is important to get back to basics in language learning through investigating distinctions between two indefinite articles. There are four reasons for this investigation. First, examination of their distinctions in context crosses over the knowledge boundary between pronunciation and grammar. Making connection and association between the two language elements helps ESL/EFL learners develop analytical skills and enables reflective learning experience (Brockbank & McGill, 2007).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-33
Number of pages6
JournalEnglish Today
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes

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