TEACHING THE ENGLISH CAUSED-MOTION CONSTRUCTION TO SPANISH-SPEAKING STUDENTS
- It can be best taught in relation to sister resultative constructions since they share much of their conceptual and formal structure:
–The child kicked the ball into the net (caused motion)
–The child molded the clay into a ball (resultative based on figurative use of caused motion)
–The child rolled the clay flat (transitive resultative)
–The child made his way into the yard (way construction)
–The child found his way into the community (figurative use of way construction)
- A possible productive teaching strategy:
–Step 1: Find an adequate L2 source construction:
–Step 2: Use the L2 source construction to understand the L2 target construction
–Step 3: Identify other L2 targets for the same L2 source construction and follow through steps 1 and 2 again.
STEP 1: FINDING AN ADEQUATE L2 SOURCE CONSTRUCTION
- Identify an L2 target construction that is problematic for learners; e.g. the English caused-motion construction for L1 = Spanish and L2 = English; e.g. The child kicked the ball into the net/*El niño pateó la pelota adentro de la red.
- Find a close L2 construction (i.e. one bearing family resemblance to the L2 target construction) that has a reasonable equivalent in the learners’ L1; e.g. the manipulative (They wanted him out of the country/Le querían fuera del país).
- This close L2 construction thus becomes an L2 source construction for comparison with the L2 target construction.
- Study the L2 source construction (e.g. the manipulative) in terms of its formal features, semantic structure and actual use. Make sure the L2 learners master this L2 source construction.
STEP 2: USE THE L2 SOURCE CONSTRUCTION TO UNDERSTAND THE L2 TARGET CONSTRUCTION
- Once mastered, the L2 source construction can be used to understand formal and functional aspects of the L2 target construction.
–Look for similarities and differences between the source and target constructions.
–Focus attention on the meaning motivation for the differences and try to determine to what extent they can be (partially) captured through other L2 constructions and even by L1 constructions.
USING THE MANIPULATIVE CONSTRUCTION TO LEARN THE CAUSED-MOTION CONSTRUCTION
- Formal: the two make use of secondary predications: NP(subj)+V+NP(obj)+PP(loc)
- Semantic: in both someone causes someone else to change location or state.
- Use: they both convey compulsion on the object; the two can be used either literally or figuratively.
STEP 3: FIND OTHER L2 TARGET CONSTRUCTIONS FOR THE MANIPULATIVE
AP and PP RESULTATIVES
- AP resultative: She painted the house green (Sp. Pintó la casa verde/*de verde); The blacksmith hammered the metal flat (*El herrero martilleó el metal plano/aplanó el metal a martillazos)> it follows the same pattern as the caused-motion construction, but an AP takes the place of the PP.
- PP resultative: We hammered hot iron into knives (*Martilleamos hierro candente en cuchillos/Hicimos cuchillos golpeando el hierro candente con un martillo) > it makes figurative use of the caused-motion construction usually when there is no resultative adjective available to express result.
- They combine the inchoative construction (e.g. The vase broke vs. Someone broke the vase) with a resultative pattern:
–AP resultative + inchoative: The door slammed close (La puerta se cerró dando un golpe)
–PP resultative + inchoative: The vase broke into a thousand pieces (El jarrón se rompió en mil pedazos)
FAKE REFLEXIVE RESULTATIVES
- They combine a fake reflexive (cf. *He drank himself) with a resultative pattern
–AP resultative: John drank himself hoarse
–PP resultative: John drank himself to sleep
- The reflexive is possible only if construed as the object of a causal pattern (i.e. John caused himself to be hoarse or to sleep by drinking). As with other secondary predications (e.g. He believes himself ugly), the resultative holds true of the verbal object.
- The resultative element cannot be omitted with fake reflexives: *He drank himself (vs. He hammered the metal (flat)).