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巧用上下文线索判断词义初探

作者/来源:陈孝雯 上海市南洋中学    发布时间:2017-09-29

[摘要]词汇教学是英语阅读理解过程中至关重要的一个环节,学生对词汇意思的判断正确与否直接影响学生对文本的理解。良好的词汇也能促进学生的阅读能力发展,然而学生在阅读中遇到了不认识的新词往往会不知所措,本文以本校学生为研究对象,对其英语文本理解中出现的生词问题,从词汇学上进行分析,并提出帮助学生通过上下文判断词意的教学改进方法。

How to deal with unknown words by context clues

Abstract: Do you use the dictionary at once or just ignore the word? As there may be many on a page, you will find that stopping in mid-sentence to pull out a dictionary and look up a word in seldom a practical or necessary solution. Clever students will realize that they can often figure out the meaning of an unknown word by considering the context. A close look at the surrounding words and sentences often, though not always, eliminates the need to use a dictionary. Here I would like to introduce some techniques to identify the meaning of the unknown words. Notice the underlined word in the following sentence.

.词汇教学的背景

词汇意义的判断在阅读理解中的重要性,无需多言。经常有些同学表示在阅读理解过程中反复翻阅字典,打断语段理解的延续性,对孩子们来说也是一件极其不利的方式。然而,成熟的语言学习者却能意识到,可以通过上下文判断单词的含义,经常仔细看下上下文,就能大致判断出单词的意思。高考阅读的词汇量较大,学生们在考试中难免会遇到许多生词,这时千万不要过分紧张,影响考试的情绪。遇到生词,首先需要判断该生词是否重要,是否影响到答题:如果对答题和对理解全文大意不造成太大影响,可忽略该生词;如果对该生词的理解影响到对全文大意的判断,进而影响到答题,我们便需要运用一些技巧来猜测该生词的大致意思。那么, 怎样来猜测和推断生词的词义呢?这些技巧大体可分为两大类:一类是通过上下文推测词义,另一类是根据生词本身的特点(构词法)推测词义。本文试图探索一些不同的判断生词的方法,提高词汇阅读教学的有效性。

 

二.通过上下文判断词意的方法

 1.通过句意的上下文线索

学生首先需要学会使用单词的词性和句子轻猜出新单词的意思,让我们看看下面的例子,尝试在不使用字典的情况回答以下问题。

例一Example1

My husband is an Irish-Indian from the Bronx, while l am an American-born Korean from New Jersey. Most of our friends have been expecting an exotic wedding ceremony.

Questions

What has the author said about her family background and that of her husband?

Do their friends expect the wedding ceremony to be a common American one?

Exotic means ________.

Religious            b. common               c. unusual

Explanations

很可能,单词 “exotic”对学生们来说是一个非常陌生的词,而不通过查字典判断它的意思并没有想象中那么难.因为 这句话本身就包括了明显的解释exotic的线索. 首先作者陈述到:”both families are fairly new immigrants to America and are probably conscious of their own culture.“其次, 正如人们理所当然认为的那样,婚礼是传统的象征,而这对新人很有可能就想要一个不那么美式的婚礼。You can even imagine a celebration with many foreign and uncommon things.

又如Example2

A 14-month-old girl named Marissa Ayala lay anesthetized upon an operating table in the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, Calif.

Questions

What does the sentence talk about?

What words or phrases helped you to answer Question 1?

Anesthetize means_____?

A.To make someone lose physical sensation

B.To make someone happy

C.To cause pain

Explanations

Dont be scared away by anesthetized. Go on reading and you will find that the girl is not playing a game in her own bed. She is in hospital and is having an operation. You know that before an operation, doctors give injections so as to alleviate the patients pain. So, it is not difficult to guess that girl is made unable to feel.

2. Synonym Context Clues 同义语境线索

以下四种形式均通常出现在文本的阅读理解中:

 (1) to bemeanrefer to等结构。  (2) "be defined as ""be known as ""be called ",等结构  (3) 以定语从句下定义  (4) 以标点符号为线索猜测词义。

  例如以下案例经常在我的教学中使用

Sherrys malevolence, or ill will, toward her brother became obvious when she tried to push him down the stairs.

1.       The rat, like man, has become practically omnivorousit eats anything that lets it.

       Questions

What does sentence 1 talk about?

What does sentence 2 talk about?

What does malevolence mean in sentence 1?

What does omnivorous mean in sentence 2?

Explanations

It is not difficult to figure out that Sentence 1 talks about Sherrys attitude toward her brother and the subject matter in Sentence 2 is what a rat eats. If you are not able to answer Question 3 and 4, you must have overlooked important contextual clues. The two words are actually defined right in the sentences Malevolence just means ill will and omnivorous means eating anything.

How to Recognize Synonym Clues

When using difficult words, authors often try to help you by giving synonyms. They also use words or phrases with similar meanings to avoid repetition.

Synonyms are easy to recognize because they are often set apart by a comma, a dash, or parentheses. The author may also use such words and phrases as or, that is to say, that means, in other words, etc. to signal a synonym context clue.

Usually, a synonym context clue appears as the same part of speech of the new word, but sometimes it is a different part of speech. For example, an adjective may have a noun as its synonym.

3.Example Context Clues以举例为线索猜测词义

为了阐明某一种重要观念或者讲清某一抽象概念,作者往往采取举例的方式对这一观点或概念进行具体的说明和解释,从而使读者理解得更具体些。那么文中的例子自然也就成了读者理解文章生词的线索。表示列举关系的信号词有: likefor examplefor instancesuch as especially include consist of specially。所以,一定不要放过句子中的同义词以及定义,例如:

Example1

Louis must be very affluent. He was expensive clothes and jewelry, drivers a Rolls-Royce convertible, and owns a 1,750,000 house in Beverly   Hills.

Explanations

Notice all the examples that help to explain the word affluent: expensive clothes, jewelry, a top-class car and a house in Beverly Hills. All of these are items that require money or wealth. So, it doesnt take much time to figure out that affluent means wealthy or well-to-do.

 

4. Antonym Context Clues 反义词信号判断准则

作者运用对比的手法来表现事物之间的差异。在进行对比的过程中,作者必然会用一些互为对应、互为反义的词语,使不同事物的特点更为突出。通过上下文的逻辑关系,从对两种事物或现象进行对比的描述中,读者可以根据其中一个熟悉的词推断出另一个生词的词义来。作者通常会用一些信号词来表明另一个词语与前面的词语互为反义。例如But   on the other hand   although   while   yet   even though   in contrast   instead   however   in spite of   nevertheless   rather

 

例如Example1

David usually is loquacious, but tonight he is rather silent.

 

Question

What does loquacious mean?

Explanations

The word but signals the antonym silent. You can conclude that silent is the opposite of loquacious. If a person is not silent, he is talking, or talking a lot. So, loquacious just means talkative.

How to Recognize Antonym Clues

Recognizing words and phrases that signal an antonym clue can help you to understand new words. Authors frequently use signals to tell you that you probably already know but may have never thought about using in this way.

三.对词汇教学的启发

“由小到大“与”由大到小“并行,本人在教学过程中发现学生对上下文的词汇的判断障碍严重影响学生对文本的理解,故想要帮助学生们探求生词判断的方法。当然词汇教学不是一蹴而就的事情,需要长期的输入和学生的反复操练,只有掌握了正确的判断生词的方法,才能更好明白学生在阅读方面产生的偏误,从而更好指导我们的教学。词汇教学是英语阅读理解过程中至关重要的一个环节,一定要引起广大同行对此的深思。

参考文献

[1] Harmer,J2008)《怎样教英语》北京外语教学与研究出版社  34-52

2王力2008)《Using context clues for word meanings运用上下文的线索猜测生词

》。《语言文字应用》2008  8月第3  107-116

3郑丽,2006新课程背景下的高中英语语法教学(J),中小学外语教学(12

4 Wills, D.Wills, J.Changllge and Change in Language Teaching[M].上海:上海外语教育出版社,2002.

 5孙秀红.浅谈高中英语教学改革[J].华章,2006(11).


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