Activities to develop linguistic forms

Activities to develop linguistic forms

To produce a good descriptive essay, it is also necessary to master some specific linguistic forms. In the first place, all those expressions representing spatial relations will be exercised, such as prepositions (not limited to the short list of monosyllabic ones, but also including forms like behind, above, beside, etc.), prepositional syntagms and adverbs.

The expression of lateral projective relations through the right / left expressions is part of the linguistic and cognitive development together, and belongs to the disciplinary areas of Italian and sciences, as well as stimulating the awareness of the relativity of points of view (mine or the your left?): it is therefore worth investing in educational work, but without starting too soon. Attention will also be paid to all forms of referential egocentrism, which lead to the assumption that the recipient shares our implicit references: for example, the use of deictics as here, there, that, is not prohibited in a description, but they must be anchored to other parts of the essay (At the top right there are buildings. There is a fountain down there) and not directly to the extratestual reality, inaccessible to the reader of a written essay or to a listener who does not share the look on the scene (

There are buildings there, it is indecipherable, if one does not see a finger pointing and the direction it is pointing).

In the description of dynamic scenes we will try to bring attention to the expression of consecutiveness, which is easier, and to simultaneity, much more difficult. The linguistic forms that express simultaneity (while, when or the gerund in the Carlo type subordinates comes out scratching their heads) are not in themselves particularly sophisticated, but children find it difficult to use them, probably due to the cognitive difficulty of having to give linear form to events that happen at the same time, so they tend to prefer shapes like then, then, later.

Another important aspect in the descriptions is lexical precision.

This should not become an end in itself, as an obsessive and gratuitous search for the word sophistry, but it must always be aimed at carrying out a task. Therefore, a phrase like There is a flower under the tree can be perfectly adequate in many communicative conessays. But if you create a conessay in which you have to describe many different flowers under many different trees, then you will need to specify that there is a rose under the plane tree, there is a daisy under the pine and so on.

Another activity to develop the vocabulary can be to provide the essay of a description in which some words have been removed (chosen with precise didactic motivations), which must be restored, freely or by drawing from a closed list, making the students work alone or, better still, in small groups that discuss alternatives, thus creating a useful opportunity for reflection on synonyms and hypernyms. The opposite of this exercise is to provide a list of words that must necessarily be used in a description, to verify that the pupils have understood all the nuances of meaning and placement restrictions with respect to other terms – a activity that may be particularly suitable for evaluating and promoting the acquisition of specialized disciplinary vocabulary.

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